It has been an arty few days. And an experience or two.
On Friday afternoon Mark, Chris and I went to see the wonderful All Too Human exhibition at Tate Britain in London's glitzy Pimlico.
Tate Britain is celebrating the painters in Britain who strove to represent the experience of being human in the most intimate of ways. All Too Human features Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Paula Rego, Jenny Saville and many more. The exhibition explores the sensuous, immediate and intense experience of life captured in paint. We loved it. There were some very passionate and physical pieces on display. The wildness and abandon of Bacon's mind writ large on the canvass was a true wonder to behold.
We were also lucky enough to catch the Anthea Hamilton performance art The Squash at the Tate too. Man in my gourd mask, anyone? Fab!
After lunch we three headed to the Under Cover: A Secret History Of Cross–Dressers exhibition at The Photographers' Galley near Oxford Circus.
Displaying another part of the experience of being human and drawn from the extensive personal archives of filmmaker and photography collector Sébastien Lifshitz, this exhibition of amateur found photographs from Europe and the US explores gender non-conformity and cross-dressing. Dating from 1880 onwards, the photos are mostly of unnamed and unknown figures – having been mainly collected from flea markets, garage sales, junk shops and eBay - and as such offer an unauthorised view into the worlds of individuals and groups choosing to defy gender conventions.
There were some very moving - and some very funny - photos. Especially revealing was those of Bambi - France’s most celebrated transsexual woman.
Also at The Photographers' Galley was Grayson Perry's Photo Album exhibition. An intimate small-scale display that shows a series of photographs and spreads from a private photo album owned by artist, Grayson Perry. Taken with a 35mm Zenith SLR camera, printed at a high street chemist and preserved in a classic ring-bound stick-down album, these personal photos offer a rare glimpse into the development of Perry’s alter ego, Claire. Fun, funny and heart-felt it was a little gem of an exhibition.
Grayson Perry had a great quote about why these photographs exist at all. "We used to say transvestite gatherings should be sponsored by Kodak."