Thursday, 26 May 2016


Improvised While Listening to a Speech by Nicholas Serota 
and Thinking of a Poem by Frank O’Hara
in an Old Music Hall
in Hoxton

Angela de la Cruz has produced a work of history. An impressionist piece, it suggests the spirit of this gallery; its large life crammed into little rooms, the restrained vitality, its relentless will, seeping out between the cracks of its old confinement; we think of a dam creaking, on the verge of breaking… The control panel lowers the water level; and pianissimo, its notes trickle through the door, into a crowd watching this clock eclipse the moon. We wait. Under Chris Ofili’s memories. Under an iconostasis illuminating this tiny triangle, the Pocket Park, a plaza awash with civilities; the harpsichord lost amongst their gathering tide, whose waves carry us off to Hoxton Hall.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Painful Time

Out of love comes superstition. Intense emotions make the feelings fragile, and this is made worse by our complete dependence upon the person who generates them, producing a desperate need for security, that increases exponentially when the lovers are separated; Bendrix fraught with anxiety because Sarah lives with her husband. Wild passions, mixed with this wretched need for a stability that can never be gained, awakes a mental turmoil that seeks magic solutions to this state, it is an illness, that cannot be resolved, will not be cured, until the emotional temperature cools. Charms. Occult words. Astrological charts. We need them all, if we are to survive such intense affairs.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Seated Woman

The face lost to the distance.

This hand. It is a palm! a tropical growth on a craggy dress; its planes of slate; its rocky mountainside. The leaves like sausage dogs, sniffing around the cheek and lip.

Her thoughts a hot air balloon.

The gas jet firing above, we do not hear the painter’s words: “move your head to…to…yes, to the side; and look up; yes…yes, and…up, up, up just a little more, look up towards that window. Wonderful! Now let the leg drop easily. And think of something beautiful; think of a Raphael; think of Botticelli, of the Primavera. Marvellous! Now create a painting in your mind. Draw it slowly, and very carefully; the window, do you see it? is becoming a frame, and inside there is a door; it opens slowly; and you are watching this door, you watch it opening onto God’s grace, the light of reverie, that carries you away, that takes you… That’s it! Fantastic! Keep it there. And… In your hand you are holding a cup, the hot tea seeping through the porcelain, warming your fingers, relaxing them; giving you a warm glow. That’s it. Yes, you are a picture! The brushes will describe you well. They will; oh yes, yes…they are!”

Monday, 2 May 2016

Sneaking In...

All are criminals. War does this to people. It stretches the moral order until it breaks. The rituals of peace being lost, the ideas linked to them disappear, freeing the inhabitants to build their own lives out of the rubble that remains. So much liberty! And love is its symbol. Love. The biggest, most sustained raid to hit London during the 1940s.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Beautiful Collapse

At first we don’t see it. Then we do: it is Roe, he is a bore. This is what strikes us most, above everything else, above even…but we will come to that… Above all other things the hero of this book is an exceedingly boring chap.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

No No Mr Jones

You could work, you could say something, you could see where to climb, to fix what you said, you could see a clear flight of steps. You worked from bottom upwards, but suddenly this staircase was spiral, it had no end. You worked on, somewhere there was an end to these stairs, somewhere you could stand. Silence was long, had a leaden weight, so that you could feel this as you worked, from bottom upwards, you knew there was somebody about, someone in the forest of rounding stairs, someone who would watch. You would work on, and suddenly you came on him, he spoke, and you laughed, silence was broken, you had met one who understood your language.

A tour de force about a night in the Blitz is also an allegory about the artist in society; and we, the other residents in this boarding house, who watch Clem and Lena carry a painting up and down the stairs, are more likely to belittle than to understand him; what he does too strange, so bizarre, too eccentric to be easily understood.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Soft Power

Theodor Fontane tells it straight: Sidonie von Grasenabb is a “43 year old maid”, who likes to attack society for its immorality, and is particularly scornful of the young. 

Here she is different. Sidonie von Grasenabb is an attractive woman who living comfortably with her husband appears to enjoy extra-marital affairs - with both sexes.

Rainer: what are you doing?