A few things from Walker Art Gallery Liverpool

Slightly less sought-after than the Tate, the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool’s Cultural Quarter has a small-but-gorgeous sculpture collection in its sun-warmed front room.  Having been on my sister’s hen do the night before (what else was I doing on my first trip to Liverpool?), I was t’rificly hungover, and so my sweat production levels were up, my drawing quality way down.  Still, this Greek helmet was lovely to gaze upon – I felt maybe Moebius had been stealing the beautiful curves and slick curls from these old Greek boys.

Walker

This Adam and Eve from Arthur G Walker (gallery namesake) himself made me laugh so much.  Adam’s bunched fist and strong back; Eve’s quivering, cowed posture and desperate gesture of flapping her hair round him – ayah!  Lucky it covered up his penis too – that would have been embarrassing.

The next drawing is of a sculpture I fell in love with in passing, then felt the resentment of silly convention bubbling up inside, so the drawing got progressively dopey-looking.  I liked their gay dancing poses though:

Walker2

 

detail

detail

And this plate from Piero Fornasetti finished it all off quite nicely:

PLate

 

11 influential bits from Tate Liverpool

一 Sylvia Sleigh I only spotted these beautiful, hairy nudes in gift shop on my way out.  The luxuriant masses of hair in Sleigh’s paintings speak of a decadence too often rejected in the modern, flesh-gazing world.

Paul Rosana Reclining 1974.

Felicty Rainne Reclining, 1972 Oil on Canvas 42.5” x 60” (107.3 x 152.4 cm) Private Collection, New York

二 Eikoh Hosoe’s Man and Woman This too was spotted in the gift shop – it punched me in the eye as I leafed through one of Hosoe’s photography books.

三 Richard Hawkins’ Hajikata Twist

Featuring exciting turns of phrase from the translated notes of Eikoh Hosoe, such as ‘flowering epileptic pus’, and glimmers of magnificently strange painted artworks, including (四) Jean Dubuffet’s The Tree of Fluids:

五 Louise Bourgeois’ Topiary: The Art of Improving Nature – beautiful parallels drawn in this series between over-pruning/artificial enhancement and the destruction of the health of the whole organism in both plants and humans (particularly women):

六 The word ‘Gesamtkunstwerk‘, meaning ‘translated as total work of art, ideal work of art, universal artwork, synthesis of the arts, comprehensive artwork, all-embracing art form or total artwork… is a work of art that makes use of all or many art forms or strives to do so’

七 (Very important now) Len Lye’s Free Radicals.  Stumbling on this piece in the way that I did had a profound effect on me.  My preconceptions were shattered, I felt so full of potential, so new and fresh and filled with enthusiasm.  Looking at it now, on the computer screen – on YouTube, no less – I can’t reclaim that feeling.  The small, dark enclosure for the screening was essential to the power of the piece.  The sudden, independent, and personal realisation of the perfect synchronicity between the audio and the visual while being fully immersed by both was a moving experience.  Gaze upon it now anyway, it has made me certain my FMP needs to be a projected piece:

The attendant in the room also let me in on Lye’s motivation.  He says Lye was on a mission to find out what makes us happy.

八 Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, a French sculptor and draughtsman.  I quickly became a fan, caught by one of his more colourful pieces:

‘Sophie Brzeska’, 1913

九 Valie Export’s Action Pants: Genital Panic, just look:

(single image) Action Pants, 1969

十 Robert Longo’s Sword of the Pig:

十一 Hélio Oiticica’s Tropicália, Penetrables PN 2 ‘Purity is a myth’ and PN 3 ‘Imagetical’ 1966-1967

This is something I would push anyone to go see, and don’t much fancy going into much detail on what this actually is, for the physical interaction with the piece is key to ‘Oiticica’s hope that this sense of engagement would spread to all areas of [the viewers’] lives’.  One of the most entertaining and interesting pieces of art I have seen in a gallery – though I benefitted massively from the guidance of a fascinating gallery assistant.  I thank her from the centre of my enriched soul.