Saturday, August 9, 2014

"L'enfer, c'est les autres" (excerpts on Saatchi-Freud)

Amazed again! To think, this is where art that doesn't (or can't) belong in the places like The National Gallery gets exhibited and it all started with one man’s personal collection and his benevolence in wanting to share it with the public.

I was perplexed at first by the Richard Wilson installation titled “20:50”; the one where immediately all your senses begin to scramble to make logical assumptions of it all. At first step into this room, the sense of smell heightens due to the overpowering oil spill or tar scent, followed by a conjoined effort from all other senses to figure out where the heck that smell is coming from, and if it’s normal. Next, the brain begins to think what exactly is it that we’re supposed to be looking at, and okay, what if I still can't figure it out after several minutes? What do I do now? Leave?

On the day I went, I actually witnessed several visitors turn away at the immediate judgment of this piece based on appearance alone. They honestly thought this was NOT an art installation, but rather only a room under construction. How funny! Some visitors even went as far as to request for a gallery employee to explain why this was created and what it was they were supposed to look at. The fervor in their quest to know about the piece was remarkable to watch. I was a voyeur in a public space that was incredibly vulnerable to intellectual subjugation and additionally because these “highbrow” people (seemingly well-educated) had no clue what this piece of contemporary art was and it bothered them to not have all the answers. After the thorough explanation from the gallery employee, the visitors seemed a bit still bewildered but satisfied that at least they walked away with the concept of the installation piece.

The rest of the Saatchi Gallery rooms made good use with the amount of adequate space by categorizing genres accordingly. Also, the manner in which they incorporate artists' bio was also impressive for it painted a shared spotlight of merit rather than emphasize just one individual. The art is subjective but the Saatchi Gallery also adds subjectivity to that feature by not implying anything is grander than something else and only presenting ideas to allow the viewers to scrutinize and judge for themselves. Once again, I was very impressed. Museums and galleries here simply can't be beat. London certainly sets the bar high even when it comes to "lowbrow" art. If it’s grand enough to confuse and ignite a quest for answers in these hoity-toity people, then that’s saying something. C'est magnifique!

Further along at the Freud Museum, I was impressed by few but significant things. One being that he had read more archeology books than psychology books and collected anthropological figurines as reference and reminder to try to “unearth” the past in order to study (and solve) the present. It was shocking to hear that Dr. Freud had cancer of the jaw for about 16 years (yikes!), but we could assume it was a result of his excessive smoking habit. And although he only lived at this address for approximately a year, it was nice to see the transition from Vienna to London allowed him the tranquility in that house, that remarkable neighborhood, to focus on his dream analysis research. No photos allowed of the inside of the house, but this is what the Freuds’ (both Sigmund and Anna's) view would have looked like every time they looked out this window. Probably to analyze any passers-by.

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