Sunday, 26 February 2012

We always find something to give us the impression we exist...

Bumper post for you today! On Thursday, my good friend Chris and I had a bumper art tour of Leeds, taking in art, opera and theatre!

Glamourie at PSL

We started our tour at Project Space Leeds, for its Glamourie exhibition. The exhibition is focused on the common themes of ritual and ceremony, with artwork collected from a variety of little known British artists. It is a slightly disjointed exhibition, which doesn't always work as a whole, although there are a number of stand out pieces within it. It seems a little too like a graduate arts show, where not all of the work is of the same quality and not everything seems to link to the common theme. Not to be overly critical, as I did enjoy the majority, but this remained a minor criticism for me.

Below are a selection of my favourite pieces from the exhibition:

"Snap Like a Diva" workshop

"Nothing Here" - Kitty Clark

"I am a Real Artist" - Johannes Fa

"Zeco Sun" - Leon Sadler

"Super Supra" - Iona Smith

"Ruach Ha'Shem (Brain of God/Creation of Adam?) - Ant Macari

"The Law of Excluded Middle" - Ant Macari
My personal favourite, based on the work of Jorges Louis Borges.

Five Truths at Opera North

After finding a flyer at PSL we decided to investigate the new work at the Howard Assembly Rooms for Opera North. The work was a large video installation with numerous screens showing 5 different versions of Ophelia's mad scene from Hamlet. These were filmed in the style of 5 great film directors and overlapped the images and sounds so you were quite literally surrounded by the performance. I found this to be a really effective exploration of madness, and it was interesting to see the same scene and words interpreted in different ways.

Some images from the installation:

Waiting for Godot at WYP

To conclude our day of artfaggery, we went to see the newest production of Waiting for Godot at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. I am a big fan of Samuel Beckett, having based my MA dissertation and artwork on his plays, and performing the last scene from Waiting for Godot as part of my final exhibition. However, I had never seen it live.

The WYP version differed slightly from convention as it had an all black cast. Obviously there is no limitation to how the characters can be portrayed (they are, after all, only descried as wearing bowlers) but this was something slightly out of the ordinary.

I have to say that I enjoyed the performance very much. The set was very minimal as expected, with the tree bursting up from what appeared to be cracked judo mats. The background projection provided the difference in lighting, and added to the sense of nothingness about the scenery. The actors were very good, transposing Beckett's words into a Caribbean patois which worked surprisingly well. I particularly enjoyed the performance of Lucky and Pozzo (who I wasn't too fond of in my previous readings of the script). I was very pleased with the overall production, which had the right amount of humour and pathos, updating Beckett's words to a new audience.

Yet another example of the great Art on offer in Leeds. I often think how lucky I am to live somewhere with great artistic opportunities, and all this in one day really confirmed what the city has to offer! Even if all the walking around really takes it out of the knees!

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