Saturday, 6 September 2008

Culture dash

My left arm is more or less recovered, though I couldn't use it to participate in any strong man competition just yet (those Atlas Balls might be a challenge too far). Anyway, as a result, April and I are flying back to Cologne on Tuesday, to pick up where we left off seven weeks ago.

Intent on squeezing every morsel of goodness out of my unexpected summer vacation, I travelled down to London on Thursday to meet with some friends* who I worked with in my last job. I used to work in a 30-storey office building by the Thames. Its official title is Millbank Tower, but is known to some as 'The Tower of Doom' due to its grey demeanour. It does have one saving grace for me - it's next door to Tate Britain.

Before meeting with my old co-workers I took some time to look around the Tate's galleries, taking in a good dose of Stubbs, Turner, Degas and co. All very cultured. However, what stood out for me was a piece of performance art staged in the central neoclassical atrium. The piece is
Martin Creed's work No 850. In it, a runner dashes through the atrium as fast as his little legs can carry him. This happens again 30 seconds later. And again. And get the idea. (Fortunately there is more than one runner to take on this burden.)

Creed's piece was inspired by a visit he made with friends to the catacombs in Palermo. They arrived just before closing and had to run to see everything. Creed decided that this speedy visiting style was the ideal way to appreciate culture.

I enjoyed this piece of art. Firstly, it is quite amusing to see a succession of people running through a major gallery in their gym vests and shorts. Secondly, Creed has captured how I feel about visiting galleries - that it is sometimes too daunting to think about seeing everything and that a short dash to lift the soul is a much more refreshing approach.

*(Hi Jenny, Lisa and Sophie! It was good to catch up!)

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