Titled ‘Untitled’ – An Advent Journey

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The Gagosian Gallery – Grosvenor Hill, London

I visited the Gagosian in London, one bright Saturday afternoon in Autumn.  There in the white minimalism of the L shaped room in the big new white building, I found many of Cy Twombly’s works hanging on the gallery walls.  These were not his photographs, rather a series of untitled works of art, generally created in 1969 at Balsena. In addition there were a number of 21st century Bronzes held to the floor by gravity.

The titles were mostly ‘untitled’.  I found it difficult to remember these titles and quickly scribbled notes in biro on my program to try to make sense of it all.  Perhaps that was my mistake.  Here then is a series of titles for the untitled. Which is which then ? = the numbers correspond to the original sequence at the gallery, now since packed away, but then that is the mystery of it all.  Like from the creation of the world through to Christmas, you just had to be there.

 

1. – Bronze – Creation

Theres a yellow thing sitting on the floor – its a massive work of creative power – where the oche paint of spirit covers the raw solid bronze shape from the casting fire.

2. – 2 and 1/2 – Adam and Eve

The two of them he created, Adam and Eve representing the first of the human race – a creative engine giving a little more than just the power of two.

3. – M’ Triangles – Fall of Man

Man is perhaps a prime copy of the original Man.

4. – Projection of a 3″ Jar – Noah’s Ark

There’s a vessel into which was poured two of each kind by Noah before the flood bore it off to a mountain to rest, waiting for the lands to reappear.  Jar’s have always had an electric connotation to them for me, either for preservation or for the storage of electrical charge.

5. – Fallen Jar – Shadow – Abraham

Abraham of course became the father of a new covenant following the fall of Adam .. so himself a shadow of the fallen Jar.

6. – Falling Jar – Smudge – Isaac

Isaac was a smudge in time following on from Abraham.

7. – Paper Jars, Helium Chalk Ascending Balloon – Jacob’s Ladder

If only Jacob could reach heaven easily.  Everything else is too much work. Helium should do the trick.  Is that a balloon ascending or a Jar Falling again.

8. – Green Finger Prints

Joseph and his colored coat, green paint perhaps, but he ended up down in a well, not really a Jar.

9. – Rock of Gibraltar — Bronze

Finally something solid, the rock of ages, Gibraltar rock, Moses mountain.

10. – Circular Eye Glasses

It took Samuel some time to hear the call, perhaps he was also a little blind, but eventually got to see the light, through a pair of eyeglasses.

11. – Jars Falling Finger Staff

Who was Jesse and why did he need a staff in anycase ?

12. – Comet Falling

This was all about David and Goliath, represented by a comet tail falling against a star.

13. – Green Square Frame

Framed he was, many of them were and I guess Solomon managed the scales of Jealousy and Justice equally well.

14. – ‘Untitled’

As Joseph was, being just a humble carpenter with hammer, setsquare and other tools of the trade.  Fantastic decision not to quit Mary, who was to become the most titled woman in the history of man.

15. – Stable White Jar – Mary

There it stood a chalky white jar,  calm and accepting not a mark on it’s surface, but filled with grace.

16. – Blue Page

John the baptist under a blue sky asked us all to turn a new page and get ready for what was to be writ new.

17.- Numbered Jars

O, The wisdom of Jesus

18.- Red Jar

O, Jesus is Lord

19. – Wrapped Spear – Bronze

O, Jesus is the Flower of Jesse – the bronze spear of a lilly

20. – Coloring Book

O, Jesus is Key of David

21. – Coloring Book

O, Jesus is the Radiant Dawn

22. – Coloring Book

O, Jesus is the King of the Gentiles

23. – Blue Lines Dripping — Purple Flowers

O, Jesus is Emmanuel – portent of the passion

25. – Drill with Square Shank – Bronze

O, Jesus is light of the world

Of course ART, particularly ‘untitled’ art is just begging to be titled, but thats the majesty of Cy Twombly.. you just cannot pin it to a wall, only your mind.

 

 

 

Travelog 4 – London – Crafty Beer Names

From Sydney, I’d been sent to Coventry, UK for engineering work. I had arrived there by bus from Heathrow a few days before. It was the end of the week and definitely time to get back to my roots of the ‘The City’. There are places to go and although I’d spent time in the UK before, this time that I would definitely look at London as kindred homeland somehow.

No need to bus or drive to London in their A or M style roads, which can really drag on a Friday afternoon.The trains are direct and fast if you need them.  All trains definitely seem to lead to London in this case.

Train then, Coventry ticket office, single fast train anytime please. About an hour from Coventry to London Euston, through green landscapes in the setting sun, with long shadows flicking across the windows. The train tilts as it rounds the bends and your ears either suck out or in going into and out of the tunnels at speed.

Naturally I checked out the carriage, 3 levels of emergency exit.  Level 1 – the door to the next carriage, Level 2, the door to the outside, Level 3- the emergency glass break windows.  Just the day before there were reports of Police evacuating Baker Street station IN LONDON and doing ‘controlled explosions’ on a panel van seemingly abandoned in the middle of the road just outside.  In the wake of the November 13th terror and carnage in Paris just the week before, everyone in London must have also been a bit on edge.

Well, needs be I might make it out the emergency window, but Level 3 type emergency exits are a bit of a jump to the ground. Might be breaking a bit more than the toughened glass at my age. Thankfully, we arrived Euston safely with no breaking or jumping required.  I retrieved my pretty worn luggage and exited the station.

I taxi ranked a quick cab and check-in to my hotel nearby.  Switching from late Spring to Autumn cool, I added a pullover for warmth and went back out into the early darkness.  Actually right outside the Euston station are several pubs to attend.  The first one, All Bar One, seemed upmarket and was a cross between bistro, winebar and pub.  All people going to and from the train station with roller luggage and overcoats, dropping in for a quick pint.  There were some obvious locals who seemed to know everyone, introducing themselves to strangers, slapping people on the back, somewhat intrusively I observed.  Lots of really tall well dressed people. Not me of course.  Somewhat short and shabby compared.  I thought shabby chic for chillin’ dudes from Australia.  That’ll do.  Of course short people get lost in the crowd in anycase.  Beer London Style.  Good.

Afterward however the Euston Tap bar seemed more interesting.  Enclosed in a 19th century gatehouse at the entrance to the old Euston Square Garden, a small door leads you into a welcome heated space with a bar and a craft beer wall and chalkboard arrangement behind it. At least half dozen bartenders crammed in a space of around 20 square feet. The only women in the bar were behind it or upstairs perhaps at the end of the mysterious black wrought iron spiral staircase.  Everyone of those drinking downstairs at least seemed young, relatively happy, and their conversation sharp.  The ‘Tap’ could be the local watering hole for those from the University across the road perhaps.

I ordered ‘Half Mast’.  How would I know what it tasted like, it was listed number something on a chalk board just above some other sophisticated craft been name.  The only clue was that it had alcohol of a calculated percentage and was on the ‘KEG’ side of the room rather than the ‘CASK’ side of the room.  Tasted good.  I drank the whole pint — ok slowly — taking some time to read Time magazine found in the lobby on the way out.  Craft beers, kegs and casks of specialty brew shipped in from somewhere. The lifetime of any of them depending on the number of drinkers.  As Casks were emptied, their chalk tap numbering designation rubbed out like the way our teachers rubbed out the workings and started something new in the space.

Can I have a pint of ’20 please’ he asked, the guy next to me.

‘Sorry mate, It’ll be around 10 minutes or so’ the bartender said, as her colleague in black quickly rubbed out it’s space on the wall.

‘OK then perhaps number 15, thanks’.. he replied.

So then, beer by numbers and crafty names at the cool bars in London. Who thinks these names up ?  Is there a standard dictionary of ‘Craft Beer’ names.  Perfect for trivia nights back in Australia perhaps.  Category.. London Craft Beer Names.  I thought of a few more crafty beer names, promptly forgot them and went back to the hotel to sleep off some jetlag.