Our three days in London were packed with gallery visits, theatre, catching up with friends and a visit to Waterstones in Piccadilly for new art books.
We have a much-loved experience that epitomises London for us, we have our morning coffee listening to the classical buskers at Covent Garden. Musicians play a variety of classical pieces, hoping for support in the way of a few coins in the strategically placed hat.
I visited an exhibition, "Poetry and Dreams" at the Tate Modern, featuring works of Picasso, Kandinsky, Bacon and various Surrealists. An installation, "30 Pieces of Silver" really moved me at a visceral level. The artist had collected hundreds of pieces of silverware from markets and carboot sales. She had the pieces flattened by a steam-roller and then suspended in 30 circular arrangements 50cm above the floor. The title relates to Judas Iscariot. While observing the flattened knives, forks, trays and goblets, I had the most overwhelming sense of poignancy - here was a collection of personal treasures, these pieces once took pride of place in peoples' homes, they reeked of history. The pieces emanated a sense of loss and terrible sadness. Wow! This is art. This work had the power to really move me!
I stood looking at a Francis Bacon painting, trying to make sense of it. His faces seem to emit a sense of anxiety, fear and violence. The disturbance felt in my gut is fascinating! Next to his painting, I read, "His visceral figures inhabit a climate of uncertainty and anxiety, (and then quotes Bacon) "as if a human being had passed between them, like a snail, leaving a trail of the human presence and memory trace of past events".
This quote was so relevant to a conversation that I had had with my husband that morning, we had walked past the bronze statue of Winston Churchill sitting on a bench with Dwight Eisenhower on New Bond Street. Our children had sat on the bench in the space between the figures 20 years ago. We had mused at the possibility of leaving something of our essence, DNA or soul as we inhabit a space, a tiny piece of ourselves remains somehow? Bacon actually painted his figures with this concept in mind.