17 January 2013: dear London, on working in the studio … day 11

A fascinating day.

I visited St Hilda’s East Community Centre. Rupert, who runs it with great sensitivity, reckoned that I would be better off not rushing into trying to draw there before I was accepted, so I tried to explain to some of the users why I was hoping to be able to draw them. I had some success I think and talked at length with some people, Ernest, Pat, Doris and Ada all seemed willing to be drawn, although Stanley and Gladys reserved judgement. Susan I think will be persuaded too. I will send any successful drawings off to be printed out on proper paper and hope they will enjoy that as recompense for their time. I still have something composed under the influence of Tintoretto’s Christ Washing the Feet of the Disciples, which is in the Prado, although not too literally! Tintoretto pulled off a beautiful compositional trick, as it was originally positioned so that it was best seen by standing close to the right edge of the painting, when it reveals a convincing spatial composition. I just rather like the idea of tables being part of the narrative of a group of figures. No drawing done, but ideas forming.

I managed to fit in Penone at the Whitechapel, but was unmoved by his tree, cast in sections in metal, but enjoyed his sketchbook drawings and his poems.

Here are two extracts from his Writings (with thanks to Pascale Petit):

Tree tuning fork; the ear resting on the trunk of a tree

to hear its years of growth, to hear the noise of the wind
that runs in the branches, in the trunk, in the roots down into the earth.
Resting the ear and striking the trunk of a tree.
Each species of tree a sound, each day of the tree a different sound,
a sound of summer, a sound of autumn, every season a sound, every day
a sound depending on the heat, the cold, the dryness, the water in the air.
Propagation of the sound, propagation of the wood,
roundness of the sound, roundness of the tree.

On the fingertips the drawing of the sound.

*

Eye, axil of the leaf.
Tree, eye of the earth, trap of light, glance of leaves.
The sphere of light, the sphere of the eye, the sphere of the tree.
The eye full of light.
The thrust of the tree in the light of summer.
The pressure of light leaves imprints of leaves on the eyes.
Crystal, light of the earth that transports thought.
Marble, bone of the earth.
Calcium, thought of stone.
Brain of crystal.
Flute of vertebrae.
Back of glass.
The tree of vertebrae.
My tree painting now seems even less interesting – I will revisit it.
Janet Cardiff’s The Missing Voice (Case Study B) was a delight. After borrowing an iPod from the Gallery, I was taken outside and led on a walk around the area, guided by her soundtrack, including voices and sound effects, eventually being unceremoniously abandoned in Liverpool Street Station, after an unsettling but compelling experience.
Off to Cheltenham tomorrow (Friday) and back on Monday ….
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