SOTHEBY'S BOWIE COLLECTOR ALL NIGHT VIEWING 4/11
WAKING UP AT THE DARKEST HOUR
I feel like I've been sleepwalking throughout this whole week. Is this real life? How can time move so fast? It's 1 AM Friday night when my alarm goes off. I'm already dolled up, make up is done and I even have my Martens and coat on. I've been sleeping like Snow White for the past 4 hours. I'm coming down with something that's for sure - is it the flu? Should've taken that jab...I'm dreading the alarm but 10 minutes later I'm in an Uber heading to Central.
I meet up with my date at a busy Piccadilly and we stroll through the streets of Mayfair. We're early but that doesn't seem to matter as we enter. We're greeted and receive neon coloured wrist bands. Walking up the stairs to the hall there's a wall sized photo of a screaming David Bowie and a quote that said:
"Art was, seriously, the only thing I'd ever wanted to own. It has always been for me as a stable nourishment. I use it. It can change the way I feel in the mornings. The same work can change me in different ways, depending on what I'm going through".
This is a major exhibition and Bowie had lent pieces of his collection to galleries before, but this is the first time where people have been able to see it all at once.
'FOYER' IN THE FOYER OF LIFE
Upon entering the hall there's Caulfield's 'Foyer' (a 'Foyer' in the foyer) and the Radio-phonograph by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni. I'm kind of rushing past as there's Basquiat on both sides. We walk right up to the 'Untitled' from 1984. When it comes to paintings in particular, I'm mainly intrigued by its general feeling but also the strokes of the brush which makes me wander right up to it so that the tip of my nose almost touches it, just to have a good look. I wonder what the brush motion felt like; was it meant to have a slightly different turn but one exhaled and it all took a different turn?
My relationship to David Bowie isn't extraordinary. I can't speak on personal influences, other than that I used to cry my heart out to 'Changes' at sixteen and had had enough of living as a small town girl. When I was fourteen my mom's boyfriend's auntie (I have a close extended family) had given me her vinyl collection and record player. It mainly consisted of The Rolling Stones, Queen, a bit of The Beatles but then also 'Hunky Dory'. Which I ended up playing frequently enough to learn the tunes that weren't meant for my generation. Anyway, when I learnt about this viewing I felt curious. Because what artist inspires another artist?
As we're moving through the halls work by work (moving through the exhibition non-sequentially instead of rigidly following the guide) we stumble upon a few of Lanyon's work and it just pulls you right in. We spent a good time staring at 'Witness' in awe. I like to say that Louise Bourgeois is my kind of artist, but I wonder whether Peter Lanyon could join her as one of my favourites.
From one room to another, I find myself in front of Ken Currie's 'Three Remembered Heads'. It is one of the most haunting things I have ever seen. Anyone who's seen his work can confirm. Once seen. Never forgotten. The oil. The blood.
We take a cigarette break and drink coffee in front of John Bellany. After all it is just 3 AM and I have repressed my coughing and fever feelings. We continue to Erich Heckel, David Bomberg and Reg Butler. Butler's 'Women on Boat' opens us up for good discussions and thoughts. After slightly regretting the early time slot I start appreciating it more as less and less people move through the space.
SEEING THE APPEAL OF BECOMING A COLLECTOR
Standing at my favourite part. Norman Catherine. I come to think of Emil of Lönneberga, which was a big part of my childhood – minus the knee length penises. Though I like it as its an accurate reflection of the patriarchal and macho system in place at the time. There's diversion and classification represented in the works. 'Fangalo Store', 'Cat Man' and 'Back Chat ll', three separated pieces, went together for £141,250. I shall keep wishing that its new collector will eventually give it all up to me.
There's such a mix throughout, you want to ask millions of questions but you know no answer will makes you feel satisfied. Perhaps one shouldn't ask questions about art, perhaps one shouldn't challenge anything other than one's own feeling when staring into a beautiful, shattering, slashing, violent, pinky, hacking, sphincter painting by Hirst or a fish trapped in a perspex box (Fish for David).
MASAYOSHI YAMAZAKI AND REFLECTIONS AT SUNRISE
The morning is approaching when I sit down in the Uber. The stereo is playing Talking Head's 'Psyco Killer' but I insert my headphones for a bit of Masayoshi Yamazaki. The streets are empty west of the city at this hour. I lean on the window as I look out; slowly this fever is waking inside me, together with a new day. I'm no longer sixteen in a small town of Sweden, I no longer play 'Hunky Dory' and cry over spilled milk. I've just had a peak into one of the world's most influential artist's view on art.