I’m on my way to the Tate Modern at the moment and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m on the train to Paddington and just thinking about all the exhibitions I have really wanted to see and actually made the effort to go to the gallery, yet did not manage to see them.
Many years ago when I was still at university, Irene, Jim, Stephen and I decided to go and see the Fuseli exhibition at the Tate (now Tate Britain). We arranged to meet there. It had finished months ago. So much for forward planning!
Another time my friend Elisabeth had come over from Germany to see the Edward Hopper exhibition at the Tate Modern;I think, when it first opened. I believe she enjoyed it. I went a couple of days later. No sign of it. I think that is the one I am still most disappointed by. I can’t imagine their size or texture. Pictures of pictures are better than nothing – she says trying to put a positive spin on things- but there’s nothing like the real thing.
A few years ago I took a school trip to St. Paul’s and then persuaded everyone to go to the Tate because here was a magnificent exhibit by Anish Kapoor called Marsyas. It was an enormous red trumpet-like sculpture which filled the Turbine Hall. Incredibly powerful. I thought the children ( all 38 of them) would respond positively. We arrived however to the most depressing scene. A fifty metre deflated balloon. Just lying there like an enormous pool of blood after some primeval battle. Impressive in its way, but not what I expected. This is it before its deflation.
I have to say that the children were very kind after I had got them all excited about what they were about to see. Less so their teachers who were not impressed with having to walk across the Millennium Bridge when they were already tired and annoyed by being on a school trip anyway.
But today was more successful. The new wing of the Tate was open, the views from the tenth floor were fabulous and the exhibition we went to see witty and expressive and not too big. Bhupen Khakhar, if you’re interested.