ON POETRY, WRITING AND RANDOM CULTURAL MATTERS

Monday, 17 August 2015

Richard Long at the Arnolfini


I state my bias right away: Long is my hometown artist who I most admire.  His word work is poetry pared down to its most simple essence: the significant things we notice along the way.

And moving throughout the landscape is what this work is all about. The walk. Everything else is just recording and documenting. Which makes it rather difficult to mount an exhibition.

Happily the words on the walls work their magic, as do the site specific mud paintings and the slate cross.

New mud thumb prints are charming in their aboriginal patterning.

Meanwhile out of the gallery up on the Downs is Boyhood Line, which is worth finding (one third of the way up Ladies Mile on the right as you leave Clifton, if you want directions, as I had to ask three gallery staff before finding one who could show me, but not furnish me with, a map). The grass is overtaking the white stones and there is a certain amount of public interference going on, as Long expected.

My only quibble, and it's not a small one, is that the Arnolfini does not have anywhere near enough gallery space to do Long's work justice. Not by a long chalk. There simply wasn't enough of on show to make a trip from anywhere other than Bristol worthwhile. Luckily, I was passing, otherwise I would have been sorely disappointed. But if you are local and like your art conceptual and constrained, enjoy this this summer.

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