Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tracy Emin in Venice

The French and British exhibits at the Biennale were next to each other at the end of the row. I went to the Sophie Calle first, and then dashed into Tracy Emin's out of a sense of 'oh, I have to do this because people will ask.' It's not that I don't like Tracy Emin's work, but more that I've always felt there's something a bit intimidating about it, as if I'm 'not going to get it'. This fear wasn't helped by the people coming out as I was going in, who all seemed to be shaking their heads and laughing a little bit.

I still don't know if I 'got it', but I got something, and that was enough for me. I got that I'd like to force all teenage girls to come in and see the British exhibit - and to really LOOK. It made me want to protect and attack all at the same time, a confused, uncomfortable feeling. Birds were a motif, as shown by the beautiful fragile light sculpture on the outside.

The central hall was filled with branches and around it charcoal sketches of women's private parts (God, I'm embarrased about saying that, like a prim aunt, but I don't want to get hundreds of google hunters coming here and getting disappointed.) Anyway, to me - and you'll understand now I'm no art expert - it felt as if there was something equally fragile, bird-like and transient about the drawings. Almost as if you needed to cup them in your hands. It wasn't sexual though, or voyeuristic. More ... oh, what do I want to say ... fleeting. That's it. I was very moved.

And then in the next room, I read this.

And round the corner, I came across this, which made me gasp out loud. Not the words but the way and how they had been written which made them so painfully polite but almost invisible - surely part of the point.

And this sums up this post for me, really. I think I know what the exhibit was saying, but oh I'm not sure, but on the other hand I think I know what I liked about it. Oh heck...why am I such a girl at saying what I mean, and striving to get to the point when I can say this is what I know I want to say, which is what I think the exhibit was really about.

And my writing prompt for today is ... the subversive stitch.

No comments: