I liked Suzanne Heintz’s artistic response to the question Why aren’t you married yet? Fourteen years worth of pictures of herself posing with a mannequin family certainly draws attention to the mythology of white, middle-class family “happiness”. Even though Suzanne is posing with mannequins, these images and the meanings they are supposed to convey (and impose) are instantly recognisable. Perhaps she’s also suggesting that people don’t care who the members of her family are, or what her relationship with them might be, as long as “family” is performed in the correct way. There is even the suggestion that this mythology reduces people to the status of mannequins. Roland Barthes would be proud.
Ludovic Florent’s series of photographs Poussiere d’etoiles (stardust) inspired me after a difficult day. These images that capture dancers interacting with a cloud of flour are a gorgeous tribute to the art of dance and the power of the human body.
I discovered Thomas Tallis’s forty part Renaissance motet Spem In Alium (c 1570) via the documentary series A Very British Renaissance. It is an incredibly beautiful piece of music, but when I looked it up on You Tube I was also interested to discover that a lot of people have been listening to it because its mentioned in Fifty Shades of Grey. Some commenters were expressing horror at the idea of nasty Fifty Shades fans “polluting” this lovely music. It’s an interesting clash of high and popular culture that raises all sort of questions about who has a right to enjoy and reference this kind of cultural artefact, and I’m sure issues relating to gender and sex too.
Andy and I saw exhibitions of the work of John Piper and James Dickson Innes at the National Museum of Wales. I really went off these two artists after my mother made me do a GCSE art project on paintings of Wales. I wanted to do something else entirely (what, I ask you, is wrong with doing an art project on representations of Hell?), but I got pressurised into doing her idea. Taking the time to look at their paintings again, I realised that I do actually like them both very much.
I spent this afternoon lying on the sofa watching Professor Richard Fortey talking about the Magic of Mushrooms. Neither animal nor plant, fungi are a source of food, medicine, and now, eco-friendly packaging as well. They can be destructive, but without them the planet would be a giant rubbish dump. Absolutely fascinating and there’s little more beguiling to me than the sight of Professor Fortey romping through the woods with his mushroom-gathering basket.