Monday, 24 September 2012

Didn't we have a loverly time...

I didn't go to Bangor on Saturday, I went to Margate.  I know you're humming the tune...

Margate, it has to be said, isn't the most beautiful of seaside towns - yet.

It appears to have had a colourful history.

But it seems to have lost much of its charm.  I took a trip with J and L to see the recent work of Margate's prodigal daugter.

Our destination gleamed in the low September sunshine.

It, the Turner Contemporary, is truly a beacon of cultural hope and modern optimism.  It's strapline (we must all have one) is 'art inspiring change'.

In it we saw a selection of Tracey Emin's new drawings, watercolours and embroideries.  They were/are beautiful, raw and poignant.

I learned that Turner's champion, Ruskin, took it upon himself to censor Turner's more intimate, physical works to ensure that his idol was seen as a master of light, colour and landscape, not legs, tits and bums.  There were three of Turner's tiny sketchbooks on display.  Mesmerising.

Tracey obviously wanted to demonstrate that her work is, in fact, nothing new or shocking.  Displaying her work alongside Rodin and Turner watercolours, she made the links clear.  I loved the way she referenced 'my house in France' and the trauma of having her olive grove brutally pruned.  One of the rooms was painted 'cooking apple green' by Farrow and Ball.   As they say - the girl done good.

I loved it but then I've always admired her.  I love the way she's just carried on, doing what she does, having the heart and sheer brutal determination to work amidst the fury that often surrounds her.  Now the Professor of Drawing at the Royal Academy, I think she's worked for her good life and I'm interested in how her confessional work will change as she ages. 

Around the gallery, it seemed that there are changes afoot in Margate.  It felt as if there was a little seaside garden of creativity and entrepreneurship being nurtured and protected by the sea wall and this brand new artistic venture. Almost as if the gallery had just moved in to a house with a run down plot and had started to plant the basics - there were cafes and vintage stores and pop-up galleries. 

Old Town seemed to be the main hub of regeneration.  There was a little on the sea wall that jutted out from the Turner but there needs to be more than a few fuschia parasols involved to make this Brighton.

Margate left me hoping that it would succeed, that Londoners would take the trouble to train it to the seaside again.  It's got all the raw materials.  I might go back again one day. 


hausfrau said...

Can't think whether I've ever been to Margate... I'm not very good at art: Husband and Youngest despair on the rare occasions they succeed in getting me into a gallery. Love the last photo!

Only Me said...

Yep, I was humming the tune ... Sounds like you had a grand day out - a trip to the seaside and some inspiring art too.

Gill said...

Oh how spooky...just when I'd watched that programme about turner and the three dodgy paintings on TV last night and thought "oooh, maybe I need to go to margate"...there you are!

thank you for confirming that I do need to go there, for tempting me further and for reminding me why I admire Tracey too.


Jane Housham said...

You've made me want to see Tracey's show, when I thought I was done with her -- thank you. It's funny how the powers that be are putting their trust in art to resurrect all these south coast towns -- Hastings and Folkestone too. I do wonder what the locals think about it all. Brings the money in, though, hopefully.

VP said...

Have just interviewed Trowbridge Museum's curator for Wilts Mag. She held up Margate's cultural quarter initiative as something they're trying to do in Trowbridge. Apparently income in Margate has gone up four-fold since they started their initiative and Margate is a much more deprived area than anything we have in Wilts.

If they get the funding, Trowbridge will have its own cultural quarter pretty soon...