Sunday, 25 September 2011

St Ives Festival Heaven 2011: Artists & Tate Balloons

Martin Creed's balloon installation in the Tate St Ives mezzanine

Denise and Steve Ingamells at Tate St Ives

Jan Jefferies and Charles Shaar Murray

Charles Shaar Murray

Clare Wardman & Anna Chen, Porthmeor Studio 7

View from Porthmeor Studio 7

And not forgetting the visual artists exhibiting in St Ives and a couple of concepts that worked.

Martin Creed's balloon installation was simple but effective. With the balloons filling the Tate's Rotunda mezzanine level higher than head-height, it's like walking into a wall, except the wall is full of air so you experience the instinct to duck, flinch or push the obstacle out of your way, and the conflicting pleasure in the softness. It's a dreamlike feeling. And it makes your hair stand on end with the static.

Tate St Ives got through 165,000 balloons when they'd budgeted for 120,000, but inflatable latex shrinks and pops. There was the time a series of mini-explosions could be heard and, after a search, a small boy was discovered sitting on the floor wielding a sharp pencil ... He's lucky he wasn't in an inner city or some magistrate might have jailed him for months for riotous behaviour. The balloons had the power to transform adults into kids, as well as releasing the child's inner child, such as the 65-year old pensioner who decided to surf the balloons from the window ledge. Alas, the Tate's mezzanine is no mosh-pit and she was carted off with a broken clavicle, bruised face and maximum embarrassment factor.

We caught the last few days of Roman Ondak's Measuring the Universe. Everyone who enters the room is invited to be measured and the wall marked up with height-line, name and date. Those of us who are of average height watch the markings disappear against the black of months-worth of previous measurements. Only the very short and tall survive the black band of the average. The gallery was due to paint over the wall yesterday, but we are now all part of the patina for years to some.

I like Clare Wardman's work so much that I have a small one at home. She works alongside her husband — artist Iain Roberston — who shares Porthmeor Studio seven with her. They made lovely interviewees for the Radio 4 programme.

St Ives Festival 2011: Intro and "Kicking A Dinosaur" video
St Ives Festival 2011: "Big Society: on a conversation in the Foundling Museum" video
St Ives Festival 2011 pix: The Island and St Nicholas Chapel

A big thank you to Jan Jefferies and Charles Shaar Murray for taking many of the pix of me on my Panasonic Lumix TZ20.

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