I’ve always enjoyed sculptures that seek to compliment their habitat. Sort of releasing the artist’s imagination into the wild, as it were. It takes a certain chutzpah to do this as well. Nature, after all, creates both the best canvases and the best vistas.
And it is even more of a challenge to accomplish something that takes the breath away as well as evoking a sort of longing: to see more; to be capable of doing it myself; to have the necessary financial resources to own an example.
I was contemplating this last thought during a visit at the weekend to Kew Gardens. For any readers who have not heard about Kew Gardens it would be on my ‘must visit’ list for any visitor. These are botanic gardens to die for. Not necessarily for the indigenous plants but for their extraordinary collection of trees and their Victorian glasshouses that are home to a world collection of plants.
These days you’d not be allowed to create Kew. Sure you could build the glasshouses but populating them with so many species from around the world and then planting 240 hectares with a biodiversity of trees in these days of invasive species worries and the corruption of the unbuilt environment, nope not a prayer.
The Victorians? Hell no. Maybe there have been disasters as a result of something brought back for Kew. If so they don’t publicise it – though there was a sign talking of over 6000 invasive foreign species being introduced (I assume into the UK).
Instead of worrying about the pollution caused by globalisation, I enjoyed the trees Goodness they are extraordinary.
But what really go my pulse racing was the exhibiting of Dale Chihuly glass sculptures across the gardens and in the art centre. The Textiliste could barely contain her excitement. Part of her textile degree was to study Chihuly influences in her weaving, but her reference points were some examples at the Victoria & Albert museum and what you can glean from books and on line. To be there, enjoying their form and content in the flesh (or at least in the glass) was special.
She it was who posed the question. ‘Would you like to own a piece?’
I wanted to say yes, it would be fabulous. The way the gradations of light as the sun slips into cloud and the sky darkens changes each sculpture is extraordinary, as if the piece is lit from within and without, as if it was a living sculpture, more performance art that static glass.
But – and here’s the thing – imagining any piece chez Le Pard leads inexorably to a second image. That of a Munch like scream face as it dawns on my lovely wife that I have shattered not just her dreams but his sculpture in one supremely stupid act of numbskulledness. Not only could I not live with myself, she would not allow me to live. Period.
No, this was a joy to be observed from a respectful distance. If Parliament has a gap between the benches that is two swords’ lengths apart, then I counted the space between me and each Chihuly in rucksack parabolas.
I’m pleased to report my marriage is currently on-going and not currently up for review…