An Assemblagist – Joseph Cornell at the Royal Academy



After a long meeting today in London, I strolled down to the Royal Academy to see an exhibition  by a man who has intrigued me for a long time.   A collection from his lifetimes work, meticullously assembling series upon series of beguiling and enchanting boxes.  Boxes filled with a lifetimes worth of dreams and yearnings of a magical world.  His name JOSEPH CORNELL 1903-1972

A man who never left his country of birth, spending most of his life in the Bronx looking after his ailing mother and brother, working as a textile salesman during the day and spending his nights engrossed in his abundant  collections of ephemera, found objects, letters, old books in fact anything that would help him create these masterpieces in such detail,,,,,,,,,,, Constantly searching in dimes stores, sorting and cutting and preparing all the pieces, almost like he was “assembling” his life in boxes without actually having to live it himself.

I also read he invented  people and collected artifacts, letters, photographs to support their imaginery lives.  Each person would be stored in a manilla envelope in readiness for the day when it was there turn to be boxed.


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A day of contrasts

sunday a day to relax and put my feet up…………..  Well that is most Sundays, but yesterday it was full, very full ! and very diverse experiences.

BRASSERIE ZEDEL–  a lavishly decorated 1930;s space, a former grand ballroom, marble adorns the walls and columns , gold leaf acanthus leaves. In fact the whole lower level area contained the American Bar, a dark , warm and inviting space, and the Crazy Coqs, a cabaret venue.    First though  it was two Mr Hyde Cocktails, served up in old style champagne glasses, it was rich with creme de Cacao and light with whisked egg white, quite something actually……..  looking around, the bar certainly looked good with its 30’s style lighting, mirrored shelves and the pretty boy bartender doing a mean dance with his cocktail shaker.   Then moving on walked across the hallway and into the lavishly decorated French Brasserie, a bit brightly lit for my liking, but its a grand space alright, full to the brim with chattering heads.  Looking at the menu I can see why, it’s so cheap !  Anyhow sitting there with my spanish friend extolling the virtues of the spanish language and not allowing me to get a word in  edgeways, my thoughts drifted off to earlier in the day……….. a place so totally different in every way.

when the train reached London, I took cab to the  WALLACE COLLECTION in Manchester Square,  where I met my wonderful family of friends and spent 4 hours sharing our experiences of life, especially as we near the Solstice and the amazing planetary alignments that are taking shape.  The food was a little disappointing, no actually a LOT disappointing and not how I remembered it at all the last time I visited.  However the space is wonderful, a glass roofed courtyard in the centre of the museum, flooded with light, its airy and spacious. and quite a contrast from the lavishly decorated furniture galleries that surround it.   Although full it was quiet, relaxed and good place to be with friends.  I recommend it, but perhaps afternoon tea maybe more appropriate and then a stroll around the galleries.  This museum is home to many a famous painting, the wonderfully whimsical Fragonard – The Swing. and even The Laughing Cavalier ! !!

although a lovely day connecting with friends, it was oh so good to get home …………………


zedel-bar-americainBrasserieZedel_04-580x386!wallace restaurant

Fragonard -  the swing




Feline jewel at the British Museum

Came across this ring on Pintarest, (housed in the British Museum)  what gem !  Beautifully carved red cornelian depicting a crouching cat within a gold setting.  An ancient egyptian piece dating back to around 1070-712 BCE.  Its the period known as the third intermediate age, that lasted around 350 years, starting at the death of Ramses XI.

The cat was revered in ancient egypt, the Goddess of cats Bastet, women especially gave offerings to, it was said that if you carried around an amulet of a cat with kittens, that eventually you would have as many children as would appear in your amulet.  As cats were sacred to Bastet, cats were mummified along with their owners, and people were put to death if they accidentally killed one !

This precious ring was acquired by the Bristish museum in 1947 on the death of Gayer Anderson, famous collector of egyptian artefacts,

Maj Robert Grenville Gayer-Anderson (military/naval; collector; British; Male; 1881 – 1945)

British army surgeon, administrator and collector, given the title of Pasha by King Farouk in 1942 after giving his home Beit el-Kiridliya to the people of Egypt.

On the underside of the cat there is a carved Wadjet eye or the Eye of Horus, used as a protective amulet, and initially offered to Osirus by Horus.  So powerful was its use that it restored him back to life !  these Wadjet eye amulets are found in vast quantities wrapped in the folds of the egyptian mummies.

Losing it?

Well, thats if you had it in the first place?  What did she lose, when did she lose it?   Seems to me she has actually found something or is beginning to find, her true self.    Ruby Wax, a lady who back in the day was an all singing all dancing, full on confrontational interviewer of the rich and famous.

I have just watched her performance at the Chocolate Factory (  She still portrays that full on human dynamo,  her quick wit to the fore as she charts the effects of a crippling depression that took ahold of her at the peak of her success.  She admits this “depression” has been with her all her life and openly talks about her troubled childhood and how as a teenager not ever fitting into the mould of the blond and beautiful, tall with long “swishy” hair, she decided the only way to compete with them was to be FAMOUS.  How her strong will propelled her into stardom, and once that first hit of success coursed through her veins, how she wanted more and more, and the only way to fend of any glimpses of insecurities she kept “busy, busy, busy”. Envy and Anger consumed her and controlled her,  seems she could never stop, she ran so hard she totally ignored the signs of the downfall that was building up.  Then snap, it happened and instead of running she sunk into a crippling “depression” where all she wanted to do was stay in bed with thoughts of wanting to end it all.    Since that first “drop” into the abyss she has had several stays at the PRIORY, lucky for her I thought; each time gaining more understanding and inisght into the real Ruby beneath the mask, the Ruby who is rumoured to have Bi Polar but who when asked said no, she talks about being mentally ill?  she also talks of medication and how she believes she will be taking this permanantly for the rest of her life…………………..  and this is depression?

Is it possible that Ruby is actually describing a “personality disorder” a disorder that will be with her for life and that her delving into Mindfullness and John Kabat Zinn is helping her to find her centre and remain grounded and that the depression is a sympton of the disorder?

Is the stigma she openly talks about so severe that she cant associate with with the dirty word PD?  I take my hat off to her for trying to raise the stigma of mental health sufferers who she says 1 in 4 now suffer from, but the sector of our mental health system here in the UK that gets the worst deal of all  is personality disorder, for some they dont even get diagnosis at all because of the outmoded beliefs of   “professionals” who holds the  person as untreatable,   or they are  purposely given the diagnosis of Bi polar or some other “more accceptable” term,  so they can be medicated and seen to be helped but of course being medicated just dulls the senses, disconnects the person from their true feelings.  Feelings that would allow them, with help and the correct support, to understand and find ways of coping with them.

Seen as waste of space and a drain on the mental health system and treated with total disdain, many commit suicide. its inhumane and a disgrace that the professioanls one turns to for help actually does not believe a word you are saying.

She describes the “walking dead” if ever there was a descripton of PD then this is it, to me you cannot talk about mental health without talking openly about the dirty word PD.  Funny really, she talks about how in the past you couldnt talk about being gay, then the C word, cancer could never be spoken.  Its the same for PD ,  this is the big elephant in the room that she is totally ignoring, come on Ruby get real !!!

Open your heart………..

Breathtaking scenery does it for me, it opens my heart and I feel uplifted.  This past week I have been to two places in the UK that has some of the most of expansive views.  The Malvern Hills in Worcestershire was the first stop, where the high street is lit by gas lamps would you believe.  The area is synonymous with Elgar the composer and his famous Enigma Variations ( see clip below), he walked the hills often, and you can imagine the views here must have been a real inspiration to him.  Also of course its famous for the water, its bottled and sold throughout the uk and beyond today, but the hills are alive  with natural springs and wells, Holywell being the most important and possibly the oldest  recorded in Malvern,  dating back to the 12th century.  No time to explore the waters on this visit,  a return is imminent.

Next came Matlock, county town of the Peak District and its spectacular views.  this too is famous for its water, and in Victorian society this was the place to come for a “cure”.  Driving through this amazing scenery makes me wonder why in the uk people jet off to far-flung places of the world to be herded along with hordes of other brits when there is such beauty in our own landscapes.  These areas truly “open my heart” but there is one breathtaking view I have always wanted to see for myself, and that is of our planet earth, suspended in the cosmos………….. One day.  For now I have to make do with video clips, found one that travels through really heart expanding territory and set to NIMROD from Elgar’s Enigma Variations.

Artwork by Fernando Vincente

Our green and pleasant land

Spent a glorious day walking in the sunshine along Beachy Head.  I dont understand when it comes to summer that people rush off to far flung lands when we have spectacular landsscapes  to enjoy like this,  It was warm,  the sea so calm, sitting on a bench looking out to sea, I could hear bees and crickets making their “summery sounds” , who could ask for anything more………….    Ended up with dinner at THE TIGER INN, click on this link for maps of walks

Mr Kapoor’s work – just in case you don’t get to go see the Anish Kapoor exhibition

I sauntered around Anish Kapoor’s exhibition last Sunday at the Royal Academy, London, rather amazed and wowed by the colour and scale of it all.  However as the days have gone  by, and  now its Friday, I cannot seem to get the “red” out of my mind especially the huge leviathan that glides so slowly that you don’t even realise its moving………  Its blood, its pain, anger, anguish, sorrow and oh so SILENT.  Is it the pain and suffering in the world that we choose not to notice as we go about sleepwalking in our daily life.  Or is the red congealed petroleum jelly / wax/ blood  train shaped like a giant loaf of bread really our “daily bread”  is this what we are being fed by the media onslaught……..  Oh gosh I could go on with some totally over the top metaphors that would be unprintable here, my creative mind gone wild

Anish Amour

Aren’t these magnificent……………….  Anish Kapoor exhibition at the Royal Academy was amazing, only had my iphone to sneak a few pics, they all turned out rubbish, guess its because cameras are not allowed!  I thoroughly recommend you go visit the show before it closes in December, it really is quite something.

Barbican – Michael Nyman + Motion Trio: Films to Write Music To

Michael Nyman websiteBarbican – Michael Nyman + Motion Trio: Films to Write Music To.

this man has been such an inspiration to me……….  I had never heard of him until I saw THE DRAUGHTSMAN CONTRACT my all time favourite films way back in the 80’s. Stunning visuals, captivating storyline, and haunting music.  Nyman and Greenaway together made magic.  His music has filled my mind so full of inspired thoughts through the years and has accompanied many of my creative endeavors. 

I cant wait to see him at the Barbican, the collaboration with Motion Trio sounds awesome. Click here for details

Paper surge

So much swirls in my head, sparks fly off here and there, and feel the need to express them somehow.  Saturday afternoon, after walking, coffee and seeing off Seanpaul on the train, I really felt the urge to try and express something that really resonates with me, but in a new form, paper cutting.  I first came across this in China , when I visited many years ago, that’s another story for another day ( travels on Trans siberian railway, setting of from Moscow the day after Chenobyl disaster in April/May 1986 !)  Anyway, papercutting has always intrigued me, so I thought I would try my own version, a cross between, paper scultpture, cutting and silhouettes.  Very happy with my first attempt, although I can see there is much room for improvement!!