Stour Space

We ended up eating breakfast in the Stour Space on Fish Island just south of Hackney Wick.   In 1865, the area was bought by the Gas Light and Coke Company to establish a gasworks, but instead it became an area of warehouses and light industry, its roads named after freshwater fish and its major employer a peanut company.  Stour Space consists of artists’ studios and a café on the River Lea, where one can watch people sculling:-

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Freud Museum

I don’t know why I have never previously been to the Freud Museum, so laden with objects and so heavily redolent of his era and personality, where those who became his case studies, like the Wolf Man, came to be psychoanalysed.   It replicates his apartment in Berggasse, filled with the same books and the display cases stuffed with artefacts of his collecting:-

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Camden Arts Centre

We were encouraged to go to the exhibition Making and Unmaking, which consists of a grand miscellany of objects – paintings, photographs, a film, fabrics, textiles – assembled and arranged by Duro Olowu upstairs at the Camden Arts Centre (last day Sunday).   The exhibition is said to address ‘issues surrounding cultural identity, sexuality and the representation of the body’, but does so in an admirably undogmatic way, including textiles and jewellery by Anni Albers, a series of strange, surreal, self-portrait photographs by Claude Cahun (1928), tapestries by Brent Wadden, and Vues de dos by Malick Sidibé.

This is the only piece I could photograph by Anya Gallacio in the garden:-

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Surrey Quays

I had a meeting this morning in Surrey Quays, looking for temporary accommodation for the RA Schools in 2018/19.   We started at the top of a tower block by Canada Water to survey the scene.   Unfortunately, the weather was wet, so it wasn’t as impressive as it would otherwise have been.   It still gave a good view of the city from Wapping Pierhead west:-

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Soho

Because it was hot – actually, it was a mistake – I thought I would walk from our offices in Blackfriars to Piccadilly.   In general, I am immune to the complaints of those who worry about the transformation of Soho, regarding it merely as part of a long-term process of urban change.   But even I felt a faint twinge of regret as I passed what used to be Raymond’s Revue Bar which is in the process of being dismantled and made into something which will no doubt be smarter and more anodyne:-

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Royal Drawing School

I went this evening to an event at the Royal Drawing School which was an opening of an exhibition of the work of students aged 10 to 18 who had in some way participated in their drawing classes, mostly on Saturday mornings in classes and clubs out of school, some in the National Gallery and some in Pembroke House south of the Elephant.   I found it fascinating to see the range of styles, some carefully considered, landscapes and mostly incompetent portraits, but all of them doing whatever they want to do, without formulae or tropes.   Most of all, I was struck by what a lively form of private expression drawing remains whether or not they go on (most of them won’t) to art school.

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Highgate Cemetery

I went to an event in Highgate Cemetery organised by the Architecture Foundation.   Sam Jacob, late of FAT, has erected a structure which replicates the mausoleum designed but never built by Adolf Loos in 1921 in memory of the art historian, Max Dvorák, following Loos’s belief that ‘only a very small part of architecture belongs to the realm of art: the tomb and the monument’.   It has a ghostly orange presence:-

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John Gibson RA

Staying late last night gave me a chance to see the John Gibson exhibition properly.   Although, as readers have pointed out, his work can be seen around the country and we ourselves have done a leaflet for a Gibson Trail, including the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and the V&A, I wasn’t as familiar with his work as I feel I should have been.

This is Gibson himself as depicted by Edwin Landseer:-

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Burlington Gardens

I just had my photograph taken for the annual report in the space which will be occupied by the Lecture Theatre.   The steelwork has now gone in.   It’s looking good:-

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