Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Place Identity Memory

This is the title of the exhibition I visited today in Stranraer. In order to get there I had to travel the width of Scotland to the West Coast. Stranraer is where the ferries leave for Ireland. The drive was only about 110 miles each way but this route would be excellent if you were training to be a rally driver. A lot of hairpin bends and very up and down. So the drive took about 2.5 hours each way but I have to say I don't regret a single minute of it. Despite the dismal weather or maybe because of it, this drive proved to be very memorable. It would be a spendid one in any season but in my belief it could not be bettered doing it at the height of the autumn colour parade.

It's also a very quiet route (perhaps because of the above mentioned bends!) and there was one period of about an hour and a half where I did not meet a single other car or indeed saw any signs of human habitation apart from the actual road. The rain, the low hanging clouds, the mist, it all contributed to a once in a lifetime experience but did not make for great pictures. I've added a few to this post but really they don't do Scotland justice! The road signs are also unusual on this route, warning as they do of cows as well as sheep. Fortunately I was saved the encounter with a cow but I did meet several kamikaze sheep, right in the middle of the road!

The fact that this drive will live on in my memory for ever was very appropriate to the theme of the exhibition. It was in Stranraer Museum (still on till the 31st October) and featured altered books and books as art. Or to quote the beautiful catalogue (a work of art in its own right, see picture) this exhibition is about artist's books: "an artist's book is a book that has been conceived and made as a work of art". The altered books in the exhibition were my favourites but in fact all the books were amazing. I was also struck by how many of the artists were migrants. Perhaps because I am one myself I tend to notice this and I think it might also be an influence on the art in question. Perhaps we notice our environment just that little bit more than the people who were born and bred, and stayed living in the same place. We always keep that sense of still being "a stranger in a strange place" and pay attention to where we find ourselves. And that in turn gets absorbed into our art!

1 comment:

Lenna Andrews said...

these photos are amazing frieda. thank you for all that you share with us! lenna


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