Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Van Gogh to Kandinsky exhibition Edinburgh

I could not contemplate another day in the studio with rain lashing down outside so decided to take myself elsewhere and in this case off on the bus to Edinburgh to see the Van Gogh to Kandinsky Exhibition at the National Galleries of Scotland on The Mount. The first thing that caught my eye were the banners outside which were very eyecatching and reminded me (this for the readers of this blog who are quilters) of some of Caryl Bryer Fallert's work. 
 Looking at them one way you could see the painting The Sower by Vincent van Gogh
while viewing from the other direction reveals the work Lake Keitele by the Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela. This is also on show on the cover of the catalogue that accompanies the exhibition. The banner  encompassed very well my experiences in the exhibition. There was work by some famous artists some of which I had previously seen years ago in Amsterdam, but the show also introduced me to work by mainly Scandinavian artists that were new to me and well worth getting to know better. The exhibition was previously on display in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam where it was called Dreams of Nature which I think covers the contents of the show better than the Van Gogh to Kandinsky name although that perhaps will draw in the crowds better. It will be shown here in Edinburgh till the 14th October and then travel to Helsinki later in the year. Helsinki (where I've sadly never been yet) seems to me a very appropriate place to see it as the exhibition is full of that special type of melancholy which Scandinavians do better than anyone else.

I am always busily scribbling in my diary/notebook when visiting exhibitions, penning down random thoughts that enter my head and here is the complete list for today which I think gives you a good idea of what the exhibition was all about:

arcadia, sombre, escape, earthly paradise, solitude, melancholy, mystical, mysterious, darkness, nocturne, evening, atmospheric, symbolism, ominous, death, dreamlike, spiritual, avoid of human influence, mantle of mist, timeless beauty, picturesque, desolation, mourning, moonlight, deserted, dramatic, haunting, abandonment, weltschmerz, twilight, memories, shadows, loneliness, nightmare, infinity, visions, enigmatic, macabre, adagio, eternal happiness, metamorphose, silence, distance, spiritual, resignation, repression, turmoil, oppressive, dramatic, emotion, insignificance of men, enigmatic

In most of the rooms there were stands with iPad like arrangements where you could put on some headphones and listen to music to accompany the paintings by Rachmaninov, Debussy and Sibelius among others, which for me enhanced the experience of looking at the works. It helped that it was not too busy. Enough people to create a sociable environment but not so many that you couldn't spend time looking at each painting in depth.

Despite the above words I came away from the exhibition feeling happier but in a nostalgic sort of way if that makes any sense. And also inspired by all the above words.

I'll finally leave you with this quotation by Kandinsky that was written on one of the information boards in the exhibition (very informative!) which reads: "Colour is my keyboard....The artist is the hand which plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul"

1 comment:

Maggi said...

I love that you jot down notes as you walk through, it seems like they would make a great inspirational jumping off point for new projects! :) I love that they have music you can listen to as well!


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