Wednesday, 17 September 2014

On the Edge

Today Lenna and I made our way to Traquair House, the oldest inhabited house in Scotland, and after 900 years still in the hands of the same family. We made our way through the rooms and admired the intimate and lived-in atmosphere. We loved watching the hunting dogs recently found painted on one of the walls where they have been since the middle of the 16th century.

We had a lovely lunch outside and then made our way to the back of the house where there are two identical pavilions. In one of them was the artwork The Debatable Land by Peter Sacks. A mixed media work featuring many vintage fabrics and papers, some with text from an old typewriter added by the artist, this art is imbued with the history of Scotland and the relationship with its neighbour. Specially commissioned it is hugely topical right now as we will be voting tomorrow whether or not we remain a United Kingdom or whether there will be a split as seen below in the Act of Union.

Quite apart from such connotations the art itself rewarded the careful observer (and both Lenna and I were such) with many delightful, historical and political details. The artist had clearly given all the elements careful consideration, both from a historical and compositional point of view. . Here are some more pictures.
Recognize the clear divide by these two? On the right the British Prime Minister David Cameron and on the left Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond.
We spend a long time observing the triptych in detail and then moved to the other pavilion and watched hugely interesting videos where the artist talked about his work, how the layers came together, which details came from Traquair House itself and the techniques he used. We lapped it all up!
The art will be on display at Traquair till the 5th October, and if you are even halfway close I urge you to go. Whatever the outcome tomorrow this is the iconic image for the occasion. I'm finding it hard to put into words what an impact it made on me. And Lenna too, I think.

For some light relief we made our way into Traquair's maze and then had quite a bit of trouble to make our way out again.
But I was still mentally engaged with the art and the referendum, and even seeing this pygmee goat finely balanced brought the momentous decision of tomorrow back to mind. Are we all hovering over the abyss?

Serious stuff, but nevertheless Lenna and I had a fantastic day together that we both enjoyed. Havingher there, and knowing she was as engaged by the art and interested in the techniques as I was meant that the enjoyment was doubled!
We even managed to fit in a visit to Innerleithen graveyard to put everything into perspective.

1 comment:

Linda Kunsman said...

Hi Lenna and Frieda (waving across the pond)! That is one amazing building and I can only imagine seeing it in person-same with that huge collage art work! I hope the vote turns out to be the best for Scotland.


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