Tuesday, 22 July 2014


MEDICI GALLERY until Aug 31st
Summer Show

Waterloo Shadows by Anna Simmons
Once upon a time artists chose to paint the cool, dreamy, ornate interiors of cathedrals; now we are more likely to be confronted with different stark architectural spaces, in this case a railway station and a museum. 

More than 90 million passengers pass  through Waterloo Station each year. They travel up and down on any of its 23 escalators. Outside is the busiest bus station in the country. Inside disembodied voices and flashing electronic notices shepherd crowds round to where we ought to be. Not exactly a place for a spot of quiet conversation or contemplation? But Anna Simmons'  diminutive figures in shadowy groups are preoccupied with matters canvas cannot reach.
Pinakothec Munich by Anna Simmons

She selects vast buildings which speak of change,  fragmentation and 'otherness'. Light is a sparkling metaphor infiltrating their dark interiors, illuminating geometric patterns. Her work is life-affirming. It is said it speaks of  'some gently persistent inner self that will not be quelled...one is always looking for it, unaware that it has been present all along'.

If you like railway stations, here are three suggestions: Audio Obscura, Blog 115, is a sound work which occupied the middle of the concourse of St Pancras. Artist, poet and novelist Lavinia Greenlaw devised 'dark listening', an aural version of the camera obscura. Special ear phones were on offer which overheard tiny snatches of conversation and a glimpse into other worlds. Then there is a conceptual work: David Batchelor's  I Love Kings Cross and King's Cross Loves Me (Blog 105), Thirdly, Alex Cave's  Kings Cross , Blog 67, is energising, optimistic and innovative. Some of his work is also  currently on show at the Medici Gallery. And while I was writing his blog it was reliably reported in the  newspapers that a tame ferret alighted on a Scottish platform having caught the train at Kings Cross. 
No wonder paintings of railway stations remind us of life's possibilities.







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