Death and abandonments… Phew!…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s pelican is the one with the smallish beak.

Yesterday I thought that I could do to see a bit of art. Unfortunately the pretty good local gallery, the Ferens, is closed for eighteen months for some kind of renovation, so I decided on a trip on the train to Leeds (about fifty miles way); I knew that their City Art Gallery has also shut down for a year to have a new roof fitted (the rain was apparently getting in), but there is always the Henry Moore Institute to have a look in next door.
I found that the current show on there is Katrina Palmer’s The Necropolitan Line, 10 December 2015 – 21 February 2016. I thought I’d better give it a look.
Now, I must say at this point, and before I go any further, that over many years I have seen some pretty dull shows at the HMI – in fact I can only recall two or three which actually engaged me and didn’t make me go way feeling miserable and empty – The Necropolitan Line wasn’t one of those.
Unfortunately I made my usual mistake of not reading the explanation of the show in the leaflet before actually seeing it; in my naivety I thought that the art might explain itself – isn’t that what art is supposed to do? How very foolish of me…
Anyway, in my state of ignorance, this is what I saw:
It occupied three rooms. The first one was large and white-painted, and dimly lit; there were three or four medium-sized self-illuminated black and white photos of some old-style railway signals (I don’t think Katrina took these pictures). The second room featured a sort of ‘stage set’ depicting a raised railway station platform, with a couple of benches on it. There was a man sitting on one of the benches, but I don’t think he was part of the show – I avoided eye contact with him, just in case. The platform was fairly realistic, it would have been fine for some amateur theatre company production in a church hall. The third room was small and dark, and featured a stack of bundles of copies of a single edition of a newspaper, and also, to the right, the large open door of the gallery’s freight lift.
There were some recorded voices playing through the gallery’s speakers too, but I’m afraid that I can’t recall what they were saying. I didn’t stay long, but I did pick up a leaflet before I left (loping and banging down the HMI’s famous badly designed staircase) I thought that I’d go and read it in a cafe over a tea and bun.

DSCN4256To be fair, I think I should give you a few extracts from Katrina’s leaflet, so we can get a better idea of what she, and the show, is all about:

Katrina Palmer (b 1967) is a sculptor who works with words. Using sculpture and sound and the printed page, she tells stories about objects and absences…

The Necropolitan Line, made especially for the Henry Moore Institute, addresses the enduring sculptural concerns of memorial, objects, material and human encounters…

Palmer’s work is a sculpture of emotion and absences. The Necropolitan Line… consists of a fractured narrative of loss, abandonment and discontinuity.

Those copies of the newspaper in the third room, titled The Line, reprints Charles Dickens’ story The Signalman; and also:
A collection of articles by Palmer form a narrative journey that takes Cross Bones Graveyard, which closed in 1853, and the London Necropolis Railway, that opened a year later, as its points of departure. In each text, fantastic and shadowy figures emerge. A clandestine human coupling and decoupling service is recounted; a diminutive signalman accused of multiple deceptions is lost; and a platform announcer is exposed as a disembodied automaton that insists there is consciousness behind her communications.

In the galleries, fragments of these articles by Palmer are broadcast through the public address system, with speakers located on the platform, in the goods lift and in the waiting rooms. Read by the artist, they come together to form a collection of goodbyes and abandonments told through stories of death and the dispersal of matter.

Damn! If only I’d known all this before going in!…

PS: In the other gallery, over the badly designed scary footbridge, there was a show of Christine Kozlov’s conceptual art – but it was all too anodyne and dry for me to even think about describing for you…

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
This entry was posted in art, brain, cafe, Dulltown, Hull.UK., humour, information, observations, photography, sculpture, seeing, surrealism, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Death and abandonments… Phew!…

  1. Glad I’m not an artist with you reviewing my work. But still, a negative review always makes for a good read, if not for the artist.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s