A Tale of two “Turners”

Graham Thew November 2, 2022

I visited the Tate Liverpool gallery this week to have a look at the Turner exhibition entitled “Dark Waters” It is a collection of many of his famous Sea Paintings with a soundtrack devised by Lamin Fofana setting the mood. What I found especially interesting though was the collection of his sketchbooks. Somehow that brought home to me that here was a chap who lived for his art. His sketches being such an insight into what he found interesting and how they moulded his choice of subjects for the grand pictures. So inspiring! The sound track unfortunately relied on African heritage sea shanties and whilst I was there “the Rivers of Babylon” just made me think of Boney M so rather destroyed some of the mood of the moment!

I then wondered down to view the Shortlisted Artists for the Turner Prize (the premier contemporary art award in the U.K.). Just a note at this point to say one of the reasons I returned to University when in my 50s was in order to spend time trying to get to grips with contemporary art. I enjoy the challenge of understanding modern art and the intentions behind much of the work. However….. the Turner Prize short-listed art work just left me totally bemused, the one over riding question in my head being “How DO they get away with this???” It really was the“Emperor’s new clothes” All the socio-political issues of the day trying to justify ¬†well… very mediocre installations. I attach the write up that deigns to explain one of the artist’s work which is a triumph of “Arty-Speak” saying absolutely nothing, trying to explain a collection of well… anything you and I might find in the garage or attic. I actually laughed when I read that the recurring motifs “recall childhood memories as well as histories of global trade”!!!

But I did enjoy the Turner Sketches…..

from the exhibition Dark Waters

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