Apparently wedding planning, having a wedding and going to honeymoon made me abandon my blog for a good while, but let's not dwell on it. I'll tell you more about everything later, but first things first: Joseph Cornell's fabulous Wanderlust exhibition at London's Royal Academy of Arts is coming to an end on Sunday. If you're in the neighbourhood or even in the UK, you must go! This exhibition was obviously the highlight of our honeymoon to me, and I do believe V was pretty impressed, too (and he's quite picky).
It may come as a surprise, but I wasn't terribly familiar with Cornell's work before this exhibition. I've had people mention Cornell numerous times when they've seen my matchboxes and mixed media work, and I've naturally googled his work a few times and run into it on Pinterest, but I haven't really studied it - maybe I've feared finding too much common ground and feeling like an unoriginal idiot who simply repeats things done a million times better over half a century ago. That's pretty much how I roll; I avoid reading poems, too, worrying about being too easily influenced by the work of others. And of course, there are so very many similarities between my work and Cornell's, but, honestly, there are few mixed media artists creating boxes who can say there's no connection between their work and Cornell's. Going through the exhibition I kept realising, more and more, that the connection is not on a material level, after all, but on the intellectual level. We share a way of thinking, of seeing the world around us, of finding that world in our tattered old hoards of raw material, as well as the need to tell stories (and the key element of all good stories is often familiarity/timelessness), and it's only natural mixed media artists end up playing together in the same neighbourhood. Let me tell you, there were some freakish moments of recognition there.
My absolute favourite piece at Wanderlust was this Untitled (Compartmented Box), 1954-1956, which is on loan from Moderna Museet. (Sadly, photography wasn't allowed in the exhibition (but the Royal Academy building was pretty and waiting for me to snap a few shots), so I just added a link here and suggest you open Google and get to know more about Cornell, who was quite the character, as soon as you're done with this post.) The photo on Moderna Museet's site does not do the artwork any justice - it was vertiginous in real life. There's a sheet of blue glass on top of the compartmented box and it gives everything a magical tinge, and looking at the box was like staring into an abyss - I mean it in the best way possible. There simply was a sense of depth that's impossible to describe any better. Naturally I'm a big fan of repeated elements (ooh, I should write about Agnes Martin's exhibition, too), and twenty-five is a good number of repeats. This was the one piece I kept coming back to in an exhibition full of fascinating collages and assemblages. Cobalt blue was actually a repeating element I gravitated towards during this visit to London - there were fabulous cobalt gowns on Pre-Raphaelite ladies at Tate Britain, and I'm sure there was something else cobalt, too...
We left Royal Academy in a strangest state of mind that was a combination of excitement, dizziness and confusion, but we had a stack of postcards, a Wanderlust paperback and a copy of Dime-Store Alchemy to help us come to terms with wishing to go back to the exhibition the moment we stepped out.
I have yet to read the books, since there's been other books needing to be read after returning home as well as a big joint poetry project with V (deadline today! luckily we finished on time without major stress) that took a massive chunk of both my September and my stamina for literature. I'm hoping to share something about that project with you later this autumn, even though it's strictly in Finnish and Finnish readers are a huge minority here on my blog. There's actually so much to write about I don't know where to start. Time management issues make themselves known, painfully. Anyway, there are new books - finished, in the works as well as planned. I just got some reindeer leather again, so leather-spined Coptic books are definitely on their way. I have some wedding stories, some bookish wedding stories and some London stories for you too. Here's to hoping I get to tell at least 50% of the things I've been meaning to tell you <3