‘Scale is one of the tools at the artists’ disposal’ Lord Anish Kapoor
A recent photograph of one of the seven sections of my glass bridge of the anyone poem crossing the stream at Healey Hall, Riding Mill, Northumberland. Grid Ref 583000. It was built in 1999. Taken from underneath, from the stream as it were, the text is of course reversed, but walking across holding the thin handrail, you encounter the panels in sequence like the pages of the book. I guess these are three children paused on the centre panel, watching the rushing water.
Not far away, Grid Reference 585001, and easy if you can read a map, is the first of my Aeolean Neons. It is run by solar panel and wind-power , stored in a battery and let out consistently to the blue neon, installed in this small stone building in the middle of open country. The text is John Clare’s I found the poems in the field and only wrote them down gently glowing at dusk over the open field. Built in 2004, the battery has just been replaced after eight years, but during that time, the neon has been working of its own accord, with no switch to be turned on. It is remarkable to to think it is working there while I sit here in Ireland, or elsewhere !
A fulsome Chicken of the Woods fungus hacked off an oak tree by Tessa and John Falvey in early June of 2011 lasted us for three or four days. We ate it as a sauté with eggs for breakfast, as strips to make a lasagne of sorts, and even grated it dry into a robust soup.There is a book to be written which might be entitled How Not to be A Vegetarian, about eating such things, for all their satisfaction and completeness, with no reference to ersatz cookery, or the ubiquitous quiche.
The amazing folly or ferme ornée known as the Swiss Cottage by John Nash is just down the River Suir from here. Here the eminent Butler family would play at being peasants in the manner of Marie Antoinette, almost in sight of their big house in Cahir, County Tipperary. The Office of Public Works completely revamped the building with great care and precision over the last twenty years, after the local farmer who owned it had used it for cattle and tying up a horse in the nineteen eighties
Who could not be nostalgic for the innocence of Gilbert and George, the postcard sculptures, the mail-art pieces, the disheveled photo-works about drink like a cracked mirror? But did they begin to believe in their own gothic mythology too much, until they became merely late Victorian stand-ups? A couple of quotes from a recent interview may show how remote they may have become:
Sex is just sex.When you ask for a steak in a restaurant you don’t ask whether it’s a boy or a girl.
If you have a landscape painting in a museum, people glide past it, but if there was a little policeman on the horizon and a tramp in the foreground masturbating, then it becomes an amazingly interesting picture. !