Went along last night for a private view of Russian Contemporary at the Collyer Bristow Gallery. Simon Kojin's The Church of Christ the Saviour, Moscow which featured on the front of the invitation - an impressionistic oil on board rendition of shimmering gilded onion domes turned out be rather small and set within a truly hideous wooden frame. I remember the same sense of disappointment on arriving at the Thomas Jones in Italy exhibition in 2003. "er...that's it?"
There wasn't much to get particularly acquisitive about. There was an interesting almost full body portrait of an oddly-disengaged young woman in a plain red dress - Katya Gridnev's Natalia, captured with the kind of inward eyes that wouldn't follow you around a room. (This painting by the same artist that I found online is of a different girl, but the dress and the introspection are similar.)
There were three other Russian girls that caught the eye, still possibly teenagers and brazenly kitted out in shiny black cocktail dresses and fishnet stockings with a low nylon to skin ratio. They circulated buoyantly amongst the pinstripes making a lot of eye contact. Stringy little capillaries glistened on the crimson cheeks of the leery old soaks whose eyes were certainly following this little trio around the room.
Evie pointed out a little old lady wearing a claret mac and headscarf - "She's at every private view in London, she just goes around from one gallery to the next", an amusing example of the sort of observation that rebounds straight back onto the person with the outstretched finger.
Afterwards we went for a drink at the Cittie of Yorke a nice old pub let down by its colourless, mainly male clientele. We sat in one of the wooden booths that Evie called a "confessional" and so it was in a way. Life's a bit like an 800m race I slurred - the moment you hear the bell is most often the moment the midlife crisis springs. How you position yourself in the straight leading up to the bell will determine how well you handle that crucial moment of transition. Middle Youth, it's certianly an important phase. You can't run the second lap the same way you ran the first - attempts to do so tend to result in abject failure and the loser's journey to the line is far from pleasurable. My parents and their affluent friends have provided me with numerous examples of ill-considered strategies for the last lap.
One of the more disconcerting things about middle to late youth is the void. You meet up with an old friend, look them in the eyes, listen to their prattle about how they plan to get themselves all sorted, and you realise that they already have a little void bulking up inside them like an intestinal parasite. In some cases you will have a chance to observe them feeding their void, filling it up with stuff that just makes it grow ever bigger until the person you used to know has become a big slack-skinned sack of emptiness. These days I'm less inclined to stick around and watch this process unfold. It might be just a little void right now (as opposed to a gaping one) , but you know there's no real hope for them or for the relationship. Best to clear out now and leave them to carry on scrounging around the city streets for void-food. ( "We are hungry. Meaning is the prey" chugs the Hughtrain. "This is the real shit. The shit that matters." Still shit though.)
Coincidentally V also went to an exhibition opening last night too at the 'Panzón Verde' in Antigua. Their artist of the month is Erwin Guillermo - "actually one of the best representatives of Guatemalan art" according to artintheamericas.com.
Actually, the art on that page is representative of the very worst of the stuff he churns out - strictly for the Isabelle Allende readers. His darker more "retrograde thoughts" are shown off to better effect in these works.
When I got home I watched a few scenes from Lost in Translation, a film I am trying to come to like by approaching it as less than the sum of its parts. One of the most striking aspects of the movie is the way it sounds. When it comes to the home cinema experience sound seems to matter more than screensize.