Monday, 23 June 2014

My European Tour

I recently got back from a trip away, where I visited Stockholm, Amsterdam, and Barcelona. It was particularly nice to go to Barcelona as it was the only place on the list that I hadn't been to previously. A lot of people told me beforehand that I'd love Barcelona because of the art and architecture, and they were absolutely right.
Whilst I was in Stockholm I visited Moderna Museet, the modern art gallery, and it was brilliant. When I go abroad I really enjoy being able to see work by artists from overseas who may not have actually reached England - this is something I really loved about visiting galleries in Finland. This was definitely the case at Moderna Museet. The show at the time was by a Swedish artist, Nils Dardel, who I understand is very well-known within Sweden, but was not someone I had heard of before. I found it really interesting, as the artist had worked in a range of styles throughout his career, but with consistent themes, and it was interesting to see how the style had changed and developed over time.
Added to that, the permanent collection was very impressive, with work by some very famous names. It took quite a while to get through the entire gallery but it was very worthwhile and I would definitely visit again. The museum is set in a lovely park area by the water, and outside the gallery there were some sculptures that were also really exciting. The area was very green, so the colours of the work outside cut straight through the environment and really stood out.

I didn't have a chance to see any exhibitions in Amsterdam, but when I got to Barcelona I was particularly excited to visit Fundacio Antoni Tapies. Antoni Tapies is one of my favourite artists, and was a significant influence for me when I worked more with collage. His work still inspires me to be bold and expressive within my work, and this feeling was renewed when I visited. Unfortunately I actually found the gallery quite disappointing, as I had expected it to be bigger and to contain more work. Perhaps part of it was shut whilst I was there, but there was only one room of Tapies' work, and another with a temporary exhibition by another artist. I enjoyed what I saw but felt quite let down by how little there was of it. I understand that the pieces by Tapies are shown on rotation, which leads me to think that it literally is just the one room. I would probably visit again to be sure, but the whole thing took about 20 minutes to get around and was a bit underwhelming.
I obviously saw a lot of Gaudi's architecture in Barcelona, and I loved how vibrant and colourful it made the place seem. I'm really keen to visit Barcelona again in the future as I really enjoyed myself and would like to see more.
Whilst I was away I took a sketchbook to document my adventure, and this has become an ongoing piece of work now that I'm back home. I always have a sketchbook with me, and working in sketchbooks is something I really enjoy doing. As I have a large number of sketchbooks, some for my own practice and notes, some more like this to document particular experiences, I'm considering exhibiting these in July. This isn't something I've done before but they do represent a significant aspect of my practice, and it presents an alternative to pieces hung on the wall that the viewer can't touch or directly interact with. Now that I'm home and settled I need to get back to the felt pieces I was working on prior to going away, as these could be an additional element to an exhibition. My holiday was absolutely amazing, and I'm glad that the actual experience has given me something to work with at home.