Our day in London on Friday was all about books, writers, images, artists and muses. We basically went on a bit of a cultural binge. As you do.
We started off with MURDER IN THE LIBRARY, THE A TO Z OF CRIME FICTION at The British Library. I drooled over the wonderful vintage tomes on display - ah, to possess a few of those! - and was pleased to see some of my favourites being part of the display: Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie... It is a small but perfectly formed exhibition and you have until May 12th to see it!
Then we walked all the way to THE PIPER GALLERY in Fitzrovia - a part of town I have always neglected, somehow. There seems to be quite a lot of interesting little streets and corners and we will go back and explore in the Spring. The gallery is a sleek, brand new space with a strategically placed glass roof which allows in plenty of natural light. My decision to visit the gallery was taken on the spur of the moment (see my previous blog about it) and I am glad to say that I didn't get chucked out or sneered at when I explained the aim of my visit: to leave a copy of my book I Am a Muse for Megan Piper, the gallery owner. The gallery assistants took the book. Result! I would be genuinely interested in knowing what an art specialist thinks about my little novel. Of course, I might never hear from them and that is fair enough, but I think that sometimes you have to be slightly daring and not think about the consequences of your actions too much.
Anyhow, I have discovered a new art gallery that is doing things slightly differently, and I am interested in knowing what they do next. The show that is on at the moment is Neil Stokoe: All Things Must Pass.
Then it was off to the National Portrait Gallery where we managed to catch FRED DANIELS, CINEMA PORTRAITS - he worked extensively with filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger on the sets of their movies.
MARILYN MONROE: A BRITISH LOVE AFFAIR is a delightful homage to the star made of photographs, magazine covers and lobby cards. Some cover her four-months stay ion Britain for the shooting of "The Prince and the Showgirl". I have always been intrigued by the human being behind the legend - I had posters of Marilyn on my wall from the age of 10! - and this exhibition was a real treat.
MAN RAY: PORTRAITS is a fascinating exhibition.
Together with Cecil Beaton, Man Ray has always been one of my favourite photographers. He did not only take photos, he experimented.
He was part of the Dada and Surrealist movements, and was always mixing with writers, architects, composers, artists and other intellectuals especially during his time in New York and Paris.
Of course, he took pictures of his numerous and illustrious friends - Duchamp, Hemingway, Stein, Cocteau, Dali, among others - but it is the images of his muses that have always striked me as positively magical.
His images of the unusual Kiki de Montparnasse - the main muse of 1920s Paris - and the formidable and stunning Lee Miller - who would go on to have an important career as a photographer herself - are unforgettable.
Another muse, Ady Fidelin, would share his life for a while before he met Juliet Browner, the muse and companion of the last thirty-six years of his life.
I have always been wondering about muses.
Each time I go to an exhibition, my mind wanders beyond the images and I start imagining what the relationship between the artist and his muse could be like. And I wonder: What is their bond and how deep is it? What are the mechanics of such a relationship and what does each individual gain from it? How corrupted and alienating is it? This is what made me write I Am a Muse.
I have found a lovely article about muses, entitled SEVEN MUSES OF PARIS. Go and have a read. And the pictures are wonderful, too!
I think therefore I write.
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