…and if you don't want to look at your recipe books or whats app memes or frustrating zoom conferences, art can be a welcome diversion. The images coming through of exhausted doctors and nurses affect me more than all the Sky news updates and government figures. And it made me understand the straight to the core power of a photograph.
To escape the tedium of my own particular four walls and because I miss the daily inspiration of the current Karl Blossfeldt exhibition upstairs at Connolly, I asked Michael Hoppen, the gallerist and curator of the show, to discuss the power of art and photographic images and how their narrative allows us to travel, albeit it virtually, to Paris to Los Angeles to unseen worlds and continents.
“Art is the highest form of hope.” – Gerhard Richter
Hand made C-type print
Paper Size: 90 x 63.5 cm
Edition of 10
© Yoshihiko Ueda, courtesy of Michael Hoppen Gallery
"Self-isolation is a new experience to me. Being alone over the days and now weeks that have passed, has been difficult to say the least. Like many people, I miss human contact, especially with my children, and the general cut and thrust of business and the busy and fulfilling days at the gallery made life varied, interesting and often very exciting. But the pace of life and the demands on one’s time had possibly become too fast and I have, since isolating, begun to realize that having such busy days and a peripatetic lifestyle (Terminal 5 was my second home) was something I could maybe do with less of. I am sure many of us have recently had similar emotions as time drifts on.
So, leading this new forced solitary life for the past four weeks has taught me some things, and I am convinced and also determined that some good needs to come from this! Art has not left me alone and has become my desert-island treat. Music and pictures have remained loyal and reliable and constant companions during lock-down; they have not deserted me. In fact, the complete opposite. They have, with all this new time, augmented my deep and soulful appreciation and understanding of what is beauty and what is good.
What feeds my spirit, and what nurtures my self at a time when it needs constant feeding and attention, has been beautiful pictures which can hold my gaze and an emotional connection. A long-forgotten piece of music has a similar effect (The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys by Traffic was last nights re-discovery and played softly can do great things for my wellbeing and bring back such wonderful memories. So lots of slow time has become a conduit to amplifying my enjoyment."
"I am revisiting pictures that I thought I knew well, by Jacques Henri Lartigue, Karl Blossfeldt, William Klein, Eikho Hosoe, Peter Beard and others.
Paintings I have seen many times and thought I knew well, from Rousseau to Kandisky and Francis Bacon, now re-present themselves as new pictures, revealing layers that were always there but that I had not ‘seen’.
My regret is not being able to go to a museum and look at wonderful works in the flesh. No amount of digital information can replace standing in front of or holding art in one’s hands or seeing hands play across a keyboard at a concert. I am sure that we will be to have these haptic experiences again one day – I am really sure of that, but how lucky in the meantime, to be able to find this vital succor within pictures and music."