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Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think.

A golden day for sure, joining Elvis Diary and another chum (aka the Panda)  at the V&A for a bimble. There we discussed many things,including make-up costs for my wedding. 'They'll make you look like Widow Twanky,' advised the Panda. 'Or some orange-faced girl!' ED added. They may be right. A man remonstrated with the Panda for  touching one of the pieces. She barked 'What did you say?' And followed him towards the exit. He scampered off, she deemed him to be psychotic, then  carried on with a vaguely badgered expression, only to be soothed by the V&A's finest costumery and snackage in the sumptuous cafe .I've wanted to take tea there since I first saw it in the Stranglers Golden Brown video, but somehow always managed to miss it.

Then we went on to the Serpentine Galleries, to see the work of Hilma Af Klimt.

'I have to warn you,' mentioned  Elvis Diary,  'She's not actually that good...' Panda and I stared at each other. So why were we leaving the tiled magnificence of the V&A cafe?   '...But she was painting abstracts before modernism became a thing. She insisted that her works would not be shown til 20 years after her death and that she would be remembered as a pioneer.'

Hilma was good enough as a conventional artist to make a living from it. She was supposedly a member of the Golden Dawn,and joined a group of female artists known as 'The Five,' who worked with automatic writing and seances to access information,perhaps from spiritual sources, perhaps from some sense of the universal unconscious or whatever; in any case, an age embarrassed by mysticism and  looking to be rescued by the rational might well have problems with her methods. Drugs would be have been a more credible source than spirits. The modern observer might shrug, but her helixes and spirals, her sense of seeds and polarity and curving opposites were part of what was then a necessary search for new ways of expression. Out of the One comes diversity and polarity, and this, at least one of her paintings may suggest, is a rending, not cruel but still painful. Without the Fall, nothing changes or really happens. But if we accept all this diversity comes from a sundering, then where is the merit in the  idea of getting back to the One? It makes transcendence a redundant idea.  Where the One is the story must end, and the One will keep rending,because story is important.  Or is it? Why?

I am not sure about this  as a focusing idea, even if it it is indeed what she was trying to say. But the power of art is in what it provokes as well as evokes.   I could try to understand and appreciate her struggle to express what she felt.

And then we went to Balans in Kensington, for a little wine and food. It's good, but Balans in Soho is better.  Anyone looking through the window at us would have seen one of the great Tropes of Post Imperial Britain ; three comfortable cat ladies, mostly vegetarian, all animal loving, just out of an art gallery, waving at waiters  for chips, curly kale with chilli and ginger and a bottle of Sancerre or two.

It was a good day.



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