Friday, 10 August 2018

What the Dickens ?

The other day we trooped along to the Espai Carmen Thyssen in the Monastery here in (very) sunny Sant Feliu. We love our monastery, and support all the events that they host there. Every year the lovely Baroness Thyssen brings a selection of paintings out of the Thyssen vaults for a specially curated exhibition - just for us. These exhibitions take a theme and use the art from their extensive collection to narrate and explore it. One year they chose the exploration of the West (think USA), and told that story from a Spanish perspective, which was really interesting for someone brought up with an English-speaker's bias, who had always thought in terms of her cousins across the pond. This year the theme is the evolution of landscape painting, which is also interesting in its own right, and includes a healthy amount of local art.

Having looked around the landscape exhibition one of the attendants told us to pop upstairs to the Pepa Poch exhibition. I'll be honest: I'd never heard of Pepa Poch before.

Regardless of our lack of insight we trooped upstairs, and into a scene that could have been Miss Havisham's wedding party in Great Expectations. In this version of the tale Miss Havisham is an artist who's short on suitors, but long on talent and expensive-looking gold paint, which she has used  liberally to express her feelings about how things have turned out.

There's crazy pottery, all delicately fired as fine porcelain.

And the sort of accouterments that any artistically-inclined Miss Havisham would have been sure to use.

And what self-respecting Miss Havisham wouldn't have moved her bath tub into the dining room so that she could soak away the pain with gold paint and bubbles?

I loved the big canvases hung around the room, full of muscular shapes and warm colours bathed in gold.

As luck would have it I'm listening to Matt Lucas narrate Great Expectations from Amazon Audible at the moment - maybe that's why I made the connection. Anyway the wonderful Mr Lucas is doing a great job.  I know Dickens may not be the peak of literary fashion, but I've always had a soft spot for him. His work is full of dialogue. Dickens loved to let his characters tell their story in their own words, creating little verbal ticks for them - think Uriah Heep  from David Copperfield - ever so humble. Matt Lucas is able to bring that dialogue to life with his own cast of character voices, which makes the novel read like a multi-character play.

I warmly recommend both the audio book and the exhibition to you.


Bonny x

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