London with all its normal distractions likes to throw a few more at one's feet. The day to day beauty and fascination of this city is enough to keep me amused, like a child with a new toy, for years on end. The city, though, is always providing more and more joy in which to partake. Like a shiny pair of keys jangled before the infant, I am drawn magpie like, to the shiny and new.
Case in point was this weekend. From Thursday through Sunday London saw fit to provide a living lighted art installation throughout the city to keep those post Christmas blues at bay. I could never do justice to its entirety so here is a link to it: http://www.visitlondon.com/lumiere/programme
My friend and I decided to brave the crowds this past Friday. Not wishing to fight these impending crowds, we saw fit to come into the city a bit early and have a poke around the National Gallery. Yes, world class museums strewn about like so many jewels before swine, means one can make such easy and commonplace decisions as, "Let's have a look see at the Tudors and the Victorians and then pop down to the cafe for some tea and cakes before venturing out into the city wide like sculpture of which we will, as viewers, become a part". Such grand decisions can become far too easy to make and therefore one struggles to not take them far too much for granted.
Of the various exhibits the one which most struck me was that displayed in my lovely St. James Square. The place I visit daily and walk about and see as my 'landing spot'. It received the floating figures.
One was struck as if waking in a dream. For the square seemed it's normal self, save the crowds of people all still and looking upwards. Then one caught a glimpse of light and then, as the eye focused, was it true, could it be? Yes, a floating figure hovering over the trees and grass. And there, up on that parapet, another figure lit and poised as if to jump.
The second amazing bit was on Piccadilly, Where the beauty and line of the normal classical architecture became the canvas for a changing view of painted light. Figures grew and were formed, then morphed into shapes, colour, and again a new figure. Accompanying this was music which filled the street and played above the din of the crowds. And my oh my were there crowds.
Roads were closed so one felt quite brave brashly strolling down the center of Piccadilly with nary a worry of traffic. Yet, the traffic of the human animal, stomping, staring, pointing and the cacophony of their united voices were bizarre enough but add to that the great squeal of an elephant. Yes, that's right, I said an elephant. For there was a display of an elephant in the Piccadilly Arcade and its' trumpeting was raised above all other sounds. When first approaching the street it sounded more like the scream of a Japanese monster or an Hollywood dinosaur. It all combined to make a rather surreal experience but one I was quite glad to have had.
London, you clever lady, you continue to entice and allure me. What, prey, is next? | shall try to share whatever it might be.
I lived as a 1950s housewife for three years. Click below to see that project.
Donna Davis is a painter and printmaker living by the sea. Her work deals with women, history, the seashore, and moments in time. Follow along to see the process behind the product.