Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Show Me Yours
One of the first questions people ask me – usually straight after they ask where I find my inspiration (as if it were somewhere I could send them, like an interesting bookshop or a vintage clothing store) – is whether I collect art myself. As it turns out, I don't, not really, but it's more because of a lack of time than anything else. Lately, as I've become more settled into somewhere I like to think of as 'home', I've been thinking about populating it with a few objets that mean a lot to me.I've always bought books. I have enough of them to constitute a modest library, covering a variety of subjects from 20th century art, photography and sculpture to Caribbean voodoo rituals, Polynesian navigation and early 20th century sexual fetishes (a source of constant surprise and inspiration). I also have the beginnings of an unusual collection of sex toys. However, I don't own much art – not even my own.So what would I like to collect? Well, odd as it might sound, dolls – but not the sort of cherub-face, porcelain-limbed infants in long nightgowns that might once have graced your maiden aunt's dressing table. I've fallen in love with the naked, skeletally fragile china dolls made by Marina Bychkova. Each is exquisitely crafted, with expressive hands and languid posture. I adore that they are, if desired, anatomically correct – even the vulva is painted beautifully, as on one of my favourites, 'Sapphire' – and each character transmits an undercurrent of psychological tension. I love the occasionally grim attention to detail, including the accurately bound feet of her 'Lotus' doll. Bychkova's research of both costume and culture is even referred to in the doll's name: "Lotus refers to the shape a woman’s foot takes after it has been severely broken and mutilated by binding."I used to prefer blank walls, painted white. I found anything hanging on them distracting. However, I'm beginning to like the idea of having other people's art around me. I have a number of pieces in mind: a painting by Francesco Clemente, one from his Fifty One Days On Mount Abu series (example above), and a small oil painting by Frida Kahlo; a study drawing by Eva Hesse – there's an intimacy and exploration in Hesse's drawings that I prefer to the conclusiveness of her finished works – as well as a monochrome silver gelatin print by Tina Modotti and a messy, diaristic collage by Peter Beard. The only Australian work I'd want is a sculpture by Linde Ivimey, whose work reminds me of the spooky Capuchin Crypt in Rome. I am curious about what readers of this blog might like to collect – and why. Leave a comment.