So. The Glass Room. What a book. What a discussion. There was a bit of a love/hate thing going on with Simon Mawer's novel. I enjoyed the read, for the most part, but struggled with the slightly trying-too-hard, or perhaps not hard enough, metaphors. Some of the women in our group were upset with the one-sided portrayal of the female gender. Mostly weak, cheap or for sale. Milly, in particular hated the for her rather too frequent allusions to female genitalia, or Medusa-like mounds - what was he calling them again? Juliet, on the other hand, defended the book through and through and felt it was one of the best books she had read in a long time. Despite the sentiment, not quite being shared with the majority of the group, no doubt the judges of the Man Booker felt the same way, otherwise it would not have been on their shortlist in 2009. We had some raised voices and hand-on-table-slapping going on, but it was all in support of fighting one's corner. I think it was a triumph for the Kensal Review. We have broken through the politeness barrier, and are now really ready to tear apart those cultural experiences and other people's points of view. Water off a ducks back. Anyone for more wine?
Now Miro. He liked a good Catalan peasant didn't he. I believe all Kensal Reviewers got something out of the retrospective at the Tate as few were familiar with his entire oeuvre. Or had you guys seen the psychedelic shoe still life before? Didn't think so. Didn't love it either, but it didn't matter, as what I did love was his blue. The dude has given me a whole different perspective on the colour (Blue II). That blue is a dive in or turn around, trip out or stay straight kind of blue. It flows past the left and right side of your head, washes over you, past you, through you, leaving you inside the triptych. For the most part, opinions were shared that not all of his work was loveable. But who can be that over so many decades? It was interesting to see him placed within the context of Spanish history, although at times that was perhaps a little too forced my dear curators. 'You can see in that brush stroke, the longing for his homeland.' Can you, or was that just because he felt a little like doing a thinner stroke that day?
What I took away from the show was Miro's quote: 'An artist is someone who, in the midst of others' silence, uses his own voice to say something and who makes sure that what he says, is not useless, but something that is useful to mankind.' Nuff said.