countdown to the exhibition: 15 days to go

Not long to go now to the exhibition opening on May 7th. Yesterday I packed the car with copies of  the monograph for the Library shop, and files of un-framed studies for the books I’ve done with the Old Stile Press, together with the books themselves.  (The National Library will be showing their own Old Stile Press books, but we needed multiple copies for display purposes.) There were also two boxes containing nearly thirty objects I’ve used in my still-life paintings, due to be displayed in glass cases in close proximity to the paintings they appear in.

In the gallery paintings of still-life… seen here in images from the monograph…

… will be hung within sight of the objects that were their subjects. (The bonneted Scottish horseman above is one of a pair, and is the mirror version of the one loaned to the gallery.)

Finally the toy theatre went in, strapped jauntily into the passenger seat. By the time vehicle was fully packed, there was barely room for me. Twenty minutes later the car was emptied of its cargo at the Library loading bay, and for the rest of the day curatorial staff, white-gloved and absorbed in their work, opened the travelling cases of work that have been arriving at the Library for the past couple of months, diligently checking everything against the inventories. It was quite a sight. Gradually the works were laid out according to the plan devised for the exhibition. It’s a massive space, but even so I think that we have an excess of paintings to fill it. Peter went around moving the works and adjusting spacing.

Thousands of decisions to be made, and the clock is ticking. Audio recordings from the participating poets have arrived in e-mailed files, and they must be transferred so that they may be heard via transparent plastic audio hoods suspended throughout the exhibition. Visitors may hear the poems read by the poets who wrote them, next to the paintings that were the starting points for the writers. Plasma screens will show Pete Telfer’s documentary about me. Maquettes will be held by mono-filament, suspended in free fall through glass display cases. Texts have to be appropriately positioned throughout the gallery.

Watch this space. I’ll post progress on the Artlog whenever I’ve the time. But to all friends and correspondents who in a more usual situation might regularly expect to hear from me, please be forgiving if I’m not up to speed in responding to messages and e-mails. I’m flying so fast that I can barely catch breath. The first of the visitors who will be staying at Ty Isaf, Marly Youmans from Cooperstown, New York, will be arriving on Wednessday next week, followed by Andrea Selch and Dave Bonta at the beginning of May. That means all three of the American poets who’ve contributed to The Book of Ystwyth will be under our roof at the same time. Here also from the States will be Anita Mills, who wrote the chapter on drawing for the monograph Clive Hicks-Jenkins, and for a couple of nights only, our old friend Ian Hamilton, partner of the late Catriona Urquhart whose Pegasus and Poem about the Mari Lwyd from The Mare’s Tale (Old Stile Press 2001) also appear in the collection. Sooooo… floors must be swept, beds made up, lawns and orchards mown, pictures hung and provisions ordered to feed our visitors, not to mention the inundation of guests we expect for the open house on Sunday 8th. Ty Isaf may be a work in progress, but Artlog readers who have shared what we’ve achieved here to date, will be expecting the old place to be looking dandy for the party, and so Peter and I must not disappoint them. To all those coming, we’ll talk later, and to those who are unable to get here, I’ll do my level best to give a full flavour of the events on the Artlog.

2 thoughts on “countdown to the exhibition: 15 days to go

  1. Can’t wait! But, I have to pack bag first… and that process could take awhile. 😉
    When DO you get to RELAX?

    • Relax! Relax? I’m sorry, if you’re going to put questions to me then you’re going to have ask them in English. What is this word ‘relax’? I don’t understand the question.

      Now I must go and weed the big herbaceous border. I shall have to look up ‘relax’ when I have a moment, which will probably be around about the end of May!!!

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