Visual Art

Having become a curmudgeon, it behoves me to criticise art exhibitions that get my goat. One such travesty was the Lost in Narration art exhibition at the MAC in Belfast. A slow motion film following a rhino called Sudan wandering about with its armed protectors in the wilds of Kenya is one way to feel time dragging you down. Projected with surround sound on a huge screen gave this work every opportunity to impress. Sadly it did not.

Sensational visual arts can grab the headlines. I remember seeing a film at the Tate in London in which the artist filmed his mother’s deathbed and her dying breaths. All very shocking, but is it art? There’s a question that has become a parody of what matters.

Tolstoy took a long while to formulate his thoughts on the matter and put them in writing in What is Art?. He came to the conclusion that art had a purpose and that the aim of art is to be uplifting. The relationship between art, artist and viewer should be a sincere endeavour to raise spirits and endorse high morality. Leo drifted off brief and did not so much give a definition of art, as see art for what it could do for society.

Art can be shocking, beautiful, gross, perplexing but boring? No. I do not need to be uplifted, although some aesthetic experiences have been awe inspiring in their beauty. I am not insistent that art conforms to standard ideas of beauty and craft, but I want to be engaged in sharing the conceptual space and not feel that it was a waste of time and effort on my part, or that the artist had no intention beyond self indulgence.

By the  way, the wee animals in the foyer of the MAC were gorgeous. The two kids in the bucket were my favourite.


Hot flushes

Today was central heating day, at least in our house. Do we need a pump flush? The sludge built up in our central heating system means that we have radiators that are only partially hot, and the one in the hall is stone cold. The fine art of balancing was explained – trying to fill/drain 10 buckets with water simultaneously by using different sizes of holes in the buckets. Pre-doseing, thermostats and inhibitors are now clear to me.

leaking bucket

£450 might seem like a lot of money, but if we get heat from all our downstairs radiators it could be worth it.

The man from Phoenix Gas took details and gave me an information pack before he went outside with the yellow chalk to indicate where the gas meter would be. £2,500 seems to be the cost of installing a gas boiler. £1,000 to plumb (run a copper pipe from the meter to the boiler inside the kitchen) seems expensive – we will be getting some quotes.

The rest of my day off was pleasantly relaxing. Jim fixed my brakes, replaced cable and tightened my cones and is a natural raconteur. I had a look at the galleries in the MAC. There was a bizarre visual piece that showed a BBC documentary from 1971 on one wall and on the opposite wall a synchronised imitation played by modern actors. Here’s the link MAC gallery