I had heard from Victoria that the Entangled exhibition was rather special. So Lettice and I set off to see it.
It was so lovely at the station that we almost didn’t leave.
But we did, and …
There was the sea!
So we had a picnic and enjoyed the view.
At the gallery, we walked past some corvid skulls …
… into the lift, which was covered in carpet, paint and yoghurt.
Like a curry house gone very wrong. Interesting?
Upstairs, we were greeted by this chap:
All hard shell, bright eyes and pointy claws, but wrapped in a delicate, tailor-made lace body suit.
We were quite charmed.
He sat in front of a wall of squishy nodules. I would like to cover the inside of the house with these. It would be AMAZING.
“Like a padded cell?” said Ted.
A glorious, technicolor padded cell.
There are some meticulous Louise Bourgeois works – this one is hand-stitched cloth and makes your eyes go a little … slippy.
This tapestry was hand designed, translated into a digital file and then woven on an electronic loom.
It’s out of this world.
We both thought the next piece was heartbreaking. It was created by artist Maria Roosen after the loss of her partner.
“I was very sad,” said the gallery note on the wall. “I had a cloth and I had a sewing machine. I made one straight line like a pencil. Then I did the next one trying to copy it. This is how I made it.”
“I do not know how many days or weeks it took me. It was hours and hours … It kept me going.
“You have one line and you have a purpose. You know where to begin and where to end and the machine is pulling you forward … It was all by hand. You have to stay on your path …
“I did not show it for a long time. All your thoughts are in it. It helped me to get through this painful time. The machine was very comforting.”
There were incredibly fragile architectural grass sculptures, which shivered in the gallery’s gentle drafts:
Bleak, beautiful and one breath away from destruction.
We were alarmed by some sinister, child-sized penguins in a corner …
But thought the dancing tutu by Annette Messager was rather sweet:
I finished with a marvellous Phyllida Barlow sculpture – that and the Anna Ray were colourful bookends for an excellent exhibition.
The quality throughout is so strong – it was free, but Lettice and I would both have happily paid London prices to see such strong pieces.
I’d love to see more work like this, I really would. It was bright, and joyful, and exuberant, and expressive, and so fresh and different from most of what you see at any of the big places.
Message to any gallery curators who think female artists are a difficult sell: We’re here, we want more and we have cash!
On the way out, we looked once more at the sea.
We then set off in search of the Shell Grotto.
I resisted the vintage shopping on the way … even these …
And these glossy, sticky, hot cross buns …
… though I had to pull Lettice away from this stunning dress, which she explained, while making squeaky noises, is “a V&A quality Ossie Clark in Celia Birtwell print!”
It *is* beautifully Margot-in-the-Good-Life.
Then we were worried we’d got lost, but thankfully there was a sign …
… and then there was a grotto!
It’s quite bonkers. Shells all around, and also when you look up:
Gussie was here in 1868. (Tut tut, Gussie.)
Phew! By now, we were quite tired, so walked along the promenade in search of tea.
We found it at the Walpole Bay Hotel, a curious and charming establishment with its own “social history museum” and the world’s biggest collection of napery art (that’s paintings on napkins btw).
It’s odd, and delightful, and so English, and exactly the kind of place Lettice and I find on our days out. We were so happy.
And then there was Birthday Tea, which we had on the verandah in the warm April sunshine.
What a spread.
On the train home, we took apart my new/old wooden letter necklace and made new words.
Some of them weren’t rude.