I’m lost. Not just in an existential way but in a very real way in the wilds of Forest Gate after taking a wrong turning on the protest walk that Sir Anish Kapoor and Ai Weiwei organised. They started outside the Royal Academy, and I presumed we were simply heading to Cecconi’s but the duo darted left and marched off. I lost them somewhere around Whitechapel. So I send you this missive from a perfectly respectably vegeratarian café in London’s E7 district. To be fair, I didn’t quite understand what the great artists were protesting against as they waved blankets over their heads and uttered something incomprehensible but I’m guessing they had come out in unity with the poor tube strike drivers. So it is apt that the first item on this week’s wishlist – Frances Stark’s enigmatic A Hundred Years From Now You Too Could Have Nothing! This lovely little work is an edition of 80, priced at £150 and available from the marvellous Art on the Underground.
I was deeply upset that my wrong turn had prevented me offering Anish the shoulder of my Fendi hooded colour-block shearling coat to rest his weary but still beautiful head as he has been through a tough time of late. The ghastly French rather bizarrely accused him of inciting racial hatred after he suggested that the anti-semitic slogans daubed on his sculpture at the Chateau de Versailles should remain as testament of that country’s fondness for Le Front National and all that. The French should be disgusted with themselves. Not only did they deliver one of the most boring national pavilions at Venice (musical moving trees! Zut alors!), it’s clear that Sir Anish is no racist – his best friend is Chinese! To help his fight with these cheese-eating surrender monkeys I shall be sending him the second item on this week’s list: Cecilia Sjoholm’s new book Doing Aesthetics With Arendt: How to See Things, for if any philosopher is able to articulate the issues Sir Anish is groping towards, it’s Arendt.
For me France is nothing. Rien. Europe very much begins at Belgium. And so I’m delighted with the exhibition Luc Tuymans has curated at Parasol Unit: The Gap: Selected Abstract Art from Belgium. Rather extraordinarily it is still possible to pick up a Raoul de Keyser linoleum engraving for under €500 euros from the Serralves Foundation. Given that the work is an edition of 30, this is a pretty decent thing to hang in one’s dining room (painted of course in Farrow and Ball Dimpse) and dream of Knokke. However if Europe is something that you best prefer on your plate (and let’s face it who doesn’t?), I would suggest considering the third item on this week’s wishlist, Lucien Smith’s, Seed Packet (Swiss Chard), which is a surprisingly delicate watercolour and silkscreen depicting a packet of Swiss chard. It has an estimate of between $3,000 to $5,000 at Christie’s venture into on-line auctions, the First Open/Online that takes place between 25 September and 6 October.
The final item on this week’s wishlist is something that I will keep for myself to remind me of these heady days of protest and meandering around Zone 3 of East London: Nina Beier’s The Demonstrators (Sinking Bulb) which currently has a starting bid on Paddle8’s auction to raise funds for the august Dutch duo of de Appel Arts Centre and the Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art. As I meander around the neat terraced streets I can feel myself slowly realising that like Beier’s sinking lightbulb, perhaps I might simply lie down and call this place, this palimpsest of a once great forest, home.
Online exclusive published 25 September 2015