Monday, 29 July 2013

Art and Lit

Thursday last I met my friend John at the Tate Britain. He's a member and took me in to the Patrick Caulfield exhibition. I've always been fascinated by Caulfield's 'After Lunch' which is an interior of a room with a window revealing an exterior continental scene of a lake, castle and mountains. Austria, perhaps. The scene has clearly been photographed and pasted into the picture. The room around the window has been painted by the artist and the edges of objects are heavily lined in black. Reality is outside the window, art - or the unreal world - is the room from which we view that reality.

Having almost completely exhausted those brain cells which deal with art criticism, I have to add that this is the first time I've seen a bunch of Patrick Caulfield's paintings all in one place and the guy clearly had a thing about wallpaper. In some paintings there are three or four different kinds of wallpaper: flock, smooth, flowery, dull. One can only imagine Patrick spent a lot of time in restaurants and bars staring at the walls, possibly with a glass or cutlery in his hands, searching for the meaning of life. Did he find it in the various patterns he later painted on the interiors of his many rooms? I certainly didn't. I wish I had.

The title of this blog is art and lit. The lit side is my discovery of a young adult series which was obviously popular in my childhood - going by the dates of publication and the number of volumes produced  - yet I have never heard of them before now. The 'Jennings' books. I find that amazing, since I haunted libraries and read more pages than you've had hot dinners - almost. The work which brought this gap in my education to my attention was found at a jumble sale and entitled 'Jennings Goes To School' by Anthony Buckeridge. The cover was one of those '50s artworks similar to the dust covers on Biggles and Just William books. I bought the volume and read it. It was, naturally for the time, a boarding school saga, full of '. . .whizzo, superprang, jolly swizz, spivish smashing, hairy fag' language which got more than a bit tedious after a while. However, I did enjoy much of it, mainly because of the nostalgia - I read books like it when I was 12 and felt cheated because I never went to boarding school like the boys in these stories - and partly because of the humour. Like one boy haughtily telling another, 'Don't you know, you oik, that the angles at the base of an isosceles triangle are jolly well nearly equal?' Well, I laughed at it, anyway.

1 comment:

  1. I read the Jennings books when I was about 10 and loved them, enjoying them even more than the Just William books which I read at about the same time (praise indeed!). I can't remember anything about them, though.