Monday, 25 June 2012

Being a tourist and questionable art

Last weekend, I had my cousin visiting us. She's finishing her post graduate degree in the UK and she decided to come to London for a weekend to take a break from writing her thesis. It was her second weekend here, so she's done the most important touristy stuff, but of course not all. There is such a long list of things to do and places to visit in the city.

So, we watched a controversial football match on Friday evening. We lost from the Germans in the quarterfinals (damn). They were playing very well in general and they deserved to win I have to give them that. However that happy grin on Merkel’s face annoyed me at the end. I have to give it to our players though. They scored two goals and left the championship with their head high. Or at least that’s what I think. The Germans did score 4 goals.

Anyway, after all that drama, we got up on Saturday morning and we visited Greenwich. That area there is always a favourite of mine. I love LOVE old maps and everything to do with them. So, visiting the Greenwich observatory is always a favourite activity. Apart from that though we walked a lot around the area and visited the Marinetime museum. These are the pictures from that trip.

The view from Greenwich Observatory of an Olympic stadium and Canary Wharf

From there, we went to Tate Modern, which is another favourite gallery/museum of mine. We had booked tickets and we went to see Damien Hirst exhibition. For those of you who don’t know him, he’s the wealthiest living British artist. He’s done some amazing stuff in the past and some quite questionable works of art. When it comes to installations and modern stuff, I’m a bit sceptical. Let me explain what we saw during that exhibition.

There was a piece called: for the love of god. Damien took a human skull and had it drilled with various holes where he put diamonds in them. It is an actual skull and it is missing a tooth, but it is now very sparkly and ridiculously expensive. We’re talking about real big diamonds that literally cover the whole thing.

For the love of god

There was an installation where he put in a closed big container a chopped cow’s head, a couple of flies (I’m not sure about the number) and above the cow one of these blue electric lights that kill insects. The flies of course multiplied and were flying all over the place eating the cow. A number of them was being electrocuted and remained dead on the floor. So, the viewer saw a rotting cow’s head on the floor with blood around it, a numerous bodies of dead and other buzzing alive flies! It wasn’t a very pretty sight.


In another room, he created the exact opposite environment. Instead of growing flies, he had butterflies. The room was extra warm and very bright. There were bowls filled with fruit and pots with flowers. There were cocoons on the walls, some of which were hatched. So, beautiful, big butterflies of various colours were flying all around or even landing on the amazed guests. It was a very pretty sight.

Damien’s probably has a certain urge to be economic. So, he used the materials he harvested from the previous ‘pieces’ I described. On the next room, he had a massive black round disc that he called ‘dark sun’ or something similar made from dead flies (nice). And there were a number of beautiful colourful paintings made from butterfly wings! He even created art by the extinguished cigarettes and old smoke packages!

Apart from all that there were the dead animals, some of which were cut in pieces and some weren’t. He kept them in big glass containers filled with formaldehyde (I assume). Damien said they reminded him of his child years when he used to watch dead animals all around him. I can’t argue with that. There was however a shark and to be honest I don’t know how many sharks exist in the Leeds area. Impressive were a couple of art pieces with diamonds placed in front of a mirror on small glass shelves….

Overall, I have to say I’m glad I went to the exhibition although I wasn’t fond of all his work. Art is supposed to be provocative and make you feel things, either good or bad. However, I did find some things completely uninteresting…

the entrance of Victoria & Albert museum


  1. Personally I like the Old Masters.

    1. I can understand that... You should give a chance to new artists though. There are some really good new talents out there

  2. I'm not a fan of Damien Hirst - I know it's groundbreaking (sometimes), but it's not something I want to look after that initial view.

    As for Greenwich - it's a great place to visit. I particularly like Sundays when the markets are open and then walk through the foot tunnel and then follow the Thames path around Isle of dogs.

    1. Yes, Greenwich is one of favourite areas around London. There are so many corners to explore and see.
      Damien is weird... Some of his stuff are good though

  3. What the heck is that think over the entrance to the museum? It looks like a mechanical blowfish.

    1. White road cones hanging upside down. It looks interesting, doesn't it?