Thursday, May 5, 2011

ex de medici at SSFA - 5 May

Well we were always going to go and see this show at some stage but it was touch and go whether we would make the opening night drinks. Some fortuitous babysitting arrangements and a spur of the minute decision saw the Mrs and I make the trek over to Zetland for a glass of red and a sparking water. We were there just after 7pm so must have missed the talk if there was one. ex is meant to be a bit of a recluse so am not sure if she was even there. Maybe she was letting the work speak for itself ...

ex has been a war artist through the war memorial program. I think she was Afghanistan given the poppies on show here. The highlight of the show is a 4m long watercolour work called 'Cure for Pain'. It was also pretty pricey at $200k - they even put a little masking tape line down on the floor to keep the wine stains away. This had a red dot so am sure there were smiles all around at that vindicated pricing strategy. ex had put little hash marks on the bottom of detailed works describing how many days it took to do. I think cure for pain was 1/3 of a year in all (I took someone's word for it as I was not counting the lines). It was really quite stunning with amazing detail. There is also a fairly decent essay explaining the work on the room sheet which is also online here. I was convinced an institution would've picked this up (i think Mona has a big work of medici's) but apparently not - so get there and see it before it goes behind closed doors. The studies of helmets were very good and were priced pretty competitively at sub $10k but looked pale in comparison to the major work. The triptych was probably the only thing left at $60k. It was an interesting work as apart from size I didn't see much connection between the one of the pieces and the other two. I suspect this will be broken up although I would guess the left hand side piece would get more than its pro rata share as it is the best piece. All in all a great show and really interesting to see this in the flesh after reading the rather breathy review in the art collector magazine (they were VERY big fans).

Points - 3 to Cure for Pain, I would love to see the framing bill for this - I don't even think this would fit in our local framing shop on Paddington st. 2 to Sleepwalking with Bizhad's needle (the poppies from the LHS of the triptych). 1 to the bonus exhibition from the stockroom upstairs. It was nice to see some Lindemans and Laith McGregor works out of cycle.

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