Soooo I have a lot to say about the decision to have us go to the Coventry Biennial…not all good so to whoever is reading this…
OK so lets start with my critique…
SOOOO right off the bat as soon as this trip was announced It actually seemed like it would be kinda fun and interesting…that was until I clicked on the link provided to us to learn more information about the event and I was greeted with THIS
ORANGE AND PURPLE??? A WORDPRESS PAGE??? REALLY???? NOW I’m not a professional when it comes to graphic design BUT I am an avid internet dweller and I can tell you when when a website is functional/looks good. THIS DOES NOT.
Immediately all my high hopes were dashed…and really I do feel bad saying this because a lot of people put work into this event but if I may give some advice; Next time, make a page on WIX or something similar, it’ll look better, it’ll be way more functional and it’ll look a hell of a lot more professional than hosting on wordpress. Honestly I just can’t get over the Orange background with Purple and green font.
Anyway I hopped on a train (luckily got a good price…but really…this should have been payed for by the uni JUST SAYING) and made the 2hour journey to Coventry.
The Coventry Biennial is an art festival consisting of solo and group exhibitions scattered across different locations within the city centre. Unfortunately the exhibition locations were not very well indicated which made actually finding anything very inconvenient. The map on the website didn’t help because the flagged locations would not open on google maps (I don’t know if this is a problem only I had).
I was not really able to find any work that could inspire or inform my practice because what I do doesn’t really relate at all to anything I was able to see at the exhibitions that I did find.
The Cathedral Ruins were one of the locations indicated on the map. I was not able to find the exhibition that was supposedly on display there but at least got to take in a bit of history.
St Michael’s Cathedral was bombed almost to destruction during the Coventry Blitz of 14 November 1940 by the German Luftwaffe. The Cathedral was left roofless and for the most part destroyed, only the tower, spire, and bronze effigy and tomb of its first bishop survived the bombing.
As I’d read a lot about ww2 and the destruction it caused during my history classes in high school, seeing ruins (which normally would be rebuilt) left as they are is quite interesting to me. This photograph of Winston Churchill visiting the ruins in 1941 really show how they have not changed at all (except clearing more of the rubble)
After visiting the ruins it was onto the nearby Herbert Art Gallery and Museum where more work from the Biennial would be on display. Personally I didn’t find it very compelling. What I did enjoy though was the small exhibition on Picasso’s experimental linocut prints on loan from the British Museum. We weren’t allowed to take pictures so here are some of my favourites that I found again online:
The process required to produce these prints was explained in a video on display among the prints. As a big fan of using lino myself, it was interesting to see these prints as I had not known before this that Picasso had created work using linocutting.
Other works throughout to museum caught my eye as well. In particular these two paintings:
BE NICE TO THE BIG BLUE SEA by Cecily Brown, 2013
This painting really stood out because not only was it HUGE it was also really colourful and busy (but in a good way). I really love the soft but bright color palette the painter used to bring the figures to life within the painting. I spent a good 15min just taking it all in. Getting up close to the painting was also interesting for me, I loved taking a closer look at the dynamic brushstrokes of the artist. It was a very lively and beautiful piece in my opinion.
The other painting that cause my eye was THE ENCHANTED ROAD by Frank Salisbury, 1927
This painting was interesting to me because I’ve never seen a painting that is painted from the perspective of someone sitting in a car, and specifically a car from the 1920s!
The sharp contrast in this painting is really striking, the depth of it almost makes you feel like you’re the one sitting in the car viewing this nighttime road.
Overall..It was kind of not the best organised trip. I can’t help but wonder why we weren’t just given a museum in london to visit. That would have saved us all a lot of time and money. Better luck at the Zoo??
Zoos are a pretty divisive topic. You either love them or you hate them. As much as they are educational they are also not really ethical; animals belong in their native habitats.
I was really conflicted while visiting. A small part of me felt an almost child-like excitement to see all the animals but for the most part the rest of me felt really sad seeing them in cages.
The first place I visited in the zoo was the small aquarium right by the entrance. I did most of my documenting here as all the different textures and colors of the aquatic displays were mesmerising to watch.
I compiled my favourite shots into a video, overlaying an underwater sound effect. It’s really relaxing and mesmerising to watch the movement of the fish and plants swaying in the current of the water. The order I chose the clips to go in is color-based, starting with the very green tanks, to darker almost black tanks, to finally bright blue more tropical looking tanks. I end the video with a shot of one of the tanks displaying how plastic is taking over our oceans. I felt this was a poignant way to end the video as It starts full of life and ends with death.
In the end I found that this outing was better organised and was overall more enjoyable because of that. I appreciate that the cost of the zoo visit was covered by the course.
Despite this I did not enjoy the zoo very much as it was quite sad to look at these poor animals being held in an environment that did not suit them.
As beautiful as some of the displays in the aquarium were I couldn’t help but worry about how small they were and how annoying all the small children were when they would tap on the glass (I know that they’re too young to really know any better but their parents weren’t stopping them despite there being signs up around the displays saying not to disturb the fish).