When the inspirations lacking and the spirit needs lifting, what’s the best thing to do after praying and Loving …….. dancing and walking maybe …….. serving and studying maybe …… or Don your freebie head ……. grab your kids and head to the newest most architecturally pleasuring, contemporary art venue in the UK. How blessed are we, that it is right on our doorstep.
Firtsite is a purpose-built art gallery designed by the international architect Rafael Vinloy. It is a beautiful sculpture within itself, of crescent form designed around a zero axis on the steps of its D shaped eighteenth century landscaped gardens. From the exterior it looks like a giant Scandinavian sculpted dry sauna, clad in burnished reflective matt gold slats, made from an oxidized copper and aluminum alloy.
The panels are stylishly herringboned which creates an amazing effect of sunlight and shadow. For me personally (and I can not find any literature which states that it was the intention of the architect) it seems very apt, as if reflecting in the sky, the heritage of our local coast line with its wooden boats, romantic sails, and sublime blue ocean. It is staggeringly impressive.
The interior has 1,650 square metres of oak flooring. Firstsite is 140 metres from west to east (the length of the turbine hall at the Tate modern) An interior promenade flows along the exhibition spaces, studios, and 190 seat auditorium (where we watched a wonderful old Asterix film :O) subtly fall away to the left, not impinging on the beautiful arc of the main hall.
66% of its insulation is made from recycled glass. It has no foundations, but it is built upon 24,000 tonnes of local hardcore so as to protect the underlying archaeology. The Roman wall and castle with its Norman structure and the handsome remains of the eleventh century Augustinian Priory are all within a stones throw, and can be sensed from every angle.
I so look forward to this space being a leading venue in the contemporary art scene.
Disappointingly there were only a few treasures gleaned and captured on this visit, and so beyond the help of my mobile camera, the budding artist of the family will fill in the gap. One of which was on loan from the Tate, presented by the artist herself in 1964. Barbara Hepworth’s Pierced Form 1963-4 Pentelicon marble.
Everybody that is closest to me, knows of my biggest frustration of not being allowed to be tactile with the sculptures, which I so Love and which so need to be touched.
Thanks be to God for my five little, living sculptures that I can caress and hold as close to me as I dare.
And last my favourite treasure spied.
Which I just loved. I know that my spirits must be lifted, for I was in my Daddy’s element when I stumbled across the fittingly native pottage by Warhol. For in 1969 I was but a twinkle in his oyster loving eye. And In 1970 I was born, Me. :O)