Monday, 27 September 2010

Tate Liverpool and The Liverpool Cathedral ♥

Hey there! Today I thought I'd fill you in on my weekend :) On Saturday I visited the Tate Gallery in Liverpool for the first time. You know how you see people in art galleries staring hard at a painting or another piece of art trying to figure out what it might mean? Well I'm one of those people. Except a lot of the time I also find myself tilting my head trying to find a hidden meaning in that piece!

As long as a certain work of art is aesthetically pleasing then it gets my vote! There are various works, however, that I'm drawn to because they convey emotions and feelings that just hit you in the face, without you even realising it sometimes. As soon as you look at them, they make you feel a certain way: sad, hopeful, happy.

Let me give you an example. I came across an artwork by Gillian Wearing, titled 'Signs That Say What You Want Them To Say and Not Signs That Say What Someone Else Wants You To Say'- long title I know! The idea behind this is that Wearing stopped random people on the streets and asked them to write down their thoughts at that time. Can you imagine what you would say if you were stopped and asked to note down what was on your mind? Here's one of the photographs from the series:

I wonder what he's desperate for- he could be desperate for a number of things. A job doesn't look like it's one of them but looks can be deceiving, after all. It's interesting to see the different things you would read if you did the same as Wearing and approached strangers with the same task. I also wonder what happened to this man sometime after the photo was taken...

There was another picture in the series which striked me as special because it's exactly how I go on living my life. I can't quite remember the exact words but another man who was stopped basically said that everything in life happens for a reason and the sooner you accept that and understand it, the better. Which couldn't be more true. I've always told myself that everything happens for a reason, which makes the bad stages in my life seem a whole lot less threatening. As long as you believe that, you should be happier...

I then came across another work of art by Tracey Emin which will particularly become relevant to something I saw in the Liverpool Cathedral but I'll come onto that later. If you're familiar with Emin's works then you'll know that they can be quite blunt and explicit, most likely outside of a lot of people's comfort zones. Why? Well they make you question so many aspects of sex, often making you feel either inadequate or ashamed or possibly even violated. Here is the work I'm referring to:
This pink neon sign was actually made in Emin's signature handwritten text and spells out the title of the work. I don't know how it makes me feel if I'm honest. My first reaction was shock. Then I felt a bit disgusted. But then I thought kudos to her for addressing a historically taboo subject- she sure has guts!

Emin has commented (in Morgan, p.60) the following:

"It can often be painful; it feels like a violation. But if you love someone and that’s what you’re really into, you feel brilliant. My anal sex drawings aren’t recent; I am probably remembering what it was like. I had one relationship which was all about that. In the years I was with him I think I only had vaginal sex twice...Women are not allowed to enjoy anal sex. Well, a lot of women are never going to get it because they are not ready to accept the fact that they like it. They’ve probably never been with a partner who would face up to wanting it. A lot of people don’t know how to do it properly, that’s the other thing. But my Nan told me it used to be the major form of contraception. I’m sure that 100 years ago it wasn’t a problem."

I found this pretty interesting and quite insightful on her part. I suppose she's saying it like it is, voicing a somewhat controversial topic which I admire. In case you're wondering, here are two photographs of Emin to help you identify the artist:

There were tons of other works that I enjoyed looking at, some created by notorious figures in the art world (Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso etc...), others sculpted and brought into existence by artists I hadn't even heard of until now. It was pretty amazing to see the diverse range of art on display- some more controversial than others, as you have seen, others more colourful than others, but all with one thing in common- they make you think. That's the beautiful thing about art, it gets people talking.

After we'd visited every floor (minus the Liverpool Biennial- I will have to witness that one day!), we decided to climb the Liverpool Cathedral. Up 108 steps we went, in the c-c-c-cold may I add! But it was worth it :) The views were quite spectacular, especially on a clear day such as that one. We could even spot the Blackpool Tower would you believe!!

Yes, the views were breathtaking. We could pretty much gaze at the whole of Liverpool at a 360° angle which felt magical- you'd have to climb the Cathedral yourself to understand the beauty of the sights from the tower. Photographs just do not do it justice but here are just a few of the snaps that I took for you to feast your eyes on anyway:

Ok I have to admit, I wasn't the one who clicked the spectacular view above, it was the very special Mr Sutton xx (he's very proud of it so I had to put that in there ;)
the Liverpool Big Wheel in the distance!
That's the Metropolitan Cathedral you can spot

Sadly, I didn't take many photos while inside the Cathedral which is a shame because it really is beautiful. The architecture is stunning and the building itself if huge! Though that's not surprising considering it's the largest cathedral in the whole of the UK and actually the fifth largest in the world! You can learn more about the magnificent Cathedral here :) I had to take a photo of this lamp though because I absolutely love it!

And here are the Cathedral bells:

We were slightly gutted when we realised we were at this spot on the hour and anticipated a great chime- to find out that the bells only rang on special occasions, such as Easter and Christmas. Boo!

Anyway, I told you earlier that Tracey Emin's work that I mentioned above would become relevant here. That's because I saw this particular sign over the West Doors and found the similarity between that and Tracey Emin's 'Is Anal Sex Legal?' uncanny:

Upon further research I discovered that the reason it looked unbelievably familiar is because it actually is Tracey Emin's work!! You have to question how the 'people of God' can accept the display of the work of an artist who is notorious for her endless sex-related, often graphic, pieces! I have to say, I wasn't very keen on this work, titled 'For You' which read 'I Felt You And I Knew You Loved Me.'

About this work, Emin writes: “The Church has always been a place, for me, for contemplation. I wanted to make something for Liverpool Cathedral about love and the sharing of love. Love is a feeling which we internalise; a feeling very hard to explain. I thought it would be nice for people to sit in the Cathedral and have a moment to contemplate the feelings of love, it’s something we just don’t have enough time to think about and I hope this work creates this space in time.” 

I, personally, think that a pink neon sign has no place in a sacred place of worship. It looked so out of place! And far too modern and inappropriate for the likes of a Cathedral. That's my opinion but I do think that they ought to rethink having that work in a religious edifice.

It's a shame really because that work of art slightly ruins the traditional beauty of the Cathedral, I feel. Nevertheless, the Cathedral really is a stunning sight and worth a visit if you're ever in Liverpool- a climb to the tower is also a must if you want to truly appreciate your surroundings!

So that was my weekend :) I really enjoyed it, despite how incredibly chilly it was! I hope you had a good one too- Happy Monday! ;) xx

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."- Harriet Tubman 

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