20 February 2017

Elisabeth Frink at Hauser & Wirth

Two previous posts have been about exhibitions at Hauser & Wirth Somerset in Bruton: in 2014 their opening exhibition was of works by Phyllida Barlow who will have a solo show in the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2017; last year, drawings by Louise Bourgeois. Their current show in Bruton is Elisabeth Frink: Transformation.

Elisabeth Frink (1930-1993) was a major figure in British sculpture from the early 1950s until her death. The sculpture and drawings selected for this show concentrate on the 1950s and 1960s. Birds appear frequently in her early 1960s work:

 and in semi-abstract form in her drawings:

The male form, often nude, appears frequently in her work, never, it seems, the female:

Birdman, 1960
Her large male heads, particularly the Goggle Heads from the late 1960s, are well-known in her late works:

Goggle Head I, 1969 (left) and Desert Quartet III and IV, 1989 right
It may seem carping when there is no charge at Hauser & Wirth for their exhibitions, but to me this show was woefully under-curated. The exhibits were not labelled, or even numbered, so their titles, dates and provenance had to be gleaned, and then only to a limited extent, from the press release and from a commendable Education Guide. It surely would not have been a major effort to overcome these deficiencies, most of the information presumably having to be collated for insurance purposes if nothing else. Annette Ratuszniakh’s Elisabeth Frink Catalogue Raisonne of Sculpture 1947-93 would have been of help.

Elisabeth Frink: Transformation continues until 7 May 2017.

19 February 2017

Peter Mandelson and Alternative Facts

From the transcript, the first question that Marr (AM) put to Mandelson (M) this morning: 


 AM: Peter Mandelson, Brexit is going to happen, isn’t it?

 M: The question Andrew is, on what terms? And what we’ve learned since the referendum and obviously the government has to respect, and parliament has to respect the decision, the majority decision expressed in the referendum, even though it represented only 37 per cent of the public who voted to leave. …

Only 37%?  Wasn’t the result 51.89% Leave, 48.11% Remain (I certainly thought so when I posted this the other day)?

But the turnout was 72.21% and, guess what, 72.21% of 51.89% is 37.47%, hence Mandelson’s “37 per cent”. However, on that basis the Remain vote would be 72.21% of 48.11%, ie 34.7%. And, anyway, it wasn’t “37 per cent of the public who voted” – perhaps the non-voters didn’t care or didn’t know, they can’t be assumed to be Remainers!

Mandelson always regarded himself as the architect of Blair’s 1997 election victory when Labour secured a 179 seat majority. Using Mandelson’s measure above, Labour’s 43.2% of the votes cast on a 71.3% turnout would have amounted to “31 per cent of the public who voted”!