Friday, April 13, 2012

The Kiss in Margate


I don't really know if I was supposed to photograph this, but I wasn't the only one. On a rainy Bank Holiday afternoon in Margate, in the lively foyer of the Turner Contemporary, it made a mute cry for attention. Since the foyer is also the gift shop, as well as a sort of general corridor between the cafe and the toilets, a lot of people were milling about and completely ignoring the presence of an iconic masterpiece at the rear of the room; rather as if it was a sort of fixture-and-fitting, or an everyday simulacrum of itself.

Once we'd done a double-take and realized that this was IT, or at any rate one of the ITs (the Warren version), we began to be entranced. Against a wintry sea, it was the astonishment of passion that felt most tenderly apparent: that love begins: that this really happens.

I also bought three Turner postcards, which will probably end up being bookmarks. Turner's paintings are like Rembrandt's, they don't convert well to postcard format. In "Ulysses deriding Polyphemus", Ulysses and his crew are cheesemites. I suppose Polyphemus is one of the ink-blots in the distance, but I'm not sure which one. The second postcard showed Hannibal and his cheesemites crossing the Alps in a snowstorm, the third one was of some fishing boats bringing a stricken ship into Port Ruysdael. All of them looked a lot like the weather outside.

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