I had to fly to London for the day (for a business meeting), so I took the opportunity to visit art exhibitions at Japan House, Serpentine Gallery, Saatchi Gallery, and Tate Britain. A nice day of art and 20 km (12 miles) of walking.

The process to travel internationally is complicated due to the current pandemic. The fact that each government has, for a XXI century medical/scientific issue, their own measures, rules and regulations escapes me; and it doesn’t make traveling easier. I support controls and restrictions to try to prevent the spread of a deadly virus. But the UK has really infuriated passengers, me included, with some incredibly ridiculous requirements. For me, the one that is unacceptable, is the requirement to pre-purchase a “day 2 covid test” even if you only stay in the country for one day, so you don’t have to take it (but you have to pay for it)!!

Other than that, it was all flawless: taking the train in Malmö to Copenhagen airport, hop on a plane, land in London, take the train to the hotel, and start my pilgrimage through art exhibitions. By walking. A lot. Because that’s the best way to experience a city, and enjoy views and moments you don’t get riding the subway or the bus.

Some photos of the walk here

Since my hotel was located in Kensington, first of course, I had to walk to Japan House. Their library, shop, and cafe always make me happy. But they also have interesting exhibitions going on. This time I enjoyed Tokyo 1964:Designing Tomorrow (東京 1964 明日へのデザイン) and Tokolo Asao [CONNECT] (野老朝雄).

After that, I continued my stroll to the lovely Hyde park to visit the James Barnor photography exhibition at the Serpentine North Gallery, the 20th Serpentine Pavilion designed by Johannesburg-based practice Counterspace, and Sophia Al-Maria’s Taraxos sculpture.

Hungry for more art, I headed straight to the Saatchi Gallery, where I very much enjoyed the JR: Chronicles exhibition. Nevertheless, the highlight of the visit was… to have my portrait and self-portrait exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery! Read the blog post I’ve written about it here.

Since I still had a few hours before my meeting, I headed to the Tate Britain. As always, it didn’t disappoint. As soon as you go in, Heather Phillipson’s commission Rupture No 1: Blowtorching The Bitten Peach at the grand central galleries overflows the space with colour, sound and motion. Then, as you meander through the different galleries, you encounter well known works like Mark Rothko’s Red on Maroon, Turner’s Norham Castle, Sunrise, or David Hockney’s A Bigger Splash; and lesser known to the general public, but still amazing pieces. Sculptures like Michael Sandle’s Der Trommler (which bears a considerable resemblance to Sir Jacob Epstein’s Torso in Metal from ‘The Rock Drill’), Edward Allington’s From the birth of paradise and Architectural Fragment / Third column, or Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure; installations like Cornelia Parker’s Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View and Ima-Abasi Okon’s Infinite Slippage: nonRepugnant Insolvencies T!-a!-r!-r!-y!-i!-n!-g! as Hand Claps of M’s Hard’Loved’Flesh [I’M irreducibly-undone because] —Quantum Leanage-Complex-Dub; and paintings like John Singer Sargent’s Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, or Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion. Another delight at the Tate is the shop (and Saatchi’s shop or Serpentine’s books and magazines, for that matter). Highly recommended.

Clearly, I need art, lots of art, in my life. Not jut visual stimulations, but though-provoking provocations.

Some photos of the art here