Five years of this blog, today... yes, of course entries are occasional, and they scatter themselves across oblique moods and memories, more than direct experiences – well, that's kind of how my life runs these days. But I'm generally pleased with it – the reflections are perhaps not as fragmented, as decentered, as the Swedish modernist cycle of poems referred to in the title.
Tonight we went around a yearly exhibit series here in Newcastle, 'The Late Show', where all sorts of galleries and studios are open late on Friday and Saturday. It's really amazing how many work and studio spaces are scattered along the west side of town – I knew about some of them, but it turned out that old building after old building, former warehouse after former warehouse, isn't dusty and unused inside, but remarkably full of artists – I didn't know there were so many of them. Some of the artwork was very impressive – some huge sculptures of fallen fruit and flowers; dark, crabbed etchings of small church gardens. I tended to respond especially to the intricate and the detailed, rather than the large and splashy.
But actually, the amazing experiences for me were in some of the privately rented studios and workrooms. My love for living spaces, which crosses through so many of my dreams (there are more dreams of rooms, buildings, streets with peculiar architectures, in my inner world than a lot of other kinds of symbols) was awakened by a few of the rooms – some studios overlooking the Ouseburn (a small tributary of the river Tyne) had different levels of work spaces, sitting spaces that looked out of windows, and even lofts where it might be possible to sleep. Although it's probably only allowed to work in them, not to sleep, a few had been turned into wonderful quasi-homes – whether the artists slept there or not, they could have, and that was wonderful.
Best of all, a particularly large basement studio on the side next to the river, with tables and bookshelves lining the river side, a large printing press in the lower area, and chairs and spaces that were both work-oriented and comfortable. For this evening when there were people walking through, candles everywhere, the room cleaned up, prints on the walls – but the upper level, with the tables and windows, not open to just everyone: a sense of subtle privacy – as though the woman who lived there knew it was beautiful, but also knew that it was hers. Like an amazingly resonant, peaceful, hard-working place to live... quite a dream, really: that deep sense of quiet and calm concentration, of awareness, of sensitivity to things, and to the spaces they occupy.
[The picture is a tiny caravan/trailer – not a studio, but it has some of the same balanced, real feeling to it.]