Well, was it worth it? Yes, it was, definitely. With prussian blue pastel firmly embedded beneath my finger nails after a morning teaching I made a snap decision to catch the train that would lead me to the minibus that would take me to the Saatchi gallery for the launch; the prospect of being at the start of something, the sum of which would be greater than the individual parts, was too great a temptation.
Unfortunately as I sat in my railway carriage contemplating the space around me I had the stomach churning realisation, horror of horrors, that I had left behind my make up bag ( AAAGH! so if the guys who saw me after 25 years thought I was wearing cheap makeup, understand this, I was, courtesy of a smash and grab sprint into Boots in Oxford); normally, you see, gentlemen, I wear Chanel (a kind gift to myself when I turned 40).
The Saatchi Gallery was awesome: a fantastic space for a really exciting range of painting, sculpture and photography and I loved every minute of it. I particulaly liked the 20′ high triangular faceted cardboard and white emulsion pair of Staffordshire dogs, the embroidered photographs by Maurizio Anzeri and the paintings by the name of an artist I can no longer remember, but the abstract imagery, vocabulary and use of colour of which will live on in my mind forever.
The generous gallery space was soon filled with 100s of unfamiliar faces guzzling free flowing prosecco and I didn’t hold back either. The vast halls hummed with the buzz of creative networking , speeches, photographs: individual and en masse. The new Ruskin Master – a philosopher- was introduced looking young enough to be my son (I always thought they had to look old, but then again I once thought that about policemen) and the two hour stint was way too short a catch up time as the Saatchi staff then tried with great difficulty to break up our party and usher us all home.
I had many brief and poignant encounters with those I knew and those I didn’t; one unexpected highlight must have been bumping into Sarah Simblet, author of The Drawing Book, in the ladies powder room (I had to check my cheap makeup hadn’t slipped), being able to tell her face to face I use her book all the time with students. It made my day, and you never know perhaps made hers too.
This was a tremendous meeting of minds and energy and a mere glimpse of what might be in the future. Thank you Ruskin, but after twenty five years of silence, and 140 years of existence, not before time.