Then we had visitors ourselves and duly showed them some of the local sights. We started by visiting the the 3 acorn fortress and the neighbouring Mudam (museum of modern art). The fortress is gradually being renovated under the Unesco cultural heritage scheme.
Inside the Mudam we were able to visit the exhibition of mixed media artwork and ceramics by the transvestite 2003 Turner prize winner and ceramicist Grayson Perry. His work is quite extraordinarily complex and nothing is as it seems at first glance. He is a gifted sculptor, embroiderer, seamstress, draughtsman and potter. Much of his work shows its oriental influences and attention to detail.
This is Baba Yaga’s hut (the hut on chicken legs immortalised in Mussorsgky’s piece of music “pictures at an exhibition”) and, of course well known to other Soul Food Café members.
Sculpture entitled Our Father
His pots are literally mixed media collages containing hundreds of images superimposed on each other (some not for the squeamish as there is a heavy sexually explicit content).
His childhood teddy bear, Alan Measles, has a number of pieces named after him, amongst them this shrine and the horse rider.
This is a robe he made with handmade ceramic buttons.
In another gallery we saw this cushion – some enterprising artist had decided to make use of some of the florid and brightly coloured tapestries you sometimes see in flea markets and had cut them up and re-cyled them into this large cushion.
This rather disturbing crumbling cityscape is made of pieces of dried skin stitched together (not immediately obvious until you look closer).
The next day we visited my favourite place, the abbey at Orval in Belgium. The exhibition dedicated to the work of Camille Colruyt “A road across matter and spirit” now include some of his pictures and some smaller figures as well as the larger ones we had seen earlier in the month scattered around the grounds together with work by other craftsmen involved in the restoration of the abbey. It appears that the grounds are also a popular place for married couples to have their wedding photos taken for there were 2 couples being photographed while we were there. I can’t think of a more beautiful place.
A quick visit to nearby Trier in Germany gave us a glimpse of this street sculpture artist who had cleverly rigged up a costume with a waterworks system concealed inside it. At the touch of a button inside he could spray water through his fingers on to unsuspecting passersby – much to the amusement of the onlookers. He was one of the best we had ever seen.