Wirksworth Festival 2008: Art and Architecture trail (Part 2)

I really like it when I get a physical reaction to a piece of art. Although maybe like isn’t the right word. I remember seeing Damien Hurst’s statue of Saint Bartholomew a couple of years ago; in his “exquisite pain” he was holding his own recently removed skin aloft. At the risk of sounding pretentious, I’ll tell you that it not only literally sent shivers down my spine, it actually gave me nightmares. I’ve not had that sort of physical reaction very often, but it’s always been an uncomfortable response I’ve experienced.

Until Saturday, when I walked into a Wirksworth garden and came face to face with a large bear.

Bear Hug

The bear was part of Paul Smith’s exhibition and it was getting a big reaction from everyone. There was something about the curved lines, the rounded ever so slightly abstract form, the air of contentment that was making people exclaim and gasp. It was wonderful. That warm fuzzy feeling that had disappeared along with childhood returned. Even Mr TLC, a man not given to wild displays of sentiment, walked up to the sculpture and gently patted the bear. (OK, that’s not exactly a wild display of sentiment, but that’s what he did.) Unlike most galleries, where touching the Art is absolutely forbidden, here no-one at all – least of all the sculptor – seemed to mind.

We spent ages in that garden. My Mum and I debated which one of us was worthy to own The Fox and the Crow (although given the price tag, we’ve settled for a photo).

Fox and Crow II

Mr TLC was entranced by Moondance.

Beauty and the Beast

Paul Smith’s sculptures all drew inspiration from myths and fairy tales and managed the difficult feat of being appealing and heartwarming yet elegant. I loved them. I don’t think my photos do them justice, so if you get the chance, why not take a look for yourself?

… more from Wirksworth tomorrow.

1 comment to Wirksworth Festival 2008: Art and Architecture trail (Part 2)

  • I have very happy memories of working in Wirksworth, although just two of us working in the church very late at night, during a thunder storm was a tad eerie, but spectacular when the lightning lit up all the stained glass for a split second…. I must go to the festival next year, make note to self.

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