It’s the last day of 1994, I am 17.
I am sitting on a white floor laughing. A sea of faces look back at me. Some are smiling, some quizzical, some sad, shocked, disinterested, some star gazing, some thoughtful, some scared. I feel alone, together, afraid, fearless, excited, nervous. I could take on the world. I feel like something is going to happen.
I’m not drunk. There are no illegal substances involved.
No. For the first time in my life I am awestruck by the power of art. I am looking at Antony Gormley’s Field for the British Isles in Tate Liverpool.
|by Matt Gorecki|
I will also never forget my parents taking me to an exhibition dedicated to minimalism at Tate Liverpool. I complained a lot at Mark Rothko’s big blocks of colour, ‘But I could paint that Dad’ and about Carl Andre’s controversial Equivalent VIII, ‘But it’s just a pile of bricks Mum.’ But whatever I made of art then, it set my mind wandering.
By the age of 17 I had long fallen out of love with school art lessons. I can trace this back, to the collage I laboriously made for homework in third year. My art teacher didn’t seem to get it, she much preferred the technically brilliant, but boring, sketch of a tree by my classmate. I’m not claiming I was ever brilliant at art, I just wasn’t inspired by endless pencil sketches, cross hatching, dotting and still, stagnant life. I wanted glue, paint, clay and collages. So I dropped art in favour of drama.
In sixth form, after seeing the Field for the British Isles exhibition, I suggested to my friend, who had stuck with Art, and was looking for a topic for her A level coursework, that she did Antony Gormley. The art teacher told her Gormley wasn’t famous enough. A few weeks later of course, Gormley won the Turner Prize.
I am frustrated I didn’t pursue art beyond just appreciating it, especially when I look at art in schools nowadays and it is a very different picture. Still, I appreciate looking at it.This little legacy continues, last weekend My Dad and I took Miss L to Nottingham Contemporary. Here’s how we got on.