I’m quite a nice chap really, when you get to know me. At least my dog thinks so. My wife’s a bit unsure about it but then after almost 25 years she still doesn’t understand me. My sons say nothing and I haven’t yet asked the mistress. As a spotty schoolboy I once ducked a piece of flying chalk thrown by an irate master who bellowed “A void, Higginson, is an empty space. Its what you have between your ears” . A man of few words was Mr Hogg, he looked a rather like Mr Spock in a tweed 1950’s suit but without the pointed ears or the views about void / space being the final frontier where no man has gone before.
CHILDREN OF THE ALBATROSS
Why the story? Well a week or so ago, after my observations about the antique trade in Ireland, a meaningless quotation by Anais Nin was posted. By whom, I know not. No email address provided. I don’t think it was from Anais herself because she departed this tragic world in 1977 but by someone who must have felt that I needed to know something of Anais’s views on love. Now as a young man I’m sure I would have liked Anais had I had the fortune to meet her ‘in the flesh’ so to speak. According to her own account, from her published diaries, she really enjoyed the company of men and her many lovers ranged from Henry Miller to the late Gore Vidal. In short she walked in the shadow of literary giants. However to walk/ sleep with giants is not to be a giant oneself. Anais Nin did publish a few bits of her own work, most of which, to be blunt, are either pretentious gibberish, soft porn or both. I once read her ‘Children of the Albatross’ and trust me another Virginia Wolfe she was not. So when I later learned that she had studied psychology in Paris in-between lovers it came as no great surprise.
Get to the point Higginson minor, what’s this got to do with Art, Antiques & Design?
Well, as a youth I was taught, ney, trained to keep my words short, sharp ,directly to the point & stand up straight boy. Now as an antique antique furniture man ,I can drone on until the cows come home because nobody ever listens to me anyway. However do I truly and sincerely believe that all true art in whatever form speaks for itself and it really does not need the hideous modern fashion of trying to explain it with pages of pseudo-intellectualism & meaningless babble. In short if it looks like a duck, quacks & walks like a duck it then almost certainly is a duck. Simple, cook it, eat it and move on
Sir Christopher Wren’s tomb in St. Pauls Cathedral bears the Latin inscription (trans) “ If you seek his memorial look around you”. That’s all, nothing about spaces, voids, corners or curves, just three simple words. “Look Around You’. A Henry Moore or Barbara Hepworth sculpture needs no explanation or lengthy book of psycho-speak to go with it. This rule applies to true art in all its varied forms including the written word. Imagine if Henry V’s speech before Agincourt had been drafted by the people who now write coffee table art books & warble on all day about voids and open spaces. The archers would have all fallen asleep before the fun started, history would be different & Shakespeare would never have written a play to stir the hearts of Englishmen.
“ For those who understand no explanation is necessary, for those who don’t understand no explanation is possible.” True, simple & straight to the point.
Now I really hope that I don’t offend anyone by scripting this, and everybody knows I’m always very careful to be politically correct. My wife may yet disown me and I fear being arrested, still with tongue in cheek, by the EU thought police & charged under the Danger to Ducks & Psychologists Act. Or, very much worse being sent another dreary quotation by Anais Nin.
I appeal to you all, take to the streets with banners reading ‘ Keep it short, keep it simple & keep it understandable !’ Before it’s to late. Do it now. Do it for me.
Best wishes from Ireland,