While in lockdown many of us have had to pay attention to—
Objects? Others? Ourselves? Bringing them into better consciousness, or awareness. For these diaries I’ve drawn on word-smithery, while others have drawn.
An artist who does this with sublime intensity is Tom Loffill, a Royal Academy summer show exhibitor and whose Saatchi art profile declares is interested in the spiritual life of everyday objects. Pierre Chardin was too, in the 18th century but lamentably few painters are in the 21st. My Shoes on Jan’s Rug (acrylic, 2019) have more reality than the photo below My Shoes on My Rug (iPhone4, 2020) as the hand of the artist is engaged. Like Van Gogh’s famous painting of his boots, Loffill’s shoes have a certain spirituality. They are dead objects brought to life through art.
A lot of people have been drawing and painting during The Great Lockdown (as history may call it) and been thinking, questioning, reading and finding new ways of relating to others and self. It will have changed people utterly, many for the better. It’s been challenging, and some have had it rough, but that which does not kill you makes you stronger, is a cliché for a reason. We’re all wondering what we’ll find after TGL. Changed people means a changed society, so watch this space – and I don’t mean the one between Johnson’s ears.
I live in luxury, in other words I have enough, and part of that luxury is not having to follow a dysfunctional governments’ advice. I’ll emerge from my bubble when the scientists say it’s safe to do so and Covid has gone. Meanwhile, the soft fruit is doing nicely on the allotment, the lettuces are coming along and tadpoles are growing their frogs’ legs. While nature is doing her thing, many are growing new shoots too, so in better shape to help those who’ve had it rough.
I quote Rowan Williams. ‘The so-called ‘market state’ is lethally ill equipped to cope with large-scale collective crisis. The minimum wages of essential workers, the failure of supply and demand for medical equipment and the sheer cruelty of comments suggesting that the vulnerable could be sacrificed to keep the economy going – all have revealed the pickpocketing of the market’s ‘hidden hand’ and the steepness of its ‘level playing field.’ I’ve always liked Rowan Williams. One of our leading intellectuals, he opposed the Gulf war and as Archbishops of Canterbury go – he went!
By the way, there are still no Covid deaths in Vietnam. Why no reporting on this? I think it would make a fascinating TV programme.
Meanwhile, check out Tom Loffill – https://tomloffill.com/