To be an artist is to believe in life.

Henry Moore. Off

i went over to henry moore’s cottage in hertfordshire over the weekend.

the house is being kept exactly as it was when he died.

to walk around it we had to wrap bits of plastic around our shoes – partly to protect the carpet and partly i suspect to increase the impression that the place has some sort of; untouchable, import. it seems the master and mistress of the house are conjured into unliving participation in their own museum – crockery is laid out, whiskey & rum left undrunk, sofa unused and books unread…

the main room moore used to greet visitors is cordoned off so one can only look into a very strange exhibition. a very english sitting room of the eighties – but very much from the seventies – cluttered with amazing sculpture and painting – some beautiful examples of African tribal sculpture , a couple of courbets, a rodin, medieval stone angels… none of which can be approached – all of which are frozen in the moment they were left. they could be anything, given the surroundings they should be examples of porcelain animals, dolls, stuffed game, lead soldiers, pinned butterflies, pressed flowers, stuffed pets in weird poses, waxworks…

just another collection of curiosities in a comfortable (suffocatingly crowded) and gloomy room.

entropy is held back & life is shooed away and henry & irina moore are held to earth. as far as helping his legacy i think that this gives ammunition to the snobbery & faint praise that his work engenders… i like the work, i think it needs rethinking and decontextualising after all he’s dead.


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