So instead of working today I had the chance to visit Auckland Art Gallery, for the ‘The Body Laid Bare’ masterpieces from Tate.

Everyone I had spoken to re the exhibition had raved about how great it was. Emphasizing the fact that time had to be taken to really enjoy the works. So I was prepared, or so I thought. The iconic pieces were there. Rodin’s’ ‘The Kiss’ was front and centre and much bigger than I remember.  ‘Draped Nude’ by Henri Matisse was smaller than I thought she would be and it was a delight to see this for the first time. I was getting fully immersed in the collection, so much so I could have been at the Tate. In fact I did wonder why photos weren’t allowed as all of the works were publicly owned. I didn’t find an answer to this. I stopped myself from touching a Henry Moore, which was very hard as in the past I have climbed over his bronzes at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. But nevertheless I was in a happy place. Then I turned a corner, literally, and I was stopped dead in my tracks.  In that instance so much of a previous life rushed at  me all because of this painting.

I can’t remember the first time I saw this work or where, but I know I bought the post card and it was on many flat walls from student days in Toxteth, Liverpool to teaching Art at high school on the Wirral. It sparked many a conversation with interested 15 year olds. It was one of the 97 post cards I had in snap-it frames throughout my 2 up 2 down terraced house.

The instant I saw this painting again, all of these memories hit me at once. Seriously, I was dead in my tracks and just sat and starred.  It really was an unbelievable experience. One I am still discussing with myself. Too many thoughts for this space, but here’s a question. ‘Is this experience the reason why people create?’


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