March 15, 2005

The Opening

A series of events flowed one into another, bringing us to the main, the opening of the show. Alas, my camera stayed in my coat pocket during the whole time! Chalk it up to a variety of factors: the meet and greet of an opening gave no time for the reach for the documentary camera, or that I didn't want to induce a flash of self consciousness (worse than the blinding of a camera's flash) as I was shaking hands of aacquaintences new and old, or maybe it was a small measure of belligerent and stubborn self-effacement...

Somehow, I don't think my writing skills will be able to render a sufficient word picture that can substitute effectively for a few candid shots of that night. I can only hope that what follows might suffice.

I have to report at the outset that I shared the opening with Sean Dawson, a British painter new to the gallery. He installed three large paintings in the gallery below. It was nice to see his work, meet him and his wife, Jo, a painter as well. I will blogpost a few pics of his work very soon.

Andr? was kind enough to encourage me to arrive a little late, as Cologne openings have a reputation for slow start ups. The crowd count was small but I was busy all night with people, one after the other, so I didn't notice at the time. A curator from Leverkusen was in earlier, very good. I was able to reunite with longtime collectors of mine and it was wonderful to talk to them and listen to their generous stories of how they have hung my works in their homes. One family had a son who took avid interest in this, a lad who wants to design and build hotels one day (he will be working in Miami soon, in the hotel industry), a smart kid.

To my utter surprise, Hiroshi Sugito and Yoshitomo Nara dropped in! We were all taken by surprise. They told me that Yoshitomo stomped on the brakes as their car drove by (and he wasn't driving!), both of them accompanied by Munich gallerist Michael Zink. They were in Germany for their joint show at the museum K21 in Dusseldorf (next post). These guys are golden. It was sooooooooo great to see them again, and so wonderful to see them in such good form, enjoying such recognition. Together, we sung praises of Tomio Koyama. And to add to my good fortune, their museum show was scheduled to open the very next day.

How perfect is that?

My gallerist in Haarlem (next to Amsterdam), Tanya Rumpff drove over three hours to attend the opening! She was interested of course to see the show and together, we scheduled the date for our first show together in Haarlem: October of this year. It is quite a good feeling to show the currrent paintings to her and talk about the upcoming show. Tanya is fantastic. She has no qualms about sharing her critique, she delivers it so sweetly: "I like this very much...I don't like this at all." Tanya is fabulous. More stories about her to come.

As a matter of fact, the whole night, a constant succession of people came up to me to cheerfully share their critique in a subdued, but very much in the same way "I like this...I don't like that." I attribute this to the fact that I painted contrapuntally: each painting gave way to the "other hand", one after another. What kept me tranquil was that everyone liked what every other person didn't like. More often than not, immediately after a person shared with me their orchid and lemon picks, another would (contrapuntally) share with me the complete opposite opinion. After a short while, the inevitable small irritation gave way to a small amusement. I was glad they cared enough to share their opinions.

Later in the evening, we went into the snowy night to a local restaurant for schnitzel and beer. A plate heaped with potatoes and this giant breaded veal flesh, I tried not to think of the doe-eyed calf as we raised our glasses in a toasts. (It was delicious, though.) Tanya was across from me and I introduced her to my cousin Margaret (with whom we stayed there, she has recently moved to Cologne, now working as a telcom guru for T-Systems/Deutch Telcom), she wants to steer into art collecting, now as her beautiful daughter Paola matriculates through univerisity (media studies at Goldsmiths) in London. It was a good opportunity to introduce her to Tanya and Andr? and the art world in general.

We made our way home after midnight, and Tanya had a long drive back to the Netherlands through snow flurries. And for all of this, she was upbeat, careless that she will arrive home closer to four, all this with a smile on her face. Cautions and kisses for luck were heaped, one atop the other.

A good night.

Posted by Dennis at March 15, 2005 9:15 AM

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