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Curating on a small scale

I bought my husband something for Christmas that he really loved – I was able to do this because he told me he loved them beforehand. Frank Boggis-Rolfe is a contemporary furniture maker who, like me, is based at Cockpit Arts in Deptford. At the Xmas Open Studio (his first, my ninth!) he was selling picture frames that you could slot a record into and hang on the wall. The clever thing being that you can just as easily take them out again to replace them with something else. My husband loved this and I hot footed it down to his studio, bought three, dropped them off in a friend’s studio and went back to say “shame – he’s sold out and won’t be making any more before Xmas!”. I thought my lie was completely unbelievable but Ian swallowed it!

Album covers

So much happiness on Xmas day and now we play curating a very tiny exhibition in our hall with our sadly neglected record collection.

Ian has done 80s (Spandau Ballet, Simple minds etc) and 70s (Mud, Mark Bolan etc) – there are likely to be many more in this vein as we are of the age . . . and today was my turn. I decided to go with the theme of "Facial Expression", selecting albums by Joan Armatrading, U2 and Bow Wow Wow. In the first of these three Joan A is looking off into the middle distance, almost lost in thought. It’s a moody, contemplative cover which matches very well the tone of the album. The child in the U2 picture is angry, defiant, a strong assertive presence. How it relates to the music I don’t know as it’s Ian’s record and U2 came to prominence when I was living in Spain. I saw them at Live Aid and they were completely unknown to me – but not it seems to the rest of the audience. We have both the versions of the The Bow Wow Wow album: the one with a 16 year old naked Annabella Lwin on it – which was subsequently banned (Ian’s) and the tamer replacement version with A L drapped in cloth and bullets (mine). With the sheer quantity of raunchy videos that accompany music these days I’m sure something like the Bow Wow Wow album would pass by completely unnoticed. It is of course a sort of recreation of Manet’s Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe which stunned me when I saw it at the Musee D’Orsay mainly because it is just so big! Lwin’s expression has something of the Mona Lisa about it, not quite a smile, and while my husband thought she was looking at him, I was sure that she was in fact looking at me. They say that circa 80% of communication is non verbal, and although my opinion counts for nothing I think I would go along with that.

Annabella Lwin

"Facial Expressions" now running in Ashmead Road Deptford, entry by appointment only.

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