In a world where we have ‘reality’ TV shows, cyber worlds in which we can make our lives appear very different to the day-to-day routines and constant ‘updates’ of people’s daily realities, I thought it appropriate to look at ‘what is real’.
It is a week ago since we were heading down on the train for the preview. I consciously decided to write ‘The review’ almost not as ‘The sculptor’s wife’ but as someone else who had, had the luxury of being able to glide around the exhibition unhindered by children in their ‘mad hour’. I wanted not to taint my husband’s proud moment with my reality.
The journey started with my husband’s realisation that he had left his jacket at home, the one he had dry cleaned and planned to wear – outfit all imagined of course. Not a good start. One stressed artist in a confined space with two excited boys. Anyway, the food and books prepared kept them busy. I let it all wash over me and stayed calm. We got to the hotel, changed and met family to enjoy a meal at a Lebanese restaurant around the corner. The boys had gone into hyper mode. I think I became a bit dazed by the sudden thrust into central London life and I was unable to eat much of the yummy food on offer. The walk to the Royal British Sculpture Society offered a moment to savour the atmosphere but as we gathered outside and met with friends it dawned on me that the space inside may not handle all our contrasting energies. Inside, I managed a few snatched conversations and introductions with people I wanted to speak with but overly aware of my youngest hurtling around. As I reflect, I recall an almost cat and mouse game of chase around one of the exhibitions. No wonder someone came out making a comment about not wanting to meet the children inside at a restaurant.Whoops. Half prepared, I dug out folded pieces of paper and crayons I had brought with me with visions of calmly occupied children sketching. Mmm… perhaps if it had been 10.30 in the morning that would have worked. Whilst the speeches were underway the boys bounced off the steps outside, my sister anxiously wondering who was with them as we were tightly compact with no way of assuring their safety. However, they were with a friend and relatively content. My husband was whipped away to speak with a potential client and with my eldest becoming somewhat overwhelmed with tiredness and emotion I took us back to the hotel thankful that it was just around the corner.
Alongside all this my husband also had to organise in the middle of the night the journey of ‘The Toy’ coming down to ‘Passion for Freedom’ which had to change their venue at the last-minute. This meant that the day after whilst he ran across London to meet with the van and deliver it. I took the boys to a museum round the corner with a phone that no longer had any battery. The reality of being out of mobile phone contact when needing to liaise meeting up made for good problem solving skills to come into play. In all, it was an exciting trip and the buzz of it was amazing but good to reflect a week on and put some perspective and ‘reality’ to it. Sometimes we so often see the duck gracefully swimming that we forget the ferocious paddling underneath.
This morning, my boys were playing an imaginary game and I suddenly tapped into their reality and seized the moment to connect their reality with mine. I wish I could do this more often. The three-headed monster (the light in their bedroom) who was a potential threat assisted me by becoming the reason to armour up into school uniform. Hats for helmets, space boots and then our rocket ship journey to school was a more peaceful one than previous mornings.
We chain ourselves to things that make us act, behave, see, respond in a certain way. Our possessions, the people around us are all given to test us for what is real. This piece below is the one ‘nestled in the fireplace’ in the exhibition. ‘Cruelty: This work confronts the parent/child relationship and questions our imposition of moral and social systems which conflict with our own inner truth.’
As with this life, it may seem like the reality but sometimes we need to stand back and look beyond the illusory pleasures of this temporary world and ask ourselves what is real?