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Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Christopher Le Brun's Visit to Swindon

Although I was really looking forward to our first talk of the year, I was also apprehensive about the number of things which could potentially go wrong when acting as host to Christopher Le Brun. We were holding the event at Swindon Dance because of the exhibition change over in the art gallery which meant we couldn't hold it there. Luckily Swindon Dance were able to let us use their studio because it was half term, but it meant we had 98 seats to fill; I emailed the Friends, advertised on social media and encouraged as many people as I could to come along.
 It was alright on the night, Christopher's train arrived on time, he was dropped off at Swindon Dance at 6.35pm, giving us chance to have a chat to him beforehand. Lots of people did come along, I took a photo at the end of the evening, quite a good crowd, maybe 70?
We were asked to produce a transcript of the evening, and decided to ask Create Studios, at very short notice, if they could film the event. We were very lucky to have Henry Meredith coming to film the evening, here he is in the photograph below, setting up and checking everything. The video will appear online as soon as we have it, and was a timely reminder that we need to video all our talks and make them available on the website.
 Here are the audience beginning to arrive
 Although Christopher Le Brun was 'in conversation' with our Curator, Sophie Cummings, it was agreed that he would talk for 20 minutes, then have a conversation with Sophie and then take questions.
 At the Slade where his tutor was John Hoyland, and figurative art wasn't favoured at that time, Le Brun went home to work on paintings he was discouraged from working on at college.
 During 1982 when he had finished the magnificent 'Hyperion', seen below, it was in the Nigel Greenwood Gallery  when Richard Morphet encouraged Swindon Museum and Art Gallery to acquire with the help of the V&A fund. Le Brun talked quite a bit about this painting, which coincidentally hung over the stairs in the Town Hall when it was first acquired by Swindon Museum and Art Gallery; the great hooks it hung from are still in the wall!
You will be able to find out exactly what Le Brun said when we have the video on the website, but what did I take away from the evening? I thought he was an inspirational speaker with a tremendous understanding of his life and was able to give us a fascinating insight into some of his personal highlights He has remained true to himself, and feels it's best to produce work from the heart because it shines through, and that's what people want when buying a painting.
I've added a few more photos of paintings, a bit blurry and unclear:
'Dream, Think, Speak' was painted in the same year as 'Hyperion'.
and the 'Three Riders' a bit later.
Le Brun was asked about the horses which have appeared in his paintings over the years and said they are there to represent sentient beings. As you can see the slides of his paintings didn't show  them at all clearly, rather tongue in cheek, Le Brun encouraged us to buy his book, which he agreed to sign for us. Details of this offer when we have them. In the meantime I looked up the book, there are several, this is the latest:
Entitled: Christopher Le Brun: New Paintings
I thought the bit of information with the book was rather good:
'Renowned for his evocative and highly-charged imagery, British artist Christopher Le Brun's new work builds upon a wide cultural literacy, from Virgil and Tennyson to William Walton.Following his appearance in many international group exhibitions - such as the influential Zeitgeist exhibition at the Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin (1982) - Le Brun became recognised as one of the leading young European painters, and is currently the President of the Royal Academy, London.New Paintings shows an abundance of energy and Le Brun's renewed pleasure in colour and light.Alongside full-colour illustrations, this volume includes a personal response by artist and writer Edmund de Waal, and an introduction by art historian David Anfam that places the work within the tradition of late twentieth and early twenty-first century modern painting.'

Please let me know if you'd like a copy of the book, we can order them together.

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