Lucian Freud Exhibition

I’m a little late to the party with this one, but I went to see The Lucian Freud at The National Portrait Gallery on Saturday. In a word BUSY. Within 5 minutes of being in the gallery I noticed that I couldn’t stop yawning, not because it was boring, but perhaps because it was so crowded I was fighting for my life for a share of oxygen. At one point there was over 20 people in one of the little 3mX3m side rooms queuing around a painting to look.

I nearly got knocked out by an obese woman’s elbow ( no, not “The” Big Sue/ Sue Tilley unfortunately) and then later, another lady actually scolded my friends and I for 1) standing still and 2)  nattering. ‘Suppose it was her fight or flight kicking in? You bitches have space, you have air, I will destroy you! It’s a shame as the crush really spoiled the experience, making it impossible to enjoy the wonderful pictures to the fullest.

I recommend going to the exhibition on a Tuesday at 11 or something, when the majority are at work.

My favourite is this one: Eli & David.

Lucian-Freud-eli and david

I shalln’t review the exhibition here, there are  more informative blogs for that, but what I’ll say is – it’s notable IMHO that Freud painted animals with a real tenderness not present in his (re)presentation of his human subjects.

Sexuality in his work is of the in your face kind.  I gather he was ‘at it’ with a lot of his models and muses. Some of the pictures do ooze the relationships with Freud and his subject, but more often than not, there is an unpleasantness and cold distance. Breasts and penises everywhere, which I didn’t find offensive, but instead rather disorientating, especially when one is packed in to a series of small airless rooms like a sardine in synthetic tomato sauce. I was nose -to- paint stroke with a giant version of Leigh Bowery’s flaccid penis the same size as his head, pretty much at the point of fainting. Not because I was deeply moved by the art or sexually excited or any of that jazz. I simply couldn’t breathe!

I clawed my way to the exit, tumbled onto the pavement gulping for air as if i’d been coughed out. Thank goodness for Dean St Town House and their very fine Grey Goose & cucumber tonic!

Subject is Sue Tilley in “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping”

I’ve always wanted to create drama in my pictures, which is why I paint people. It’s people who have brought drama to pictures from the beginning. The simplest human gestures tell stories.’

Lucian Freud

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