A year ahead is a long time. But I did not think, ok; relax; chill. I did think; panic! Twelve months is not a long time. This is the amount of time in advance one needs when booking a solo show at the exhibition space of the Tourist office in the market town of Ribérac in SW France, not for organisational purposes you understand (twelve months is hardly enough), but because the space is much in demand.
For some time now I have been slightly obsessed by a large and rather imposing silo that sits high up on a ridge near where I live. Its construction some thirty odd years ago was not without controversy, being mainly considered an eyesore. But as time went on it became known as the cathedral on the hill. Certainly its proportions correspond with this rather affectionate name given by the locals and it appears very much to have a nave, with a tower at one end and various chapel like annexes to one side or another.
The silo commands the landscape that surrounds it and can be seen from many angles and from various viewpoints north to south and east to west. It engorges all the produce of the fields that lie at its feet, from the golden wheat to the blackened seeds of the sunflowers as their stalks and leaves brown and shrivel in the Dordogne heat.
But despite its impressive mighty posture the silo is dwarfed by the ever-changing skies that linger over the ridge and ridicule the dimensions of the structure below. Here, the clouds hesitate, getting caught around the ridge, undecided in which direction to turn, in to which valley to descend. They dance in fluffy flat bottomed tufts, equally spaced in infinite blue skies; they run ragged in lines formed by passing planes, tearing soft runways into the sky. Pink and gold tinged beaches hover above the land and invite us to laze on their shores.
The enormity of the skies come and go in their various forms, but the silo remains solid, faithful to the land that feeds it; still always the star of the show.
And now panic is setting in…
The paintings are done. The age old question, are there enough? Will they look ok together? Have I put all the hooks and cord on? Oh no I haven’t put all the hooks and cords on. I HAVE forgotten to order more business cards, is it too late now?
Have we got enough wine (most important question)? That one isn’t even varnished yet, how did I miss it? Labels, mustn’t forget labels… prices, oh no, I hate pricing!
And so it goes on… but I think I am there, in a sort of organised chaotic sort of way. But then that is normal… I have an excuse… I am an artist!
The exhibition ‘Trois kilometers Autour d’un Silo’ opens at Ribérac Tourist Office (24600) at 6pm on Friday the 24th of February and runs until Thursday the 29th of March. Free entry. See poster for further details.