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The Sun, London, 12 October 2015

13 Oct 2015

Five days after my booking for The Moon and Nude at The Old Dairy in Crouch Hill, I was posing at their sister venue in Clapham – The Sun. So much life had unfolded between these life modelling dates, yet here I could relax into familiarity if I so wished. Familiar space, familiar pace and indeed a familiar face, as group co-organiser Aless welcomed me back.


As at Crouch Hill, pose lengths during the first half were 5 minutes. 4, 3, 2, 1-minute, then 10 minutes, 15, 20 minutes. Extra time is available here after the break – it is a standard two-hour booking instead of an hour and three-quarters – so we followed with 35 minutes and 4 minutes. I could relax into familiarity, yet still preferred a challenge.


I tried to make all the short poses a bit stressful, either with tense or extended limbs that encouraged me to focus on the body rather than the mind. Even a semi-reclining 10-minute posture incorporated strains and stretches. The cumulative effect of these mild exertions clearly had an impact as my legs seemed to shiver beneath me while I stood for the next 15 minutes.


Sitting upright on the floor during the 20 minutes that followed, I intertwined my limbs for added stability. After the break, Aless encouraged me to lay down for the longest pose; not to take my ease but because apparently it’s popular with the artists. Even so, I raised both forearms and one knee to give the pose fully three dimensions, and hopefully create a more original challenge for those who were drawing me.


The final 4 minutes standing raced by in a blur, as did the subsequent packing away and exiting. Artists disappeared so quickly that I had no time to see any works from the second half. Indeed, within five minutes of finishing I too had dressed, bid Aless farewell and was heading home. Such efficiency, so easy in the telling, and yet still beneath it all there remain the preoccupations of the mind.


Two hours is a long time to be a motionless invisible human being, lost under intense visual scrutiny devoted largely to the physical. No matter what might be experienced at that level, the mind will always discover its own spaces. In stillness it can process, settle, absorb. Often I am aware of spontaneous smiles; private smiles in a crowded room. I take them to be a healthy sign, and these to be good times.

From → Art

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