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cave, London, 11 June 2019

25 Jun 2019

I often wonder whether being an art ‘institution’, with all the formality it implies, carries an obligation to accept the burdensome millstone of tradition. Everything must always be as it is now and ever was: setting, format, practice, ambiance. In Pimlico, however, cave is constantly evolving as: “a space on a mission to find itself and its place in an ever changing throw away world…

In practice this means whenever I enter the second-hand retail area of cave, it always seems to have undergone a new metamorphosis. In this session, the area cleared for life drawing had migrated to the rear of the shop. Over time it had been shifting in that direction, having started just inside the entrance gates and been a bit more central on my last visit. Where and how the bric-a-brac vanishes is a mystery of the universe.

One thing that never alters is the warm welcome from head cave-dweller, Karen. She looks after her models and artists with equal attentiveness, always bringing a positive energy to the occasion. Having fired-up the group, she then gets us started with short dynamic work: five 1-minute poses, two 5-minute poses and two 10-minute poses, as Ladysmith Black Mambazo serenade us in style from the old CD player.

During the interval that follows we’re all offered tea, wine, chocolate chip cookies and ginger snaps. I accepted a drop of red, as is my pleasure, and chatted with artists till we were ready to commence the second half. The beat moved up tempo as the pose times got longer; I sat on the floor with my right arm resting on my crooked right knee for 25-minutes, then stood with hands behind my neck, elbows up, for 20 minutes.

Come the end, artworks were placed across the floor for general admiration. Karen’s phone battery had died in the act of signalling the session was over, so I took photos of drawings for us both. Another change at cave has been the average age of artists; from being predominantly mature this is now a very youthful gathering, but the merry banter has been consistent throughout. This is a lovely place for art… for all.

From → Art

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