I recently visited Tate St Ives while on holiday in Cornwall.
I was getting over a cold, the weather was far too hot for me, and I was rather hungover, so I found myself working very hard at art appreciation and getting nowhere. I had tried my usual approach of standing still and looking and letting my mind wander, but, alas, all that happened was that I found myself being terribly judgemental about everybody else in the gallery.
I find that staring at abstract art and trying to make something of it is a lot like meditation, which I can't manage. Trying to empty my mind inevitably means that it runs on and on worrying about other people in the gallery or what sort of meaning should one ascribe to elements of a work or what might one say to the gallery attendants to demonstrate how cultured one is.
After half an hour of this, I sat down in front of a rather horrific sculpture, pulled out a notebook, and began to scribble haiku, and immediately found myself enjoying what I was looking at. I can't say that my response to the works was any the better for it, but I certainly had a much better time.
So, here are three haiku, along with pictures I took of the works I was writing at (or at least, in front of).
Seated Figure on a Bench, William de Kooning, 1972
Gnarled twisted pain
Eaten up. Not gone, not yet
Cadmium with Violet Scarlet Emerald Lemon & Venetian, Patrick Heron, 1969
Easter Island man
Kissing his new born infant
The black hole awaits
No. 799 Floats, Rana Begum, 2018
Is it bad of me
To want to line them all up
Rather more neatly