ANTONIA ROLLS ARTIST EXTRAORDINAIRE NEWS. An account of an Artist and Mother in Bognor Regis. Worthwhile, but exhausting, so pour the tea and make yourself comfortable...(this painting is a family portrait, about 2'x 3', oil on wood. It is the Ross Family, each family member with items that describe them best. And at the front, on the grass on the right hand side, is a photo of Grandma, sadly missed.)
Angst. Before I decided what we were going to do this week, I thought of another title for this blog. "A Gallop Through Gombrich". When we first studied Art History we were given a book called "The Story of Art" by E H Gombrich. It was a very important book to us, it told us everything that we needed to know and started, at least for me, a life long love of the Italian Renaissance. I believe it is a very important book to generations of Art Historians; everyone who is anyone in Art History seems to have been given a copy of "The Story of Art" at one point and to have become enslaved at once. So A Gallop Through Gombrich would mean an Authentic Artistic Movement A Week for a good few months. Bognor would be the new Paris. Or Rome. Or New York. Bognor Regis would be the Creative and Cultural Mecca of West Sussex. More so than it is now.
Today we are going to concentrate on Angst. What does it means to be Angst Ridden? We are still wondering what to do for the next Bognor Movement, and as we can't make up our minds, we are becoming Worried, which because we are Artists, means that we may become Unbalanced. So the best thing to do is to make that the theme of the day. Historically, Artists are supposed to be emotionally wobbly a lot of the time, and the term Angst Ridden applies to those alarmingly creative, insecure, introspective and sensitive types. Well, I am not really any of those things, but I am creative so I am entitled to a teeny bit of Angst.
The word Angst is glorious in theory, less so if you actually have it. It means fear and anxiety in German, Danish, Norwegian and Dutch. All those countries are bound by the same word to describe their intense feelings of apprehension and inner turmoil; "Angst!" they moan as they stagger around with copies of Kierkegaard under their arm, "I got Angst, goddamit, it's all too bad and I got Inner Turmoil too.". It was first used by the Danish Philosopher Soren Kierkeregaard, that jolly fellow that I can't understand a word of, in his book "The Concept of Anxiety" (or Fear depending on the translation) and it is linked too to what can be described as a deep seated spiritual condition of insecurity and fear in the free human being. Yes. I can see Bognor may have some of that.
So today we can use this very deep and troubling word to describe how we Artists are feeling for this week. The word has been used to cover all manner of negative states, and I don't suppose everyone who uses it knows quite how philosophical it is because it sounds so good. It sounds so clever. "I can't deliver the groceries today," a delivery driver may say on the absentee hotline to Sainsburys, "I got Angst. It is part of my Deep Seated Spiritual Insecurity". Teenagers have it in bucket loads. I did. I wrote poems on how depressed I was and how I was going to die and left them around for my father to read. He used to write jokes on them and give them back. He was very witty and making me laugh (I tried not to) nipped my angst in the bud.
So. Angst. Here is a smattering of what is giving me a mild attack of Angst. I have an exhibition to organise. A Graceful Death goes to Manchester and the paintings are still not there. The transport from Dublin to Burnage is now suddenly changed and it all seems too too difficult. Who looks after the Child (14 and dangerous) while I am gone? Will anyone come to the exhibition? Neill the film maker of repute is terribly busy, so am I, when will we catch up? Will he still do the film? If he won't is it because I am a loathsome creature (the bells, the bells) and he got a glimpse of my deep-seated-spiritual-condition-of insecurity-blah-blah-blah-free-human-being-blah-blah etc? Why am I so tired all the time? I have more Angels to paint (phew) but they are in danger of being painted crippled by anxiety on the canvas. Will the ever wonderful photographer Eileen Rafferty take the train all the way up to Burnage, Manchester, for the the A Graceful Death exhibition only to photograph Neill filming me in an empty room? Will I manage to talk sense? Ever?
It strikes me that I talk of Bognor's Artistic Temperature, and then describe myself. I think I am the Bognor Artistic Movements, single handedly being everything all at once. Maybe next time I should make Bognor do Surrealism or Dadaism. They were bonkers enough for one person to decide to be a personification of both or either. So then I won't have to write about Mulitple Personality Disorders, or about Delusions Of Grandeur. None of which I even remotely have. Phew.
The Scream by Edvard Munch.
This painting by Edvard Munch is a fantastic example of Angst. He painted several versions between 1893 and 1910, and caught the agony of the human condition (if you are in a terrible way) and in his own words "...an infinite scream passing through nature". You can see how one could identify with this if one is suffering the ghastliness of insecurity (deep seated and spiritual) and fear.
I don't feel quite like this yet. But if it gives me kudos, I am prepared to pretend.