If you’re not at the Edinburgh Festival, August can be a quieter time. People go on holiday (I had a record 12 out of 15 out of offices to a group email last week) and as temperatures rise the pace of life can go slightly in the opposite direction. It’s a very good time to prepare for the onslaught of autumn, but it’s also healthy and necessary to take one's foot ever so slightly off the gas at opportune moments during the (otherwise hard) working day.
Experiencing one of these moments recently I decided to personalize my computer. The corporate blue, adorned with Microsoft logo and graphic flourish had to go. It’s just not me. But, what to choose? What beautiful image would I select and turn into desktop background? Wallpaper, if you will?
I have a favourite visual artist. He has been my favourite visual artist for 25 years. I am ashamed to admit that when I was at university, I cut out 3 of his paintings from a library book. I could have taken more. I had to have them. His name is Cy Twombly and his work is unspeakably beautiful. To me.
More than a decade after defacing those books I read that the Tate had purchased his Four Seasons and I was breathless with excitement at the prospect of seeing his work in the actual flesh for the first time.
Bypassing everything else in the gallery I made a beeline for the right room and entered. I had not realised how big these particular paintings were going to be. The combination of scale and the reality of what my eyes were actually registering hit me, and after 30 seconds or so of hyper-ventilating, I burst into tears.
By the time the Serpentine exhibition came around and then a full scale Tate retrospective a few years later, I was better prepared. But I appreciate he’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Taking a non-plussed friend along to the Serpentine show, she offered to ‘knock one up’ for me when she got home.
Postcards of the Four Seasons are the first pictures I pinned on the notice board by my desk, along with a copy of one of the pictures I cut out from a book all those years ago – The Wilder Shores of Love.
So, should I, could I, turn one of Cy Twombly’s works into wallpaper? Hell yes.
I don’t have a favourite book, play or movie; but now, I begin each working day with a widescreen close up of my favourite work of art.