As you may know, I am very much a man of culture and urbane sophistication (as I believe was proved by my discourse on housecoats last year). Therefore, one may well imagine the hardships I have to go through offshore. I can live with the fact that oil rigs are dirty, noisy, brutal places, populated by burly men of the same nature, but what is most difficult to tolerate is the lack of the arts. Music taste has not moved beyond 80s soft rock or insanely inane local hyper-pop: there is no place for the sonata or German minimal here. The same is the case with visual art. On a rig, most usually, my taste for the fine is as isolated as the remote platform I am inhabiting. Here, the masses gather round photos of scantily clad femmes contorting improbably - that is their art. A Jackson Pollock is derided as a scribble: "Give me some tins of paint and I'll do that after a night out," is one of the wittier resumes.
So one may imagine my delight to be on a rig with real, high quality art. I’m still enjoying my “independence” on the Istiglal, where I’ve been for over seventeen months now, and daily I enjoy my meals of gristle in a galley teeming with original paintings. I know that you, dear reader, are keen to cast your critical eye on some original art, so without further ado I’ll begin my short tour.
We begin with this neutral, but pretty scene, of a little stream. Isn’t it pretty? And isn’t it frightfully neutral? I can barely think of anything to say about it.
But this little gem has more going on. A horse (you can just see its head) and cart, a woman and child, and a big 2D fortress. The textures in the real thing need to be seen to be believed.
I call this one “Golf Course”. It’s not a golf course, but it might as well be. I promise you, they get more exciting after this.
Into this majestic beauty: “Horses At Sunset!” An inspirational picture of freedom and the theme of the platform, independence. Look at these horses gallop! Perhaps it’s a sunrise, not a sunset: all the best pictures have ambiguity. And I am intrigued by the two horses on the edge. Fainter and more ethereal than the central trio, could they be ghosts or echoes of the reality? The implications are significant.
This also hangs in the galley and is more typical of rig art. When on a rig, look at pictures of rigs... Can you see the mentality I am dealing with here?
Mystery and magic, with just a hint of menace. Any further analysis, I feel, would just detract.
This picture is just rubbish. It doesn’t even hang in the main galley, instead being in the kitchen serving area. Look, the artist hasn’t even tried: he’s drawn a dull scene badly. Why they’ve given it a fancy frame, I don’t know. I apologise for subjecting you, faithful reader, to this, but imagine the horror of having this brute glare at you every day.
And finally, possibly my favourite and continuing the horse theme, is this sweet peach of a picture. Horse and foal in the misty, mountainous outdoors, possibly standing in a small pond. The second picture – “2D Fortress” – featured a horse certainly not enjoying independence; “Horses At Sunset” explodes with independence: what then for this evocative enigma? The picture here seems to be just one small part of a longer, maybe epic, story. The horses sure appear to be free, but they also seem surrounded, and overwhelmed by the scene around them.
Bidding starts on June 1st; if anyone gets past the reserve price then I’ll smuggle the pictures back in my bag.