I was once asked to write about the Victorian painter John Martin in an essay. To get a good grade, I was happy to follow my tutor’s subjective negative view of Martin and set about expressing his view, as if it were mine.
Most would doubt that Martin really had an apocalyptic outlook and he is still regarded as a showboating populist, resonating more with Hollywood than a meaningful place in Art History. But now it seems that popular culture should be embraced by the Tate, and they even made this movie to hype up further what was always intended to be hyperbole.
However, I was surprised to find that Martin was in fact a working draughtsman, and had draughted a London sewer project. His technical drawings are given an airing by the Tate alongside his grandiose apocalyptic paintings that made his name and fortune. Some readers might be surprised to learn that I was once charged with draughting the very first public toilets in Abu Dhabi, and also the very first Sewage Treatment Plant Manager’s House in Abu Dhabi. Unfortunately I have no access to my work at that time, because I was interrupted by the attention I received by an American blonde, who in fact was, and continues to be, irresistible.
I should point out that it is easier to be critical of an “artist” like Martin since all art is vulnerable to an elitist critcal front, or otherwise, philistinism. Draughtsmanship is something I admire because I recognise and understand the discipline. Qualities of draughtsmanship are found in Picasso, but also in John Martin, but I am left now wondering why we have not had a major Picasso show in London since 1988.
This drives me to speculate about projects for the Turbine Hall. Architecture would be a fine art that challenges and questions current perceptions of what art is, and this creative endeavor has been overlooked by The Tate Gallery, which is uniquely placed to recognise architects like say, Le Corbusier, particularly since the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern has the capacity and scale to achieve this.
JENA DESIGNS, for your Cad Draughting needs.