London Diary





This friday I've wrapped four of my Melissa's in plastic, to protect them from the rain, and carried them around London. I burst into a number of arty galleries, eager to show the great things I had been doing. Asking for a chance, just some days to present my tryptiches to the world. Or - who cares - even the tiniest part of it would do! Outside it was windy, cold, wet all day. And, yep, inside the showers were even colder. Maybe I chose the wrong places, maybe I picked the wrong time, maybe that I chanced upon the wrong people. Or maybe this just ain't the way to do it. I learned something though: I lack context ...! That's what a pretty Italian girl told me, who happened to be around in one of the places where I unwrapped the Melissa's and started to put them up against the four sides of a desk - to the obvious dislike of the older woman that kept guard or maybe even owned the gallery, and who, almost hysterically, urged me to 'pack my rubbish' and get the hell out, before the arrival of this 'important customer' that she was expecting 'any minute now'! Yeah, she was pretty, the Italian, graduating in modern art, hoping one day soon to start her thesis on Bacon - a favorite of mine, btw! And she was kind, and she really seemed to like the tryptiches, and she bought me a coffee + sandwhich in a café next door. She asked me about my other work, and smiled this wonderfully warm smile when I told her, honestly, that I also had one desperately unfinished painting which means an awful lot to me, and that I had been working on that one and off since 1996... That's when she said it. She laughed, she put her hand on my arm, squeezed it ever so kindly, looked into my eyes and said: "Jan, you know what? You lack context..."

Of course M. and I made up again! But I had to promise never to go public with her pictures. Okay, in a way I did already, but that's kind of micro-scalish, virtually private. And all of that happened the days before she asked me.