Did I tell you I met a fella for a nice innocent cuppa coffee the other day?
No. Not that fella. He was last weeks flavour. I’m talking about this week… 😉
As I was saying…. I met a fella….. Tall, dark and handsome….
We had coffee, lovely coffee, sat on soft seats at a low table and the chat flowed as gently and freely as a country stream.
It was as I drained the second cup that he came up with the suggestion…. You know the kind of thing:-
Do you fancy coming to see xxx?
Well by now you know me. I am always intrigued by what my Toyboys get up to when they are not with me, so I gathered my bits and off we went.
It involved tables and not of the mathematical type, but I am sure there were more than a few sums involved in getting them to where they were.
We went to the newly opened MAC (Metropolitan Arts Centre) in Belfast, an arts venue in Saint Anne’s Square, behind St Anne’s Cathedral. Built at a cost of £18 million it contains:
120 seat theatre
350 seat theatre
3 art galleries
3 education & workshop rooms
Café & bar
The three galleries are open and free to the public, we began on the ground floor in the Sunken Gallery.
I told you there were tables.
Somewhere But Here, Another Other Place is a display made up of a number of second-hand tables stacked to fill the gallery which visitors are invited to explore. Dublin-based artist Maria McKinney’s unusual installation, invited us to take a fresh look at everyday objects and to examine notions of boredom and how to escape it!
Each of the stacked tables contained a completed jigsaw puzzle.
All puzzles no matter what size or shape, showed different views of Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria.
We were invited to climb a set of steps to view the display from above. Alas the angle of the steps, the lack of head space to the ceiling, and the need to hold on meant the photo from above was not an easy shot.
In what was called Substation on the ground floor was Sounds of the City a community project and exhibition commissioned by the Mac and led by artists from Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) The project involved five sound installations. The group worked with two intergenerational groups in Belfast. At times the sound pieces ran into each other and this was rather distracting and for me, spoiled the overall effect of the piece.
A People Observed, an exhibition that brought together, for the first time, the work of artists L.S. Lowry and Belfast-born William Conor in the MAC’s climate controlled Tall Gallery on the 3rd floor. As you can understand we were not allowed to take photographs. It was wonderful to see the works and compare notes with my companion about those that had special appeal to each of us.
Nicholas Keogh’s film A Removal Job (also on the third floor) celebrates the camaraderie of a group of workers and the unspoken exchanges between them. The film follows the household clearance of a traditional two-up, two-down red brick terrace in Belfast. Alas, the erratic and violent actions at the beginning were not to my taste.
In the Upper Gallery on the top, floor Robert Therrien’s first presentation in Ireland No Title (Table and Four Chairs) was amazing.
Under the table
That handsome guy on the left is six foot tall! My five foot seven took me only to the level of the seat of the chair.
The table stands at almost ten feet and certainly brought back memories of playing under the dinner table at home when I was a child. It was a great reminder that very young children see the world from that angle.
Nick and GM, do we look small
We were not allowed to touch the installation so you have to imagine me climbing up to sit on the chair.
The building also has two theatres. The larger, a 350 seater venue is tucked away on the bottom floor underneath the stairs beside a row of intimate snugs facing a very modern bar.
I fancied lounging here on the vast pale leather chesterfield that sat in a space near the lifts. Alas, it was time to head for home. Thank you Nick for the the coffee and the chance to chat and catch up. I do hope the Royal Visitors didn’t delay your journey home.