Last week I attended a brilliant Art Walk arranged by the University of Birmingham Research and Cultural Collections department. Clare Mullett and her colleague Chloe Lund delivered a captivating tour of some of the art and sculpture around the University of Birmingham campus.
I have studied there for years and always thought that it was a special place. Now I know it is. Clare and Chloe led our group around the campus through wind and rain, shining a light on each piece and each neglected corner with enthusiasm. Their words and stories about works from Paolozzi, Hepworth and Lanyon brought the pieces to life. I can’t replicate that but can recommend their work. Some of this can be seen here: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/culture/index.aspx .
Here you get the Edwardian Police Station reflecting on its much younger commercial neighbour, Smithfield House.
As I snapped this quiet grey building, I was reminded of many other underused buildings. It’s a shame, especially in the current financial climate, that we are not getting the full value of our assets as a city. Of course, I’m really talking about my beloved library (again).
My meditations were soon interrupted by these chaps indicating that they wanted a photo.
Conclusion: Brummies are great and we should make the best use of what we have.
Today I visited my first love, the old Central Library and took a few photos.
My view of this place may be rose-tinted, but I love it. Saying this, I love the interior even more than the Brutalist exterior. There were orange carpets, exceedingly well laid out books and great desks. The place is currently closed and soon to be demolished so the interior shots below are old.
I took these a couple of years ago in my favourite corner: the intersection between Foreign Literature, Architecture and Art History on the second floor.
I would come to this spot to grab books on Dostoyevsky, Haiku and Calligraphy. They were all located in conveniently close proximity. But a clever Greek once said: ‘without change, there would be no World’.
This is an action shot of what scaffolding does. Don’t worry, I learned this a very long time ago, and I realise that it is a bland fact. However, as I walked to the shop that I did not buy my new camera from, I was drawn to the billowing fabric covering a large corporate building. Eventually I realised that it was the exact spot where I had photographed the faded turquoise scaffolding months ago. It had fulfilled its destiny, also known as its function.
With frozen fingers I clicked attempting to capture the movement, the colour and the things evoked in my mind. I saw fake oceans, of the kind you see in school plays, and a building hiding til it was ready to be seen. I also tried hard to ignore the heat of the stares piercing through my peripheral vision.
This is what I got today, I enjoyed looking at it. If you click on the image you see what holds it together.
Happy New Year.