Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Weird and wonderful party at Nicholas Treadwell gallery

The 'United Pinkdom' just over the border (at the Austrian townlet of Aigen) came alive on Saturday with an invasion of people in PINK. And BLACK. That's because Nicholas Treadwell, the British gallerist who has made a new(ish) home for his collection in the historic Aigen jail, was holding a party and giving a show - a 'must' occassion for anyone who cares for the arts, but mainly for the wonderful man himself. As I said in my previous blog about the man and his gallery, Nicholas likes pink - he painted the jailhouse pink inside and out, he himself wears nothing but pink, even his hair is pink. And his collection - in what he calls a Superhumanism style - abounds in representations of super-realistic pink flesh, be it human or animal. Apart from other things of course, but perhaps that's for another blog, because now I want to share with you moments from the party: Nicholas himself was the star of course, playing a pink Wizard battling the forces of darkness. For his cast he assembled his artist friends; puppeteers, painters, sculptors, dancers, musicians - his son was brilliant on percussion. I was privileged to be there for all the rehearsals and enjoyed those as much as the resulting show which was still pretty improvised and chaotic, but all the more electrifying for it. That's because the energy driving the show, and the whole of the occassion, is one of extreme generosity of spirit.
And it was with the same spirit that everyone in the multi-national audience came: dressed from elegant to fabulously weird creations - the 'goodies' in pink, the 'baddies' in black, as prescribed. After the main show there was much improvised music till the small hours, but what amazed me was that while the party was going on in the garden, the whole gallery - its many rooms full of valuable artefacts - was open and people were wondering around unsupervised, and later bedding down among the crucified pigs and 3 metres high fat nudes made of silicon. I myself slept under a 3 foot high lactating sow with her entrails hanging out - stuff to feed my dreams for years to come :-) - the juxtaposition of this sometimes brutal imagery with the soft largesse and kindness of Nicholas's soul being the mark of this genius gallerist's style. And should it seem to a casual observer that the collection is of extremes and eccentricity, this is not so at all: it is a serious, deeply moving testament of a lifetime's dedication to life - inner and outer - both in its beautiful and its ugly forms. Just as it is.So - Long live the United Pinkdom!