There has been lots of conversation of wellbeing and self preservation in Lockdown and how elements of being socially isolated could be beneficial. Of course living in Blackpool, some residents might have found solace wandering an unaffected coastline, watching the breaking waves of the sea or roving swathes of clean beach perhaps digging out your old dusty bike, reinstating ambition to cycle miles of Fylde and Wyre promenade.
The Grundy’s opening exhibition following lockdown explores elements of just this thing, inspired by a heritage postcard, extolling the virtues of a visit to Blackpool. Perhaps sometimes forgotten as we became overshadowed by hen and stag culture it is hard to remember when Blackpool might have been thought of as a health based destination. Yet historically Blackpool’s attraction had been bracing “sea air”, known as the ‘tonic’.
The “Tonic” is somewhat explained here via Twentieth Century Postcards.
“While we worry about the depleted Ozone layer today, the term was used in the 20s and 30s to describe the supposedly health giving seaside breezes marketed here as a ‘tonic’ to ‘help you through the winter. Like Scarborough, which was advertised as being ‘SO Bracing’, there is an admission here that the weather might not always reach Mediterranean levels on the English coast! But the point is that for many of the town’s regular visitors, drawn from the industrial midlands and north-west, Blackpool air was a welcome break from the smog ridden streets of home.”
The show is drawn entirely from The Grundy Art Gallery’s collection. Beginning with a small painting, ‘View From My Window’ (1937) by one of gallery’s founders, Cuthbert Grundy. As you wander into the space you are encouraged to log in to a series of commissioned sound pieces https://soundcloud.com/grundyartgallery
The Grundy has worked with four contemporary artists; Serena Korda, Flora Yin-Wong, Ashley Holmes and Seohye Lee, who have developed soundscapes inspired by artworks in the current exhibition. Allowing your ear to accompany your eye as the images take on a new depth as you journey through land and seascapes.
The exhibition, ‘For Your Health and Pleasure’ might highlight a substitute feeling of travel which is interesting when you live in a town based on tourism in a time when travel is restricted? Does the exhibition raise questions about our own lockdown experiences? Encourage feelings of contemplation, mourning our own missed travel arrangements but accompanied with therapeutic vibes provided by paintings dappled with light and gigantic landscapes that we might leap into if lockdown restrictions allowed us. One thing is for sure we all need a change of scenery and an Art Gallery always allows that.
or Your Health and Pleasure‘ features works from the Grundy Collection by: Frederick Appleyard, Antony Ayrton, Delmar Harmood Banner, Nina Blaker, Charles Ernest Cundall, Geoffrey Scowcroft Fletcher, Stanhope Alexander Forbes, F. H. Glasbury, Cuthbert Cartwright Grundy, John Relph Greenhow Grundy, George Houston, Sir Herbert Edwin Pelham Hughes-Stanton, Samuel Henry William Llewellyn, Maximilien Luce, Levi Lumb, David Murray, Adelsteen Normann, Albert Julius Olsson, Patricia Ramsay, Georg Anton Rasmussen, Eric Ravilious, Algernon Talmage, Julian Trevelyan, John Michael Wilshart, William Thomas Wood.
The exhibition is open until the 5th of September. https://www.thegrundy.org/whats-on/single/for-your-health-and-pleasure/
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