Art and Claymation pave the Road to Hell in Aberdeen

Sorry I missed you: Wallace and Gromit

Intentions, intentions, what is it they say about them?  The Comely Banking Crisis drifted north along the granite-paved road to Aberdeen for a weekend in the glimmering Silver City, taking a turn (just the one is required) about Union Street, and the same for Belmont Street.

I really won’t have a bad word said about the place.  (Well, one or two maybe, but that’s it.)  There’s plenty there to entertain, and to prove it, here are two notable things I didn’t do:

1. Frances Walker – Place Observed in Solitude,  Aberdeen Art Gallery

You’ve got to hand it to Aberdeen Art Gallery.  Even if you’re just running in for an urgent usage of their toilet or a last minute panick-bought birthday card, you can’t help but notice that this a beautiful space, well managed, with a magnificent collection.  I really like the way their contemporary collection is the main focus of the building and the first thing that greets you as you enter, despite a decent collection of older works.

The gallery is worth a visit just to look at Francis Bacon’s disturbing but brilliant portrait of some pope or other (a study after Velázquez’s Portrait of “Innocent” X – see what I did there?) or the sublime horror of Ken Currie’s Gallowgate Lard.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that it’s well worth the day-trip to Aberdeen from Edinburgh or Glasgow just to see these two paintings.

The temporary exhibitions here also tend to be outstanding.  I was recently blown away by Ron Mueck’s giant or tiny but otherwise freakishly accurate human figures lounging around in their underwear or pajamas.  The current special exhibition is a celebration of Frances Walker’s 80th birthday and is apparently the first showing of works from all the periods of her career.  So going by this background, the Walker exhibition promised a lot.  I never made it.

2. Wallace and Gromit ‘Animated Adventures’, Satrosphere Science Centre

OK, it looks as though this one is aimed at the kids, mainly, but a couple of points should defy any reason-toting adults who may wish to claim this is anything less than great.  You get to see real hand-made sets from Curse of the Wear-Rabbit – no mean promise.  And Satrosphere also promises to provide an interactive experience which allows visitors to create and animate their own characters and a special exhibit on the process of stop motion animation.  It’s sponsored by Shell, but – hey – this is Aberdeen!  I never made it.

Excuses? I had to go to a wedding and a birthday dinner, so really, duty called and won the day over art.  But I’m not afraid to admit that I spent some time poncing about in the new-ish Peckham’s on Union Street with a notebook and a coffee and, much worse still, sauntering around a certain new shopping centre near the train station.  I wasn’t even waiting for my train while doing the latter, so shame is in the air.  Oh, mañana!

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