Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Midas Touch

I've barely achieved a thing this week.  First Esmeralda was ill:  she has had a temperature and been off her food - and occasionally sick - since Saturday.  I hold her incisors entirely accountable, both for the pain she has been suffering, and for my having had to watch as much Baby Einstein as I have.  Mostly through the long dark hours of night . . . .  (Yes, I've missed every single party that has taken place this week.  Instead I've eaten about a million walnut whips in a bid to stay awake long enough to work in the rare moments Esmeralda has actually slept.  I feel gross.)  But she is finally mainly better, and today I was planning to nip to Frieze and Frieze Masters, and then maybe on to The Other Art Fair, just to stretch my legs, see some people, feel in touch with what is going on, and perhaps even formulate an opinion of my own instead of regurgitating Blouin Art Info and praying the person I'm speaking to hasn't read that same article.   Or at least, I was until I received a call from Sholto's nursery telling me that he'd been sick, so could I please go and fetch him.  Oh joy.  Frieze might just not happen for me this year.

However I did manage a quick visit to PAD yesterday.  I love PAD - the Pavilion of Art and Design - it's one of my favourites of all the fairs that London hosts.  It's small, everything is beautiful, there are seldom great masses of attendees (one imagines that those that do go drop a fortune there, or at least enough of a fortune to make it worth the while of all the galleries that show there) and those attendees are always chic and well-dressed (the women are the sort that wear velvet bows in their hair without a trace of irony.  Unfortunately I couldn't find my velvet bow - the one that Sholto shoplifted from American Apparel, and which I've been too embarrassed to return ever since I used it in a moment of emergency - but I did root out my Chanel handbag for the occasion, and gave my boots a cursory polish with a baby wipe.)  Even the scent of the fair is amazing as every single gallery seems to have at least one presumably earth-shatteringly expensive candle burning, and I found myself stalking some woman who I'm sure was wearing the new Edition Frederic Malle, Portrait of a Lady.  (I'm going to Paris at the end of the month, and am hoping against hope that I have time to nip to one of the stores.  Yes I know that I can buy it in Liberty but that wouldn't be the same.)

I find, at fairs, that my eye gets caught by something, and then I can't help noticing similarly themed items.  On this occasion it was, irrefutably, gold and jewels.  I became so obsessed with tracking down more and more examples that I barely checked out the stands that had paintings or photographs, and thus, according to Christopher, missed a really great Egon Schiele.  My love of the Midas-touch look has definitely been reawakened.  (At one stage I wanted to gild the insides of the all the door frames - and still might. Andrew went through a phase - which I'm going to encourage him to revisit - of gold-leafing various things he found lying around, such as the odd bone, or plastic animal.  He has a vast collection of both; every so often I find myself removing streaks of tigers from the tops of all the picture frames downstairs.  I did have to prevent him from gold-leafing the bars of the cot, however.  While I realise it would have been very chic to keep our children in gilded cages, I worried they would have been poisoned when they inevitably would have eaten it all off.)

But back to PAD.  First up, this amazing gold throne by Mathias Bengtsson at Galerie Maria Wettergren:

Seriously, who wants a chintz-covered arm chair when you could have that?!

Then I discovered a pair of amber-encrusted cabinets by Kam Tin at Gallery-88:

Having done some research I've discovered that Kam Tin also works in turquoise:

They would look amazing in my fantasy palazzo!  (Meanwhile I'm wondering if I can put Andrew's collection of glass stones to good use, and encrust the fronts of all our fitted cupboards.  I could have the blingiest kitchen ever.)

Then I stumbled upon Galerie Beatrice Saint-Laurent, and fell head over heels with everything there.  In particular, though, the works of Taher Chemirik:

Taher Chemirik, The Bride Chandelier.  So called because it has a train.  Amazing.

Taher Chemirik tables.  They're literally jewels on legs.  Can you think of anything more lust-worthy?

It transpires that Chemirik started as (and still is) a jeweller, which is no great surprise.

And then I found the most exquisite bench at the Gabrielle Ammann Gallery, a piece from Studio Nucleo's Future Archaeology collection:

It's wood encased in resin, but it looks like amber, with its threads of gold running through it, thus showing that you don't need actual precious stones or metals to create something jewel-like.  I'm going to suggest that Andrew try it out with some of his driftwood collection (and before you wonder if Andrew just collects anything, well, the answer is yes, sort of. He is a hoarder, but the collection is curated, in a manner.)

And then finally I found there was this gilt and bamboo cupboard by the Campana Brothers, which surprised me, because I'm not usually a fan of their work (they're perhaps better known for all those chairs made out of stuffed animals, which, in truth, creep me out.)

So even if I don't make it to Frieze, PAD gave me enough inspiration to last a while.  I'll just keep humming Spandau Ballet's Gold, which has been stuck in my head since departing Berkeley Square, and bless the fact that it's Sholto who's ill this time, and that he has a slightly more developed taste in television than Esmeralda.  I'll take The Octonauts over Baby Einstein any day.  I'll also thank my lucky stars that it is only teething and a tummy bug that my children are suffering from, and not anything more serious.  Prayers and positive thoughts to all the the children at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

PAD is in Berkeley Square until the end of Sunday, and is open from 11am-6pm.  (See, even their timings are hyper civilised.)