Saatchi etc.

A day of self indulgence involving two museums and two movies began at what was the Ipswich Art School.

The building reopened as a permanent art gallery last year with monies from Ipswich Borough Council and the support of the Saatchi Gallery who have loaned the gallery the works of a number of contemporary artists. The gallery is dominated by an ‘installation’ called ‘The Bed’ (photo top). By Will Ryman, it shows a man recovering from the boozy excesses of the night before, and measures some 8 metres in length. It’s a fun piece, as are the giant pair of black shoes constructed from liquorice and styrofoam by Andy Yoder (bottom right) and the woman’s legs in high-heeled shoes (bottom left) by Rebecca Warren. Other exhibits include the ‘Travellers Collection’ by Francis Upritchard. Upritchard, a doctor of contemporary voodoo, has constructed a curio cabinet that includes a make-shift funerary chamber for a mummy (bottom centre). Very odd indeed.

Next up was the Town Hall Galleries and The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition co-hosted with the Natural History Museum and the BBC’s Wildlife Magazine. Each year ten’s of thousands of entries are submitted by amateurs and professionals, young and old, and whittled down to a hundred or so simply wonderful photographs of the natural world that form the exhibition and win the chosen photographers a prize or two. My favourites are A Marvel of Ants, March of the Crabs and Desert Survivor. Ipswich is the exhibits first port of call before it travels around the UK. Very much worth a look.

Don’t think I’ve done two movies in one day since the long gone days of the double feature. Today we took in The American and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest.

If you’re looking for a Hollywood blockbuster action film, you should probably look elsewhere, which is why the action-free action movie The American is showing at the Ipswich Film Theatre rather than Cineworld. But no mind. Mrs ExtremeGroundhopping heartthrob George Clooney plays a gunsmith, craftsman and assassin who has fled Sweden after an assignment there goes horrible wrong (he shoots and kills his own girlfriend to cover his tracks) to hide out in the Italian countryside. There he befriends a local priest and dates a local hooker while secretly crafting a bespoke rifle for a fellow assassin. The setting of a small medieval town and rolling hills is all very picturesque and serene and nicely filmed and the film moves along at a slow pace until, that is, he is tracked down by another assassin sent to exact revenge for his Scandinavian misadventure.

Having recently taken an interest in Swedish crime novels (The Kurt Wallander novels written by Henning Mankell in particular) we thought we give The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest a go (also at the IFT). Although it’s the third in the Millenium trilogy (based on the books of the same name by the late Swedish investigative journalist and author Stieg Larsson) there are sufficient flashbacks to orientate newcomers to the story. The main character is Punk-Goth computer hacker Lisbeth Salander who must fight a court battle to prove that she is sane after being accused of the attempted murder of her father (who sexually assaults and attempts to kill her in the previous instalments). At the same time a group of journalists, whom she has worked with in the past, are about to publish an expose of criminal and fiscal corruption in the corridors of Swedish power. Thoroughly enjoyable – plans to read the books are already in preparation.

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