In Search of A/The Point of Life

THE MUSEUM OF EVERYTHING AND HENRY DARGER (many thanks to JO & ROB for this wonderful recommendation!)

What is between everything and nothing? Something, for sure.

What is between everything and nothing? Something, for sure.

At Jo and Roy’s recommendation, I visited the Museum of Everything last Sunday. (DO GET YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS POURING IN! I will take them up and report back!! This blog entry is proof!) I walked to and from the museum (about 7km) at a temperature not fit for humans. Fortunately I was a hamster then (and now). Unfortunately, my little hands/feet (call them what you will – ok, limbs) could not have a good grip of the icy ground, so I slipped and landed on my ass. In Life 3.0, being the smart ass that I am, I turned my accident into a positive experience, and instead of trying to stand up and confront the chuckling spectators, I rolled myself on the ground, all the way to the Museum at Sharples Hall Street, which is right next to Primprose Hill.


Sharples Hall Street

How glad I am to have visited. I quite like the show (though I must say that I find the term ‘Outsider Art’ – which the show has been described as – slightly problematic, the way all forms of ghetto-isation are, and also dangerous, to an extent, for a sort of mythologisation and romanticisation of artists and their processes. This is interesting also especially if the curators of a show are NOT outside but on the contrary, inside inside. Or perhaps this is meant to be an other of those clever contemporary self-reflexive joke?).

Anyways. I like the space, narrow even for me (I have been invariably described as ‘diminutive’ – yes yes, compared to you human beings I am vertically challenged, but please note that while I am a hamster, I am NOT a dwarf hamster – that’s an other breed altogether. Kindly note that I am much taller than them). Being the last day of the show (20 Dec), the place was jam-packed. What a surprise. A very tall (nearly 200cm) young man with very arresting green eyes tells me that the space used to be a dairy. The way the artworks are arranged is quite clever, efficient and intimate. For the uninitiated (like this writer for instance), this might have even appeared to be a show by a single artist. Which goes to show, either that the selection of artists/artworks is a result of their similar aesthetic approaches, or that the curators have done a good job in unifying the entire show in a sharp and coherent manner, or both.

My favourite, favourite is Henry Darger. I stared for some time at his large superwidescreen drawings of toddlers in what looks like edens. There is as much violence as there is beauty, transience as there is timelessness, comehither -ness as there is repugnance and repulsion. The drawings are highly restrained as they are too much.

Even though Life 3.0 is free from death (except on  09.09.2012), I respect the wishes of the organiser.

Even though Life 3.0 is free from death (except on 09.09.2012), I respect the wishes of the organiser.

This concoction of emotions is rather powerful. I quickly travel back in time and cycle through my bank of memory and knowledge, and immediately many names, images and sounds jump up for my attention: Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, Chagall, El Greco, Elsie Beckmann and Hans Beckert/Peter Lorre in Lang’s M, Chapman Brothers, the muse of Lewis Carroll and imaginations of Nabokov, AES+F’s Last Riot, and of course, the Great Pretender Takashi Murakami and his faux naif approach. I also recall that I had felt this surge of feelings only a few times before in my previous life: when I saw Boltanski’s solo exhibition in France, a Mark Rothko painting in Chicago, and Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil.

I came back, and tell myself that I must, must go and find out more about Darger.

4 Responses Subscribe to comments

  1. instanthigh4

    hi kaidy
    exh sounds awesome – is it still on?

    Dec 24, 2009 @ 00:14

  2. 3rdlifekaidie

    Hi Instant High – or is it Instan Thigh?
    The exhibition is closed for 2 months- and it REPOPENS! Do go! Stay away from your computer! There are other worlds out there!


    Dec 26, 2009 @ 16:35

  3. Eleanor

    Dear Kaidie,

    With respect to this post, I wonder whether it would be possible to use the top image for an essay I am writing on Outsider Art? The image will be fully credited to you in the wording you desire, and the essay will not be published or distributed outside of the closed academic forum within which it will be assessed. I’m desperately short of images at the moment, and I’d be so so grateful..

    With kind regards,


    Nov 30, 2010 @ 12:54

  4. 3rdlifekaidie

    Dear Eleanor,
    Of course! We help whenever we can and happy to contribute. Please use the image for your essay. Please credit it to ‘Kaidie Nondon’ and our website <> (and if there is enough room, the title A ROUGH GUIDE TO (THE MEANING OF) A LIFE 3.0).
    All the very best for your essay!
    Warmest regards

    Nov 30, 2010 @ 13:09


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