Ariel’s Watery Opening Attended by Names: After-party at Dizzying Height Never Before Achieved

Monday 15th February 2010

Last Thursday Ariel launched his new water sculpture. Indescribable. Miraculous. You must go to Sicilian Avenue to see. It will cost you nothing. It was good enough for The Pet Shop Boys, one of the Thompson Twins, Jimmy Cauty, who burnt a million pounds, and Reggie Cresswell.

So it’s good enough for you.

It moves and makes colours and crosses over itself and forms patterns and just when you think you’ve ‘seen’ it, it presents some new aspect. Only installed that afternoon, and passers-by were immediately bound to the spot, amazed.

Then on, in a celebrity removal van or people-carrier, to Belgravia’s heart, territory little-known to me, for the after-party given by a lady-greatness who has sponsored Ariel’s work. In the van, somebody said, ‘There’s a Picasso.’  I begin to thrill. Unprepossessing entrance; in fact it’s a flat, you know, not the whole house, so common parts. Can you imagine? Even mega multi zillionaires must endure. But within, a hidden world, terribly discreet, a kind of gilded vestibule, a bust on a plinth, and private staff, also ladies, not a bit servile. Huge main reception sweep, from back to front of the house, with different areas carved out, contemporary and traditional melded and the overall hue buff. Oh the finish and the immaculation! Such shutters!  Harry Rollo and I inspect the skirting board and wonder how the polished look of the walls is achieved. I spot the Picasso and much else besides. Every item is presumably of museum standard. The hostess is whirling a topic in the middle of it all, in the traditional manner. It is hand-writing, the superiority of over typing. ‘When you send your thank-you letter, you must hand-write. I don’t have a computer.’ I lean against the wall. ‘Mind out for Jean-Paul Sartre,’ she says. There is an important-looking photograph of grim-looking man in mac striding across what appears to be the desert. I can only think of those Monty Python sketches where they are in drag shrieking ‘Jean-Paul Sartre!’ for no good reason. ‘You see that shadow behind him. I wonder who it is,’ the lady says. Suddenly, I’m terribly clever. ‘Simone de Beauvoir,’ I say, hoping to be top of the class. ‘Is it?’ she replies. Later she makes a kind speech in praise of Ariel and his powers of transformation but he, being modest, finds it shy-making. ‘If you go back any further,’ she says, ‘you’ll crush my Matisse.’

Posted Monday, February 15, 2010 under Adrian Edge day by day.

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