North Cornwall had crossed my horizon this week, not iconic St.Ives but a little way down the coast, Zennor. Childhood memories but my last visit was with my eldest, Hannah and the Frenchman. We took a pint at the legendary Tinners Arms and then made the long descent to the beach for a splash and a barbecue. I recall a lot of smoke and fish, could have been surreptitious sardines, tricky these Frenchmen. Zennor was home to Patrick Heron, but I won't linger as I find those colour fields quite impenetrable and fairly vacuous, ideal for Ibis interiors, move on.
As Zennor hung in the air I received from Hannah travel orders for Paris. It's time for Bartabas, the remarkable horse trainer and show choreographer. Every winter at Aubervilliers, in the north east of Paris, Bartabas puts on an incredible show. The show is held in a circular wooden theatre, complete with restaurant and stables. The community of fifty, riders, musicians and staff live in caravans around the site. In the spring and summer the shows goes on tour, but in the winter the 700 seat theatre is packed every night for a truly imaginative and pulse quickening two hour show.
Well if you have kept horses, been around horses then Bartabas is a real treat, but Zennor will ring all the bells for you too. The rock strewn rolling hills above Zennor form the backdrop for some of the very best of horse painting. Now I view Heron as mildly interesting wallpaper and I am aware of the problems that Munnings presents, very posh wallpaper, reactionary views, class stereotypes, nostalgia, sentimentality, and so on, but if you have a horse in you, and Bartabas claims we all have a horse in us, then you are pretty much screwed. Munnings can really do horses, and not in a genteel way, the paint flies off the brush, the control, the bravery, the consummate understanding of his subject and the medium, he's got it, no slouch at that Cornish landscape either.
AGED AND AWKWARD