Robin Ince: Rorshach Test ***



August 2nd to 13th

This is a show determinedly about joy. So Robin Ince tells us. The world is full of news and events that may well make us feel less than joyful, and Robin is determined to buck the trend. His principal means of doing this is by sharing with us his love of twentieth century – and even more recent – art. With a good few digs at Professor Brian Cox, his companion presenter on BBC Radio 4’s Infinite Monkey Cage. Robin mentions that Prof Cox is a year older than him – I did not know that.

Robin Ince has a genuine love of relatively modern art, and talks about it with such relish that we share his joy. Amongst his enthusiasms are Lucian Freud, David Hockney, Maggi Hambling and Francis Bacon. Quite a few  artists on the gay spectrum there, but Robin Ince was concerned to emphasise the ways in which the artists revelled in colour and texture, including the almost succulent flesh in Lucian Freud;s nudes.

Many of the works shown on the screen were from British galleries, some from relatively small local galleries, and some by very little known artists. Part of Robin Ince’s point was that wherever you see a gallery it will be worth looking inside because you are likely to find something of interest which may inspire or at least enliven your day.

This was quite an unscientific show for Robin Ince, but he did check out how many physicists were in the audience at the start – only a couple. There were many laughs here, and we were kept chuckling along. This was maybe not Robin Ince’s most striking show,  but it certainly made me feel that there was maybe even more joy to be experienced through my eyes that I had thought, and to keep looking and take pleasure in looking wherever I am.


Tony Challis