It was an unseasonably warm March evening. And as I approached the Eames Fine Art Gallery, I was first greeted by the sight of a throng of people spilling out onto Bermondsey Street – each with glass in hand. A promising start.
Squeezing my way through the chattering crowd and into the gallery itself, the buzz of excitement was palpable. Writers, family and friends had all gathered together to see the finished sestude and print pairings.
I managed to spot my piece and accompanying Rembrandt etching in a corner, artfully placed underneath a Picasso, and I took a moment to appreciate that my writing was in very esteemed company indeed.
For me, I think it was the sheer variety of artworks and writings alike that made it such a special project. Centuries old names that I’m more accustomed to finding in art history books mingled with striking works by contemporary print-makers. Portraits, landscapes, abstracts – all had a place on the gallery walls. And each sestude added to that variety by capturing the essence of each print and the voice of each writer in their own unique way.
Jacob Sam-La Rose added his own voice to the evening, literally, by performing a reading of his sestude – a response to St Pauls and Shard by Austin Cole. It was rich. It was atmospheric. And it left the once chatter-filled gallery in stunned silence, if only for a moment, before we broke into applause.
In short, it was a memorable evening and another memorable 26 project.
26 Prints concluded on 16 April, but take a look at @EamesFineArt and our own @26characters Twitter feed to find pictures and excerpts from the exhibition. You can also search #26Prints.