‘Tintin : Hergé’s masterpiece’ at the Somerset House – Exhibition review

The new Tintin exhibition opened up last Thursday at the Somerset House. His creator, the Belgian cartoonist Hergé (1907-1983), is one of the most famous cartoonist in the world and his work has been very much celebrated over the years. The exhibition was a collaboration with the Hergé Museum in Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium).

The description of the exhibition on the Somerset House’s website (2015) promised a visit inside the ‘wonderfully eccentric world’ of Tintin, which sounds like a child’s dream. Indeed, the exhibition was very colourful and quite beautifully decorated with Tintin blue and white striped wallpaper, prints on the walls and very impressive 3D pieces in the center of each room. However the exhibition was quite disappointingly short as it only consisted of three relatively small rooms. It surprised me because after having read the website description I was expecting an endless display of wonders only to find the collection to be a little limited.

The exhibition was arranged in chronological order, starting off with when George Remi aka Hergé was only a little boy. This really allowed us to look at the evolution in Hergé’s artwork , which is what the website suggested we would be able to do. There were many quotes and pictures on the walls, sometimes quite funny, giving us insight into Hergé’s mind and personal life. In that first bit Hergé tells us about what he was like as a child and how he used to always draw in his textbooks, up until his first Tintin publication in 1929. The next wall explored the phase through which he would always draw in black and white and then his first use of colour, looking at some of his prints. Each wall was about a different time period. The exhibition looks at Hergé’s personal life as much as his artwork, and again it just seemed too short to fully cover 50 years of Tintin adventures, not to mention Hergé’s whole lifetime. I think I would have liked to see more drawings, namely excerpts from his sketchbooks and drafts that would have allowed us to see the full extent of his work and his creative process.

The explanatory texts were translated both in French and in English, and I noticed as I progressed through the exhibition that a lot of the people visiting it were french.  It was interesting to hear french as well as reading the signs in french, as if the exhibition was a little french world of its own in the middle of London.

The highlight of the exhibition for me were the 3D pieces, which were the first things I noticed as I walked into each room. Ironically these are also not even Hergé’s own work. Throughout the exhibition there was this whole idea of playing with the notion of ‘windows’, turning a window in a comic into a real window. Beside each 3D piece there was the original drawing that inspired it and it was really fun to see the world of Tintin brought to life in that way. However I do feel like if those centre pieces weren’t there the rooms would be pretty empty.

I think the exhibition is worth going to, as it is fun and has quite beautiful pieces to offer as well as being a nice insight into Hergé’s life, although we are definitely left frustrated that we didn’t get to see more.

 

Thoughts on running

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If you are anything like me, then you probably aren’t a very naturally athletic person. You exercise about 1½ times every 6 months (when the guilt of not working out finally kicks in) and still you hate every second of it.

Now I have never ever been the sporty kind. I was always terrible at PE in school and it was always my lowest average. I didn’t have any health problems or anything, I just really wasn’t very fit. The worst thing of all was running. It was the worst torture imaginable for me and I hated it with a PASSION. At least that’s what I thought.

I might not be a sporty person but I do try. In a moment of motivation I once vowed to do 10 minutes of cardio every evening. That lasted about a month (which was a record at the time). I cannot count how many times I took up running and stopped after 2 runs. Then one day not too long ago, I had a long old think about it and I decided that I had to do my body a favour and find a way of working out regularly that I actually stuck to, because the way I see it you may or may not like exercising, but the fact is that your body actually needs it from time to time and you just can’t get away with never ever doing it. And when I say that I’m not talking about weight loss or anything like that, I literally mean that your body NEEDS to exercice in order to maintain health in the long run (pun intended).

So this summer I thought I would try taking up running again, because it’s the most accessible and cheapest option. At first I ran with my best friend in our local woods, and at that point she had been running regularly for a few months already and she was a lot better at it than I was. So it was nice the first few times but after a while I really started to notice the gap between us and I just couldn’t keep up.

Then at the end of September I moved to London for my studies. New start, I thought, the chance to give it another go (at this point I don’t even know how I had any hope left in me). And, surprise surprise! I FINALLY FOUND SOMETHING THAT WORKED FOR ME. This is just what does it for me and it might not be the same for everyone, but maybe it’ll work for someone else out there:

1 – CREATE A GOOD PLAYLIST. This is the most important one for me. I kid you not, 90% of my motivation to go running is because of that playlist. Personally, what motivates me the most is cheesy music from the 70s-80s, the kind of music they have on Smooth radio. The Bee Gees, Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, the Pointer Sisters… all that good stuff. The Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack is perfect for that. I just love it so much and it’s my favourite kind of music to rock out to, so when it comes to running it just makes me feel so full of energy. AAAIN’T NO MOUNTAIN HIIIIIGH ENOUGH.

2 – Go running when it’s dark. The reason why that helps me is because when I’m doing something that I supposedly don’t like, I get so easily distracted and I stop focusing on what I’m doing and I soon get tired of it. If it’s dark I can’t see much so there’s nothing to distract me. It’s more intimate and I feel like I’m in my own bubble and I can focus on myself and my breathing. Also, you know how being outside at night kind of makes you feel unstoppable? Maybe it’s just me.

3 – Download some kind of running app that keeps record of your progress and talks to you while you’re running. I use the Nike app and it’s so helpful that they have a little voice that notifies you every kilometer you run and tells you exactly how long you’ve been running. It’s pretty cool just saying’! (I swear I’m not sponsored)

4 – Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to achieve a certain distance or a certain time. That just makes the whole thing unnecessarily stressful and unpleasant. We all have our good days and bad days, and sometimes you might be really pumped up and ready to kick ass and other times you might feel a bit under the weather and not be able to do as much. AND THAT IS FINE! Who cares if you ran 8 minutes less than last time, it doesn’t matter. Just as long as you do it and you do as much as you can, that is good enough.

Two years ago I was incapable of running for more than 15 minutes without feeling like I was dying. Now I’m physically able to run for an hour and actually ENJOY IT. That is a huge achievement for me.

And please if you think you’re not good at sports, YOU ARE. You just need to try it out and give your body time to get used to it. And once you get past that first stage of hating it and just wanting to quit, you’ll find that it’s actually quite nice and refreshing, and maybe you’ll even look forward to doing it every week.

Ain’t no stoppin’ us now !

(Here’s a little selection of my motivation playlist, because I know you want it : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLhw3JX2KBbb5o10rjvChh4mJvNpqoz2zx )

Drawing spaceships

Excerpts from my sketchbook. For my first project I had started thinking about space and science-fiction and that is how I started thinking about spaceships. Now I have moved onto another idea which is the idea of alienation, but I thought I would post some of the research I have been doing. Putting spaceships out of context.spaceship 1

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Why she writes and why we draw

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Last week in ISHE we were reading a text called ‘Why I Write’ by Joan Didion. It is a very creative and picturesque text that immerses us into the author’s mind. Through her imagery and description we can see how her mind works and how her inspiration and thoughts are triggered. She is very focused on looking at things. Not thinking, not analysing. Just. Looking. One of my favourite quotes from the text is ‘I would try to contemplate the Hegelian dialectic and would find myself concentrating instead on a flowering pear tree outside my window and the particular way the petals fell on my floor.’ That sounds exactly like me. She also says ‘my attention was always on the periphery’. She focuses on small things, details that no one else thinks about or takes the time to look at. She is an observer. She looks for ‘the shimmer’ in things : ‘Look hard enough, and you can’t miss the shimmer. It’s there’.

Based off of that text we had to create illustrations and what our group did was focus on little details of the text that stood out for us, little sentences that caught our attention and formed images in our minds that we wanted to capture. Much like the philosophy of the author herself, it’s all about what shimmers. We drew her stealing the words ‘Why I Write’, we did the schizophrenic patient’s drawing of the cat, the bevatron and even the Greyhound bus (which I am still not sure if it is meant for greyhounds or if it is just called that).

I’ve been thinking about houses on rings all evening

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Traditional jewish rings have houses on them to represent the newly married couple’s future house. A man called Michael Burton was inspired by this to create a ring with a house on it, and it is on display in the jewellery section at the V&A.

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His ring is a lot different from the traditional jewish ones because it features quite a shabby looking house and one a newly married couple wouldn’t really want to move into. I definitely think there is some irony on Michael Burton’s part here.

I find very interesting the idea that you could wear something that indicates your future and that is also quite a fun idea to play around. What if we lived in a world were everybody had to wear a ring that dictates what their future should be? I had this conversation with my tutor and she said it reminded her of when parents name their children ‘Perfect’, ‘Hope’ or even ‘Spectacular’ ! That is a way of telling the world what you want your child’s destiny to be, but what if they don’t want to be called that? What if they just want to be called Jim? What if they’re under this massive pressure to be perfect, spectacular etc ?

I’m also very interested in the idea of alienation at the moment and I think this is a way of being alienated from your own name. I’ve been playing around with illustration and trying to produce a series of them that deal with this idea of alienation in relation to the ring concept (hence the huge finger and ring, themselves alienating the wearer because of their hugeness – see above illustration)