Hermaphrodite Sleeping
Visiting Hermaphrodite Sleeping, The Velázquez Exhibition, Paris. 2015

I remember the exact moment I saw my first Dali painting, Metamorphosis of Narcissus, 1936-7. It was the same day I saw my first Lichtenstein, Whaam! 1963, and my first Picasso, Les Trois Danseuses (The Three Dancers), 1925. I had visited the Tate Gallery, London, on my return from a visit to the British Museum, where I had been researching my dissertation on the erotic artefacts of Pompeii. I remember coming away feeling overwhelmed and in awe, and yet my memory of seeing them is only that of excitement. I repeated this forgetful process when I visited Paris in 2015.

Hermaphrodite Sleeping
Hermaphrodite Sleeping, a Roman copy of the original dating from the 2nd century AD (the mattress was added in the 17th century by Bernini). Marble, 169 x 89 cm

My husband and I had visited the Musée du Louvre with the sole purpose of seeing the Hermaphrodite Sleeping. Very selfish when  you think of the other great works that deserve equal attention. When we arrived in the Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities area of the museum, we arrived at an empty marble plinth. We discovered that she was out on loan to The Velázquez Exhibition at the Grande Palais. When we arrived, we weaved through the exhibition, shamefully ignoring every piece of artwork. As we reached the last room of the exhibition, there she was, Hermaphrodite Sleeping, as exquisite as I expected, and even more stunning as she was mirroring  The Rokeby Venus, 1647-51. By that evening, as we sat in the windmill theatre that is Moulin Rouge, I couldn’t recall anything but the emotions. It was a blur. It is because of this reason I wanted to start recording my love of art in detail, so I could recall and relive the experience.

Vemilion Goldfish, for me, is a project of love. It is for my own purposes as much as it is to share experiences and knowledge. I’m very fortunate to work at the University of East Anglia (UEA), whereby I have the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art(SCVA) on my doorstep, and as a member, I get to visit their exhibition as many times as it takes for me to truly appreciate the art, photography and sculpture on show. No more blurred memories, and an appreciation of Modern-, World-, and Contemporary Art.