Posts Tagged ‘exhibition’

This way to obscurity

This way to obscurity

I guess the name ‘El Tanque’ (the tank) should have been enough of a clue but I was thinking in the neighbourhood of fish tank and so was taken aback when the full sized oil storage tank came into view; gleaming lime green and silver in the glaring midday sun.

We followed the road around the perimeter circumference of ‘El Tanque’ and arrived at the sort of tunnel that normally takes you from an aircraft to the arrivals lounge. This one led from the bridge to the car park and the entrance to Espacio Cultural El Tanque.
We asked the smiling receptionist if the exhibition was open.
“Yes, of course,” she beamed and handed us each a small set of square cards pinned in one corner so that they fanned out like playing cards. The cards were all black and on the front in white was a skull and crossbones with the skull wearing a gas mask and the words ‘Keroxen 09’ written underneath.

As we walked through the entrance I flicked through the cards to find out what the exhibition was about but the light

Yes, I know its too dark!

Yes, I know it's too dark!

was too dim to make out the wording on the black background so I gave up. We walked up a slope and, aside from floor level lamp shades hanging above jam jars placed around the perimeter floor inside each of which was a single letter of the alphabet, there was darkness.
I don’t just mean it was dark, I mean complete sensory deprivation darkness.

Giggling, Jack and I turned on our heels and went back down the slope realising that we’d wandered inadvertently into the actual oil tank rather than the exhibition.
Following the only other corridor past the toilets we arrived at…the exit.

Okay. Now we were perplexed.
Has the nice girl at reception forgotten to put the lights on we wonder?
Now on the brink of hysteria and trying to muffle giggles, we head back into ‘the tank’ and inch our way, arms outstretched ahead of us like contestants in a game of Blind Man’s Buff, further into the space.

Gradually our eyes adjust slightly to the dark and we can make out several long, black cloths hanging from the ceiling to head height in rows leading into the centre of the tank. As we get nearer we can see that each cloth has a single sentence written on the bottom of it, seemingly random sentences like “Have you heard the Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine?” and “A city creates experiences for those who live in it”.

I carefully make my way to the centre of the tank where a dozen chairs are set out in rows and I take a seat. I can see and hear nothing. It’s admittedly peaceful if somewhat spooky, but I am completely unenlightened.

We inch our way back to the lamplit jam jars and out.
“It’s very dark in there,” we say to the nice girl on the door.
“Of course,” she smiles.

Sometimes, art is just too obscure for me.


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Agatha's image is currently dominating Puerto de la Cruz

I’ve just been wondering around the beautiful courtyard of the former Convent of Santo Domingo where up until Sunday, as part of the Agatha Christie Festival, they’re staging an exhibition of photos of Puerto de la Cruz in the 1920s, around the time the famous crime writer visited these parts.

Agatha Christie and her daughter, Rosalind visited Tenerife in 1927 and stayed at the Hotel Taoro in Puerto de la Cruz.
It was a difficult time for Agatha; her husband had fallen in love with another woman and had petitioned for divorce and her mother had recently died.
Agatha found peace and tranquillity in the garden of Sitio Litre in La Paz and inspiration, it is claimed, for the creation of her personal favourite character; The Mysterious Mr Quin’.
She also penned a short story while she was on the island; ‘The Man who Fell from the Sea’, a part of her Mysterious Mr Quin short story collection.

In 2007 Puerto staged the first ever International Agatha Christie Festival to mark the 80th anniversary of the great lady’s visit to the town and it was such a huge success that this year they’re currently running the festival again. As well as the exhibition there are theatre productions, screenings of ‘Mrs McGinty’s Dead’ and ‘The Mirror Crack’d’ in the original language, a vintage car exhibition and tea dances; and with Agatha’s portrait positioned all over the place as part of the proceedings, the town feels oddly British at the moment.
Still, any day now the mainlanders will arrive in their droves (economic crisis notwithstanding) and there’ll be a whole different feel to the place.

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There’s a wonderful little photography exhibition in our local shopping centre of La Cúpula in La Paz entitled ‘Tenerife Ayer y Hoy’.
It consists of 100 or so location shoots around the north of Tenerife with one photo taken between 50 and 80 years ago and the exact same shot repeated today.

The locations are mainly in and around Santa Cruz, La Laguna, La Orotava and Puerto de la Cruz but with some around El Sauzal, Tacoronte, Los Realejos and Santa Úrsula. The photographs are interesting in their own right in terms of presenting an image of the ‘real Tenerife’ but they’re also surprising in terms of how little change there has actually been.

Particularly around La Orotava and La Laguna, some of the locations have barely changed at all except that today the buildings are looking smarter as a result of renovation and where once only dusty trails prevailed, tarmac now follows the original lines. The guard of honour of Canarian Palm Trees that run alongside Parque de la Constitución in La Laguna are actually more spectacular today as they’ve grown and produced rich foliage but now rows of housing border them where 50 years ago only fields existed.

Rambla de Castro, exactly the same today as it was 80 years ago

Rambla de Castro in Los Realejos, one of the images that's exactly the same today as it was 80 years ago

It’s funny to see the tramlines criss-crossing Santa Cruz in the ‘ayer’ photo just as they are today, although the trams themselves are space-age compared to the old style trolley buses. And funnily enough, Plaza España has almost come full circle (if you ignore the lake!) with wide open space and the replica gateway to the gardens of La Alameda del Duque de Santa Elena in clear view.

Puerto de la Cruz is much more built up than it was. The area around Playa Martiánez is barely recognisable and some of the lovely old balconied buildings around the harbour and Casa Aduana are sadly no longer there. But the area around the Hotels Marquesa and Monopole are relatively unchanged and of course Plaza del Charco is still the bustling heart of the town.

It’s just a small exhibition in the space outside the supermarket and I have no idea how long it will be there but if you get the chance, go along and have a look.


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