I travelled up to london yesterday morning, smooth, clear roads and a working train system got me to ‘chalk farm’ underground station in no time and i followed a hand drawn map and a memory from google earth to a street called Sharples Hall. Tucked away in a little alley next to a library is ‘The Museum Of Everything”.
Already excited by the prospect of seeing Henry Darger’s work i waddled inside to find a ticket booth and a young lady sat behind some white mesh. She explained to the woman in front of me that the exhibition was ‘just up the stairs’ and that a donation of around £3 was recommended. Listening eagerly I had my money ready, in a possibly uncool and over eager fashion, either way…
There goes the money into the little tea cup, there goes the lady as i climb the stairs and there goes the world as i knew it before the rooms of the museum.
Room after room followed my ascent up the tatty stairs, packed full of mind boggling strangeness and mystery. I would say to the untrained eye it looks childish, but all of these artists were untrained, and i think that is what is so brilliant about the work that fills the museum. It is childish but in the sense that it’s un-hindered, unknowingly bold and whole heartedly precious.
Walking through the small rooms with paintings and scribbles, sculptures and… hanging shapes of coloured wool!? you are at the mercy of your own perception as if you can finally see the invisible parts of a human being. It’s ugly, poetic and a bit deranged but i wanted to stay for hours… which i did.
The museum closes on sunday, but i did hear that it should be opening again in another couple of months. I recommend going to see the work there. The whole experience is brilliant, from the welcome to the farewell you are treated with an informal sense of dignity and warmth. This provides a platform for the things you’ll see to be received as they should… in whatever way you want to.
here’s a drawing i did from a statue of jesus that was stood in front of a graffitied old piano…
there’ll be more about the museum of everything in the next week… just want to do a bit more research.