Exhibitions

John Olsen
A Salute to Sydney 2007

13 November – 8 December 2007

Tim Olsen Gallery

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Last year I left the biscuit dry interior of Australia to the arms of that blue bitch goddess named Sydney where I spent my childhood.



Fascinating it is when you visit the caves of memory what comes up. For instance in January when the south-east winds blow millions of blue bottles towards the beach and are left on the beach by the receding tide, the children’s game was ‘popping blue-bottles’. What a game that was! … Revealing the vitality of that blue-violet colour against the yellow of the sand.



Throwing caution away with rude cheek and daring we were inevitably stung, our bodies, as an antidote we were painted with gentian-violet.



We radiated barbaric frivolity. Another memory – swimming at Bondi Baths – ‘The Icebergs’ – the sea surge of King Tides spraying over the baths and the swimmers rocking back and forward in the turbulent water.



Above all Sydney sparkles with bouncy light – the hills surrounding the harbour cradle the light to make a radiant bath. The beach a place of primitive sensuality, bold and brassy, promises freedom if only for a hedonistic moment.



Each of us has memories that stick to us like the paste of time, I’m reminded by.



Louis MacNeice makes me think of this when he writes in a poem ‘Snow’.



World is crazier and more of it than we think,

Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion

A tangerine and spit the pips and feel

The drunkenness of things being various.



John Olsen

October 2007