I become a conceptual artist

(with a little help from my friends)

It struck me that some of the psychobabble that accompanies much conceptual art would be a prime target for Chat GPT. And so it proved to be:

Write the artist’s explanation for a catalogue of a piece of art consisting of three cucumbers in a flower vase standing on top of a harpsichord and entitled “Sonata in Salad minor”

Within the realms of artistic expression, I sought to explore the captivating interplay between everyday objects and the music that resonates within our souls. “Sonata in Salad Minor” stands as a testament to the fusion of visual and auditory sensations, a symphony of form and sound that invites contemplation and delight.

This enigmatic composition revolves around the humble cucumber, an emblem of freshness and vitality, carefully arranged within a delicate flower vase. The three cucumbers, slender and gracefully curving, evoke a sense of harmony and balance, akin to the three movements of a sonata. They symbolize the interconnectedness of nature’s bounty and the rhythm that orchestrates our existence.

Perched atop a grand harpsichord, an instrument of exquisite craftsmanship, the cucumbers take on an elevated significance. The harpsichord, with its intricate design and rich historical legacy, represents the timeless beauty of music and its ability to transport us to realms beyond the physical.

The juxtaposition of the cucumbers and the harpsichord invites us to explore the dialogue between the visual and the auditory. Each cucumber becomes a note on a sheet of music, resonating with a crisp and refreshing tone, while the harpsichord serves as the conductor, guiding their melodies and harmonies. Through this marriage of organic simplicity and refined elegance, a unique melody unfolds, giving birth to the “Sonata in Salad Minor.”

This composition challenges conventional notions of art, urging the viewer to transcend the boundaries of perception and embrace the subtle connections between the tangible and the intangible. It calls upon us to perceive the world around us as a symphony, where even the most ordinary objects possess the potential for extraordinary beauty.

As you engage with “Sonata in Salad Minor,” immerse yourself in the serenade of the cucumbers, feel the vibrations of their verdant rhythm, and allow the harmonious interplay between visual aesthetics and musicality to weave its enchantment. Experience the transcendence of boundaries, the harmony of disparate elements, and the celebration of life’s inherent symphony that resounds through this unconventional masterpiece. May this visual and auditory duet serve as a reminder that art has no limits, and that even the most unexpected combinations can yield beauty and harmony for those willing to embrace them.

And then I asked, what would the New York Times art critic make of this?

Hugo Lombardis’ ‘Sonata in Salad Minor’: A Harmonious Fusion of Visual and Auditory Delights

In a masterful display of artistic ingenuity, Hugo Lombardis unveils his latest masterpiece, “Sonata in Salad Minor,” a composition that transcends traditional boundaries and beckons viewers into a realm where visual and auditory sensations intertwine. Lombardis’ bold exploration of the ordinary and the extraordinary comes alive in this captivating arrangement of three cucumbers in a flower vase atop a grand harpsichord.

Lombardis’ artistic vision is nothing short of extraordinary, as he skillfully crafts a symphony of form and sound, weaving together the most unlikely elements into a harmonious whole. The three cucumbers, elegantly arranged in the vase, stand as testament to the artist’s ability to infuse simplicity with profound meaning. Their slender curves and vibrant green hues elicit a sense of freshness and vitality, mirroring the organic beauty found in nature’s bounty.

Perched atop the grand harpsichord, an instrument of unparalleled elegance and historical significance, the cucumbers take on a newfound resonance. Lombardis draws upon the inherent musicality of the harpsichord, invoking its rich legacy and the melodies it has birthed throughout the ages. The artist presents the cucumbers as musical notes, evoking a visual symphony that seems to emanate from the strings of the instrument itself.

In “Sonata in Salad Minor,” Lombardis beckons viewers to embrace the dialogue between the visual and the auditory. The cucumbers’ form becomes a melody, their contours dancing across the canvas of the mind, while the harpsichord serves as the conductor, guiding their harmonic progression. The result is a sensory experience that transcends the boundaries of perception, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in the serenade of organic simplicity and refined elegance.

Lombardis’ composition challenges our preconceived notions of art, urging us to embrace the unexpected and find beauty in the most ordinary of objects. Through “Sonata in Salad Minor,” he invites us to reevaluate our understanding of the world and its inherent artistic potential. The piece serves as a reminder that even the most humble ingredients of our lives can be transformed into profound sources of inspiration.

In encountering Lombardis’ work, one cannot help but be captivated by the interplay of colors, textures, and sounds. The “Sonata in Salad Minor” resonates with a quiet intensity, encouraging viewers to contemplate the harmonious balance between simplicity and complexity. It is an invitation to perceive the world as a symphony, where each element possesses the potential to contribute to a greater whole.

Hugo Lombardis’ “Sonata in Salad Minor” stands as a testament to the artist’s unrivaled creativity and his ability to blur the boundaries between art forms. This extraordinary fusion of visual and auditory delights invites us to listen with our eyes and see with our ears, reminding us of the boundless possibilities that exist when we open ourselves to the unexpected. Through this captivating piece, Lombardis reaffirms his place among the most innovative artists of our time, leaving an indelible mark on the art world and inspiring us all to embrace the transformative power of art.

And one more for luck

Write the catalogue entry for a piece of art consisting of a violin stuffed full of popcorn, entitled “Vivace ma non troppo”

Artwork: “Vivace ma non troppo” Artist: Hugo Lombardis

In this intriguing and whimsical composition, Hugo Lombardis presents us with “Vivace ma non troppo,” a thought-provoking piece that merges the familiar elegance of a violin with the unexpected abundance of popcorn. This unconventional creation challenges our perceptions and invites us to explore the interplay between music, texture, and the ephemeral nature of our desires.

At the heart of the artwork lies a beautifully crafted violin, an instrument renowned for its capacity to evoke emotions and transcend boundaries. Yet, instead of the expected strings and bow, the body of the violin is filled to the brim with a cascade of fluffy, white popcorn. The juxtaposition of the classical instrument and the everyday snack captures our attention, urging us to delve deeper into its symbolic meaning.

“Vivace ma non troppo” not only tantalizes the visual senses but also beckons us to consider the audible and tactile dimensions of art. The violin, with its rich history and association with music, embodies the harmonies and melodies that resonate within our souls. In this piece, the popcorn becomes an unconventional orchestra, its individual kernels representing musical notes ready to burst forth in a symphony of sound and texture.

The title, “Vivace ma non troppo,” which translates to “lively but not too much,” further emphasizes the artist’s intention. The juxtaposition of the violin’s classical elegance with the casual nature of popcorn prompts contemplation on the balance between the refined and the mundane. It suggests that, while life may present us with contrasting elements, there is beauty in embracing the unexpected and finding harmony in the most unlikely places.

Through “Vivace ma non troppo,” Lombardis invites viewers to reflect on their own relationship with art and the boundaries they perceive within artistic expression. The piece encourages us to question conventional expectations and to discover new meanings by challenging the limits of our imagination.

By incorporating popcorn into the violin, Lombardis provokes a sensory experience that stimulates multiple facets of our perception. We are encouraged to consider the crackling sound of the popcorn, the soft texture beneath our fingertips, and the unique aroma that pervades the space. This multisensory encounter invites us to embrace the ephemeral nature of art, as the popcorn serves as a reminder of the fleeting moments of delight that can be found in the simplest of experiences.

“Vivace ma non troppo” stands as a testament to Hugo Lombardis’ artistic prowess and innovative approach. Through this captivating composition, the artist challenges the boundaries of traditional art forms and invites us to explore the harmonious coexistence of contrasting elements. As we engage with this thought-provoking piece, we are prompted to consider the symphony of life and the beauty that emerges when we embrace the unexpected.

Johnson at 10 – Seldon & Newell: REVIEW

Quite a monster of a book – I bought it as an ebook, which in fact is probably the best way to read it. The index is well-constructed, and it’s easy to use the search function. There’s a lot in it, and this review concentrates more on Johnson’s character as revealed in the book than on his relationships with other members of his party, with his attitude to Brexit, and the details of his actions and reactions to the Covid pandemic.

I suppose everyone reading this book comes with a preconceived opinion of Johnson. Mine is typical, I suppose, of many, seeing Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson as a lazy narcissist, with sociopathic tendencies. The view expressed in this book, based on interviews and contemporaneous documents, is a little more sympathetic. There’s a lot to read, not only about Johnson, but also about the other big beasts in the Tories, some of whom are still with us, and also about Johnson’s ally, and in many ways, his nemesis, Dominic Cummings, who comes over as more sensible (though just as dislikable as a person) than his Spitting Image caricature.

Though Johnson likes to compare himself to Winston Churchill, Seldon sees him as being much more similar to Lloyd George, likewise a notorious philanderer and populist, who swayed with the prevailing political wind.

From reading the book, it seems that Johnson’s main aim in life is to be liked, together with a disregard for truth that borders on the pathological. Couple that with an almost complete ignorance of the functions and utility of the various aspects of the organisations that help the Prime Minister’s office (civil service, Cabinet, Parliament), and you have a premiership which is destined for disaster.

As a child, Johnson famously wrote that he wanted to be “king of the world”, and that indeed is the way in which he wished to be Prime Minister – as an absolute monarch, ruling by whim, dispensing favours, and building monuments to himself.

His propensity for self-promotion through large projects was noticeable in his Mayoralty of London – the ill-fated ”Garden Bridge” and his island airport schemes, for example. The 2012 Olympics was an exception, but this event rested as much on the hard work done by others as it did on Johnson’s efforts.

As PM, he was largely responsible for the continuation of the over-budget and already obsolete HS2 line (albeit in abbreviated form), as well as the promotion of totally impractical projects such as the Northern Ireland bridge.

Indeed, this obsession with self-promotion led him to believe that the 2019 election result was the result of his own charm and charisma and popularity, ignoring the roles of Nigel Farage, who had paved the way for the Brexit fanatics to take over the steering wheel of the Conservative Party, and Jeremy Corbyn, who had been demonised by the right-wing press as a Marxist monster. Naturally, the image of the jolly, bumbling, tousle-headed Eton toff with a taste for Latin phrases, who nonetheless was “one of us” helped, but Johnson was keen to believe that the victory was his alone.

Since he had no knowledge of how a Cabinet operated, and had no wish to involve others in decision-making at any serious level, his Cabinet appointments, following his purge of the Conservative Party, were a rump of mediocrities and ideologues (sometimes both at the same time, such as Braverman or Rees-Mogg). His ongoing relationship with Gove, who comes over in this book as almost the only surviving Tory with any brains, is complex, and perhaps beyond the scope of this brief review.

And, while Johnson had wide-ranging ideas as to what should be his legacy (reform of social care, etc.), he could not be bothered to think about the details of what these reforms would be, let along how they were to be achieved. In fact, the refusal to examine detail and to comprehend the issues confronting him in any depth runs through his premiership.

His desire to please everyone, together with a disregard for honesty and truth, and a refusal to confront the details of issues, could lead him to give three different answers to the same question on any given day, depending on the questioner, and to deny on the following day that he had given these answers.

It’s hard to imagine almost any other senior politician doing as badly as Johnson when faced with the Covid crises. Seldon does however give him credit for his response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which gave him his opportunity to do his Churchill impression on the world stage, and to make relatively simple decisions on black-and-white issues.

Overall, though, the impression that can be taken away from this book is that Johnson should never have become leader of the Conservative Party, still less Prime Minister. His character flaws make him totally unsuitable to hold any public office other than a ceremonial one such as the Mayor of London, where he was able to assemble a team of competent underlings to put his ideas into practice.

After reading this book, it is unbelievable to me that anyone can seriously still support this man as the political leader of the UK.