The Art of the Invisible

The Hayward Gallery in London is running an exhibition between 12th June and 5th August entitled ‘Invisible: Art of the Unseen’ which includes framed blank canvasses daubed with invisible ink and empty plinths and other similar works. People have to pay admission charges to see (or rather not to see) these works and are encouraged to think ‘where is the art in a work of art’. At school, I once forgot to do my art homework and handed in a blank sheet of paper telling the teacher it was a picture of a cow in a field that had eaten all the grass and mooooved on – all that got me was detention but maybe I was just ahead of my time? Perhaps I should send a blank notebook to this exhibition with an invisible story inside – some people may even be daft enough to part with good money for it.

On a more serious note, all this reminds me of a wise tutor on a journalism course I attended explaining that good writing is invisible. Readers should be so absorbed in the story that they are completely unaware of the writing. If their concentration is interrupted by a misspelled word, or a misplaced comma, or having to reach for their dictionaries to look up a complicated or unfamiliar word then the spell is broken and the pace of the story is destroyed. So us writers put all that effort into polishing our work in the hope that no one notices it – the art of the invisible.

Ah well, I’d better get on with making my next chapter vanish…

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