Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Supreme Court art: time no longer

'A drawing is a map of time.' I wish I'd said that, but it was said to me by an artist called Richard Cole.

This picture of two QCs on their feet reflects what I see over time as as I draw from right to left.

At issue in R (on the application of Fitzroy George) v the Secretary of State for the Home Department is whether someone's indefinite leave to remain in the UK, which was invalidated by a deportation order, remains invalid if the deportation order is revoked.

There is much discussion about the difference between 'revokes' and 'ceases to have effect'. And does 'invalidate' imply permanence? In Siberia, a virus has just been revived from 30,000-year-old ice.

In the café at lunchtime I meet a couple with a hearing dog for deaf people, a placid golden Labrador.

'We waited six years for him. He was cared for from the age of ten weeks to ten months by a prisoner in Bristol. All I know about the prisoner is that he was very big bald guy covered in tattoos so I like to think of him cuddling this tiny puppy.'

Court 2 has an air of death, starting with the walls of white. The colour of mourning in so much of the world. The pale horse.

The stark walls are asking for graffiti: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN, thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

The Welsh slate clock, regularly checked by apprehensive counsel, goes !!SKRANNK!! from time to time, a relentless ratchety sound.

And the flowers. Hectic on the curtains, silhouetted on the blinds, strewn on Peter Blake's carpet, gem-like on the plaque above the bench. All at their point of perfection. A transitory moment carrying its inevitable decay.

Some bat-sense makes me turn to see a tourist in the back row produce a camera from his anorak and aim it at the bench. I shoot him a governessy look. He puts it away. He'll never know I saved him from an usher's wrath.

Before I leave, I cruise the basement showcases. The folklorique gift from the Russian delegation owes something to Catherine the Great. More pictures if you scroll down.

Catherine the Great in her coronation robe (detail), 1778-9, by Vigilius Eriksen

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