An object that has been made under the premise of ‘art’, does not make it such. Art is more complicated than that, it has to be, otherwise we give in to those innumerable masses who stand in front of a Malevich, say, and declare ‘I could have done that.’ And to prove their point perhaps will paint a red square on a white background and call it art. And if we have to admit that their creation is art, then every doodle and emoji and emoticon and spray painted scrawl is art. …


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Aby Warburg’s Bilderatlas Mnemosyne is a show consisting almost entirely of reproductions. A tattered, frenetic display of nearly a thousand images of paintings, coins and sculpture, sketches, pages torn from books, stamps, adverts and family trees. Named after Mnemosyne, goddess of memory, this vast map of images traces the roots and reverberations of the Italian Renaissance, from antiquity into the early twentieth-century. Displayed on sixty-three large black panels, it represents a visual history of western civilisation underpinned by Paganism and Christianity, by violence and lust, both human and divine. For the first time since 1929, the Bilderatlas is on display.


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Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

I was in her head the same as she was in mine. It was easy. A connection. Vines and tendrils entwining around each other, rooting through our bodies and binding us together so we mirrored the landscape that surrounded us. Fertility and life all wrapped up with our skin.

They were new words to me then; us and we. I’d always been alone in the Before. Or the Before Before, I should say.

Because there were three stages.

In the Before Before there was just me, before I had met her, and before it had happened. And I thought I…


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Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Ok, so I’ve recently became freelance (yes that’s right, at the beginning of an enormous recession, with mass unemployment rates and basically the whole world on fire- I timed it well).

Now this may not be news to you, but it turns out being a freelance writer is not a get rich quick scheme. It also turns out the only way I can be freelance at the moment is to temporarily move back into my childhood bedroom. I lie, into my sister’s childhood bedroom, which in some weird and subconscious way makes me feel less like I’m tumbling into the…


Musings on the End of a Relationship

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Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

My ex-boyfriend and I are dividing up our possessions. It is a small shared kingdom and comprises only of one lamp, one crocheted blanket, a cup, and a selection of small stones. Scant evidence, we decide, of such an intense and interdependent relationship. This makes me laugh so hard I cry, and then I don’t know what I’m feeling.

Nobody but a child could value any of our collection: a stone in the shape of the tooth of a megalithic shark, a piece of rock that could almost be a fossil, a lump of something we found on the beach…


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Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash

Locked out. I miss art. I miss museums and galleries and shared experiences. I miss the feeling of getting up close to a painting of an artist I love (long dead) and knowing that it was looked at with their eyes, created by their hand. That the very idea for it came directly from their mind. This is the reason I will always choose to see paintings in the flesh; I get to hang out with my heroes (a museum is far better than any fantasy dinner party).

But now? I call myself an art writer but I’ve never been…


And I’m fine with that.

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Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

Lockdown has taught me a few things. One: I cannot bake. Two: late night drinking and early morning (worse — self-motivated) yoga will never be mutually exclusive. And three: my boyfriend will never (ever) be my best friend.

And I’m fine with it.

I will be the first to admit that having a partner has made me a lot happier. I never quite worked out the single bit of being single. Instead I masked what could (what should) have been solo pride throughout my twenties with flings and one night stands, with regrets and ‘get the drinks in and I’ll…


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Photo by Mike Labrum on Unsplash

Furious. You are furious. Fury is hardly a passive emotion but here you are, two months deep into your law abiding stasis, buoyed up on boredom and internet news. The grotesque, awful and unjust tragedies skim around you like oil on water. You catch their outlines out of the corner of your eye. The silver lining (if you happen to be looking up at a different clouded sky) is that it is a miracle. A God-forsaken (a God-awful) miracle. How these tragedies can be there at your finger tips but way, way beyond your reach. …


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Photo by Joao Tzanno on Unsplash

Early this morning I have a dream where some weird infection is spreading over the world, and everyone has been told that they can only socialise with the people they live with. Just after waking, in that no-mans-land of semi-consciousness where anything can be anything, I am utterly and comically baffled by this prospect, relieved to be swiftly coming back into reality from my subconscious.

Until I realise that it is all true.

It turns out that, literally a month into my isolation and approaching the fourth week of the UK lock down, the effects of this terrible virus have…

Francesca Ramsay

Somewhat lackadaisical art historian. Freelance arts writer and editor. Very often not writing about art. Let’s talk: www.francescaramsay.co.uk

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