Blackpaint 158

Chelsea Degree Show

Wandered into this after the Tate Britain today and was immediately lost; on every door was a sign, “Show continues” or “No Show”.  In some cases, arrows on “show continues” posters pointed both ways.  Nightmare for those with no sense of direction, or with a compulsion to see everything – if you have both at once…

Anyway, to be expected, there was a lot of packing cases and/or cardboard boxes and TVs on floors, playing continuously.  In two rooms, there were guitars and amps – in one of these, sounds were emerging.  Other things I remember were:

  • Bowls of red/orange stuff with cloth/paper hanging in them, colour seeping up.
  • A door with the warning “contains nudity”, behind which a video played of a girl in bed, speaking to camera.  The nudity did not arrive soon enough to cause me offence and the soundtrack was not clear enough.
  • A film about a reservoir in Teesdale, I think, playing in an empty lecture theatre.
  • Paintings on metallic, glabrous surfaces, rust/blood red, grey, brown, resembling splattered targets.  I liked these, being old-fashioned.
  • Up a narrow iron spiral staircase to a sort of turret room, which was just about completely lined with postcards of this artist’s previous work, it appeared.  Some interesting, splattery, smeary pics, a spoof on the Tracey Emin tent – just TOO MUCH STUFF to take in.
  • Some professionally executed cartoons, the message(s) of which were obscure – possibly anti-meat eating?  There was one differentiating carnivore humans from  fruitarian hominids.
  • Small, vividly coloured wall plaque thingies, made from wood, maybe, or papier mache and stuck together.  These had been bought by  the University for its permanent collection.
  • Rabbit skins in a small perspex cube, stitched together to make a sort of composite rabbit.
  • A number of meticulously made surrealist objects; a walking stick in a violin case, a bent fork in a Meerschaum pipe case, a hairpin in a presentation box – lots of bent things.
  • A number of brown cardboard boxes stuck together into a construction, interspersed with speakers – nothing coming out while I was there.  A couple of nice paintings, one of flamingoes, the other containing a central white mass, like an iceberg.
  • A room in which there was a wall painting of a natty looking young man in a sort of aristocratic raincoat.  The raincoat hung in the room.  A host of cockroaches was painted on the floor and walls, approaching a pair of monkeys eating a man’s brain with spoons and  a child, also with brain exposed.
  • A wispy, violet line drawing on a partition – looked like a smoky flower.
  • TV screens buried in a white partition wall, so that each one only partly exposed; domestic scenes playing out, washing, breakfast etc.
  • A dark room (maybe I should have put lights on – I thought the darkness was part of the work), with a white silk wedding (?) dress hanging on one wall and a spray of flowers in a box frame on the other wall.
  • A room with messages scrawled in chalk, some obscured, on the floor and on blackboards (Ah, that takes me back!) around the room, propped against the walls.
  • Several large, dark paintings of beings with flayed, muscular torsos and faces – browns, dark reds, blacks.
  • Three paintings of a TV test card, that one with the little girl playing noughts and crosses, each  painting slightly smaller than the previous one.
  • Large 3D images of the inside of a flat, doors and windows.  3D glasses provided.
  • Doors and shuttered windows – one my friend identified as a padded cell door (he didn’t tell me how he knew what it was).

That is what I remember seeing, with no prompting from artist’s cards; I purposely wanted to record what I remember.  I enjoyed the show a great deal and will be visiting again.  If you recognise your work from these descriptions, please comment.

I found it interesting (and a bit worrying) that there was nothing resembling the sort of abstraction I do.  I feel like a skiffle fan might have felt at a jazz fusion evening  in the 70’s.

Martin Rowson

The interview with him – it was Laurie Taylor doing it – was on again and I watched the whole thing this time, instead of switching off after the Blair’s tongue bit (see Blackpaint 153).  He was saying in the second half that  sometimes  he felt “he offended all the people, all the time”.  It occurred to me what a fantastic epitaph that would  be, when the time came – many years in the future, of course.

Straight Life by Blackpaint



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