Blackpaint 254


London Street Photography

At the Museum of London.  As always, with photography like this, there is the historical interest: clothes, transport, shops, trades… but there are four whose work jumps out:

Wolfgang Suschitsky – a single blossom tree in a misty street, reminiscent (to me, anyway) of Whistler; and a night scene of a man pushing a milk cart past the neon-lit frontage of the “Revudebar”.  It turns out that he’s a famous cinematographer who worked on “Get Carter”, “Theatre of Blood” and the “Ulysses” which starred Milo O’Shea as the definitive Bloom, TP McKenna as Buck Mulligan and for some reason, is always described as a failed project.  Of course it fails to present the book adequately – how could it not?  Fantastic success in its own right, however.

Back to Suschitzky – born in 1912, still living, son Peter also a cinematographer (Naked Lunch and other Cronenburg films).

Humphrey Spender – A beautifully “lit” view of a lake or riverside with sitters on grass and  swans, I think; Seurat via Cartier Bresson.  Stephen’s brother, worked for Mass Observation, most photos of cloth-capped workers, factories, mills, stadiums – only one other I could find on Google like this one, on a river or canal bank in North East.

Terry Spencer – Mods and skinheads; I thought Terry was probably a Mod himself, but no – Spitfire pilot, DFC, record for baling out of an aircraft at lowest height, subsequently war photographer…

Roger Mayne – Those great shots of Notting Hill boys and girls in the 50s.

In all above cases, I recommend Google Images to see some beautiful photographic art.

Courtauld Gallery

Bellini, Assassination of Peter Martyr – gory murder in a forest, knife lodged in his head, “CREDO” written in his own blood on ground, the surrounding chopped tree trunks bleeding in sympathy.

Signorelli, Massacre of the Innocents, little picture in which dead babies lie around marinating in pools of their own blood – he’s a real sensationalist.  His Last Judgement in Orvieto Cathedral on TV the other night (Fig Leaf, see last blog) green demons dragging the damned to the pit – a real cartoon feel to it, in the modern sense.  I like him -he’s the graphic novel version.  There’s a touch of that to Michelangelo’s too, but more classy.

Gauguin, Haystacks, a sort of huge, incoming yellow wave of hay rolling towards the viewer, white-capped women surfing it with hayforks.  Thinly painted, outlined, a “drawn” quality.

British Art Show 7 – “In the Days of the Comet”

At the Hayward.  A lot to write about so I’ll do a couple today and carry on next time.

Phoebe Unwin – Proper paintings, hints of Clough, Hodgkin and maybe Rauschenburg.  Silver Shower, a showerhead against a background of aluminium foil; another like a stack of cake slices, thin red filling..

Charles Avery – A long, white, cartoon riverside panorama; hotel with a lot of sex going on in windows; dogs cavorting, a big shop or restaurant at top of picture, a ship coming in on right.. a long, jokey title, seems to be a feature of this exhibition.

Also – A big glass case containing a desert scene, sand, snakes, broken glass a young woman in shorts and a see through shirt, reflected on outside of case; a big excrescence on top of case – glazed triangles stuck together like a bunch of coagulated wigwams.

Roger Hiorns – Transparent globs of epoxy resin, distorted by application of heat, perhaps, hanging from ceiling.  Also – a complete engine and drive shaft (?) just lying flat on the floor like a dead pterodactyl.

We waited by the bench to see if the naked man turned up; every so often, he comes to the bench and a small fire starts up under it.  On this occasion, we were disappointed – no show.

Enough for today; more tomorrow.

Blackpaint

25.02.11

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