Blackpaint 352 – Yoko Ono, Stepladders and Keyholes


Yoko Ono at the Serpentine

As you enter the exhibition, you are confronted by three identical, conical mounds of earth – they are labelled Country A, Country B and Country C.  Around you, army helmets hang, containing  jigsaw pieces.  A stepladder stands with a magnifying glass on top, so that you can read the tiny word above – but you can’t climb the ladder, so the word remains unread.  Perspex plinths of graded height stand in a line: on top of one, a box,on the next a needle, on the last, an apple (green, slightly bruised).

There is a series of photos of a laterally stretched face, titled “Doctor”; shoe prints of Yoko and John, heels distinct, soles fuzzy – she describes them as “neat and wild”.  There is a large perspex, box-shaped maze in the middle of gallery; while we were there, a little girl in the maze walked into one of the panels with a resounding bang and burst into tears, so go round with your kids.

There is a fascinating film of a series of butt0cks, some male, some female, I think – but in pairs – shot at anus level while the naked owners walk away – not into the distance, as the camera stays with them; tracking shot, or maybe walking on the spot.  Illusion of  meaty faces rubbing against each other, lips concealed..(sorry about that image).  How often do you get a chance to see that?  Not often, I’m betting.

And there was a film of Yoko having her clothes cut off, now and decades ago.  I believe I saw Yoko at the top of a ladder – same one? – having her bikini cut off at the Alexandra Palace in 1967.  It was a psychedelic all-nighter, with, I remember, Soft Machine, the Purple Gang (Granny Takes a Trip) and possibly Pink Floyd.  John Lennon was there and George or Ringo, in Sergeant Pepper mode – heavy moustache, hair short at sides, granny glasses, Afghan jacket.  I was there with my mate Ian McCormick, later Ian MacDonald, the author of “Revolution in the Head”, definitive book on Beatles’ music.  All our yesterdays….

And Macbeth brings me to-

The Hollow Crown

Simon Russell Beale’s Falstaff was great, I thought, for the pathos – Chimes at Midnight and the scenes with Doll Tearsheet (Maxine Peake terrific too) – but a little lacking in the bluster and vainglory.  Still haven’t seen a better Falstaff than Anthony Quayle in the first BBC Henry, and I’ve seen a few – Welles, Stevens, Joss Ackland, Michael Gambon, Robbie Coltrane.  But whenever I get the video out, I have to watch Quayle doing the Sherris Sack and  the Honour speeches from part one and Chimes from part two – and nobody cries “Woe to my Lord Chief Justice!” with quite the glee and threat that Quayle manages.  But Russell Beale was great and so was Jeremy Irons – saying the words as if he’d just thought of them, not learned them by heart to repeat with reverence.

Titian

Been to the National Gallery to see this exhibition, which will get a blog to itself – suffice to say now that you have to kneel down and peer through a keyhole to see Wallinger’s bathing Diana – or her head, the rest of her being hidden by the sides of the bath.  I don’t quite get the analogy with the Titian painting, since poor old Actaeon comes across Diana by accident in the Ovid story… Never mind, it’s all art.

The Torch

Went to see it arrive at Tooting Bec Lido; I was especially impressed with the Samsung, Coca-Cola and Lloyds TSB buses preceding it, in corporate colours, with waving, dancing passengers.

I Mailed it in the Air 2

Blackpaint

26.07.12

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