Blackpaint 421 – Kienholz Dolls and the British on the Beach


Onnasch Collection at Hauser and Wirth

This spreads over both H&W galleries – the one in Piccadilly and the other in Saville Row.  I’ve only seen the Piccadilly one, but will certainly get to the other one.

There is a ridiculously high wooden chair on a sort of curved wooden boom, by Ed Suvaro and a group of wooden assemblages by Ed Kienholz: a pumpkin thing on a miniature bike; a group of bound, captive dolls atop a pedestal – with pedals; half a cello with a fat tube of squashy wire/wool stuff pumping out.

kienholz

Then there is Lance Tuttle, who makes cardboard and paper “plaques” with dangling plastic cups or drink cans; and George Brecht, a member of the Fluxus group, who made assemblages, for example, doll’s house furniture, a screw press, inside glass domes and Joseph Cornell – type boxes, cabinets, shelves of cards and magic tricks…

Finally, there is  a great block of turf-coloured bricks with red tongues of something curling out of them like flames, or some disease.  On closer inspection, it is apparent that these are the tips of gnomes’ hats – they appear to have been rammed through the blocks, as you can see the bases of the figurines on the other side.  it’s called “Dwarves”, I think, and it’s by Dieter Roth.

The Media Space at the Science Museum

There is a wonderful exhibition at the above, of the photographers Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr; they’re all black and white, from the 60s through to the 80s.  Fantastic, sad, funny pictures, both men very similar in approach (to my eyes, anyway).  The Britannia Coconut Dancers; serious seaside pleasures, men and women dozing in deckchairs with handkerchiefs under the lenses of their glasses, as if trying to make themselves as daft looking as possible; old men standing forlorn on run-down northern rugby grounds; a cinema queue for “Jaws”, which seems to contain Martin Carthy, Lucille from Coronation Street and Thora Hird; 1977 Silver Jubilee picnic tables, thronged with celebrants – then, in next picture, deserted, under driving rain.  Those old prams with their curly suspension struts; old women praying or dozing in chapel pews; squads of holiday makers excavating a beach, like building workers, below a fortress of a hotel in Newquay; Broadstairs beach with promenade and stairs in concrete (?) tiers, like a Moroccan citadel; echoes of Cartier – Bresson in the fat back of a man on the beach.  Both men have that facility of capturing several “events” in the one photograph.  My favourite, Parr’s, I think, is the sandwich queue at the mayor’s inaugural party in Todmorton – that bloke with the medals looks determined…

tony ray jones1

Impossible not to smile at these photographs, which are great art in my opinion.  Tony Ray -Jones died at 31, of leukaemia; Parr is still producing great pictures, of course, in colour now.

Jacob’s Room

Several times, I caught similarities to the “Wandering Rocks” section of Ulysses in this, the most experimental of Woolf’s novels, surely.  It ends with Bonamy and Jacob’s mother clearing out his room; presumably he dies in WW1.

I notice that Woolf seems to like a little surprise at the end.  I thought that Katharine Hilbery, in Night and Day, was showing signs of mental illness – fugues, detachment, going walkabout – but no-one else on the net seems to think so; one read it as a romantic comedy.

Augustus

John Williams epistolatory novel about the Roman emperor – it’s good; like Stoner, it’s a “whole life” job – but again, like Stoner, it takes Williams for ever to kill his hero off.  Minor fault, perhaps.

The Act of Killing

I’ve only seen the first 25 minutes of this terrifying film, in which old gangsters gleefully re-enact their mass murders of “communists” in the coup of 1965; the repulsive Congo bears a slight, but disconcerting, physical resemblance to Nelson Mandela.

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Solo Flight

Blackpaint

14.11.13

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