Posts Tagged ‘Alan Ginsberg’

Blackpaint 414 – Saggy Pottery and Flashing Images

October 1, 2013

Biennale – the Arsenale

Most of the artworks in the Arsenale are those of individual artists, but there are several national pavilions too, which I’ll cover in another blog.

I’ll mention four artists today:  first, Jessica Jackson Hutchins.  She does big, saggy pottery, drooping over the armchairs and paint – smeared leather settees.  sounds like rubbish but it’s brilliant.


Next, Eugene Von Bruenchenhein (yes, honestly).  Two very distinct groups of his work were on show; one, highly coloured depictions of organic or botanic forms, etched or drawn in great detail; the other, a series of “glamour” photos of his wife Marie, semi-nude, wearing colourful pieces of tropical clothing 50s style make-up.  I first assumed that these were self-portraits by a woman artist like Cindy Sherman, adopting a glamour persona ironically. I thought they had a sort of period charm and were really attractive.  I was surprised to find they were Bruenchenhein’s; no irony then.  Made me wonder if the content is affected by the executor; that is, are they different because they were taken by a man?

bruenchenhein 1


bruenchenhein 2

Now,Kan Xuan, Vietnamese artist.  Dozens, no scores of slide units, flashing up, in rapid succession, sets of related images in pink, green, red and yellow tones – stone lions, fields, diggings, trees – but too fast to get a fix on, to “consume”.  I was interested and amused to see several punters attempting to get still photographs of the images.

kan xuan

This difficulty to consume is also a problem (for me) in the work of Stan VanDerBeek

A huge curved wall as a screen for his 1968 film; ever-changing, overlapping, flashing up on the left, popping up on the right, there in the centre but gone before you can focus, much slower than subliminal, of course, but well fast enough for me.  Ginsberg dancing naked, Mona Lisa, old musicals, Reagan (of course), Martin Luther King (ditto)… a touch of Monty Python graphics here and there, no doubt they learnt from VDB…  Great soundtrack – Bessie Smith, Maybelline…  It’s suggested that this film prefigures the internet age and the way that children and young adults absorb information from a variety of sources simultaneously – mobile, lap top, TV, conversation – but I don’t think that’s right.  The young adult processes the various inputs for her/himself; VanDerBeek was processing the information for us.


OK, enough for today, more tomorrow.  No new paintings, so must finish with a leftover life drawing.  PS – thanks to Cynthia Swain for correcting me on spelling of Hofmann.