Posts Tagged ‘Andra Ursuta’

Blackpaint 656 – Whitechapel, Venice and Houellebecq

October 23, 2019

Anna Maria Maiolino, Making Love Revolutionary, at Whitechapel Gallery until 12th January 2020

This exhibition contains many wonderful things, as does the current Venice Biennale; what readers may have realised over the years is that I’m not good at, or interested in, discovering or even having a stab at the meaning of a work of art.  It’s enough if the work pleases or interests me in itself, without explanations in reams of artspeak in catalogues or on a gallery wall.  Looking back, it seems I don’t do much more than put forward some possible similarities to other artists or works – and some of those links are pretty spurious.

And today’s blog is no different – so here are some examples of Maiolino’s work, with not much in the way of comment:

Clay, I believe , on a table.  The legs are not part of the artwork – although they improve the photo.

 

Her drawings on paper are very fine, clean and clear.

 

 

Magnets and iron filings come to mind (mine, anyway).  And black holes…

 

The spaceman has fish on a plate – and is that an otter… or beaver?

 

Several of Maiolino’s works are of this sort; paper or stiff card, cut and contained within a box-like frame, tight as a drum and sharply geometric.  Some have cords or rather threads attached in various ways.

 

Glistening piles – maybe a single joined-up tube of vari-coloured…matter, again on a table top, making a nice contrasting “book end” to the first illustration.  Anish Kapoor had several exhibits similar to this at Guggenheim Bilbao some nine years ago.  A liberating piece of work.

 

 

Venice Biennale: “May You Live in Interesting Times”

As with the last Biennale, diversity, migration, refugees are major concerns in the selection – although you wouldn’t know it from looking at many of the artworks.  The handbook is an essential guide to what somebody thinks the pieces represent, but you won’t be able to divine from it what the works actually consist of.  More of this, with examples, next blog.  Here are some of the individual contributions:

 

Tavares Strachan

This US artist is concerned with the African American contribution to the space programme; this piece is about a black astronaut who was killed in an accident, whilst training others.

 

Gabriel Rico

Coke (Pepsi?) bottle, carrot et al with light tubes.  Early Martial Raysse?

 

Yin Xiuzhen, “Trojan”

The giant figure is slumped forwards in the seat; coverings made from stretched shirts, jackets etc.

 

Martine Gutierrez

She does giant photos of herself in provocative positions with male mannequins.  Here she is, gazing – longingly? fearfully? – up from the pool at the suited and booted figure… a Houellebecq scenario, possibly (see below).

 

Cameron Jamie

These heads on sticks are inspired by the Austrian (?) Krampus legends.

 

Alexandra Bircken

Black vinyl “skins” hanging from the rafters – an obvious “Strange Fruit” reference…

 

Andra Ursuta

These “ice” sculptures are actually made from treated wax – very effective.

 

Danh Vo

Paint slapped and smeared and left to run down polished metal mirror – love this.

 

Zhanna Kadyrova

This is just a corner of a whole vegetable and meat market made from a variety of materials, from cardboard to cement.  Reminded me of Fischli and Weiss, who used to do these sort of realist assemblages made out of polystyrene mostly…

 

 

 

Michel Houellebecq, Serotonin

Just finished Houellebecq’s latest and I’m still struggling to understand why the Marxist intellectuals who make up my book group like him so much.  He’s arguably pretty, well VERY right wing (it’s not all irony, is it?), hates feminism, has absolutely nothing good to say about socialism, hates the EU, writes enthusiastically about the international sex industry, etc. etc.   He IS French however, so I suppose he appeals to the automatic anti-British leanings of many leftie intellectuals, as identified by Orwell years ago.  In Serotonin, he comes quite close to some romantic, even lyrical passages – so he offsets these with a sequence in which a German paedophile molests a young girl, apparently with her consent and for money.  That should be shocking enough, he maybe thinks, to prevent his becoming a National Treasure in France…  I wouldn’t bank on it; maybe he already is.

Two of my pictures to finish, as usual:

 

Soho Newsagent’s Window 1963 (1 and 2)

Blackpaint

October 2019

 

 

Blackpaint 434 – Creed; the Piles, the Cacti and the Suspense

February 14, 2014

Hayward Gallery – Martin Creed, “What’s the Point of it?”

This was reviewed on the Review Show (BBC2) and was described as “joyous” by Paul Morley; the others agreed.  I was astounded to hear that music was part of the exhibition, in the form of several soundtrack items – I was totally unaware of this; just didn’t notice it, I suppose.  In fact, the reviewers mentioned a number of items I missed; as always, sounded as if they were at a different show.

It’s packed with exhibits, mostly numbered not named – here’s my list, with the occasional comment:

  • Swinging “MOTHERS” sign, nearly skimming the head, if your as tall as me (6ft 4in)
  • Diminishing, or growing, stacks/lines of cacti, chairs, tables, planks, boxes, girders

creed cacti

  • Pictures of stepped pyramids and staircases

Creed pile

  • Stripe paintings on walls (horizontal, vertical, diagonal,  criss-crossed…)
  • Film of rather small erect penis, gradually diminishing, on terrace
  • Pointed tower of LEGO
  • Rough portraits, duff portraits, freely painted, multi – colour abstracts (small)
  • Metal nozzles, protuberances and er – intuberances (?) like bathroom fittings
  • smooth white breast-shaped swellings, “growing” from wall
  • Dark piano, each key of which sounded at intervals by attendant
  • White piano, lid opening and crashing shut automatically at regular intervals
  • Door, opening and closing
  • Car, bonnet, doors and boot of which opening and shutting, lights on and off, regular intervals
  • Line of metronomes, out of sync (when we were there, anyway)
  • 1000 differently coloured and framed prints of a broccoli “tree”
  •  A load of balls (tennis, basketball, football, etc.)
  • Little ticky-tacky paint and tape pictures, quite nice
  • Video of two dogs, wolf hound and chihuahua, wandering about and pursued by men
  • Video of a young man and young woman, walking on into a white space and being sick on the floor.  The man is first, and accomplishes his puking with something of a swagger; hands on hips, I think.  The woman, however, outdoes him with about six consecutive large sploshes of thin red winey vomit – couple of bottles’ worth, I should think.  Well done!
  • Separating the two vomits is a sequence in which a young woman comes on, hitches her dress up, squats down and proceeds to have a shit.  This is quite tense, as at first, she only manages a couple of little pellets.  She grunts a bit; obviously she thinks there is more to come.  I got a little annoyed at this point when a young couple came and stood in front of me – didn’t want to miss anything…. and then there it was – curling out slowly and finally achieving separation.  She stands and walks off; job done.

In the leaflet, it says “horrible vomit” becomes a form of painting, and shit – the first solid thing that any of us makes – is sculpture”.  This reminds me of the David Foster Wallace story of the man who shits out fully-formed “sculptures” like portrait busts of celebrities…

Saatchi Gallery – Body Language (cont.)

Couple more painters worth a mention in the above exhibition:

Dana Schutz

dana schutz picnic

This one’s called “burnt Picnic”, I think;

And Andra Ursuta

“Vandal Lust”, a fantastical trebuchet (catapult) thing – sort of ramshackle Anish Kapoor, not working – with a couple of flattened, smashed bodies lying around, one of which appears to have been propelled into a wall, going by the damage to the plaster.

Denis Tarasov‘s Russian and Ukrainian gravestone C prints, showing the dead in their lives with their cars, cigars and champagne are worth mentioning too.

Days of 36, Angelopoulos (1974)

Made under the “Colonels’ ” regime in Greece, on a tight budget, this story of a jail hostage taking and the political intrigue behind the scenes is difficult to follow at times; whose is the body fished out of the sea, for example?  It does, however, have a scene which anticipates “The Shawshank Redemption”; music (a tango, it sounds like) is played in the compound – the inmates crowd the windows of the cells, overcome with emotion…

Burmese Days 

Re-reading Orwell’s book to compare it to Forster’s Passage to India.  Orwell’s is much more forceful, more angry, the language of the British violent and racially abusive; maybe it’s the 10 years’ difference between the books, as well as Orwell’s more radical (?)political outlook..  A couple of scornful remarks about Jews and homosexual scoutmasters from Flory, Orwell’s “hero” (sort of)…

??????????

 

Garden House

Blackpaint

14.02.14