Posts Tagged ‘Arte Povera’

Blackpaint 330 – Guns, Knives, Spaghetti and Rubbish

March 12, 2012

Niki de Saint Phalle

I have been looking at her “Shooting Piece” for many short periods, during the last 11 days – reason being, it’s on the March page of our Tate calendar, which hangs on the toilet door.  On Saturday, at the Tate, I had the chance to look at it in the flesh, or rather, plaster.  It’s a white plaque of thick, rumpled plaster, down which several trails of paint –  red, blue, yellow, violet – have been allowed to dribble.  It seems that she put paint into polythene bags, buried them in the plaster, and invited fellow artists – Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg – to fire bullets into the work.  The paint released then ran down, in and out of the ridges randomly (sorry about the inadvertent alliteration).

I like the work; I find it pleasing visually and quite memorable.  I think I could have gone on liking the work and not knowing how it was produced, without being troubled by it.  Or rather, now that I know, it doesn’t alter my feelings in any way.  Is it now a joint work by Saint Phalle, JJ and RR?  Does the element of chance add or subtract meaning?   Not for me; I respond to its looks, not the information I have about its origins, the intentions of the artist, its context, in short.  Very shallow, maybe, but a good rule of thumb in galleries – unless you want to spend a lot of time peering at wall info, or blocking everybody’s view while you listen to some long audio commentary.

Igor and Svetlana Kopystansky

I watched their film, made in Chelsea district of NY over 2 years.  Called “Incidents”, it’s basically rubbish blowing about the streets in strong winds.  It’s hard to avoid the thought that they may have cheated by introducing particularly interesting bits of rubbish – why is this cheating?  Don’t know – it turns the film into something manufactured, rather than observed (but editing, which they of course did, does that as well).  Completely contradicts what I said about Saint Phalle, but blogger’s privilege…  Anyway, these plastic bags, cartons, bits and pieces slide and whirl about, occasionally pouncing on other bits like predators or mating insects.  Reminded me of one of those Czech cartoons you used to get on TV when they had a slot to fill.

Alighiero Boetti

At the Tate Modern.  Starts with a bunch of Arte Povera pieces, such as a perspex cube containing a sort of chest made from a variety of brown materials like bamboo and spaghetti; huge rolls of stiff paper, pulled out like a giant’s toilet roll.  Lots of writings on large yellowing paper sheets, noughts and crosses, alphabets, little broken symbols like Braille crossed with pixcels (not easy on the eye. requiring close study); letter/word colour tiles, that were almost the same as pieces by Gavin Turk, shown in a weekend paper a couple of weeks ago – some sort of hommage, presumably?

Aircraft drawn on blue in biro, apparently,; “Tutti” – tapestry wall hangings with everything in them, crammed in – bones, horses, people, trumpets…..; and the famous Afghan map hangings in bright colours, countries with flags embroidered on them.  Did it in 20 minutes, having not been stirred to serious thought or moved to tears by visual splendours.  I’d put it in the same slot as the Orozco show, a while back.

Colquhoun and MacBryde

I was interested to read in the Bristow book, “The Last Bohemians”, that Ken Russell made a BBC film about them for Monitor – only 10 minutes long, entitled “Scottish Painters”.  From Bristow’s description, it sounds like a serious study of their painting techniques and work.  A few years later, when Ken was in more florid mode,  would he have included the scene, related by Bristow, of a drunken, naked Colquhoun chasing a drunken, naked MacBryde around a front garden in Wembley, waving a knife. and lit up by occasional lightning?  I don’t think he could have resisted..

Stained Glass

Blackpaint

12/3/12

Blackpaint 144

May 31, 2010

More Exposed

Some more photos and sequences from the Tate Modern exhibition:

  • The Iraq convoy, smashed in the first Iraq war, like the Germans in the Falaise pocket (but without the hedgerows).  The WWI aerial photos, taken from about 500 ft, I thought – dangerously low, anyway – where you can see the individual soldiers advancing under clouds of shell smoke.  The Normandy cliffs, from higher up, but not that much.
  • The sex in the Japanese park sequence, where the photographer actually gets in on the action, pushing the idea of voyeurism to its extreme.
  • The Araki nude seen from behind, kneeling and resting her body across a chair or something, with a twist of her body at the waist; a beautiful life drawing pose, surprisingly, perhaps
  • Various actual surveillance photos of barbed wire, hangar-like buildings, deserted roads, deserts.
  • Northern Ireland army installations like cages; an IRA man in an armchair with a stocking over his flattened features.
  • paparazzi photos of celebs, Marilyn, Burton and Taylor.
  • The Kennedy assassination shots.

So, some great shots but all familiar; too much maybe, too wide a definition for one visit.  OK if you’re a member and can go back for a second or even third time.

Other Stuff

from yesterday’s visit, not  mentioned before;

  • the drooping coils of Marisa Merz’s metal schlangs, dangling from the ceiling;
  • The Dieter Roth plaque of blue,  pink and yellow card, treated with glue, next to the great (but small) wooden Schwitters;
  • the strangely sexy pile of old clothing against the naked statue in the Arte Povera bit (didn’t get the artist’s name);
  • Lucia Nogueira’s video of kite flying on windy verges in, surprisingly, Berwick-on-Tweed.  Why surprisingly?  because she was Brazilian.  I remember seeing her ink and paint-blot pictures a while ago.

Brief today, because not many readers on a Bank Holiday.

Blackpaint

31.05.10