Posts Tagged ‘Bertolucci’

Blackpaint 409 – Baroque Carrots, Bertolucci and Lautrec in the House

August 31, 2013

Guggenheim (Cont.) – Riotous Baroque

Concluding last week’s blog on Bilbao; “Riotous Baroque one of those exhibitions that mix modern works with 17th century and Renaissance paintings on “similar” themes (sex, death, supernatural, drunkenness, riot, religious transport, violent death etc., etc…)

The old paintings include Teniers animals aping men, drinking, spewing, fighting, wearing clothes; witches’ sabbaths, flying ghost ships, gaping-mouthed devils, drunken oglings and gropings in Dutch taverns, mythological figures tearing their own innards out – all good stuff.  There are three, big, beautiful paintings of saints in ecstasies on huge dark backgrounds, that could have been Caravaggios or Zurbarans – but turned out to be by de Ribera, de Piola and Jan van Bathurnen.  Never heard of the last two.

The modern stuff:  Jurgen Teller photographs of Charlotte Rampling and Raquel Zimmerman standing naked amidst white baroque statuary – rather like those Richard Hamilton pictures recently at the National Gallery, naked hoovering and the rest; Glenn Brown doing the usual thing of old-style pictures, swirly, sickly, layered paint, simulated decay; several simple, patchy paintings by Dana Schulz that recall Gary Hume; a painting by Urs Fischer of a woman in an Ingres dress, her face and body obscured by an enormous erect carrot, peeled, ridged and glistening – what could it represent?

fischer carrot

Actually, this is one of a number Fischer has done of portraits with face obscured by vegetable or fruits such as bananas and lemon slices, so perhaps I have misread any phallic significance.  Fischer, I find, is a man; I’d thought the Urs was short for Ursula, like a German friend of ours.

Finally, three large white Albert Oelhens.  Sprays and splashes and  swatches of delicious paint, mauve, mint green, crimson, over his beautifully applied CGI images – on one, a metallic, psychedelic starburst; on another, a big “per cent” sign.

albert Oelhen

Toulouse Lautrec Museum, Albi (Southern France)

Stunning town and so are the paintings in the TL museum.  Woman on a Divan,  Comtesse Adele de Toulouse Lautrec (1895) –  my partner says she has Cezanne hands – Carmen la Rousse, tousled hair, startled eyes;

lautrec3

sketches for posters fabulous, with a depth that the posters don’t have; Caudieux the actor; the brothel pictures, women in chemises, lounging on divans, in bed together…

lautrec4

The woman doing her hair – that white and black on brown board; it looks like pastel and charcoal, but it’s paint.

lautrec2

 

Inspired me to try same; results at bottom.

The Conformist

Watched Bertolucci’s great film again, and found it more balletic and operatic – without the singing – than last time.  Trintignant’s gliding walk in the fedora and overcoat, Sanda’s Lady Penelope face, the dance of the two women, the Paris shops by night with the blue windows, the Caesar-esque assassination in the forest, Sanda’s face a blood mask…  great film.

The Dreamers

More Bertolucci; Paris 1968 this time.  Great scene where the three protagonists race through the museum in imitation of “Bande a Part”; the run is intercut with the original film, the runners interchanging, colour to b and w…

Sweet Tooth

Reading McEwan’s last book; marred only by too much local colour.  I’m sure that all the London pubs and bands mentioned are accurate – I know they are, I was there too – but they can be distracting.  BUT – the book is written from the point of view of a woman; I can’t think of any other male writer who has done this, apart from Joyce with the Molly Bloom bit at the end of Ulysses.

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Blackpaint

Life Drawings from Millman Street

31.08.13

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Blackpaint 357 – Art Film Sex for the Older Fan; Perfect Illusions

September 7, 2012

As promised, my top five – or maybe six or seven – films with sex scenes, since last weeks had none and I don’t want my public to think I live a sheltered life…

Last Tango in Paris (Bertolucci) – Francis Bacon paintings in the credits, jazz saxophone, and a fabulous shot across/along that bridge; also the first meeting in the empty flat when Marlon takes Maria’s hat out of her hand…

The Night Porter (Taviani) – they are holed up together, hiding out; Charlotte takes Dirk in hand…

Belle de Jour (Bunuel) – there’s hardly any actual sex in it; maybe just the presence of Catherine Deneuve is sufficient.  Best scenes are her dreams of the carriage ride and the coffin going up and down as she lies in it, puzzled at what he’s doing underneath…

Diary of a Shinjuku Thief  (Oshima) – Saw this forty – odd years ago, so don’t remember much except that it made me rather unsettled;

Ai No Corrida – (Oshima) –  Ouch!!  Similar – actually, worse – moment in Antichrist;

Emmanuelle – the boxing match and after; strongly realist storyline – a beautiful young French woman gives herself to an old, authoritarian, aristocratic roue to learn about sexual fulfilment; her husband seems quite OK with this.  Happens all the time in Thailand.  Directed by the appropriately named Just Jaeckin

The Sheltering Sky – fun with the sheikh in the desert; Debra Winger is shut up in a wicker hut for visitations by her Arab master.  Another Bertolucci film. 

Greatest disappointment – Caligula.  Why did director (Tinto Brass) use such tiny prostheses in the fellatio scenes?

Next blog: best use of music in film.

Tate Britain

A roomful of Howard Hodgkin, maybe six or seven paintings, from various points in his career, all oil on wood.  I like “Clean Sheets” best; a small landscape panel of rough wood, dark brown centre with a bright acidy green “window frame” painted in free sweeps around it.  Inside, another swatch of green – a sheet, maybe- and a red/pink tongue of fire licking at the left- hand corner.

“Porlock”, from this year, is on smoothed wood, with swatches of purple, I think, “stacked” in the centre – border is unpainted.  There are lines of interruption in the swatches; maybe that explains the title.

“Come into the garden Maud” ; swirling masses of green and red blotches, like Impressionist shapes – a Seurat extract magnified a few thousand times.

Anna Barribal

She has a pencil drawing of a brick wall, thickly painted (wall, not drawing) and with natural flaws, bobbles, holes in paint layer, light reflected off it – and it is absolutely a perfect illusion of wallness.  I had to lean against the real wall and look from the side to see the flaws disappear, before I was convinced it was a drawing.  Opposite, there is a large roll of paper, covered completely with ink, sagging against the wall – it’s by the same artist.  I half expected the roll to disappear when I looked at it from the side, as if it were a hologram.

In the same room there are perfect drawn copies of tiny snapshots, a perfect drawn representation of an aerial view of Dresden from the internet, and several perfect drawn representations of – drawings, with folds and wrinkles in paper; these last by David Musgrave.

The skills and resources of patience required for the production of these works are unimaginable to me and they are completely successful in representing the reality of one form in another – perfect illusions, from the front anyway.  There’s a humour there too, when the objects are mundane (brick wall) – I’m reminded of Fischli and Weiss.  Is there more than that?  Not sure.

Leghorn

Blackpaint

7.09.12

Blackpaint 341 – Ballet Girls, Donkeys and Buckets

May 10, 2012

Charcoal and pencil

The first is great to use, the second a chore.  I’ve acquired a cheap book of Degas’ drawings, mostly ballet girls, and have been copying them; the legs are the most difficult – feet always pointing in some improbable direction.  That, and getting them to look like the young girls they are – mine keep coming out too old, somehow.  They haven’t got that slight dumpiness or sturdiness that Degas’ girls have got.  That line of his is just great.  Also, the two servants with the laundry baskets and the ones that are grooming the horse (or horses, it transpired, as I was drawing – the head belonged to a second horse looking over, NOT to the first horse looking back – if you see what I mean).

Can’t somehow get the same buzz from pencil – too laborious, can’t just smear the dust with my thumb to get shading like I can with the charc, got to draw parallel lines.

St.  Ives since the Fifties

A cheapo catalogue of a 2006 exhibition at the Katharine House Gallery in Marlborough I got in Campbell’s, that bookshop opposite Tate Modern.  I mention it because there is some great stuff in it from St Ives people I didn’t know of; chief of these is Rachael Kantaris, two lovely etchings and an acrylic by her, touch of Hilton in that black line through the fleecy white.  Then, Tony Shiels who was born in 1938 but is new to me; three gouache and watercolour, very reminiscent of Lanyon (senior), best being “St.Ives Sea Head” from 1960.  Also some stunning Terry Frost Lorca illustrations – and loads more.

Kantaris

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen at Rotterdam

Also from Campbell’s, only two quid, a catalogue of this museum, to which I’m heading at the first opportunity – assuming it’s still open, as there’s no date in the catalogue as far as I can see – can’t be bothered to read the text.  Anyway, some stunning stuff in it, the chief being Karel Appel, “Farmer with a Donkey and Bucket”, from 1950.  It’s a painted stable door – with a bucket hanging on the bottom. 

Appel

Then, there’s Asger Jorn, “The Town of Ivory Towers” from 1955 – dark green and dried-blood red, deeply scored and looking rather like a stained glass window; can’t find a picture on Google.

Then, de Kooning – “The Cliff of the Palisade with Hudson River, Weehawken, New Jersey, 1963” – which actually looks like a figure study in white and brown, on an ochre and blue background.  There’s a great Dali self-portrait in pencil and black ink on paper – heavy sketched like a Jim Dine or Kitaj life drawing, like no other Dali I’ve ever seen.  Three great van Dongens, including “A Finger on her Cheek” – don’t know why I like him so much, apart from the name.  Maybe it’s the crudity of the colours and the energy of the line….

One other painting to mention, “The Earring, 1893”, by George Hendrik Breitner – never heard of him before.  beautiful long, straight flower vase of a woman looking in a mirror, Whistler maybe, Japan definitely. bit Klimt, but just a bit… 

Breitner

1900, Bertolucci

I saw this way back in the 70s when it first came out, and I was dismayed to see it again and find that it’s dubbed (presumably because most of the big male stars – Lancaster, de Niro, Donald Sutherland, Stering Hayden – are American.  This gives it a terrible spaghetti western sound – probably would be great with subtitles.  It also has two, perhaps three, of the most dislikeable child actors, doing all that rite of passage stuff – comparing willies. masturbating in the fields, wrestling and slagging each other off – haven’t seen the second DVD yet, but no doubt they compete for the same girl…

Can this really be the Bertolucci who coaxed such subtle and understated performances from Brando and Schneider in “Last Tango”?

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Figure Drawing 6