Posts Tagged ‘Bram van Velde’

Blackpaint 579 – Hanging Buckets, Wedding Cakes and Birds’ Nests

December 22, 2016

Rauschenberg, Combines and Appel

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Appel, 1950

A brief blog before Christmas.  Warning: some “challenging” material below!

While visiting the brilliant Rauschenberg exhibition at Tate Modern and noting the variety and incongruity of the objects attached to his various “Combines” (a sock, a boot, electric fans, a ceramic dog, numerous parasols and parachutes, lightbulbs and lumps of metal), I remembered this piece made by Karel Appel in 1950, some ten years(?) before Robert began his.  Not only does it have a bucket hanging from it, but it’s painted on a barn door.

Apparently, Appel and his associates made a number of these combines in the late 40s/early 50s; maybe Rauschenberg knew of them (via his tutor at Black Mountain, Joseph Albers) – or maybe it’s coincidence, a sort of parallel evolution.

That would be a great exhibition for 2017 at TM – Appel, Jorn and CoBrA –  and/or Appel and other Dutch modernists, Nanninga, Wagemaker, Oepts, Bram van Velde et al…  No chance, I suppose.

Feminist Avant-Garde Art of the 70s, The Photographers’ Gallery

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Ulrike Rosenbach, Art is a Criminal Act

(Rosenbach is the one on the left – and right).

 

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Hannah Wilke, SOS

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Penny Slinger, Wedding Invitation (1973)

 

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Birgit Jurgenssen, Nest (1979)

I didn’t notice, I promise, how these four images make pairs that echo each other until I’d put them in.

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Lynda Benglis (in action, 1969)

It was a surprise to me to realise how familiar many of these images are to me, an old white man – the candour and wit on display here must have driven quite deep into my psyche.  Then again, it could be because the artists were young and beautiful  and not averse, to say the least, to posing naked; and since many works parodied the exploitative cliches of advertising, art etc., this would have been unavoidable.

The only really shocking image is the cover photo of a French magazine, showing the body of a young woman victim of the Hillside Strangler (two perpetrators acting together, as it turned out), surrounded by police and photographers on a hill above LA.  This occasioned a protest event featured in the exhibition.

Missed marketing opportunity by the PG; in a corner vitrine, you can see a copy – maybe the only one – of “The Cunt Colouring Book”.  With the recent vogue for adult colouring books and Christmas coming up, a repro could do well…

Lord Halifax’s Ghost Book – The Bordeaux Diligence

My second surprise of the week was to come across this story in this lovely book, published in 1936 (my Fontana paperback edition is from 1961 – we are promised on the back that “your flesh will creep; you’ll bolt your doors to no avail”), which is worthy of a Bunuel film, or a segment in one at least.

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A Frenchman is asked by an old woman to do her a favour; will he ask that gendarme at what time the Bordeaux Diligence (a horse-drawn carriage) starts?  In all innocence, he does so – and he is arrested and taken to court.  When he repeats his question in court, the shocked judge sends him to a penal colony.  he hasn’t learned his lesson yet; he tells the governor why he is there – and ends up in solitary confinement.  And so on.  Eventually, he gets home and spots the old woman.  She agrees to tell him the reason for his misfortune – but when he stoops to hear her explanation, she bites his ear and drops dead.

 

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The Black Sea, December

Happy Christmas to all my readers.

Blackpaint 

22/12/16

 

 

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Blackpaint 370 – Abstraction under the Soviets, New Contemporaries Over Here

December 6, 2012

Breaking the Ice: Moscow Art 1960 – 80s

This is on upstairs at the Saatchi and consists of three sorts of work, loosely speaking;  abstract (expressionist and constructivist, I suppose you could call it), surrealist and Pop Art.  The abstract works are somewhat derivative, but the wonder is they were done at all.  What would have been the rewards for producing this sort of work in that period?  Where could you show it?  There would have been suppression, destruction of the work, persecution, maybe imprisonment.  Maybe you could do them secretly, invite a few friends round to see, sell a few or give them to friends…  At the Venice Biennale last year, I saw photographs of brave abstractionists from this period who displayed their work collectively in the open air, sometimes in the snow, as art shows/demonstrations.  Inevitably, they would be broken up and the works destroyed, often with violence from the police.  I’m afraid I didn’t pay close enough attention to this exhibition, being tired after the big show downstairs (reviewed in last blog).  I’ll be going again to put that right.

Bloomberg New Contemporaries at the ICA

This turned out to be a great show and I thoroughly recommend it.  There were a number of paintings that really caught my attention but again, didn’t make a note of the names; when I go again, I’ll amend this blog to put it right.  In the meantime – small, dark-coloured, triangular paintings with dribbles, reminding me of Bram van Velde (motifs) and Varda Caivano (colours, especially that acid green/blue).  Also like Van Velde, two black on white canvases with a rectangles divided by crossing diagonals; sort of kite shapes.  Darkish watercolour blooms on brown, unbleached linen.  A video loop called “Going for a Stroll”, which showed a series of beautiful Japanese(?) women in stylish clothes, doing just that, on white stone bridges, in parks, by water, ornate surroundings.  What caught my attention here was one sequence in which the woman appeared to be bleached out by mist or maybe pixel degeneration in the film – made her look like a Sasnal or Richter picture animated.  A lovely, juicy painting, like a combination of Twombly and Christopher Wool – squiggly loops, dark red on grey – but what’s in the background?  Looks like a dark building…  On a TV in the middle of the gallery, a woman life model, trying out poses against a background of blue and yellow.

Upstairs, a big cinematic  video titled “Improvisation” – basically, an athletic male dancer carrying out a series of increasingly fast and complex African dance steps – real pleasure to watch.

The Beaches of Agnes

Agnes Varda’s great autobiographical film, a combination of history, surrealism, and playful reconstruction of her life in films and notably, her life with Jacques Demy; another real pleasure.

Blackpaint Exhibition

This weekend, 11.00am – 6.00pm, Saturday and Sunday, at Studio Blackpaint, 84 Ribblesdale Road, London SW16 (near-ish Tooting Bec tube).  Come and see the paintings featured in this blog and buy, if you wish.  Overseas visitors especially welcome – do I hear the planes heading in from USA, Australia, Brazil, Reunion, Ukraine, Vatican City…?

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Saints Heads

Blackpaint 

6.12.12

Blackpaint 311 – Fellini at Skegness, cont.

December 8, 2011

Butlin’s Folk Festival

Last blog, I was rambling on about the Fellini-esque nature of the views at Skegness Butlins – the white tent, the beach, the groups of wanderers – thinking that Butlins and Fellini would make a nice, incongruous pairing for a title.  Nothing incongruous about it at all, of course; Fellini’s films are full of popular entertainment, wandering show people, circus acts, clowns, brass bands…

City of Women

Mastroianni in the above, bewildered, harrassed, pushed downstairs by revolting (but mostly very attractive) women, a strong reminder of Milo O’Shea as Bloom in Ulysses; apologetic, trying to excuse the inexcusable, guilty by nature of his existence – just perfect.  Great scene in which the burly( but oddly alluring) stoker woman tries to have sex with him in the polytunnel and is prevented by the arrival of her mother.

Cara Dillon

I said last time that she was like a gutsier Alison Krauss – since then, I’ve bought some of her records, and only the last, Hill of Thieves, could be called gutsy in any shape or form; beautiful, but wistful.  But live, she’s a different, more powerful proposition. 

Albert Irvin

Strange how you suddenly “get eyes” for a picture, or a painter, if they pursue a distinctive style;  it’s happened to me with Irvin.  I used to think his bright, almost fluorescent colours and lack of “painterly” texture were somehow shallow and trivial.  Someone sent me a postcard of one of his pictures a year or so ago and it’s been on the mantelpiece all that time, slowly (it seems) sinking in – and now I love it.

Gesamtkunstwerk at Saatchi

Free exhibition at Saatchi Gallery in Kings Road; it’s so good, I’m going to take a couple of blogs over it.  First…

Andre Butzer

Like an angry child’s parody of Asger Jorn; the gnome-like faces with big ears, but crudely sketched on the surface, graffiti style, not scratched and sculpted out of the background, like Jorn.  Those flat, jarring colours, especially the green, like a Basquiat with no taste.  They’re huge, of course – great.  That’s three of them, then there were another three with beautiful, clotted, light grey surfaces, over and across which, he’d slid a black-laden brush in geometric shapes – slidey triangles, like Bram Van Velde, only more straight – and other colours too.  These ones were more conventionally beautiful.

Isa Genzken 

A panel made up of maybe four large mirrors, plastered across with fluorescent tape like repairs or crime scene tape; rusty red paint running down, photo-posters of a Leonardo painting and several Michelangelo sculptures stuck on it (photos, not sculptures).  Again, great, but I don’t know why; something to do with modern life and traditional culture, street v. salon, Baader – Meinhof in there somewhere, probably..

Her other exhibits were assemblages on little podia, the most memorable built round a big artificial palm plant, with a large beer glass wearing a hat.  It looked like a bizarre machine.  She often uses little toy soldiers and cowboys, dolls – one with a scorched face – as in horror film cliches, toys/children, vulnerable, innocent/sisnister somehow.

In fact, several of the artists use toys in their work.  As well as the innocent/sinister thing, there is the glamour of a brightly coloured plastic toy – it can set off a drab assemblage of diverse objects like Turner’s red spot on in the London Bridge painting.

This is how my De Kooning type painting is progressing (or not); see last blog.  Final version in next one – something for readers to look forward to.

Blackpaint

8th December 2011

Blackpaint 169

July 20, 2010

Gillian Ayres

I compared one of my paintings to an Ayres picture called “Hinba” the other day; quite wrong.  Her surface positively seethes, mine is inert – Andrews Liver Salts compared to still water. 

Kiefer, Jorn etc.

The thing about German and Scandinavian artists like the above is that they have that “dark” mythology to fall back on.  It was a brilliant idea (whoever had it first) to start mining this sort of stuff for pictures – you can have, for example, childlike figures in bright colours and amusing shapes looming out of foggy, gloomy backgrounds, great  flares and swirls of colour making ghosts and maelstroms, erupting insect figures… a great combination of innocence and menace, hidden depths and all that.  I’m thinking of pictures like Kiefer’s “Song of the Wayland” and the Jorn “Out of the Silent Myth” series.

Not a path really open to an English artist; plenty of history, of course, but all a bit pageanty, kings and queens, not much in the way of mythology.  Stonehenge, of course, Robin Hood, Hereward the Wake, King Arthur…..   OK, that’s it, I’m going to do an abstract mythological series based on England – Druids, Blake, satanic mills, soldiers of the Empire slogging through Burmese jungles behind giant moustaches, and its all going to be abstract.

Oil Surfaces

Fairly encouraged by the early results with oils; the thickness and richness as it is forced out out of the tube, the way it slides about on the canvas and stays slimy – a bit disgusting really, like a snail trail or something more obscene…

For oil surfaces, it has to be Christopher Wool, with his black and grey sweeps, or Bram Van Velde (the slidy triangles), or see Raimunde Girke’s “Contrast” 1992, in Taschen Art of the 20th Century – or Jasper Johns’ paintings, or de Kooning, of course.

Corneille and Eva Hesse

Latest pair arriving at same point at same time (moving apart later, but similarities startling in early 60’s);  abstract land- or city scapes with knots of multi coloured blocks like warehouses, tied together with faux rail lines, coiling around humps and ditches.  See “The Big Red Sun’s Voyage” 63 or “On the Outskirts of the Big City” 60, both by Corneille and Eva Hesse’s two “No titles” (annoying!), done in 1963 and in “Action Painting – Jackson Pollock”, Hatje Cantz, 2008.

Alice Neel

At the Whitechapel Gallery.  Saw it today, lots to say, so will review tomorrow.  However, I was most impressed by an installation of Maria Abramovic elsewhere  in the gallery.  Five TV screens piled on top of each other,  in each one part of the process of washing and scrubbing a skeleton clean.  At the top the jaws and teeth, at  the bottom the toe bones.  Greyish, soapy water sluicing down, a woman’s hands scooping and scrubbing inside the ribcage, beteen the finger and toe bones, the coccyx (or was it the end of the sternum?)…  I could feel the fingers on my own bones and had to be called away by my partner.  Rather worrying, really.

First Oil, Blackpaint

listening to Death Valley Blues by Big Joe Williams

“I went down in Death Valley, Weren’t nothing but tombstones and dry bones…

Blackpaint

20.07.10