Posts Tagged ‘Caligari’

Blackpaint 496 – Women’s Half Issue; Diebenkorn; Caligari

May 24, 2015

George Baselitz and Women Artists

Reading in the Guardian this week about Baselitz, I was interested to see he hasn’t modified his opinion about women as artists; just not up to it, apparently.  Baselitz figures prominently in Klaus Honnef’s “Contemporary Art”, a Taschen book published in 1990 and claiming to be “the first attempt to provide a comprehensive survey of contemporary art”.  It draws on the work of 102 artists from nine countries (mainly Germany, Italy, USA and UK) and out of the 102, ELEVEN are women.  There are several group photographs of ten or a dozen smiling artists; only one contains a woman – Francesco Clemente’s unnamed wife.

To avoid compounding the error, these are the artists in the book who are women; four are American, the rest German:

  • Susan Rothenberg (below)

  • Ina Barfuss
  • Elvira Bach (below)

bach

  • Jenny Holzer
  • Rosemarie Trockel (below)

trockel

  • Asta Groting
  •  Isa Genzken
  • Barbara Kruger (below)

kruger

  • Katharina Sieverding (below)

sieverding

 

  • Cindy Sherman
  • Astrid Klein

So there we are; I’ve mentioned all the women artists in a 25 year old Taschen book and can no longer be fairly accused of misogyny.  Thank goodness that things have changed and there is no longer any perceptible sexist bias in the art world…

Diebenkorn

I’ve been back to the RA exhibition for another look and spent 90 minutes just wandering round these fantastic pictures in delight.  This time I noticed sections in “Day at the Race” and the Urbana to its left which both have little groups of colours in them, as if exposed by scraping – sort of oblong insets.  And “Sea Wall” (below);

dieb sea wall

and the unganly, collapsed beauty of one of his women drawings (knee up, she’s lying on her left arm);

and the charcoal drawing with the straight lines, the collages and the cigar box tops – and everything else.  Fantastic – see it while you can, it’s not on much longer.

diebenkorn day at the race

 

diebenkorn berkeley 57

 

 

The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari (Robert Wiene, 1920)

What I’d forgotten about this great German Expressionist horror film is the twist at the end; is the narrator really mad, and “Caligari” the master of the asylum? Or has he been telling the truth?

caligari

 

Conrad Veidt on the roof with friend

 

caligari2

Werner Krauss and Conrad Veidt

Back to the talkies next week.

john the conqueror root

John the Conqueror Root

Blackpaint

24.05.15

Blackpaint 469 – Portraits of Ladies, Lust, Murder and Mayhem by Land and Sea

November 14, 2014

de Kooning

I have finally got hold of the great Phaidon DK book, written by Judith Zilczer and with a number of paintings that didn’t find their way into John Elderfield’s Retrospective published by Thames and Hudson a couple of years ago.  The illustrations are really high quality too.  I find the sheer density of the marks, in paintings like these below, amazing when you consider how he uses so many colours, and yet manages to keep them vivid and fresh.  I love those run-downs in “Two Figures” – dense and dirty – yet bright and seething, in some way.  Anyway, no point in trying to describe them; have a look and see if you agree.

de kooning woman

de Kooning “Woman” – now, that’s what I call a portrait!

 

de kooning two figs in a landscape

DK, “Two Figures in a Landscape”

 

Queen Elizabeth 1 painting,Tate Britain

There’s a fantastic full-length portrait of Elizabeth now on display in the Tate, by Van Der Meulen.  By way of contrast to the DK above, here’s an alternative approach to the full length female portrait.  Actually, it’s much more impressive “in the flesh” so to speak; the face in the actual painting looks like a Holbein (to me, that is).

van der meulen

 

Scene from The Beggar’s Opera, Hogarth, Tate Britain

A Scene from 'The Beggar's Opera' VI 1731 by William Hogarth 1697-1764

 

Also at TB, a roomful of Hogarths, the most striking of which is above.  From John Gay’s play, two women beg two men for MacHeath’s life.  That’s him in the middle, with the manly stance; his legs are chained.  On the left, the gaoler’s daughter pleads with her father; on the right, Polly Peachum pleads with the judge.  I like that colour sequence of the dresses and the drapes – red, blue, red, white, black, red.  I’ve got to say the perspective looks a little odd to me; the gate and barred window on the right look like something out of “Doctor Caligari” and the oval window and gate in the rear wall don’t look “right” either.  Hogarth as a forerunner of the C20th German Expressionists?

The Cowards, Joseph Skvoresky

Finally got round to reading this; I’ve had it for about 30 years in Penguin Modern Classics, with a great Dix cover.  Set in a Czech country town in the closing days of WW2, it covers the retreat of the Germans, mostly SS, and the arrival of the Russians on their “liberation” drive towards Berlin.  For most of the book, the tone reminded me of “Catcher in the Rye”; the narrator, a young middle-class jazz fan and amateur musician, spends time fantasising, getting himself into and out of scrapes with the Germans and the self-appointed Czech militias seeking to fill the space between the departing invaders and the coming Soviet troops; some of these are close to being collaborators, but Smirecky, the hero is only really interested in showing off to, and lusting after, Irene, his hopeless love-object and a handful of other attractive women in the town.  Then, right at the end, it takes a very dark turn into ambush, torture, mutilation and executions – but Smirecky takes this pretty in his stride, and the tone remains, well, cheerful and optimistic….

Autumn of the Patriarch,Gabriel Garcia Marquez

And, after several months, finished this.  No paragraphs, a full stop maybe every ten pages or so, constant switching of viewpoint within the same phrase.  Will Self is like Hemingway by comparison.  It’s magic realism, with the cannibalism, mutilation, mass murder, casual rape, prostitution, disease, parrots, jungles, tropical seas that often figure in the genre.  At times, it felt like a 200 page Dylan Thomas poem with extreme violence and a reference to “general, sir…” every other line.  Thoroughly enjoyable, in tiny doses – say two pages at a time.

Leviathan, Dir. Verena Paravel, Lucien Castaing-Taylor

This is a staggering documentary, filmed aboard a fishing vessel out of Massachusetts, in the North Atlantic fisheries.  God knows how they got some of the sequences – they must have lowered cameras down with the nets, shot from the mast straight down, hung a camera low over the bow so that it took a sort of “selfie” of the ship, plunging below the water line with the rise and fall.  Gulls flying upside-down from below the sea surface (?), dozens of starfish whirling about in the discarded debris as it swirled overboard.  Most of it shot by night, blinding spotlights, livid greens, orange, blues, reds…  Fish heads sliding across the deck like jewelled gargoyles, a horrible but fascinating sequence where two fishermen chopped skate “wings” from the fishes’ bodies – one held the fish, the other whacked a hook in to steady it and hacked the wings off with a machete with two or three swipes.  It had the most uninspiring little blurb on the TV – “Experimental documentary… contains scenes of fish processing”.  Hooks, nets, knives, chains, hatches, slippery debris underfoot – many ways to have a grisly accident, even if the ship stays afloat.

leviathan

 

 

Recent Life-class effort

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Beware of too much white acrylic on backside.

 

 

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Redleg

Blackpaint

14.11.14