Posts Tagged ‘Christy Moore’

Blackpaint 281

June 21, 2011


Reading Terry Gilliam in the Observer, I observed the observation that he was the only one laughing – “uncontrollably” –  at the pictures at a Magritte exhibition; the other visitors went round, he says, in a “religious state of awe”.  If  the exhibition was in London, they were probably just being English; a slight, lightly contemptuous smirk is generally considered sufficient.

Noel Fielding, who is English, says almost the same thing as Gilliam, a bit further on in the article: “I find it ridiculous when you walk round a gallery and people are just looking at something obviously funny and stroking their chins.”

I’ve often found Magritte to be amusing, sometimes startling – but never funny enough to make me laugh uncontrollably. When you say that,  I think it’s just a way of saying “I got it – but none of those other idiots did”.

This all sounds snotty, I know, but I’m tired of Magritte’s little men in tight suits and bowler hats, doing cute, surprising little things; cloudy blue skies, easels, windows, apples, human rain, toes on shoes, eyes for tits, pipes that are not pipes, trains in the fireplace and so on.  It’s good, of course – how many other painters can you reel off the images like that? – but they can get wearing.  I’m in more of a Pollock/De Kooning/Mitchell mood at the moment.


The symphonies – how is it that the 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th are all majestic, hummable, full of hooks and themes and totally memorable (although you can mix them up) and the others, 1,2,4 and 8 are completely the opposite?  I can’t recall a single theme or line from any of them.  The contrast is staggering, to me anyway.  Is there a parallel in painting?

The Feis, Finsbury Park

I was at this on Saturday, to see Bob Dylan, Christy Moore, Shane McGowan, and Sharon Shannon.  Dylan’s set was like a blues rock pub gig with a great band; his “singing” now like a cross of Tom Waits and Captain Beefheart, with a bit of the younger Dylan in occasional lines.  You had to wait for a recognisable line to identify the song, but much better than recent reviews had led me to expect.

The crowd, some very boozed-up and rowdy, were notably good-natured; great to see groups of them dancing in abandon to Christy Moore’s song, Yellow Triangle (about concentration camps, murder of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals) and Viva la Quinta Brigada (a homage to the Irish dead of the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War).  No po-faced Respect shit.

Theo Angelopoulos – The Trilogy (Weeping Meadows)

Ethnic Greek refugees from Odessa come to Salonika; from the Russian Revolution to the Greek Civil War.  Reflections in the river, horses, the funeral on the raft with the coffin, black flags, the silent men (recalling the SS men crossing the lake in Visconti’s “The Damned”); it was operatic, somehow, especially the flood scene with all the boats in a flotilla.  The usual problem of history epics covering long periods – people keep telling each other what has happened to keep the audience up to date; the beach/jetty scenes with the dancing reminded me of that JackVettriano painting.  Turned a bit Mother Courage at the end – also a bit Bela Tarr (accordions, rain) and a bit Bo Widerberg (the white sheets stained with Nikos’ blood recalled the father’s shirt in Adalen 31).  Loved the film and the music.

Next entry, more art, less music and films.



Blackpaint 89

March 18, 2010

Asger Jorn

Many years ago, my mother worked as a cleaner at a teacher’s training college.  Eventually, the college was closed down and my mother was made redundant.  During her final weeks of employment, loads of books were discarded from the college library and dumped in skips or in piles in corridors.  She brought me home a discarded book of Asger Jorn’s paintings (at the time I was in beatnik mode, and expressing a totally ignorant enthusiasm for “modern art”).  It was about the same time that Jan Palach burned himself to death in protest at the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.  I thanked her of course, but really only flicked through the pages before discarding it.

Now here I am, many years later, and Asger Jorn is one of my great art heroes along with the other CoBrA artists, especially Appel, and I return to the Jorn pictures time and again, for inspiration and admiration.  So-what is the significance?  Only that things come in their own time, and what is just a thought today may explode into life after decades growing a mat of dust.  Like many true things, it appears banal when written down but very significant in my head.

Anyway, I think the painting is finished now, so here is final version.  You will note that it has gone from portrait to landscape.

Listening to Cunla by Christy Moore.

“Who is there now tickling the thighs of me? (*3)

Only me, says Cunla,

Cunla dear, don’t come any near to me (*3)

Maybes I shouldn’t, says Cunla.”

Blackpaint 16

December 15, 2009

Shading (NB – see Blackpaint 76, 78, 81 and 82 for more on Michelangelo)

I’ve been studying the shading used by the old masters in their drawings.  Mantegna appears to be consistent; he shades with diagonal lines from top right towards bottom left, or horizontally if shading a flat surface tilted towards the viewer. 

Titian, as far as I can see, uses shading lines that are variable; diagonal from top right or left, horizontal and vertical on the surface of water and vertical for a cliff face, say.

Leonardo appears to favour diagonal shading lines from top left towards bottom right – but will so the opposite on occasion and sometimes (anatomical drawings) will cross them to form a patch of diamond shapes.  With bones, he appears to favour horizontal shading lines that curve with the surface of the bones.

Michelangelo does a rather shallow diagonal from top left towards bottom right and sometimes vertical.

Durer uses lines in any direction that suits the surface, curving them to follow the contours.

Having said all this, no doubt tomorrow I’ll find more drawings that completely contradict it.Leonardo

See Blackpaint 40, 41, 76, 78, 81 and 82 for more on Michelangelo…but read on here first!

The Trial

Watched Orson Welles’ version of the above, with Anthony Perkins doing a brilliant, nervy, bemused Josef K.  Fantastic shots of muddy wastelands, lowering skies, shabby concrete flats (shot in Zagreb).  Also the huge statuary of the entrance to the Gare D’Orsay and labyrinth of corridors and hallways.  Jeanne Moreau, Elsa Martinelli and Romy Schneider deepening Perkins’ bemusement at various stages.  Scene of a host of naked, elderly men, holding their numbers,  standing cowed beneath a statue cloaked in a white sheet (to the intro of Albinoni’s Adagio).  Surreal incidents, dreamlike quality; fantastic (but no doubt deeply flawed; every film I like turns out to be deeply flawed).

Listening to: Christy Moore, Vive la Quinte Brigada.

“Vive la Quinte Brigada,  The passion and the pledge that made them fight,

Adelante! is the cry around the hillside,

Let us all remember them tonight”.