Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Auteuil’

Blackpaint 491- Witches, Flawed Males and Barry Island

April 20, 2015

History is Now , Hayward Gallery (cont.)

Went back for my second view – you get two visits for the price of one, because there are several films to watch, too long for one trip.  Great photos in the Hannah Starkey section, including the Hurn one below; look at the depth of field.  Also, the Penelope Slinger film on the back wall is worth a good look, if only to work out why it’s more than outdated but agreeable soft porn.

david hurn

David Hurn, Barry Island

Of the films playing on the TV sets, the most interesting was the selection of excerpts of Jeff Keens films.  The high speed succession of images, gone before you have a chance to register them, the roughly drawn surrounds, collaging, burning photos, wax figures that melt instantly, comics, adverts, newsreel(!) – all familiar techniques and almost quaint now.  Took me back to the Venice Biennale 2013, where there was a similar, but huge, film playing in one of the pavilions (see Blackpaint, October 2013).

There was also the Stephen Dwoskin film of Bill Brandt images: Francis Bacon on Hampstead Heath with the lamppost, the silhouette of the cow on the hillside over the valley, the urn on the balustrade… and another great back for my collection (see several previous Blackpaints).

 

bill brandt

 Bill Brandt

 

Goya drawings and etchings, Courtauld Gallery

There are a few etchings – the one below, “Ridiculous Folly”, is the best; many more done with brush and ink – “Mirth”, second below – and some lithographs.  They mostly consist of his witch drawings, although some concern madness. vanity and old age in particular.

There is no doubting the genius of these little pictures; they border on caricature, but you get the feeling that he hasn’t exaggerated features that much – just put the women in nightmares and “funny” situations.  And they are nearly all women; I can only think of one male character, in restraints,  representing Madness.

I found them brilliant, but cruel and often sneering – he was obviously not keen on old women.  Furthermore, I couldn’t see the point of them; they are described as his private works, done for his own purposes, not for publicatioon.  Most artists would stick to sketches to amuse themselves or practise technique.

 

goya1

 

goya mirth

One other character in the Goya drawings was Celestina, who was apparently a stock figure in Spanish literature, an old procuress; reminded me of the famous Blue Period Picasso, “Celestine”, and provides an excuse to reproduce it.

picasso la Celestine

 

Flawed Male Characters

As are all male characters, of course; but recent re-watching brought to mind the three below in particular:

The ratty, porn-watching, intellectually snobbish poseur Mahmut (Muzaffer Ozdemir) in Ceylan’s “Uzak”;

his country cousin, the inarticulate, unsophisticated, lumpish, lonely Yusuf (Mehmet Emin Toprak) in the same film; “Have a sailor’s cigarette…”

uzak1

uzak2

 

And in Michael Handke’s “Hidden”, Daniel Autueil’s TV interviewer who has committed a secret act of betrayal at the age of six and whose wife, Juliette Binoche, regards him with a blaze of righteous contempt and accusation throughout, whilst backing him up dutifully to the denouement.  Three great male cinema heroes for the current age…

Three lifies to finish, Vanessa on the Couch 1,2 and 3.

 

vanessa couch1

 

vanessa couch2

 

vanessa couch3

 

Blackpaint

20.04.15

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Blackpaint 262

March 21, 2011

Anselm Kiefer

In Saturday’s Guardian, a pleasing quotation from Kiefer regarding “Salz, Merkur, Sulfur”,  a recent work: “..the salt-covered U boat is my Noah’s ark as the Flood was important to alchemists,…It is made out of the base metal lead; there are seven flames because seven is the alchemical number of perfection, and so on.  It all means something.  Not that anyone needs to know this, but if I’m asked I will tell you.” Well, thank goodness for that – the implication is that the work stands, for Kiefer, on the merits of its visual power alone, without the need to read a lengthy exposition on a gallery wall (or stand in everyone else’s way, gawping, while you listen to the explanation on one of those those audios).

Kiefer is the embodiment of those artists who build a career around a big idea; the core of his has been the exhumation of German history from under  layers of guilt and willful amnesia in the decades after WW2 – a worthy and courageous work in the 60s especially.  So someone asks, “What is this work about?”  No problem; he knows –  and, if he’s asked, he’ll be able to tell you.

Miro

Miro is another one.  As Tim Adams says, in Sunday’s Observer, “He had no interest in pure abstraction…”You get freedom by sweating for it,” he believed, “by an inner struggle…”.  Whatever this second part means, Adams’ piece quotes Miro to the effect that his pictures, even the most surreal, were made up of collections of symbols representing things in the real world: “I’ve shown the Toulouse-Rabat airplane on the left; …I showed it by a propellor, a ladder and the French and Catalan flags”.  The whole display of bacteria-like shapes and squiggles swimming in an orange and yellow background “means something”; everything is representative.

I’ve always loved Miro’s work, for its colour, movement, humour – and Kiefer’s, for almost completely opposite qualities, darkness, weight, gravity of purpose. I had no idea about the Toulouse – Rabat airplane and not much specific about alchemy; but the lack of detailed information didn’t stop me liking the work and knowing more hasn’t enhanced my appreciation.

I think it’s enough to say “It’s about itself”.  Paintings that are only about visual things like image, structure, texture, colour, movement, balance – pure abstraction –  are as valid as the “hidden meaning” efforts; and you don’t have to read the spurious Artspeak expositions.

Some early paintings that I think are stunning – and no problems with meaning:

Fra Angelico

St Nicholas of Bari (1437) – look at the castle and the pink mountain with the folds.

The Mocking of Christ (1441) – disembodied head spits in Christ’s face.

Giotto

The Stefaneschi Altar, the Martyrdom of Paul – yes, the decapitated head does still wear the halo; and the Martyrdom of Peter – upside down on his cross, as if diving, an angel reading the bible to the assembled watchers, from the sky.

The Arrest of Christ, Padua. – the Judas kiss, Judas enveloping Christ in that yellow cloak.

The Master of Flemalle (Robert Campin?)

The Annunciation, Merode Altarpiece – look at the folds in the fabric of both the angel’s and Mary’s gowns; and the tilting forwards of the table – like a Bonnard or Cezanne a few years later.

Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources

Finally got round to seeing these after meaning to for years; Yves Montand (I remember him in “Z”) and Daniel Auteuil, as the Soubeyrans -great, tragi-comic pairing. For some reason, keep watching films about peasants – Provencal, Iranian and Ozark hill folk so far.

Blackpaint

21.03.11