Posts Tagged ‘Dekalog’

Blackpaint 649 – RA, Valloton, Urban Art and Two Killings

July 9, 2019

RA Summer Exhibition until 12th August

Second visit to the summer show – yes, astonishing to relate, I was rejected yet again this year – but I think I have managed not to let annoyance cloud my judgement.  Several of my favourites below:  apologies to the artist who produced the collection of bizarre figures behind the tiny fence; didn’t get the name.

 

George Blacklock

 

Blacklock again – same size, I think, as the first one, despite the different sizes of the photographs.

 

Frank Bowling, one of his “crusted” pictures

 

???  Tried to think of a comparison for this one – could only come up with two possibilities, both painters:  James Ensor and John Bellany.  Well, maybe, at a stretch…

 

 

Christopher le Brun – paintings, that is; apologies to the sculptor. another one whose name I didn’t get.  The Le Bruns are better “in the flesh” than in the photo.

 

 

RA Students Exhibition – finished now, I’m afraid, but I thought these two were striking…

 

Rachel Jones

It’s all about the colour, to state the obvious.  I should point out that it’s very large, as is the picture below.

 

Lucas Dillon

Christopher Wool meets Day of the Triffids.

 

RA,  Felix Valloton, until 29th September

Swiss artist of multiple talents, member of the Nabi group; some of his paintings resemble those interiors of Vuillard, with less “surface”.  They are composed of flat areas of colour, often lit from within, sometimes verging on illustration or even cartoon; there are several paintings containing nude women – not the painting below – in which the flesh is uniformly grey/white, almost a dead quality.  In my opinion, he’s like Augustus John – that is, hugely talented, but with variable artistic taste.

 

My personal favourite; only a small work, but impressive.

 

Vuillard colours, but flat surfaces…

 

Strangely like Norman Rockwell….

 

Internal lighting – great design. like a print.

 

Still Life, which resembles William Nicholson.  It’s hard (for me, anyway) to think of a painter with more variety of styles.

A Short Film About Killing –  Kieslowski 1987

 

An hour long version of this film comprises The 5th episode of Kieslowski’s “Dekalog“, based loosely on the Ten Commandments; it’s the one. not surprisingly.  dealing with murder – both by the individual criminal and the state.  It seems clear to me that the director considers the hanging of the young killer to be somehow equivalent to the murder.  He is shown to be feckless, randomly violent, relentless, stupid; but he gets on well with children, grieves for his dead little sister and the taxi driver he murders is a sleazy character, possibly a sexual predator; the execution scene is shocking and prominence is given to the lawyer’s horror-stricken reaction and anti- hanging statements.  Nevertheless….

Interesting to compare it to the much longer “Badlands” (Malick); in the latter, the director took no moral stance towards the killer, “allowing” the events and the commentary of Sissy Spacek’s character to speak.  Of course, in neither case do we know how much truth there is in the portrayal.  Both “A Short Film” and the two volumes of “Dekalog” are available on DVD on the Artificial Eye label.

 

Urban Art, Josephine Avenue, Brixton

Sold at the weekend at Urban Art in Brixton. the three Blackpaint paintings below:

 

Storm Front

 

Colunga

 

White Line Fever 2

Another great weekend under the big trees in Brixton – well done again, Tim Sutton (organiser) and all volunteers.  This was the 18th year of Urban Art, I understand…

Blackpaint, 

8/07/19

 

 

 

 

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Blackpaint 427 – Sources of Light, Crime and Punishment

December 26, 2013

Light Sources in Painting

Still reading Morton Feldman’s articles in “Give My Regards to Eighth Street”,  which are full of interesting assertions (backed by no evidence whatsoever) about painting and music.  As a composer, he can claim to be an expert; he knew many of the Abstract Expressionists, spent time with them at the Cedar Tavern, so can claim expertise there, too.  Here is what he says about light in painting; I haven’t investigated fully – see if you agree:

“Light from nature

raking light: Caravaggio, Vermeer

overhead light: Watteau, Courbet, Pissarro

refracted light: Monet

intellectualised light: Seurat

Pictorial light, not from nature

constructed light: Giotto, Mantegna, Picasso, de Chirico

invented light: Piero della Francesca, Rothko

non modulated light: Mondrian, Pollock

light without source: Rembrandt”

I reproduce some paintings by these artists; you can check the light.

caravag1

 

Caravaggio – raking light?  Yes, from left.

verm2

 

Vermeer – right again.  That is – from the left.

courbet1

 

Courbet – above?

rem1

 

Rembrandt – light without source?

I’ll look at some more next blog.

Team Nigella

After writing about Citizen Kane last week, I remembered that Kane (Hearst) was proud of making the news, not just reporting it.  A number of lesser examples of the same have been provided by the leftish press recently – no doubt the right-wing press do it all the time, but I don’t read them.  The Guardian and the Observer tend to be self-righteous about distortion, so these are the examples I offer:

David Cameron did not say he was on “Team Nigella” – he agreed with a reporter who used the term.  Little thing maybe, but I think it’s different.

He did not announce that it was “Mission Accomplished” for British troops in Afghanistan; the phrase was suggested by a reporter, and he agreed to it in a strictly limited definition (preparing the Afghan army to defend the country from the Taliban).  What else would he say?   “I’m bringing them home, job not done, leaving the Afghans in the lurch”?

An Observer headline stated that the Bulgarian PM had “issued a fierce” condemnation of the government’s attitude towards EU immigration; in fact, the paper was referring to remarks he had made in the course of an “exclusive” interview with the paper (presumably at the request of the Observer).  That’s not what I would call “issuing”.

The Desolation of Smaug

Serious signs of padding in this latest 3 hour stretch of a trilogy sort of based on Tolkein’s children’s book; brilliant battle scenes, great Orcs and the introduction of an Elf woman-warrior called Tauriel, who isn’t a real character – that is, she’s made up by the film writers, not Tolkein.  I was impressed by the dragon, until the final close-up of its face, when I got a flash of the original “Night of the Demon”, a film I love, but one in which the demon is not wholly convincing.  Left the cinema with my 3D specs on again, as in Gravity.

Dekalog

From the ridiculous to the – not sublime, but serious anyway.  Watched Dekalog 5, which is actually Kieslowsky’s “A Short Film about Killing”; only an hour long, I think, but it lingers.  A youth in 80s Poland strangles and beats a taxi driver to death in a protracted sequence, is condemned to death and hanged on screen.  The hanging takes place in the execution shed, there is a drop of only a couple of feet, a tray has been placed at the bottom of the pit to catch urine; the hangman’s assistant shouts and yells repeatedly in the seconds before the lever is pulled, presumably to confuse and distract the victim.  The taxi driver is portrayed as sleazy; he propositions a young girl.  He avoids picking up customers he doesn’t fancy taking; if he’d done his job properly, he wouldn’t have picked up the murderer…

Homeland

And another hanging.  I must admit I was surprised, shocked even, when Brody was hanged on a crane in Tehran.  Even though the execution was public, I was expecting some ruse by which he survived and escaped – such is the conditioning of TV.

 

??????????

 

On the Way to Somewhere

Blackpaint

Boxing Day, 26th December 2013.

Blackpaint 395 – The Tate Rehang, Richter and Frisco

May 23, 2013

Tate Britain Chronological Rehang

Finally, the TB is fully open again, and the rehang is impressive – though, if like me, you have too much time on your hands, you might well have seen most of it, gallery by gallery, as each room was re-opened.  Nevertheless, there are some paintings I haven’t seen before or recently, and some revelations:

There is a Gainsborough family group, done in 1850, that is NOTHING like those feathery, impressionistic portraits he’s famous for; much more like a Hogarth, say.

Joseph Wright of Derby,” The Smithy” – looks so much like a tableau at Tussauds, or in a museum; must be the “lighting” within the picture.

Reynolds – this sounds pathetic, but there’s a standing portrait of a lawyer – check out the hands, he can really do good hands.

The Etty nude – 18th century, but it looks really modern; perhaps the shading, somehow.

Arthur Melville, the Venetian tower watercolour – that incredible, vivid twilight blue sky.

Bit of a jump now to the 1960s and beyond (reflecting my interests, maybe):

Peter Lanyon, a beautiful big painting called “Thermal”, thick loops of white on blue and grey.

Next to it, a set of Kitaj grotesque faces called “the Erasmus Variations”, for some reason.

The huge Frank Bowling figurative painting “Mirror”, in colours reminiscent of Kitaj and maybe Hockney.

The Fiona Rae, with its squiggles and squirts of toothpaste, like an early Craig Kaufman.

Finally, the Tony Cragg “Stack”, like a pile of wood palettes – but actually there are no palettes at all!  It includes breeze-blocks, boards, rolls of material, and a couple of red plastic buckets, like the Turner spots of red.  An eight (?) – decker sandwich.

The rehang was reviewed by Laura Cumming in last Sunday’s Observer; she found it to be badly organised in some respects, some pieces obscuring the view of others; her review ignores the overall look of the rooms, though – if you stand in the archway, looking back at the corner with the Bowling and the Rae, with the Caro red metal sculpture to the right, the room just looks brilliant.

Stanley Spencer

Repeat of James Fox’s BBC4 prog on early C20th British painters; bloody awful portentous tone to all his comments but despite the overstatement, worth watching for the paintings.  The numerous crosses in Spencer’s mural in the Sandon Memorial chapel looked like 3D over Fox’s shoulder.

spencer crosses

 

Dekalog, Kieslowsky

Seen only the first of these Ten Commandments so far; an atheist lecturer is punished by a god which communicates through his (the lecturer’s, not the god’s) computer.  Queasy about the story, but great camerawork; I love the great monolith of the block of flats, standing in for god or maybe the tablet of stone…  Who is the young man in the astrakhan hood who sits by the fire on the river bank?  Ghost of the boy, sort of, maybe?

Heimat

Missed this when it was on channel 4 20 years go, and catching up now on DVD.  Those landscapes. when it changes to colour – they look just like Gerhard Richters.  Thought the same thing when I saw the film of the tornado which hit Moore – sure that will be a great comfort to the poor inhabitants.

Bay Area School at Thomas Williams, Old Bond Street

Interesting little exhibition on post – WW2 painters in San Francisco.  There are a couple of abstracts by John Grillo and a larger one by Ernest Briggs – like most abstracts, they look better when you stand well back.  The Briggs is one of those melters – the paint looks as if it’s slipping and sliding, touch of de Kooning and Joan Mitchell, maybe.  there’s a great little pink based abstract by Diebenkorn. and several so-so portraits by him; you wouldn’t know they were Diebs – but there’s a “Folding chair” that couldn’t be by anyone else.

My favourite picture is a half portrait by David Park (?) in thick black and white strokes, with a small touch of Auerbach about it.

 

 

??????????

 

Red Line

Blackpaint

23.05.13