Posts Tagged ‘Foucault’

Blackpaint 448 – Theory, Violence, Horror, and Nature

May 29, 2014

Theory and Non – Theory (cont.)

Since last week’s blog and my (defensively) sarcastic comments about the French and French/Algerian masters of critical theory, I have discovered Paul Strathern and his potted guides, “Derrida in an hour” etc.  Fantastic.  I’ve done Derrida, Foucault, Wittgenstein and have Heidegger lined up; what Strathern needs to do is to get his finger out and do Barthes, Baudrillard, Lyotard, Deleuze and one or two others, then I’ll be OK for my book group next time.  Trouble with the group is that if you want to hold your end up, you have to read not only the scheduled book, but every other book in the world that has any bearing on the subject.  I can’t hope to do that but maybe can fake it with Strathern’s help.

Comics Unmasked, British Library


(Not the Jonah on show, but gives you an idea)

The best work on display in my view is a Beano spread from the early 60s, I guess, of Ken Reid’s fantastic ” Jonah”.  This is so busy and full of energy that it practically moves on the page as you peer at it.  Also very striking was “Gwendoline”, and the Rupert Bear and the Gypsy Grandma  from the International Times, or maybe Oz – delicacy prevents me from description.  For some reason, R Crumb was omitted altogether??? and there was only one Posy Simmonds, a page of  “Tamara Drewe”.  Despite the graphic sex, the most shocking cartoon for me (although I have the book in which it was published) was Reg Smythe’s Andy Capp, reproduced below:


This was presumably first published in the Daily Mirror, before inclusion in the collection I own.  Private Eye, I remember, used to run a strip by Bill Tidy, The Cloggies, in which there was a character called  “The Blagdon Amateur Rapist.”  Can’t remember when, but I guess well into the 70s, maybe later.

There are many other treasures and I strongly recommend the exhibition. I got a great compendium of early 50s US horror comics too; “The Horror, the Horror!” by Jim Trombetta, £20 and well worth it.

DH Lawrence, The White Peacock

Lawrence’s first novel, in which the action is beset throughout by great wodges of nature description; we know at all times what the lapwings, clouds, forget-me-nots, brooks and grasses are doing.  This seems a common syndrome with first novels; Almayer’s Folly by Conrad and Orwell’s Burmese Days both have the same characteristic, not necessarily a fault, in my view; I think Orwell brings it off well.

The Lawrence has a more amusing fault; the narrator is one of the characters, yet he is “all-knowing”.  He tells us what his sister Lettie says and does explains that with her suitor George when they are off alone in the woods, for instance.  I wonder how common this error is in literature; I can’t offhand think of any other examples, yet it struck me immediately in “Peacock”.

Clark at Tate Britain

Here are the Seurats in the Clark exhibition:

seurat clark 1

seurat clark 2

I think the first one is usually in the National Gallery – but the second is new to me.

Asger Jorn – Restless Rebel

New book on Jorn, essays on various periods.  It’s great of course – below, Jorn in his studio.

jorn in studio


And here’s my latest effort, which turned into a landscape when I put it on its side.  I hate it and will vandalise it with green and blue paint as soon as I publish this.





Blackpaint 27

January 2, 2010

Barthes and Foucault

These French postmodern philosophers wrote about” the Death of the Author” (title of a book by Barthes)-the idea was no artwork is new or original; all art is basically a cut and paste job.  Artists are merely copying and reassembling previous ideas.  And the reader/viewer creates the meaning.  This sounds about right for my stuff again; when anyone asks me what’s going on in one of my paintings, I can refer them to these two (and Lyotard).

Sir John Soane’s House

Visited this strange, crowded museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields today; full of casts – I think – of bits of tomb, column, friezes, sarcophagi, vases, books, paintings in a gloomy house designed by Soane himself.  Bridges and skylights, arches and coloured glass.  Full of attendants, and on the chairs, what at first looked like toy mice.  They turned out to be teasel heads, I assumed for brushing up the plush seats – but no.  An attendant told one of the visitors that they were to stop people sitting on the chairs; once you received a bottomful of the painful spines, you would think twice about doing it again.

This no-nonsense approach was also displayed by the volunteer marshalling the (tiny) queue outside; in a jovial tone, he told the man in front that there was no drawing allowed on Saturdays – and continued, “If you are caught drawing, you will be asked to leave immediately.”  Maybe foreigners, particularly Americans, respond to this treatment well – evidence of British eccentricity.  I was surprised to get in, shabbily dressed in jeans, my son wearing trainers.


It’s famous for the Hogarth paintings, notably the Elections (just about visible in the gloom).  The one affable attendant – woman from Sheffield, I think – told us that the paintings were really secondary to the engravings, as far as H was concerned; they were a sort of advert or demonstration sampler for the latter.  also some good Fuselis, and scenes from Shakespeare – Lear, the Dream, Merry Wives – in which the main character always has those staring eyes and tragic expression that I associate with Blake.


Jimmy, not Reece.  Listening to: “Times are Getting Tougher than Tough” with T Bone on guitar.

“Prices gettin’ steeper, Money’s gettin’ cheaper,

Had myself a woman, but I just couldn’t keep her-

Times gettin’ tougher than tough,

Things gettin’ rougher than rough,

Well, I made a lot of money, but I just keep spendin’ the stuff”.