Posts Tagged ‘Grunewald’

Blackpaint 666 – The Number of the Beast

March 14, 2020

Giotto, Last Judgement

For no reason other than the number of this blog, I’ve been tempted to include some representations of the Christian Devil – of course, he’s not actually a Christian, but a rather important figure in Christian theology – so you will find some more famous ones below.  Now I’m worried that it might be misogynistic of me to assume a male devil; then again, it might be sexist to speculate that the devil could be female.  Anyway, no female representations of the Evil One available – there was Marty Robbins’ “Devil Woman” back in the 60s, but that was a song, not a picture.

 

Carlos Bunga, Whitechapel Gallery 

An intriguing exhibition by this Portuguese artist, located in the  dark downstairs hall of the Whitechapel;  a few paintings like that below; old carpentry and similar tools, chairs and bits and pieces hanging from the walls; a pile of breeze blocks on one delicate table, an old sewing machine on another.  The columns and spaces in the hall enclosed in huge panels of hardboard in a sort of Christo building wrap; and artificially produced decay and stress marks on the same.  The info refers to Bunga’s admiration for Shaker conservation and work/life habits – but doesn’t really explain the exhibition.   That’s a good thing though, isn’t it?

Slightly Richter-ish?  (Gerhard, that is)

Things fall apart…

 

 

There was a Brazilian artist exhibited recently at the Whitechapel who also piled stuff up on tables, but with her it was masses of clay…  Her name was Anna Maria Maiolino.

Here he is again – Grunewald, Isenheim Altar (detail)

 

More Picasso on Paper at the RA

The Picasso is really so large that I think more pictures are justified than the few in the last blog – so here’s a few more:

Slightly blurred, I’m afraid; this is one of the late series of etchings he did with the assistance of the Crommelynks – a period of intense productivity that reminds you of Van Gogh’s last month on Earth.

 

Artist and his model series…

 

Lovely little, little picture  – sort of Cezanne-ish?

 

Like a music hall act…

 

Simple but perfect really.

 

National Gallery

Another blurred photo of a beautiful painting, by an anonymous Italian artist.  I’ve included it for two reasons: first, it’s absolutely beautiful, and memorable for the colours and for the toothless old woman; and second, I visited St. Mary’s Rotherhithe, the Mayflower church, the same week and found this copy over the altar.  It’s identical and was done by one Florence Nicholson in memory of her grandfather, who worshipped at the church.  The commemorating plaque makes no mention of the original; maybe they didn’t know it was a copy.

 

And again – Giotto, Judas and Devil.  Note the money bag J is receiving; the thirty pieces of silver….

 

And here’s mine – Judgement

 

And a new one – Mark of the Beast

Blackpaint

14/03/20

Blackpaint 517 – Venice Preserv’d

October 30, 2015

It’s preserved in brine.  No-one lives there, except for shopkeepers, hoteliers and gondoliers maybe; the average resident’s age is over 50.  Anyway, this is the pavilions blog.

Giardini (the Pavilions)

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Kerry James Marshall

This magnificent “mirror” picture is one of 5 or 6 both abstract and figurative pictures in the main pavilion, which houses individual artists, rather than national projects.

The British Pavilion

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Sarah Lucas

 

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Sarah Lucas

The British and Russian pavilions form, for me, the opposing poles of the national exhibitions; the Lucas sculptures are joyfully obscene and the great yellow phallus wags like a middle finger before the Gran Bretagna sign (see above).  Inside, a number of sculptures rest on piles of spam tins or plunge headlong into toilets with cigarettes poking out of their bumholes and vaginas.  Lacking in subtlety and pathos perhaps – but no denying the popularity with the punters.  Everybody was laughing and snapping away uproariously; four mature German women obviously very intellectually stimulated…

Romanian Pavilion

I loved the Romanian show again this year, because it contains some real paintings – and good ones at that.  I thought at first glance they were abstract, but was sharply informed by my two companions that they were not; “There’s a hand – and there’s a man in that one”.  True, but the thick paint, applied in swipes by a knife maybe, and the vivid colours make them look abstract.  They are collectively called “Darwin’s Room”, so there is a conceptual basis – but I liked the paintings too much to bother with that.  They remind me of Bosch, or Brueghel, or even the Matthias Grunewald.

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Adrian Ghenie

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Adrian Ghenie

Russian Pavilion

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Irina Nakhova has put together a rather oddly matched group of exhibits; the above is a hologram(?) of a pilot’s face peering anxiously out of a giant oxygen mask; amusing and memorable but… on the other hand, there is a very moving display of film and photographs on the lower floor, constantly playing through “windows”; unsmiling soldiers in uniform, sometimes with guns, scratchy old film of Russian people going about their lives, photos of victims of the NKVD, shot at a rifle range, people whose faces are scrawled over with a pen like the Rodchenko photos.  At one point, the walls appear to be closing in.  The faces, at an angle, look like stained glass windows.

To finish, two more Bellini paintings from the Accademia:  Note the similarity in the position of the dead Christ in the Pieta to that of the baby in the Virgin and Child.

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Giovanni Bellini

 

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Mirror Portrait

Blackpaint

30.10.15

Blackpaint 276

May 26, 2011

Jonathan Jones’ review of Mark Leckey at the Serpentine Gallery

I haven’t yet seen the show, but Jones’ review in Tuesday’s Guardian has to be the most damning I have ever read:  I have to recommend it for the degree of vehemence contained – it’s an artwork in itself.  Several reader comments on Jones’ review assumed it was some sort of post-modern satire (he denies this and asserts it’s a genuine opinion).  A few extracts: the headline refers to “farting about with speakers and screens”; “…how terrible an exhibition I had stumbled into”; “The installation GreenScreenRefrigeratorAction with its bonkers talking gadgets…. is one of the worst works of art I have ever seen in a serious gallery”;  “Nothing prepares you for the stupidity and arrogance of the central exhibit…” – and so on.  Read the review on the Guardian website to feel the heat.

What makes this really intriguing is the review posted under Jones’ name for the 2008 Turner Prize, later won – by Leckey.  Here are some extracts:  “This year I care (about the Turner Prize) because Mark Leckey is on the shortlist..”; “Mark Leckey is a fantastically creative example..”; “I find this artist irresistible..’; and he refers to Leckey’s art as “captivating, mysterious, soulful and provocative.”

I checked and, yes, it’s under Jones’ name on the site, dated 13th May 2008.  So what’s happened – has Leckey deteriorated, or has Jones had a Road to Damascus?  The degree of hostility in the recent review suggests the latter.

Violence in Painting (2)

Wrote about this recently in relation to the Caravaggio Abraham and Isaac in the Uffizi.  I was going to do more on pre-20th century paintings of violence – then I realised the scale of the job! Consider the following:

Goya’s horrors of war, Saturn scoffing his young, the witches, the cudgel fighting, the firing squad;

Various Massacres of the Innocents (Rubens comes particularly to mind);

Crucifixions and scourgings of Christ (Grunewald for instance);

Beheadings, sawings, grillings, stonings, skinnings, piercings by arrow of numerous saints – Catherine, John the Baptist, George, Ursula with her Virgins – 11.000 was it?  Agatha with her breasts on a plate…  that  saint having his thin intestine wound out round a tree.

And none of this is shocking to see; we look at it with perfect equanimity in the National Gallery et al, with maybe a wince at the idea of poor Agatha, say.  So what about the 20th and 21st centuries?

Beckman’s Night;

Grosz’s scenes of murder and suicide in Berlin;

Dix’s mutilated Card Players and corpses in the trenches;

The War artists’ pictures of the two World Wars;

Warhol’s car crashes and fallers;

Marlene Dumas’ Dead Marilyn.

Again, none of these are shocking to us, except perhaps the Warhols, because they are prints of actual photographs.  Bacon’s paintings are still more “violent” and shocking than these actual depictions.

The same can perhaps be said of cinema.  How many genuinely shocking instances of violence in recent TV or cinema?  Very few, since Reservoir Dogs started the intensification process in cinema and CSI followed suit on the small screen; we (or at least, I) have become unshockable – nearly.  So in cinema, this is my short list of shocking moments:

Antichrist, the self mutilation of the Charlotte Gainsbourg character;

The Pianist. Again, self harm, this time Isabelle Huppert:

The Orphanage, when the car hits and kills the old woman;

Salo, the scalpings and blindings at the end – but like St.Agatha, this is more the idea than what is actually seen;

Man Bites Dog, the rape and murder scene;

As for TV, I can only think of the John Lithgow killings on Dexter, which I think really pushed the limits.

The knowledge of reality is all – genuinely shocking and distressing, and destined to remain so, is the footage of people falling on 9/11 and the few seconds of the einsatzgruppen in action and the Kovno murders.

So – that’s enough of this unsavoury topic; didn’t set out to dwell so much, but things kept popping up in my head (worrying, in itself, really).  Next blog on still life and flower painting.

Blackpaint

26.05.11