Posts Tagged ‘Herzog’

Blackpaint 313 – Pretentious is a Pre-condition

December 18, 2011

Fred Cuming

Saw a book of Cuming’s paintings – landscapes, gardens, studio interiors – today.  Doesn’t sound very exciting, but they are really stunning; I looked him up on Google Images and they all looked very similar, sort of blue and misty.  when you zoom them, though, the glowing fires concealed open up.  I don’t usually go for traditional landscape and figurative painters – modern ones, that is – but he’s great; best English  figurative stuff I’ve seen since Rose Hilton, up in Cork Street a few months ago.

Albert Irvin

Bought a cheapo catalogue of Irvin (see last blog) up at King’s Place the other day; the usual eye – burning raspberry, yellow and green stars and flowers etc.; I was surprised to read that an early influence was De Kooning; apparently, he (Irvin) used a lot of black in those days – don’t think he touches it now.  But his main influence was Peter Lanyon.  I can see that in the sweeping brushstrokes sometimes, but not in the colours.  Good, if short,  essay by Alice Correia, containing some interesting observations about abstraction:

Irvin

Lanyon

Cinema

I think I’ve only seen four films at the cinema this year; all of them were great.  They were Days of Heaven (Malick), Il Quattro Volte (Michelangelo Frammartino), Caves of Forgotten Dreams (Herzog) and We need to Talk about Kevin (Lynne Ramsay).  See previous blogs on all.   But this has been  a year in which I got into “World Cinema” in a serious way and discovered a world of pleasure (and pain) by accepting certain pre-conditions:

First, don’t demand a story.  You might find there is one after a while, but watch the film for the images (sound as well as visual).  Second, half-hour chunks can be good – I love Bela Tarr, but I’m not ready to do a whole film at one sitting (unless, like a number of his characters, I am very drunk on Hungarian fruit brandy).  Third, don’t scorn pretention; all art is arrogant and pretentious, or it is if it’s any good. 

10 Best films I’ve seen on DVD this year are:

Satantango, Bela Tarr (twice)

Russian Ark, Sokurov (three times)

Amarcord, Fellini (twice)

l’Age d’Or/le Chien Andalou, Bunuel/Dali (three or four times)

Satyricon, Fellini

Damnation, Bela Tarr

Werckmeister Harmonies, Tarr

Salo, Pasolini

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Bunuel

Women in Love, Ken Russell.

I want to publish, so it’s a bit short today.  I see I have a bad attack of brackets, so will try to avoid them henceforth (will do my best, anyway).

Figures in a Landscape

Blackpaint

17/12/11

Blackpaint 277

June 2, 2011

Exhibition

Had an offer to take part in an exhibition the other day, which was nice;  however, when I asked for details, I was told that one condition was no nudity, or partial nudity (I presume they meant in the paintings).  The reason was, the venue was a church hall and nudity might offend those who used it for purposes other than looking at art.  They have a point, I suppose – some of the Michelangelo stuff on the Sistine ceiling and wall might alarm cubs or scouts;   the implied oral sex in Adam and Eve for instance, or the wielding of huge phallic columns, or the snake biting Minos’ penos – sorry, penis – then again, it might not.  The images are distant and difficult to make out, after all.  Anyway, although my stuff is abstract, any figures anyone might read into the blotches and smears are definitely nude and might well be taking part in some obscene act – so had to decline, regretfully.

Ai Weiwei

Went to see the bronze Zodiac animal heads in the courtyard of Somerset House, with the fountains and kids playing within their semi-circle.  They actually look like hard, moulded brown plastic (the heads, not the kids) and feel like it too.  There was a rat, cockerel, dragon, snake, lion (or tiger), hare, bull, horse, pig… must be three more, but can’t remember.  They are based on figures that were outside a Chinese palace, I think, and that a British army stole or destroyed during an Opium War; so there is an irony in  them being on display in a British “Palace”.

The Lisson Gallery show has the neolithic pots that Ai plastered with garish, modern industrial paint.  This iconoclastic streak in Chinese art makes sense in the context of a society so bound by rules and convention and order; smash it up, break free, clear the decks, start afresh.  In this respect, a negative (or rather positive) image of the Cultural Revolution, the Red Guard, the Little Red Book – but done from below, by insanely brave individuals trying to achieve a sort of freedom of thought and action.

Ai Weiwei is still being held without charge by the Chinese authorities.

Out of Australia, British Museum

Prints and drawings by the “Angry Penguins” group of Australian artists, Tucker, Nolan, Boyd, Brack and Hester; also some drawings by German Jewish WW2 internees, and abstracted landscape pictures by the great Fred Williams.  These drawings, particularly Nolan’s and Boyd’s, are well worth a visit, but it is the Native Australian pictures, by the likes of Judy Watson and Kitty Kantilla  that are really interesting.  There is one of a lightning god, in the form of a grasshopper with “wrists” chained to “ankles” and little hammers on the elbows; another of sand whorls on the ground, another with arrows of a cyclone heading towards lines at right angles, representing the land…  They look like abstract tapestry patterns, but are all representative.  I’m explaining this badly; go and see.

Aguirre, Wrath of God

Watched this again the other night;  the whirring, wheeling whistle of that bird, Kinsky’s mad, sneering glare, the sinister “la, la, la”-ing of Aguirre’s accomplice, the beautiful, doomed girls…  fantastic film, enhanced in some strange way by the crap subtitles.

Blackpaint

02.06.11