Posts Tagged ‘History is Now’

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  Also, the Penelope Slinger film on the back wall is worth a good look, if only to work out why it’s more than outdated but agreeable soft porn.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 490 – Geometrics in Fulham, History at the Hayward, Missile on the Verandah

April 12, 2015

Remembering Poetry

I’ve been reading the Four Quartets for the first time (why did Eliot call them that?  They’re each in five parts.  Is it that there are four of them and they go together to make a whole?  But then they would be one quartet, surely…).

Anyway, after reading them through a couple of times with the assistance of the notes of Hermann Servotte and then reading them again right through, I set out to write down what I remembered.  It went something like this:

The briar and the rose….brown edges of swimming pool….wounded surgeon….ruined millionaire…..dove…..Pentecostal fire…….frost and fire……”Yet being someone Other”……..broken king…….”Zero summer”…..blah, blah, blah….brown baked face…..jaws of sea……tin leaves……winter lightning….. You get the point; what you remember in the first instance is concrete images, plus a few memorable phrases (which might stick, like “zero summer”, because you’ve no idea what they mean).

I should say I loved the poems and thoroughly recommend them – I’m sure this TS Eliot will go far.

“From Centre”; Loud and Western building, 65 Broughton Road, London SW6, until 26th April

A pop-up exhibition of clean-cut, texture-free geometric abstract painting and sculpture.  The great venue, an old works of some sort, being converted into flats, I should think; very white, wooden staircases, lovely balcony and some great abstracts.

 

from centre 1

No.317, Fold, 2012 – Rana Begum 

Paint on powder-coated mild steel.

 

from centre 2

 Polymorph, 2013 – Natalie Dower

For some reason, I thought these were young artists; then I checked the biogs.  Natalie Dower is 84; others include Tess Jaray (b.1937), Trevor Sutton (b.1948), Peter Lowe (b.1938)… Begum (b.1977) is a mere child.  Some fantastic work from major artists, and free.  We paid a voluntary fiver for the excellent booklet.

“History is Now: 7 Artists Take on Britain (Hayward Gallery)

Actually, six different takes, since the Wilson sisters go together.  It’s really more like journalism or history with a lot of art objects, than an art exhibition.  There’s a Bristol Bloodhound surface-to-air missile on the verandah, for instance; where would you see something like that in an art exhibition?  Well, there were Fiona Banner’s planes in the Tate a couple of years ago…

The artists are Simon Fujiwara – a group of objects of significance to the artist, including a huge slice of coal, Meryl Streep’s Margaret Thatcher costume from a film, a Hockney Ipad enlargement;

The Wilsons – political conflicts, including Greenham Women, Northern Ireland, social and political movements – look out for Penelope Slinger’s surrealist feminist photos, Stuart Brisley’s cage of gloves (looks like it should be about Auschwitz – actually, each glove represents 66,000- odd unemployed) and the Pasmores;

stuart brisley

Stuart Brisley

Roger Hioorn – BSE/CJD and Scrapie; horrifying subject, mostly film and newspaper reports, with some rather tangential stuff, for example, a Lygia Clark sculpture that just happens to resemble a prion;

John Akomfrah – film, including Gilbert and George, Francis Bacon and Barbara Hepworth;

Hannah Starkey – photographs, notably Chris Killip, Bill Brandt, Martin Parr.

Richard Wentworth – great wartime, Festival of Britain, 50s and 60s stuff – Paul Nash, Paolozzi, Ben Nicholson, Tony Cragg, Eagle Annuals, early Penguins and Pelicans.

tony cragg

 Tony Cragg

Britain from the North

 

Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer)

OK, I understand she (Scarlett Johansson) is an alien lifeform, acquiring skins from unwary Scottish blokes; but who is the motorcyclist and how did the Tesco man escape, if only temporarily? and why did she have to kill the Czech man in the wetsuit?  Horrible attempted rape scene.

 

Painting

Getting nowhere except the Slough of Despond with my current effort – maybe I’ll chuck some bright paint on the canvas and ride my bike over it, and call it Aphrodite at the Waterhole…except Tony Hancock’s already used that (see “The Rebel” – essential viewing for artists).

work in prog 1

Work in progress???

Blackpaint

12.4.15