Posts Tagged ‘Huppert’

Blackpaint 612 – Murder, Suicide, Sex and Some Art

December 12, 2017

Modigliani, Tate Modern

Enormous exhibition, rammed to the gills when I went, a couple of weeks ago when it had just opened.  Best or most interesting ones are Nudo Dolente (1908), very rough, upward looking; the breastless nude girl on the reverse canvas in the first room; the Gaston Modot portrait with the long, thick neck (maybe because it’s the fabulous Modot, the mad-eyed hero of l’Age d’Or and the violent gamekeeper of Regle de Jour);

 

 

The portraits of Cendrars, Cocteau and Brancusi, on the reverse of the Cellist.

Blaise Cendrars

There is a corner of beautiful nudes at the end of the exhibition; these, I think, are marred a little by the come hither or demure expressions worn.

I was interested by the eyes – Modigliani has a habit of blacking or scratching out the pupil of one eye in many of the portraits; I was beginning to think he had problems with aligning the gaze, but then noticed several where the pupils were not effaced and were correctly aligned.  So that remains a puzzle.  I also have to say that the pictures of Jeanne Hebuterne (Modigliani’s lover, who killed herself after his death, by jumping, pregnant, from a window) don’t look at all like her photograph.

Caravaggio, Sebastian Schutze (Taschen)

Ploughing on through the Taschen book, I notice that there is a marked change in the flesh tones and dark backgrounds he used in several paintings done in Sicily in 1608/9; the Burial of St. Lucy, for example, and the Raising of Lazarus both have a dusty golden flesh tone and a warm brown background darkness, contrasting with the starker contrasts and whiter flesh of earlier and later paintings.  Maybe its to do with the light in Sicily; I’m sure the repros are not at fault, as Taschen is pretty reliable.

Happy End (Michael Haneke, 2017)

Saw this at the Ritzy in Brixton and was unable to make sense of the first 20-odd minutes, due, I thought, to some demented soul drumming on the wall of the cinema.  When I could stand it no more, I stormed out to complain and discovered it was flamenco dancing night in the studio upstairs.

I eventually (after the dancing ceased) managed to make sense of the story – mostly – but the difficulty might have been just as much a result of Haneke’s narrative style;  things happen and you find out what’s going on later.  Quite common now and OK, as long as the flamenco dancers keep away…

There are some other typical Haneke tropes; the lack of sentimentality, to put it mildly, and the sudden violence.  I was reminded of the sudden, shocking suicide in Hidden.  It also recalled Festen in places, notably the scene where the son turns up at the engagement dinner, with a reluctant group of African asylum seekers in tow.  Isabelle Huppert is her chilly “self” and Jean-Louis Trintignant is brilliant as a determined, wheelchair-bound, would-be suicide.  It’s a black comedy, apparently…

Walter Hopps, The Dream Colony – A Life in Art (Bloomsbury, 2017)

This cost me £30, which I thought was a lot for a book of 300-odd pages, but I’m so glad that I bought it.  Hopps was the founder of the Ferus Gallery in LA and later, a groundbreaking curator in museums and collections in California.  He was running a gallery, working nights in a mortuary, addicted to speed, living hand to mouth, nurturing wealthy collectors – simultaneously.  He drops into the narrative – it’s “as told” to Deborah Treisman of the New Yorker – surprising asides such as “My mother was dating an actor named Marion Morrison, later better known as John Wayne”, or “at the time I was living with Charles Mingus”…

The story of Ferus, Hopps’ relationship with the smooth Irving Blum and with the macho Ferus artists is also told in the film “The Cool School” and the book has some interesting contrasts with the film, notably in the area of Blum’s marriage to Hopps’ ex- wife, Shirley Neilson and Blum’s re-purchase of the Warhol soup can pictures.  And, of course, there are the  passages on the great Ed Kienholz and the tragic story of the collector Edwin Janss, who threw himself out of a 12th floor hospital window, following an incapacitating stroke.

So, sorry – suicide in Modigliani, Haneke and Hopps; not in Caravaggio, however; he killed Tomassoni in a brawl in Rome and then, maybe, wounded another in a brawl in Malta.

Two new pictures to end with:

Red Plume

 

Green Plume

Blackpaint 

12/12/17

 

 

Blackpaint 393 – Skewed Nipples and Zambian Spacemen

May 12, 2013

Souzou – Japanese Outsider Art at the Wellcome

This is a great exhibition.  Lots of surface covering, obsessive repetition, writhing fleshiness (shades of Kusama and even R. Crumb, in the skewed nipples); hairy embroidery, ceramic figurines of dragons and heroes that turned out, on close inspection, to be made of paper and cellotape; sinister, fleshy, soft dolls in family groups – why sinister?  By association, I suppose, all those horror films – and enormous, imaginary cityscapes, taking up several walls.  But it’s good to look at, not just therapy; go and see if possible.

Rebecca Ward at the Ronchini Gallery in Dering Street

Linens with warp or weft cut away in diagonals, or at margins, or halves, leaving “ghosts” on the remaining threads.  Some were like finer versions of the Trockel textiles at the Serpentine Gallery.

Patterning is done with dyes or acrylics, varying from monochrome “cloud” marks to colourful – the best one is called “The Heretic” and reminds me of a miniature Sam Francis.  Also chevron patterns, and some distressed with holes and rips, and rumpled, creased surfaces.  Some boxes, like filing boxes, painted with bright devices – not so keen on them.  They are mostly quite small works, 40 * 30 in, that sort of size.

rebecca ward

The Heretic

Deutsche Borse Prize at the Photographers Gallery

Good double to do with the Ward, since it’s just down from Oxford Circus, in Ramillies Street.  I thought there was something sneery about Cristina de Middel’s set of works, the Afronauts, based on the Zambian Space Programme of the early 60s – apparently they were working on a catapult launch.  OK, I’m going to stop right now and check to see if any of this is true.

Back now, and yes, there was really a Zambian space prog.  The trouble is that de Middel mixes up fact with fiction in her presentation, which makes for some good and funny images, but seems a bit like taking the piss to me.  Fair enough, no reason to spare them just because it’s an African country and I’m sure her intentions are good…

Also Misha Henner’s pictures of prostitutes by the side of the road, in Italy, I think; mostly standing by lush green fields under concrete bridges, or in lay-bys.

And Chris Killip’s black and white pictures of fishermen and street life in the North East in the 80s; great photo of the huge ship bordering the terraced houses at Swan Hunter on Tyneside.  Also the one of the lad in his big boots, sitting cradling his head, on the brick wall.

Madame Bovary

The Chabrol version, with Isabelle Huppert.  Much more conventional than the Sukorov version “Protect and Save”, Chabrol’s film nevertheless spares none of the gruesome details, especially when it comes to Hippolyte’s “operation” and subsequent gangrene.  Sukorov’s film has the merchant as a much more demonic character, however, dressing up in his Chinese outfits, and of course, Sukorov’s Bovary is fiercely intense.  There’s a lot more explicit sex in fields and trains in the Russian one as well, all absolutely necessary to the story and not at all gratuitous (not that that would be a problem, particularly).

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Blackpaint

Figure Drawing

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Figure Drawing 2

Blackpaint

12.05.13