Posts Tagged ‘Nausea’

Blackpaint 623 – Ghosts, Outsiders, Vampires and the Steppenwolf

July 8, 2018

A Ghost Story dir. David Lowery, 2017

Clear reference to “Hallowe’en” here in Casey Affleck’s sheety outfit – and maybe also Guston’s Klansmen, but that’s probably pushing it too far.  it’s basically sentimental,  as all ghost stories are (even MR James), relying as they do on some sort of continued existence after death; there are, however, a couple of moments – the Indian attack on the homesteaders and its aftermath, for instance.  The score is metallic and whining, like a lathe or drill and tends to drive the listener to madness for the first, maybe, 15 minutes.

Steppenwolf and Nausea (and the Outsider)

 

I read these two books at roughly the same time, back at the start of the 70s; recently re-read them both and was surprised at how many similarities there were.  Hesse’s novel is from 1926 and Sartre’s 12 years later; both deal with alienation from “bourgeois” society, a disgust and rejection of common values and they share a sense of apartness; the protagonists are outsiders, looking with disgust at their fellow beings,  In the case of Roquentin, Sartre’s hero, the alienation takes the form of a psychological dis-ease, in which things and people lose any meaning and seem almost to congeal in some way.

Obviously, these are just the sort of themes that students would lap up; being an outsider, contempt for the common herd,  being misunderstood, being in some sense special; we loved all that Steppenwolf stuff:  “Magic Theatre Not for Everyone”- and in Nausea: “I had dinner at the Rendez-vous des Cheminots.   Since the patronne was there, I had to fuck her, but it was really out of politeness…”  Yeah!  That’s the sort of thing we Outsiders did, or would have, given the opportunity…

I wonder if these books are still much read by today’s students.

Saatchi Gallery – Known Unknowns, until August.

Sometimes at Saatchi, you get some real pleasures in amongst these lesser-known artists.  Four of my favourites below – Mona Osman’s vampirish cartoons, colourful cowboys et al from Danny Fox, texture in abundance from Daniel Crews-Chubb and mishaps with tables and legs from Stuart Middleton.  Actually, I think Fox and Crews-Chubb might not be part of “Known Unknowns” – not sure, but they’re there anyway.

Mona Osman

 

Mona Osman

 

Danny Fox

 

Daniel Crews-Chubb.   It’s a bit de Kooning Woman, isn’t it?

 

Stuart Middleton

 

Royal Academy Summer Show

I wasn’t that impressed with this year’s summer show and my reaction was only slightly influenced by being rejected yet again.  It all seemed a bit too much like Grayson Perry-type stuff; quirky, trendy, funny, gimmicky.  There’s a portrait of Nigel Farage, for example; but it’s not very good (but it’s not supposed to be, because it’s ironic…)  It  wears thin pretty quickly for me.

RA – 250 years of Summer Show

This, on the other hand, contains some brilliant paintings, Turner, Gainsborough, John Collier’s fabulous “The Prodigal Daughter” (photo was too dark), and this beautiful Sandra Blow and the Kitaj below that:

Sandra Blow

 

The Killer-Critic Assassinated by his Widower Even, RB Kitaj (1997)

 

Enough for now – my seasonally titled piece below (for overseas readers, we in the UK are undergoing something of a heatwave).

Let the Sizzle Begin..  (Collage)

Blackpaint

8.07.17

 

 

 

Blackpaint 397 – Moth’s Wings, Ekcovision and Vanishing Points

June 6, 2013

Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway

Sometimes, you get those coincidences – in an Observer article by Robert McCrum on Sunday, reviewing Sarah Churchwell’s new book on SF, Zelda and Gatsby, McCrum quotes Hemingway on SF: his talent “was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly’s wings”.

Monday, reading “Jacob’s Ladder”, umpteenth SF short story in his collected works, came across this: “And with the clumsy tools of jealousy and desire he was trying to create the spell that is ethereal and delicate as the dust on a moth’s wing”.  McCrum doesn’t give the source of the Hemingway quotation, so I must assume it was hommage rather than plagiarism.  All references I can find online attribute the image to Hemingway.

Pessoa, the Book of Disquiet

Just finished this collection of writings by the Portuguese poet/”bookkeeper”; I found much of it hilarious, but I’m not exactly sure I was supposed to.  At times, it reminded me of Sartre’s Roquentin  in “Nausea”, or of Celine’s Bardamu in “Journey to the end of the Night”.  He makes a virtue of inertia, travelling in his mind rather than in space, while he works at his accounts in the Lisbon warehouse – then seeks to undermine even the dreaming, which is itself, he thinks, a waste of effort.  Is it shot through with irony?  Must be, surely.  the reason I use inverted commas when I say “bookkeeper” is that Pessoa wrote, and lived, through a number of heteronyms – avatars, I suppose they might be called now.

Ed Ruscha

I’m still ploughing through “Pacific Standard Time”, the great book on the art of LA and its environs from WW2 to the eighties.  In it, Ruscha’s painting of Los Angeles County Museum of Modern Art on fire, is described as having “incompatible vanishing points”; I find this mystifying – they look OK to me.  Judge for yourself, below.

ruscha

The Lavender Hill Mob

First time I’ve actually watched this through, and I was knocked out by it – the Eiffel Tower sequences, when Holloway and Guinness are hurtling down the spiral staircase, and the police car chase around the strangely spacious streets of London (maybe it was the bombsites) both classic sequences; that huge “Ekcovision” advert on the wall!  The Welsh policeman singing along to “Old MacDonald” as he stood on the running board – Saturday morning pictures feel about it.

Of course, there was the problem of criminals being seen to get away with it.. and Sid James and Alfie Bass, half the “mob”, being written out halfway through – still, brilliant film.

Festen

Again.  Still riveting, even when you know what’s coming.  This time around I loved Michael, the thuggish, desperate, racist brother, played by Thomas Bo Larsen –  perhaps “loved” is the wrong word, especially when he attacks his girlfriend.  Also Gbatokai (can’t find his real name) who does he resemble, I was thinking?  A young Obama.  And Helge, the father (Henning Moritzen) behaving “appropriately” to the end.

When are paintings finished? 

Who knows?  I stick them on the wall and wait to see – it used to be that they “proved themselves”, in a way, by acquiring a sort of presence over time.  Now, I think I’ve lost the facility of seeing that – the crap, unfinished ones seem to have a right to exist, same as the better ones.  This latest looks like a pellet brought up by an owl, floating in blue fluid..

??????????

Pellet

Blackpaint

6.6.13