Posts Tagged ‘Oshima’

Blackpaint 377 – The Chocolate Staircase and the Shinjuku Thief

January 17, 2013

Constable, Gainsborough, Turner and the Making of Landscape at the Royal Academy

Sounds impressive, but most of the pictures on show are etchings and other prints made from original paintings by the above.  I’m always amused to see the little figures in them – you couldn’t just do a landscape in England; it wasn’t a proper picture.  There had to be a kid with a cart and some cows, or maybe a mythological subject – a giant snake killing some chap by a stream, maybe, or some hero fighting a dragon.  I think it might have been Gainsborough who broke that taboo and did the first true “landskips”; have written about it in a previous blog.

Some really bizarre scenery on show – there are several etchings of cwms – is that right? – in Wales that appear to be surrounded by monolithic, flat faced slabs of rock, the likes of which I have never seen.  Plenty of thunderstorms, wild seas, rainbows, billowing cloud; a few beautiful, postcard-sized Constables tucked into corners.  And there are a few large paintings; dark and dramatic in the midst of all the black and white prints.

In the stairwell, an incongruous sight, but a very welcome one; a huge painting by Basil Beattie that looks like a melting, chocolate cream staircase on raw brown-green linen – a staircase in a stairwell.

basil beattie

Swinton and Scott Thomas

Watched films starring these two actresses in foreign films recently; Tilda Swinton in an Italian film, “I Am Love” (English title) and Scott Thomas in “Leaving”, a French film.  At times, I felt as if the two films were somehow bleeding into each other.  Both women married and comfortable/wealthy; Swinton falls for an Italian chef, Scott Thomas for a Spanish builder.  lots of torrid sex in idyllic, rural mountain surroundings; both leave their boring, bourgeois husbands for the exciting studs.  OK, the endings are rather different but the general situation and shape the same.  Continental art films – they can churn this stuff out endlessly.

Oshima

RIP. ” Ai No Corrida” I’ve got on video – yes! Video still working! – but will someone please bring out “Diary of a Shinjuku Thief” on DVD?  Can’t remember much about it from seeing it at UEA many years ago – except that I spent a rather sleepless night, tossing and turning, after seeing it.

Other films that need to be brought out on DVD as soon as possible (I’ve been looking for them for ages):  “The Damned”, directed by Visconti and “The Spider’s Stratagem”, Bertolucci, I think.

London Art Fair at the Angel

Went there today; a very mixed bag, but some beautiful paintings by Adrian Heath, Robyn Denny (especially), Paul Feiler. and two real beauties by Douglas Swan – that blue one with the yellow circle.

douglas swan

Also, however, some real clinkers – a terrible Keith Vaughan, an awful, and huge, Hoyland – red, green, yellow and crude – and Patrick Heron, especially one that looks as if he’s painted it over with white enamel.  It’s very heartening for a painter to see that the masters can knock out rubbish from time to time,too.

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Bloody Doors and Windows

Blackpaint

17.01.13

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Blackpaint 357 – Art Film Sex for the Older Fan; Perfect Illusions

September 7, 2012

As promised, my top five – or maybe six or seven – films with sex scenes, since last weeks had none and I don’t want my public to think I live a sheltered life…

Last Tango in Paris (Bertolucci) – Francis Bacon paintings in the credits, jazz saxophone, and a fabulous shot across/along that bridge; also the first meeting in the empty flat when Marlon takes Maria’s hat out of her hand…

The Night Porter (Taviani) – they are holed up together, hiding out; Charlotte takes Dirk in hand…

Belle de Jour (Bunuel) – there’s hardly any actual sex in it; maybe just the presence of Catherine Deneuve is sufficient.  Best scenes are her dreams of the carriage ride and the coffin going up and down as she lies in it, puzzled at what he’s doing underneath…

Diary of a Shinjuku Thief  (Oshima) – Saw this forty – odd years ago, so don’t remember much except that it made me rather unsettled;

Ai No Corrida – (Oshima) –  Ouch!!  Similar – actually, worse – moment in Antichrist;

Emmanuelle – the boxing match and after; strongly realist storyline – a beautiful young French woman gives herself to an old, authoritarian, aristocratic roue to learn about sexual fulfilment; her husband seems quite OK with this.  Happens all the time in Thailand.  Directed by the appropriately named Just Jaeckin

The Sheltering Sky – fun with the sheikh in the desert; Debra Winger is shut up in a wicker hut for visitations by her Arab master.  Another Bertolucci film. 

Greatest disappointment – Caligula.  Why did director (Tinto Brass) use such tiny prostheses in the fellatio scenes?

Next blog: best use of music in film.

Tate Britain

A roomful of Howard Hodgkin, maybe six or seven paintings, from various points in his career, all oil on wood.  I like “Clean Sheets” best; a small landscape panel of rough wood, dark brown centre with a bright acidy green “window frame” painted in free sweeps around it.  Inside, another swatch of green – a sheet, maybe- and a red/pink tongue of fire licking at the left- hand corner.

“Porlock”, from this year, is on smoothed wood, with swatches of purple, I think, “stacked” in the centre – border is unpainted.  There are lines of interruption in the swatches; maybe that explains the title.

“Come into the garden Maud” ; swirling masses of green and red blotches, like Impressionist shapes – a Seurat extract magnified a few thousand times.

Anna Barribal

She has a pencil drawing of a brick wall, thickly painted (wall, not drawing) and with natural flaws, bobbles, holes in paint layer, light reflected off it – and it is absolutely a perfect illusion of wallness.  I had to lean against the real wall and look from the side to see the flaws disappear, before I was convinced it was a drawing.  Opposite, there is a large roll of paper, covered completely with ink, sagging against the wall – it’s by the same artist.  I half expected the roll to disappear when I looked at it from the side, as if it were a hologram.

In the same room there are perfect drawn copies of tiny snapshots, a perfect drawn representation of an aerial view of Dresden from the internet, and several perfect drawn representations of – drawings, with folds and wrinkles in paper; these last by David Musgrave.

The skills and resources of patience required for the production of these works are unimaginable to me and they are completely successful in representing the reality of one form in another – perfect illusions, from the front anyway.  There’s a humour there too, when the objects are mundane (brick wall) – I’m reminded of Fischli and Weiss.  Is there more than that?  Not sure.

Leghorn

Blackpaint

7.09.12