Posts Tagged ‘Persona’

Blackpaint 618 – The World is a Den of Thieves – So Stay Behind the Line

April 9, 2018

Gursky at the Hayward

This finishes on 22 April, so go soon.  No concessions for seniors not on benefits, which is bad for me but probably satisfying if you’re a resentful younger person awaiting the demise of “selfish” baby boomers.  Before entry, we were briskly told to keep behind the lines on the floor in front of the pictures, but were given no further instructions on our behaviour in the gallery.

I had thought that Gursky produced huge, intriguing photos of striking scenes – supermarket shelves, winding motor racing tracks in the desert, panoramic harbours – and yes, these are all there; but he also manipulates the pictures,  adding and/or removing elements from a scene – the river Rhine, straight as a road, dull grey, between dull green banks under a dull sky, for example, has had buildings erased from the skyline and a photo of  museum interior with paintings and sculptures and a nude woman posing is a collage of images making up a fictional exhibition.  One of the pictures in this fictional display is Gerhard Richter’s “Ema (Nude on a Staircase)”,  which is apt, since there are echoes of Richter elsewhere.  A large, grey, ridged expanse of surface turns out to be carpet, but reminds you of Richter’s sea and sky pictures.  A few examples of the pictures below:


Rather reminiscent of Ansel Adams’ work, I thought; small and untypical of Gursky…


That’s more characteristic; huge and busy.


Antarctica, based on a satellite image.

Reading over what I’ve written, I’ve made it sound rather colourless.  There are some stunning examples of colour saturation – another composite image of ocean and islands from satellite images that looks almost like a Lanyon painting, for example; pictures of operatic entertainments from North Korea, a Japanese cityscape, a panoramic view (manipulated?) of Salerno harbour.  And a huge image of two teams at a Formula 1 pitstop, changing tyres or whatever on their team vehicles.  Highly recommended, but remember not to step over the lines…

Fanny and Alexander dir.Ingmar Bergman (1982)

Rewatched this on DVD and struck by the lush sets, costumery and so on, so different from most of the other Bergman films I’ve seen, most of which are set on islands with relatively few actors, pulling carts, chopping wood and having breakdowns.

A mixture of eccentric (and wealthy) family saga and magical realism, it suddenly touches Shakespeare, or maybe Beckett, in  Ekdahl’s speech in the scene above:

“Suddenly death strikes.  Suddenly the abyss opens.  Suddenly the storm howls and disaster is upon us… The world is a den of thieves and night is falling.  Evil breaks its chains and runs through the world like a mad dog.  The poison affects us all… No-one escapes… So shall it be- Therefore let us be happy while we are happy…”  How true.

For a more typical Bergman film – almost a two hander, with Liv Ullman and Bibi Andersson, cooped up together as nurse and mute patient in a house on the seashore, see “Persona” from 1966.  It must have been an influence on Roeg’s “Performance”, with the interplay between Mick Jagger’s rock star and James Fox’s gangster.

Persona, dir.Ingmar Bergman (1966)

Not done much painting lately, due to evil breaking loose and running through the world – but here’s the last one I finished:


Den of Thieves




Blackpaint 426 – Wishbones, Hair Gel, Bergman and Buttock

December 20, 2013

Bloomberg New Contemporaries at the ICA

Some interesting stuff to see, some of which I recognise from degree shows at Chelsea:

Martin van den Bos, paintings in acrylic, emulsion and pencil resembling putty grey images slightly reminiscent of de Kooning women in monochrome – one called “Pear shaped Woman”.  I like these, probably because they are old-fashioned Ab Ex type images.

Catherine Hughes does window frames, which lean against the wall, with fluorescent lights loosely attached to their sides, “curtains” made from large digital prints.

Laura O’ Neill, “Boney P”, a large sculpture roughly in the form of a wishbone with feet – again, rather recalling de Kooning.  Nothing like the Clamdiggers really, but made me think of them…

Lauren Cohen, “Lunchbox”, a great little animation, roughly drawn figures morphing into fruits etc,; I love roughness and texture in drawing and painting, would like to see the original stills for these.

Yves Scherer, a plaque of fake grass, thickened and erected with hair gel, under glass – why is that good?  Who knows?

Adam Hogarth, another animation, the memorable feature of which is a doll’s anus apparently addressing the audience…

Joanna Piotrowska, three photos from FROWST (?); really striking, especially the one of the two girls in similar dresses, one gazing frankly at the viewer with her boyish face.  Best thing on show.


There are a number of videos on show upstairs; the one I saw was by Fatma Busak, titled “Blessed are those who Come”, and shows a group of elderly Turkish men, grouped around a ruined temple (?) on the Turkish-Armenian border, so say the notes.  They are rather bemused by the attentions of a woman, her face veiled but her long black dress revealing a bare shoulder, who gives them each a piece of bread (although apparently it is a fast day) and cavorts around them as they discuss whether to stay there as asked and be filmed – or to go home.

In addition to the Bloomberg exhibition, there is a work by Zhang Enlai, who has done a painting which completely covers a large hall – you couldn’t call it a room, it’s more like a vault – and which consists of blue, green, cream, brown patches and smears of paint connected by lines and coils in an abstract pattern – or rather, no discernible pattern at all.  What interested me was that it looked great from outside the room, framed in the entrance; inside, it was rather underwhelming, although all-enveloping.


Ingmar Bergman’s famous film from 1966 featuring Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann; I sat watching it, predicting what would happen next – she’ll tear the photo in half, she’ll slap her face, she’ll step on the glass – then realised that this film was the origin of the cliches.  Anyway, seen it before, in 66 or 67, so I might even have buried memories.  You can’t miss the influence on Tarkovsky; the lingering close-ups on faces, the music, the landscape, the flashes of old film, the bits of newsreel…

Citizen Kane

Watched this again and was rather hard put to see why it is rated so highly by film buffs; great film, staggering set of Xanadu – but surely Vertov and Eisenstein and Gance were more technically innovative earlier.  I actually think Welles’ “The Trial” was more impressive.  Kane would be in my top 20, probably around 20.



Woman with Red Buttock



Happy Christmas to all readers who celebrate it.