Posts Tagged ‘Takis’

Blackpaint 658 – TV Robots, Elevating Poets and the Topless Cellist

November 20, 2019

Tate Britain

This Gainsborough now on display; I’m sure I haven’t seen it before.  The structural resemblance to the famous Andrews portrait is obvious – but what about the disparity in size between the two figures?  Like one of those optical illusions you sometimes get on TV where two people are on a sofa together and one is much bigger than the other; but with those, I think, the nearer figure appears disproportionately larger – here, the woman is “closer” to the spectator…

 

Tate Modern – Nam June Paik, until 9th February 2020

Crowded, but good humoured throng; reminded me in that respect of the recent Franz West exhibition or the present Takis (see below and previous blogs).  Some items on display:  TV “Garden”, with a battery of TVs showing dancers in 60s clothes dancing to Rock around the Clock; A Buddha looking at himself on a little TV; a camera on tripod “staring” at an egg on a pedestal, as if examining it as well as filming it; robots assembled from old TVs, radios, electronic bits and pieces; Rauschenberg-like junk pieces, resembling R’s “Gluts”; batteries of TVs, showing those super-rapid pattern changes that are too fast for you to pin down visually (or maybe mentally – or both); the earnest madman Beuys, he of the fat, felt, wolves and blackboards, everywhere in films and photographs, as well as Merce Cunningham and John Cage, all three collaborators with Paik at one time or another;  the fabulous Charlotte Moorman, the “topless Cellist”, playing the back of a man (Paik?) in photos and film, along with a collection of her stage costumes; and the even more fabulous Janis Joplin on stage, in a psychedelic film shown on all four walls of the last room, along with Beuys blowing in a mike, shoals of fish, Moorman on stage, a choir of Native Americans….

 

Can you pin those images down as they flash up in front of you and disappear?  No, me neither can I…

 

That’s me on the right, while my much older friend looks on admiringly.

 

Influence of Rauschenberg?  And Beuys maybe??

 

A pair of amiable robots…

 

And another.

 

An electronic “shrine”, collaboration with Beuys, I think; Beuysian sticks and metal bowls and pots.

 

Takis, again – Tate Modern, but finished in October.

 

Even though exhibition now finished, had to put in this amazing photo of a Takis happening, in which he elevated a crash-helmeted poet with the use of magnets (or so it says in the blurb on the wall).

Another Takis piece, which provided a rare and welcome splash of colour in this tech-heavy exhibition.

Carrie, dir. Brian de Palma (1976)

This was on TV around Hallowe’en night; the brilliant Sissie Spacek shimmering in white slow motion on the stage, seconds later drenched in pig’s blood, glaring in at the horrified audience and sending the lot up in flames…  I have to say that I still went cold all over when the hand shot out of the grave and grasped the lone survivor by the wrist.  I think only “The Ring” can also do this for me now.

Some of my life studies to end with, black acrylic on paper, done with a fan brush:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blackpaint

20.11.19

 

Blackpaint 652 – Maurer, Takis, Scherjfbeck, Truffaut and co.

August 28, 2019

Dora Maurer, Tate Modern 

Hungarian artist, specialising in geometric, sometimes highly colourful designs, layering, lattices, lots of theory in the wall notes (that I didn’t read, having learnt that I forget it all pretty quick).  Have a look at the examples below:

 

These look great through the arch as you come in to the gallery – early Albert Irvin with straighter lines?

 

Touch of Hoyland in the colours here…

 

Can’t think of any comparisons, which although not compulsory, makes me faintly uneasy; like it though.

 

Takis, Tate Modern 

Greek artist, but based in London and Paris, real name Panayiotis Vassilakis, heyday in the 60s, died just a couple of weeks ago.  Leaflet describes him as a “sculptor of magnetism, light and sound”.  Exhibition kicks off with the figurines below, which are appealing and a little Giacometti -like here and there, but soon the machines clock in.  Most of them were not working when we went, but an attendant did set one going (a pendulum pointer which strikes at the centre of a resonating metal shield); don’t know if it was for our benefit or if he does it regularly – like the man who fired the Anish Kapoor wax cannon in Guggenheim Bilbao a few years back.

 

 

The contraption on the left looks like a miniature electric chair, I thought,,,

 

Lots of quite beautiful suspended metal spheres, often turning on pendulums due to magnetic forces; also machines that pluck at metal metal cords or strips to produce, unsurprisingly, metallic “music”.

 

Visual hints of Calder at times, and also of Jean Tinguely, although these devices lack the anarchic, self – destructive tendencies of some of Tinguely’s machines.  A bit lightweight, maybe, in terms of emotional freight and social relevance – which can only be good, can’t it?

 

Helene Scherjfbeck again – RA 

I did this Finnish artist in my last blog, as readers will remember, but I’ve been again since and feel that I may have failed to do the exhibition justice last time – so here are some more pictures.  These, with the exception of the first one below, are highly graphic in a sort of magazine style, and I think they are pretty good and worth a close look.

 

I love this portrait – she looks like a Russian intellectual to me, writing a leaflet for a Narodnik party, People’s Will maybe, before going off to blow up the Czar.

 

So by way of contrast, there’s her, about to attend a society wedding, maybe-

 

..or her (no ready-made scenarios spring to mind – but I like the straight forehead-nose profile)…

 

Or her – the young Mrs. Thatcher, perhaps.  Love the shadow on the neck and face.

 

Modernists and Mavericks, Martin Gayford

My favourite art book since the brilliant Walter Hopps interviews a couple of years ago.  It’s based on London painters, notably Bacon, Freud, Hockney, Auerbach, Gillian Ayres, Bridget Riley, etc,  There is absolutely no jargon (except that invented by some of the artists themselves), the doctrinal disputes are covered lucidly, it’s a compulsive read.  You will know most of the stories if you are interested in these artists, but you may not know the connections between them.  It contains some revelations for me, chiefly the almost Stalinist attitudes of one Robin Darwin, the principal of the Royal College of Art in the 60s, who seems at one point to be drawing up lists of students to expel.  Why was Frank Bowling expelled for marrying Paddy Kitchen, a college officer?

On Bowling, it explains the contents of his big picture “Mirror” as a sort of compendium of styles extant at the time; I’m off to the Tate to check it out now – well, tomorrow maybe.  I was interested to read of Bowling’s conversation with Bacon about flat plane and perspective that Bowling thinks may have led to Bacon “blanking” him subsequently.  It’s good on Gillian Ayres too.  One mystifying omission – Albert Irvin.  No mention of him – maybe he’s too abstract for Gayford?  No, can’t be – what about Riley and Ayres?

Truffaut, Antoine Doinel films

Just watched the whole set, from 400 Blows to Love on the Run.  Truffaut’s alter ego gradually loses his charm as the series progresses, but this is not true of the captivating women with whom he becomes, or fails to become involved, marries, leaves; Claude Jade, Delphine Seyrig, Marie France Pisier, Dorothee. “Mademoiselle” Hiroku.  In Love on the Run, there are flashbacks to the 400 Blows, which remind you of the remarkable magnetism of Jean-Pierre Leaud as a young boy.  Brilliant set of films.

Couple of mine to finish:

Father Time

Blue Cyclone

Blackpaint

28.08.19