Posts Tagged ‘Tarkovsky’

Blackpaint 563 – Khakhar, Sutherland, Malick and Corbyn – Solicitors

July 22, 2016

Bhupen Khakhar, Tate Modern

khakhar tiger

Tiger and Stag

X 8

Man with Five Penises Suffering from Runny Nose

Douanier Rousseau, Chagall (a bit), Ben Nicholson in his panto horse phase, that big fresh green hill in the Dora Carrington painting in Tate B.  Maybe Hockney in his cartoony  “boys together” phase, but without the painterliness – or maybe that’s just the gay subject matter.  Man with five penises (all arising from same area) quite an arresting image – not sure if it’s anatomically correct, though..  There’s a portrait – not sure if it’s a self portrait – that’s very reminiscent of Lowry.

khakhar2

Man in Pub (that’s a glove he’s holding)

Graham Sutherland

Writing last blog about Georgia O’Keeffe, I was rambling on about how I didn’t like her skull and antler paintings, because they just replicated the correct details of same, against a pastel background.  Looking at a book of Sutherland’s work, I see what can be done with objects like skulls and bones beyond anatomical accuracy, and also with landscape:

Horned Forms 1944 Graham Sutherland OM 1903-1980 Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1966 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T00834

Horned Forms 

sutherland2

Twisted Tree Form

 

sutherland3

Stone in Estuary

 

sutherland clark1

Sunset between Two Hills

The main thing is that they have some texture and weight and they don’t have that awful smooth Lempicka finish, like Athena Reproductions (are they still going?  Probably not – you would need to be old enough to remember the tennis girl walking away…).

tennis girl

The Tree of Life, 2011 (dir.Terence Malick)

After watching Sorrentino’s “Youth” last week and comparing it stylistically to Malick’s film, I thought I should check the source again.  I think the comparison holds (although Malick’s is the superior film) – but I was even more struck by the similarities of Malick’s to Tarkovsky’s style.

Brad Pitt’s performance as the father is very good; decent, talented, sensitive, loving – but with a streak of cruelty, wilfulness, self-pity, self-righteousness and self-regard.  you see him through his children’s and his wife’s eyes and feel the weight of his benign oppression.

pitt

And beautiful, troubled Jessica Chastain, always cuddling the boys and hanging up billowing washing, it seems – reminds me of the wife in Bo Widerberg’s “Adalen 31”, tearing up her dead husband’s shirt to polish the windows…

Jeremy (Corbyn, of course)

Apart from a couple of minor disagreements over Trident and Brexit, I’m a great admirer of Corbyn; he always seems reasonable and unruffled and polite and never more than a bit tetchy, considering the unrelenting shower of abuse he’s getting from Labour MPs and the media.  The other day in the Trident debate, he sounded remarkably sane and May sounded barking mad.  I agree with May, but I could well be mad too.

corbyn

But who are these women in their long summer dresses with the beatific smiles who seem to drift along behind him in the photo?  Very disquieting – touch of Manson about it. And they should ditch the “Momentum” tee shirts and Jeremy should stop clapping with them when they applaud him – looks like North Korea.  Actually, that’s a bit strong; everybody does it on British quiz shows now, don’t they?  They clap themselves for getting the answer right, or for being “absolutely brilliant contestants”…

Life Drawings 

Haven’t finished a decent (or indeed, any) painting for weeks, so I’m reduced to posting my life class efforts again.

male nude back

Jeremy Corbyn, back view – no, not really….

sad man nude

Sad Man Sitting

 

fat man nude

Fat Bloke Nude

That’s it for now; no political comment next time, I promise.

Blackpaint

22/7/16

 

Advertisements

Blackpaint 513 – My Show and the Slade’s, Patti, Andrei and the Fonz

October 6, 2015

Slade MA/MFA Interim Show, UCL

A futuristic cityscape, made out of dark wood with the odd chair or table leg showing; aprons and other garments (see below) hanging on pegs over women’s shoes; “jewel/gold” encrusted domestic articles, kettles etc.; a plate of sliced toast with a plastic container of jam in a darkened room; huge old black steam locos fuming away on a video in another darkened room; a vertical cigar smouldering on video (towering inferno, 9/11) – and some paintings, in those bright, dry colours (Sillman, Oehlen, German sort of thing.  Flat, thin paint, fashionable lack of texture.  Examples below:

Alexander Page 1

Alexander Page

 

yuxin su 2

Luxin Su

 

tae yeon kim 1

Tae Yeon Kim

 

olivia bax

Olivia Bax

I hope I haven’t misidentified any of these artists; why don’t the students put BIG name cards up next to the work, instead of leaving little stacks of cards in the corner?

Open House Wandsworth

All my paintings and those of my partner Marion Jones on show and for sale at absurdly low prices, Saturday and Sunday 16th and 17th October, 11.00am – 6.00pm at 84 Ribblesdale Road London SW16 6SE, including those below:

Megiddo

Megiddo – Actually, this one’s gone.

red and blue on ochre 1

Red and Blue Lines on Ochre

red and blue canals1

Seagulls over Sorrento

geometry1

Geometry 1

asger's revenge

Asger’s Revenge

port jackson

Woodpecker

work in prog 1

Blue Crouch

Blue Crouch

water engine 2a

Water Engine 2

watercolour6

Standing Nude

photo

Islares

001

Redleg

 

Wild Tales, dir. Damian Szifron (2014)

Spanish/Argentinian.  A portmanteau film, six stories about revenge, rage, duplicity, infidelity.  The first story was a real shock because of a horrible echo of the Germanwings murders.  Other echoes, for elderly filmgoers: Duel, Marathon Man, Carrie, Short Cuts (marginal, but that chef looks just like Lyle Lovett in the cake story).

Just Kids, Patti Smith 

I bought Smith’s book about herself and Robert Mapplethorpe after finishing Viv Albertine’s great autobiography – I sort of thought they might be similar; outspoken, opinionated, edgy, gritty…  Wrong, so far.  Smith writes in a rather stilted style by today’s standards – she writes, for instance, about “garments”, not clothes.  At times, she reads more like Jane Austen than, say, Lou Reed.  Consider this passage: “I had not yet comprehended that Robert’s conflicted behavior related to his sexuality.  I knew he deeply cared for me, but it occurred to me that he had tired of me physically.  In some ways I felt betrayed, but in reality it was I who had betrayed him.”

OK, Austen probably wouldn’t have mentioned sexuality.  This shouldn’t put you off, by the way; her portrait of counter culture in 60s US is fascinating.  The other night on TV, I happened on one of those gruesome tribute concerts, where a big star sits in the audience while other stars sing to him/her; it was Springsteen’s turn and Patti was singing the great “Because the Night”; “..Because the night belongs to lovers, because the night belongs to – (smile, gesture) – BRUCE!”  Sometimes, nothing is more destructive than age and success.  Patti looking a lot like Henry Winkler these days, I think.

patti fonz

 

Andrei Rublev, Tarkovsky

Just finished watching this masterpiece again and it struck me that Boris the boy bellmaker is the counterpart of a Young Communist zealot, cajoling, threatening, forcing the doubting workforce to perform the impossible, in the face of terrible obstacles.  Violence, bullying, sternness, squalor, the interspersion of sentimentality with horrible cruelty (eyes put out) – all the common features of Russian literature and cinema (Karamazov, for instance).  And unforgettable images, of course.

reflections 2

Reflections I, 

Blackpaint, 6.10.2015

 

 

 

 

Blackpaint 512 – Walker Gallery, Pasolini, Andrei and two Enricos

September 20, 2015

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Excellent collections, notably of previous John Moores winners; the Roger Hilton is still the best for my money, but then I’m a fleabitten retro.

hilton moores

 

Other treasures, ancient and modern, below:

Gillian Ayres, Aeolus

gillian ayres aeolus

Fantastic; texture, colour, control – but not too much…

Allen Jones, Hermaphrodite

allen jones hermaphrodite

This Jones reminded me of the Chagall below, which is in the Pompidou Centre collection.  Not a serious comparison, just the panel shape and the shape of the images, somehow…

 

chagall pomp

 

Attributed to Nicholas Hilliard, Elizabeth I

hilliard

Hilliard is known as a miniaturist, of course, but this is full size.  It’s still has that jewel-like intensity of the miniatures.

 

roscoe

These “two pictures” in the Roscoe Collection were bought separately but were part of the same altarpiece (see pattern on dress).

Nostalgia, Tarkovsky

domiziana giordano

Poor Eugenia (Domiziana Giordano, above); she’s desperate to sleep with Andrei, the Russian poet she is translating for, but he, understandably, is more interested in the mentally ill man who is trying to save the world by walking through the water of a spa baths with a lighted candle.  The ending is still harrowing, as Domenico (the mad man) sets fire to himself and crawls, screaming, in flames, through the Roman square.  The very last scene has the poet in a Russian(?) landscape with horses, his family and that of Domenico’s looking on in silence – the whole landscape enclosed by the cloistering walls of a gigantic abbey.  Stunning, but what does it mean? Something mystical, probably, but what does it matter?

Pasolini, Abel Ferrara 

Not really a biopic, this is concerned with the period leading up to Pasolini’s murder in a seaside carpark in 1975, beaten and run over with his own car – opportunistic, homophobic or political (inevitable conspiracy theories).  It should be said, though of no interest to me, that there’s some spectacular close-up oral sex (male on rent boy) and more sex in a fantasy sequence from the film that Pasolini never got made; beautiful lesbians and gays copulating in a one-night-only festival to “propagate the species”; spectacular sex, spectacular fireworks.

William Dafoe is made for the part and brings his usual intensity (today’s word) to the role – but not much is made of the director’s  rather interesting politics.  I understand that Pasolini, a Marxist, was unusual – unique? – among European left intellectuals in NOT supporting the student movement in 1968; he saw the students as bourgeois and the police fighting them as members of the working class.  There is some socio-political chat, not terribly clear , and some spectacular images, notably of the Fascist building and statuary in Rome, the Palazzo della Civilta Italiana.

fascist palace

Midnight Cowboy, John Schlesinger, 1969

Bought the DVD for relief from Tarkovsky, put it on late Friday night and forced myself to turn it off at 2.00am.  Then hadto start it again last night and watch it straight through.  Voigt and Dustin Hoffman are brilliant of course, and Sylvia Miles and Brenda Vaccaro – I love the switching from colour to sepia –  although not new, maybe it was in Hollywood.  Voigt’s buckskin jacket getting greasier as he walks the mean streets, Enrico’s filthy apartment. the sweat on his feverish face as he lights yet another butt.  Then, just for a second, I thought I saw Bob Odenkirk’s  Saul in Hoffman.  I don’t know, really.

midnight Cowboy

Caruso

The other Enrico.  I’ve got a collection of his singles on cassette – most of them recorded over 100 years ago!  Fantastic, creaky orchestras, crackly, dramatic delivery, sobbing, soaring, sometimes surprisingly sweet – “Vesti la Giubba”,  “E lucevan le stelle”, Handel’s Largo. Brings tears to the eyes, still.

Grongar Hill

I love these lines from Dyer’s “Grongar Hill” ; similar sentiment to Shelley’s “Ozymandias”:

“A little Rule, little Sway,

A Sun-beam in a Winter’s day

Is all the Proud and Mighty have,

Between the Cradle and the Grave.”

RIP Brian.

sidelined

Work Still in Progress

Blackpaint

20.09.15

 

 

 

Blackpaint 508 – To the Finland Station

August 23, 2015

Amos Andersonin Taide Museo, Helsinki

The only art museum open on a Monday in Helsinki.  The exhibition was based on Work.  A number of OK paintings of tradesmen in a Realist style – I was going to say Socialist Realist, but that’s really anything but Realist, of course.  Blacksmiths, factory hands, supervisors, technicians, seal hunters, even two portraits of a famous conductor (orchestra, not bus) – but above all, log rollers.  A pretty big feature of the Finnish economy, log rolling, by the look of it.

My favourite exhibit was this group of workers, maybe a factory committee meeting, made of wood, each about 9 inches high:

workers

There was also a short film about an anxious young man starting work in a big factory somewhere in the 50s or 60s – a sort of “Look at Life” type thing for those who remember; he keeps getting reassuring smiles from older, experienced hands.  The result is like a sort of gay industrial promo, if there were such a thing.

Didrichsen Art Museum

A 20 minute bus ride from the centre, a Bauhaus-y building on a lake, set in a sculpture garden (Moore, Bernard Meadows), reminiscent of the Louisiana gallery outside Copenhagen, but much smaller.  Pictures by Finns painting from pre WW1, influenced by Fauves and Seurat, Symbolism and Expressionism.  Best were by Enckell, “the Awakening Faun” ( see below, rather like Duncan Grant, I think) – Ollila, “Four Women”, Ruokokoski, “Girl, 1911”, Sallinen, “Mirri” and “Landscape” and Makela, “Bridge Construction”.

Enckell 1

Enckell, The Awakening Faun

Additionally, there were paintings by the mysterious AW Finch, a painter and potter whose works showed up in several galleries and museums, but about whom there was no info.  turns out he was Belgian but of British extraction, and settled in Finland, pursuing a career first as painter, then potter, then painter again.  Here’s a Finch from the Didrichsen:

Finch

AW Finch

He normally works in short, diagonal strokes. top left to bottom right – unless he’s doing pointillism, of course.

There is also a great collection of Central and South American figures and artefacts, mostly Peruvian and Mexican – examples below:

mexicans

OK, enough Finland for today-  more next blog.

John Cheever and Raymond Carver and Tobias Wolff and Donald Barthelme

I wrote last time, or time before, about “The Swimmer”; both the Cheever story and the great film based on it, featuring Burt Lancaster.  Predictably, the short stories pulled me back in and I’m ploughing through the great 700 odd page brick of the collection again.  Not that it’s in any way a chore – they are brilliant little masterpieces, polished and elegant (but not twee), undercut by humour, tragedy – “The Hartleys”, for instance – and with frequent interjections from the author to remind you that these are works of fiction, after all, and he can take them anywhere he feels like going.

The problem is that I now have to read the different, but equally brilliant Carver stories again – the one about the boys who catch the fish and cut it in half so they can both take it home, or the one about the carpet cleaner salesman that was referenced in “Mad Men”… Then of course, there’s Tobias Wolff – closer to Carver than Cheever, but a voice of his own (why hasn’t he published more lately?)  And Donald Barthelme; I think I caught a whiff of Barthelme’s light mania in one or two of the Cheever stories.

Stalker

As for films, I’m back in the Zone again, with Tarkovsky’s nervous guide throwing his nuts around in a sling, as the water pours down in the tunnel and the great black dog watches, while the Writer disobeys instructions.  Half an hour at a time is the way to watch Tarkovsky.

 

bloody wakefield

Bloody Wakefield Revisited

 

spider's song

Spider’s Song Again

Blackpaint

23.08.15

 

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.

piotrowska

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.

Persona

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

Blackpaint

20.12.13

Happy Christmas to all readers who celebrate it.

Blackpaint 392 – Penis Gourds, Baobabs, and Marienbad

May 2, 2013

Alasdair Gray’s “Lanark”

In Blackpaint 386, I mentioned the similarities between Gray’s painter Thaw and Gulley Jimson in Joyce Cary’s “the Horse’s Mouth”, feeling smug to have noticed.  I’ve just got to the bit in the book where Lanark is conversing with God and Gray has a series of sidebars in which he points out all the instances of plagiarism in his own book.  Sure enough, Cary is one – but it sort of takes the shine off it for me; I thought I was being clever.  Lesson there – finish the book before commenting.

Last Year in Marienbad

I think I’ve got a handle on this, after watching it through again; there are alternative endings presented in the film.  In the first, the Woman is shot by her husband; the man is therefore pursuing a ghost throughout – or maybe it’s his memories; in the second, she finally decides to leave with the Man.  That’s my theory anyway.  Jump cutting still funny, and I checked – the people in the gardens do have shadows, whilst the shrubs do not.

Running the films on 4*

I’ve been watching DVDs speeded up, and with some of them, it doesn’t distract from your understanding much (if you’ve watched them before, of course).  Some of them seem to be improved as silent films, depending on the strength of the images.  So far, I’ve watched Holy Motors, The Tin Drum and the Werckmeister Harmonies like this.  Film directors would hate my methods of watching – 30 minutes, then take a break, maybe finish watching tomorrow, or do another 30; it makes some directors a lot more bearable.  Must try Tarkovsky; Solaris, say.  The big drawback of watching it on 4* is you don’t get the score, of course (obviously).

Saatchi Gallery – New British Artists

Only really two that struck me.  The first was Sara Brewer, who makes spindly metal structures like window frames or supports, that are slightly out of kilter and have traces of paint marks on them at random points, it appears; the second was Nicolas Deshayes, who had two panels painted a smooth and uniform blue, with smaller panels of white “blown”plastic set on, or in them, bulging slightly out from the blue plane.  Reminded me of the sort of thing that Billy Al Bengston and Craig Kaufman of the Ferus Gallery “Cool School” were doing in the 60s and which I’m reading about in the excellent Pacific Standard Time book (also see the film The Cool School, narrated by Jeff Bridges).  Deshayes also shows some large slices of white polystyrene, with curved grooves carved into them, like pieces of salt lake surface, scarred with ski marks and chopped out in great, flat chunks.

Sebastiao Salgado at the Natural History Museum

A huge exhibition, loads of big black and white photographs – the Southern Seas and islands, Africa, Amazonia, Alaska, Russia and Canada, the USA.

It reminded me strongly of Ansel Adams – I wonder if Salgado manipulates his pictures in development like Adams did?  Maybe with advances in technology, he doesn’t need to.  The pictures have that “closeness” that I first noticed in Balterman’s wartime pictures of German atrocities in the USSR  – also in McCullin’s shots of the coalfields (the woman with the pram.  I think it’s to do with the focus being sustained throughout the depth of field.  There’s a picture taken across a valley and bay with mountains  on the other side – they must be a few miles away, but they are as sharp as the range on the photographer’s side; everything seems to be upfront.

There’s a sort of National Geographic, timeless quality to the photos of indigenous peoples – “The last two girls in the world to wear lip plates” (Ethiopia), the New Guinea tribesmen with their penis gourds, the Amazonian tribal girls, beautiful and naked – apart from the bone “beard” they have pierced through the chin.

Wondrous photos, many taken from a helicopter, surely; but that marine iguana’s foot, the baobab trees, swollen tubers on their raised, circular island…

??????????

 

 

Blackpaint – Window on the World

??????????

 

Life Drawing

Blackpaint

2.05.13

Blackpaint 359 – Pre-Raphs, Cardboard Dogs and Complaining in Restaurants

September 20, 2012

Deliberate mistakes last blog:  substituting Huguenots for Puritans in the Fitzcarraldo mention;  mistaking Patrick Keiller (artist) for Patrick Kielty (TV presenter and celeb).  Sorry, getting senile.

In last blog, did best use of music in film; should have added worst use – that of “stirring” music behind the Crispin’s Day speech in Branagh’s Henry V; corny, distracting, unnecessary.

Pre-Raphaelites at Tate Britain

Enough eye-churning detail to give you indigestion of the brain.  One or two or even five or six – but hundreds is too much, like eating a whole tiramisu for four on your own (yes, I did last week, as it happens).  There are some strikers – that sky (cobalt?) blue in “The Pretty Baa-Lambs”, by Ford Madox Brown; but the sentimentality… Aah, she’s blind, she can’t see the lambs…

There is, however, another magnificent back to add to my little collection – that of the naked young lady in Burne – Jones’ picture below: “The Doom Fulfilled”, Perseus killing the monster.

That is one beautiful back, but spoilt somewhat by the tasteful way her legs taper to slender ankles and the way she stands as if wearing heels on a catwalk.  He should have had her standing in a pool up to her thighs..

Even though they don’t excite me in any way, I find I can remember loads of Pre-Raph paintings – Ophelia, The Last of England, The Scapegoat, Work, Basil and the Pot of Isabella…  must be strong images or maybe just seen them too many times.  I can’t see how you could make a convincing case for them as “Avant Garde” – that just seems perverse.  They look back to mythology, mediaevalism, even the name of the movement – so Victorian.  Second worst exhibition after Munch.

South Korean Art at Saatchi

Some clever stuff here – dogs and furniture made out of cardboard and left half-finished in a tangle of torn and bent card.   Sprayed with a shiny brown “leather” varnish.  Globular pots, vases, china, sawn into portions and soldered together to make huge, sprawling, pustular monsters, prostrate on gallery floor.  Large, grey pictures of bare rooms in which people sink into the floors, light switches and fittings sag and slide down the walls.  Massive,Gursky-like composite photographs of stacks of long balconies with tiny people and piles of those capsule lifts that go up the outside of buildings..  Clever, as I said, but not really much more.  If you bought one and had it at home, would you see something new in it for very long?

Archipelago (Joanna Hogg)

Brilliant film on TV the other night.  Set on Tresco in Scilly Isles, a family at their holiday home.  Neurosis, awkward silences, blazing rows on the phone within earshot of everyone at dinner, embarrassing complaints about food at the restaurant…  it was fantastic.  Beautifully lit – sun through window on white sheets, wind in the lush, semi-tropical vegetation, the shore, the rocks – definite Scandinavian feel, or maybe even Tarkovsky, “the Sacrifice”.  There is one scene in which the brother and sister are talking in one of the bedrooms, in which the light on their faces makes them look like Michelangelo paintings.  There is a painter in it who turns out to be a real painter, i.e. not an actor.  He is called Christopher Baker, and if those are his landscapes in the film, then he is pretty good, to say the least.

Blackpaint

20.09.12

Blackpaint 356 – Night Fishing, Rick and Ilsa, Sidney’s Fez

August 30, 2012

Away from wi-fi so couldn’t publish last week.

Colour

Thought I’d pick out some paintings that demonstrate startling or memorable colours this week, so here goes:

Picasso, Night Fishing at Antibes (1939).  Indigo, Claret and verdigris green.   Look how much he’s packed in, too – not only the boat, the man with the spear, the fish, sea, birds, but the quayside and a woman with a bike.

De Kooning, Woman with Bicycle.  The Picasso suggested this to me – maybe to DK too.  He chucks in all the colours but manages to make them look fresh.

Per Kirkeby, Flight into Egypt, 1996.  The flaring reds and oranges against that blue, and the textures.  The red and blue combo shows up in aseveral done in 1995 -6; Nikopeja I and II, Siege of Constantinople and an Untitled (Asger Jorn had a stage of giving apparently abstract pictures historical titles too – maybe an influence there).

Patrick Heron, Fourteen Discs (1963).  Two fried eggs – one with a green yolk and blue “white”; the other, natural yolk, green “white”.

Jorn, King of Hades. 1942.  Grid of black bars, sea green/blue and fiery red/orange glimmering through.

Casablanca

Saw this all the way through in one go for the first time last night and was, of course, bowled over.  The dodgy sets, the Wilson, Keppel and Betty costumes of the waiters, Sidney’s fez, Conrad Veidt’s unconvincing (?) German officer, Claud Rains’ apparent infatuation with Bogart (“If I were a woman, I’d want to marry him”, or words to that effect) – and Ingrid Bergman, sexier even than Ginger Rodgers.  The dialogue so full of quotations, and that song; I’d assumed it was by someone famous, Irving Berlin or Cole Porter, but no – Herman Hupfield.  Dooley Wilson was Sam; he was a drummer who couldn’t play the piano – but it’s his voice on “as Time Goes By”.  Acted with Lena Horne and Bill Robinson in “Stormy Weather”.

In the Paris flashback, Bogart looked to me uncannily like Robert Wagner.  I know it’s prurient, but did Rick and Ilsa “renew their relationship” in Rick’s flat over the club?  It seems to me it was implied by the fade out after she pulled the gun on him.  I’d like to think so – but then, they’d always have Casablanca, as well as Paris…

Top 10 films

Critics recently did one of these, so here’s mine, with reason in brief:

Satantango (Bela Tarr) – they plod through the relentless rain, across a darkening plain, to majestic, melancholic accordion music…

Amarcord (Fellini) – the fog scene, and meeting the ocean liner in the rowing boats….

L’Atalante  (Vigo) – the underwater scene and the clarity of the filming.

Mirror (Tarkovsky) – she raises her head from the tub, hair over her face, ropes of water spraying around – and everything else really, the fire, the snow scene, the newsreel of the balloon ascent.

The Leopard (Visconti) – Burt and Claudia dancing at the ball; stunning…

Russian Ark (Sokurov) – That staircase at the end as they flock down to oblivion dressed in their Napoleonic finery.

Death in Venice (Visconti) – Bogarde throughout, the Mahler 4th and 5th, the ginger player with the front teeth missing, the tut-tutting hotel manager (also in Leopard, what’s his name?)

Women in Love (Ken Russell) – Glenda radiant, Oliver brooding and smouldering, Eleanor Bron’s dance. the naked wrestling…

I realise none of these films contain any meaningful sex scenes,  so next blog will contain my top five high quality films containing sizzling sex; why only five?   Only seen five.

Sables – les – Pins

Blackpaint

30.08.12

Blackpaint 354 – The Taylor – Vincent Ad; Abstract Art is Mistaken

August 9, 2012

The Taylor – Vincent Ad

In “Common People”, the Pulp song, Jarvis Cocker refers to the “Taylor – Vincent Ad” – or so it appeared to me.  I checked the lyrics on Google and there was no such line; asked others – never heard it.  So, I googled “Taylor Vincent” and arrived on a blog which critiqued the song at length.  In the thread that followed, a correspondent wrote that his mate insisted there was a mention of the TVA.  It turns out that the actual words are “..tear your insides out.” I like Taylor – Vincent ad better.

Because at least two people – myself and the correspondent’s mate – heard “Taylor Vincent”, I feel that TVA has acqired a sort of integrity.  It exists in some sense because we both (mis)heard it.  I see an analogy – spurious, no doubt – with to abstract painting here; I feel that every time I do a painting, I potentially make a Taylor Vincent Ad.  The shape, or device, or motif, or squiggle might not exist in the “real world” (except in the painting, of course) but it has a sort of potential Taylor Vincentiality – especially if someone else sees the same thing.  Or no – if they see something else, maybe that’s the TVA.

Can’t quite get the analogy right; is it me mistaking, or the viewer?  Maybe abstract painting itself is a sort of “mistaking”…  Pseud’s Corner stuff, really.

Picasso the Abstract Painter?

In Art in Three Colours (BBC4), Dr. Fox referred to Picasso as an abstract painter.  I don’t think Picasso painted an abstract painting in his life – I’ve never seen one, anyway; they’re all figurative.  They bear the same relationship to reality as Charlie Parker’s recordings bear to the original themes – maybe more.

de Kooning

Interesting to read in the Retrospective, that dK was another scraper (see Auerbach).  Put loads of paint on, then scraped it off again, leaving perhaps faint traces that he could build on.  This habit developed, understandably, as he became more successful in selling -so he could afford to waste more paint.

Tarkovsky

I’m reading “Militant Modernism” by Owen Hatherley, in which the author refers to the great photos Richard Pare took in Russia in 1990 (collected in “The Lost Vanguard” and some of which were in a recent exhibition at the RA – see previous Blackpaint).  He compares some of these photographs of semi-derelict Soviet avant-garde architecture with the devastated urban landscape of the Zone in “Stalker”.

This may be pushing it a bit far, but I see what he means; weeds pushing through, water dripping and cascading, flooded basements, piles of rubble – but interesting, evocative rubble in the Zone..  If the Soviet buildings haven’t arrived at this state in Pare’s pictures, many of them look as if they are on the way there.

Olympics

Despite the nakedly capitalist aspects of the enterprise, the sponsorship deals, advertising, monopolies in the park, etc., it has been possible to detect a socialist,rather than Stalinist, flavour here and there – the target setting of medals for each sport, the similarity of responses when athletes are interviewed – I think they’ve been coached to follow a particular line – and the emphasis on Team GB, the collective over the individual.

Blackpaint

07.08.12

Blackpaint 350 – Bomberg, Belle and Munch

July 12, 2012

Picasso and Britain

Last days at the Tate Britain, so went again.  The Duncan Grants I still like, in spite of everyone else, it seems; especially “Interior at Golden Square”; also, one or two of the Nicholsons, especially the pink one.  The Picassos themselves blow everything else out of the water, of course, for confidence, inventiveness, use of colour… but there are a couple of duff ones (see previous Blackpaint ).

Bomberg at South Bank University

Turns out that only four or five of the drawings and paintings on show at the moment are Bombergs – but this was not a disappointment, as those by his followers  are great.  There is a beautiful charcoal sketch by Edna Mann, of a nude woman stoopimg to pick up something from the floorpaintings that are very Auerbach in colour and structure by Dennis Creffield;  Cezanne-like bathers heavily outlined in black by Cliff Holden; and a big, dark, swerving, black-outlined head by Dorothy Mead.  Great little exhibition, and more to be shown in October, I was told.

Patrick Keiller at Tate Britain

This “exhibit” comprises an exhibition within an exhibition, based on the “Robinson Institute”, a fictional entity based on a fictional character invented by Keiller.  It is concerned with English landscape (which I got, without reading) and the development of capitalism (which I didn’t).  Along with Keiller’s own photographs, some brilliant, interesting works by Turner, James Ward, Paul Nash, Gursky, James Boswell, John Latham (huge black blot), Fiona Banner (small black blot)…..  I find these fictional conceits increasingly irritating – why not just stick a load of paintings you like together, like Grayson Perry at Bexhill a couple of years ago? – then again, Keiller has used the Robinson thing before, so it’s got the integrity of a previous history.

Edvard Munch at Tate Modern  

This, I have to say, is the worst exhibition I’ve ever seen.  Or, to be fair, it’s a very good exhibition of one of the worst painters I’ve ever seen.  The paintings are in dead colours, crudely painted, many figures cursorily executed with round, turnipy heads.  One “Kiss” looked like a man kissing a Labrador standing on its hind legs.  There is a series of seven or eight “Weeping Woman”s, in which she looks like a pale corpse, going greenish here and there, like something out of “The Shining”.  His wallpaper – lots of claustrophobic interiors – looks as if it’s patterned with dried blood.  Banal, flesh-creeping subject matter:  vampire women, a post-sex (rape?) scene, operating theatres with huge blood stains, a man aiming a rifle at someone through a window..  Lots of photographs, with “ghosts” hovering in them, but too small for me to keep looking at.  It’s crap, but good value – there’s lots of it.  I never did understand why The Scream has resonated with so many people.

Belle de Jour 

The original, Bunuel – Deneuve, of course.  What does the Japanese customer have in his little box?  Why does the coffin rock beneath Severine at the Duke’s?  And did Rebekah Brookes get the idea for the demure, white-collared, black Leverson dress from Belle, rather than the Salem witch trials, as the papers and TV here suggested?

Melancholia

It’s drenched in Tarkovsky, on second viewing; “Hunters in the Snow”, the music, the theme, even (“Nostalgia”)…

Blackpaint

13/07/12