Posts Tagged ‘The Act of Killing’

Blackpaint 422 – Painting and Guinness at the Tate, Woolf and Joyce about town

November 21, 2013

Tate Britain – Painting Now; Five Contemporary Painters

First, Tomma Abts.  Abstract shapes that resemble metallic strips, bent into shapes, gleaming and casting shadows. as if real; flat patterns and clouded surfaces too but the metallic ones are the ones that stick.  I want some texture, though.

Simon Ling does wonky East End buildings and shopfronts, corners of houses… he does a red/orange undercoat which shines through here and there like Poussin; heavy, livid Kippenburger colours.

simon ling

Catherine Storey paints odd, furniture-like, abstract structures; I liked the drawings of the shell chairs, on yellow baking paper.

Lucy McKenzie paints astonishing, trompe l’oeil “corkboards” with typed sheets and photographs apparently pinned to them – they’re paintings, but they fooled me at first.  What’s the point?  There is something in the leaflet about fascism and nazism, but I didn’t get it.  They have to be seen, though.

Finally, there is Gillian Carnegie.  Black cats lurking on dark staircases, black flowers in black paintings.

Alison Wilding

Her sculptures, no one anything like any of the others, are in the Tate hall.  The one that struck me is like a well head, made from alabaster blocks, broken at the top and “repaired” with poured black latex.  The alabaster is like giant blocks of Turkish Delight.. or the remains of Jacob and the Angel, the Epstein statue in another part of the gallery.

William Scott

The other new picture, in the room with the St.Ives painters, is called Composition in Orange, Black and Brown and looks as if it has a pint of Guinness embedded in it.

william scott

Refreshing image.

The New Staircase

The Tate’s new spiral staircase reminded me of the one photographed by Richard Pare in the Moscow Cheka  flats that I wrote about in Blackpaint 345. Curved steps shaped like orange segments – Fred and Ginger would look good on them, but maybe a bit narrow to dance down.

Chelsea Space

At this little gallery across the art school courtyard opposite Tate Britain, an exhibition of country music posters from Hatch Show Prints of Nashville.  Cash two tones, Nelson headband, Bill Monroe, Airstream, Corn Dogs…

Cash

 

Rescue Dawn

The Werner Herzog film about Dieter Dengler, US pilot shot down in Laos and his amazing escape through the jungle.  At one point, I thought I was back at Aguirre, Wrath of God – that whistling bird call.  Either the same species in Laos and the Amazon or there is a “jungle sounds” tape.  Then, there was a beheading with a machete; Aguirre again.  At the end, it turned into a cheerleader for the US, with the assembled crew of an aircraft carrier applauding Dengler – or maybe Herzog was being ironic.

The Act of Killing

Wrote about this disturbing film last week, directed by Joshua Oppenheimer; how did he pitch this film to the killers and get them to take part?  It must have been a sensitive task, to say the least – or maybe not.  Congo and his horrible mates seemed quite eager to co-operate and to let it all come out.  Proud, in fact.  they seemed to be on great terms with the director, frequently appealing to him on camera, as “Josh”.  Should be a documentary about the making, maybe.

Jacob’s Room, Dalloway, Woolf and Joyce

Interesting to read that Virginia Woolf had read the first few chapters of Ulysses by the time she wrote Jacob’s Room in 1918 and was reading it again while writing Mrs. Dalloway in 1922.  Both Jacob and Dalloway are reminiscent of Ulysses in the way that Woolf skips apparently at random from character to character (some merely one-line sketches) to build up a scene or sequence; Joyce does this, but it’s just one of a whole range of techniques he pioneers.  The sky writing plane in Dalloway reminds me a bit of the sandwich-board men, advertising Wisdom Hely’s in Ulysses.  Not suggesting she was plagiarising – she hated Joyce’s “indecency” and “board-school” showing off, as she termed it.  Fascinating that two such different authors should come up with the same thing at the same time.

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White Line Fever 2

Blackpaint

21.11.13

Blackpaint 421 – Kienholz Dolls and the British on the Beach

November 14, 2013

Onnasch Collection at Hauser and Wirth

This spreads over both H&W galleries – the one in Piccadilly and the other in Saville Row.  I’ve only seen the Piccadilly one, but will certainly get to the other one.

There is a ridiculously high wooden chair on a sort of curved wooden boom, by Ed Suvaro and a group of wooden assemblages by Ed Kienholz: a pumpkin thing on a miniature bike; a group of bound, captive dolls atop a pedestal – with pedals; half a cello with a fat tube of squashy wire/wool stuff pumping out.

kienholz

Then there is Lance Tuttle, who makes cardboard and paper “plaques” with dangling plastic cups or drink cans; and George Brecht, a member of the Fluxus group, who made assemblages, for example, doll’s house furniture, a screw press, inside glass domes and Joseph Cornell – type boxes, cabinets, shelves of cards and magic tricks…

Finally, there is  a great block of turf-coloured bricks with red tongues of something curling out of them like flames, or some disease.  On closer inspection, it is apparent that these are the tips of gnomes’ hats – they appear to have been rammed through the blocks, as you can see the bases of the figurines on the other side.  it’s called “Dwarves”, I think, and it’s by Dieter Roth.

The Media Space at the Science Museum

There is a wonderful exhibition at the above, of the photographers Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr; they’re all black and white, from the 60s through to the 80s.  Fantastic, sad, funny pictures, both men very similar in approach (to my eyes, anyway).  The Britannia Coconut Dancers; serious seaside pleasures, men and women dozing in deckchairs with handkerchiefs under the lenses of their glasses, as if trying to make themselves as daft looking as possible; old men standing forlorn on run-down northern rugby grounds; a cinema queue for “Jaws”, which seems to contain Martin Carthy, Lucille from Coronation Street and Thora Hird; 1977 Silver Jubilee picnic tables, thronged with celebrants – then, in next picture, deserted, under driving rain.  Those old prams with their curly suspension struts; old women praying or dozing in chapel pews; squads of holiday makers excavating a beach, like building workers, below a fortress of a hotel in Newquay; Broadstairs beach with promenade and stairs in concrete (?) tiers, like a Moroccan citadel; echoes of Cartier – Bresson in the fat back of a man on the beach.  Both men have that facility of capturing several “events” in the one photograph.  My favourite, Parr’s, I think, is the sandwich queue at the mayor’s inaugural party in Todmorton – that bloke with the medals looks determined…

tony ray jones1

Impossible not to smile at these photographs, which are great art in my opinion.  Tony Ray -Jones died at 31, of leukaemia; Parr is still producing great pictures, of course, in colour now.

Jacob’s Room

Several times, I caught similarities to the “Wandering Rocks” section of Ulysses in this, the most experimental of Woolf’s novels, surely.  It ends with Bonamy and Jacob’s mother clearing out his room; presumably he dies in WW1.

I notice that Woolf seems to like a little surprise at the end.  I thought that Katharine Hilbery, in Night and Day, was showing signs of mental illness – fugues, detachment, going walkabout – but no-one else on the net seems to think so; one read it as a romantic comedy.

Augustus

John Williams epistolatory novel about the Roman emperor – it’s good; like Stoner, it’s a “whole life” job – but again, like Stoner, it takes Williams for ever to kill his hero off.  Minor fault, perhaps.

The Act of Killing

I’ve only seen the first 25 minutes of this terrifying film, in which old gangsters gleefully re-enact their mass murders of “communists” in the coup of 1965; the repulsive Congo bears a slight, but disconcerting, physical resemblance to Nelson Mandela.

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Solo Flight

Blackpaint

14.11.13