Posts Tagged ‘Vigo’

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

August 30, 2012

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


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.


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 50

January 26, 2010


Just watched this film again after a couple of years and was struck again by the images – I love that when you have to fast forward to the bit where you left off, and you get a succession of stills; a film like this (and Tarkovsky’s) really shows up as a set of composed images.  The washed out landscapes, the bare trees, bridges, cranes, cobblestones, angled shots along the ground or up quayside walls…  The sinister night shots of the woman in her wedding dress on the barge and under the water, the sexual frankness – its highly sexually charged, considering its the 30’s.  Michel Simon is quite – well, I was going to say sinister, or creepy, but neither word is quite right – odd is the best I can do.  The pedlar’s suit with those peaked shoulders reminded me of “Brighton Rock” or Olivier in “The Entertainer”.  There’s a feel of surreal anarchy bubbling under the surface; the faces remind me of L’Age D’or & Chien Andalou – and there is the brawl in the dance hall and the pursuit and attack of the bag snatcher.  And the music is haunting.

Chris Ofili

In Blackpaint 20, I advanced the idea that the works of some artists are prone to particular interpretations that arise from their history; specifically, Polish artists and the Holocaust, Scandinavian artists and Norse mythology.  Adrian Searle’s Guardian review of Ofili’s new exhibition at the Tate Britain provides another example: “..two men making music on a wooden platform…a hanged man dangles naked beside them…Why is he there?  Ofili has told one interviewer that this presence was provoked by the empty space he had left on the right hand side of the painting.  But it is hard not to think of some colonial outrage, its aftermath on a hot night.”  So, Afro- Caribbean connection (Ofili is British, of course, but is now based in Trinidad) equals “colonial oppression” interpretation, despite artist’s assertions to contrary. 

Which is fair enough, of course; once it’s in the public domain, we can take from a work whatever we want and give it whatever meaning we choose – and artists have often misled the public about their work, just for a laugh sometimes I think.  Anyway, the show sounds good and I will definitely go.

Naming a Painting

I’ve had to come up with names for a bunch of my paintings at short notice and it got me thinking about how important titles are for paintings and artworks, and how they add or detract from a picture.  More tomorrow, when I’ve thought it through.

Listening to Don’t Start Me Talking by Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller)

“Goin’ down to Rose’s, stoppin’ Fanny Mae,

Gonna tell Fanny what I heard her boyfriend say,

Well, don’t start me talkin’, I’ll tell everythin’ I know;

Gonna break up this signifyin’,

Somebody got to go”.

I thought for years it was “scene of crime”, not “signifyin'” – then saw the words printed somewhere.  I prefer scene of crime, even though it makes no sense.