Posts Tagged ‘Wim Oepts’

Blackpaint 579 – Hanging Buckets, Wedding Cakes and Birds’ Nests

December 22, 2016

Rauschenberg, Combines and Appel

Appel

Appel, 1950

A brief blog before Christmas.  Warning: some “challenging” material below!

While visiting the brilliant Rauschenberg exhibition at Tate Modern and noting the variety and incongruity of the objects attached to his various “Combines” (a sock, a boot, electric fans, a ceramic dog, numerous parasols and parachutes, lightbulbs and lumps of metal), I remembered this piece made by Karel Appel in 1950, some ten years(?) before Robert began his.  Not only does it have a bucket hanging from it, but it’s painted on a barn door.

Apparently, Appel and his associates made a number of these combines in the late 40s/early 50s; maybe Rauschenberg knew of them (via his tutor at Black Mountain, Joseph Albers) – or maybe it’s coincidence, a sort of parallel evolution.

That would be a great exhibition for 2017 at TM – Appel, Jorn and CoBrA –  and/or Appel and other Dutch modernists, Nanninga, Wagemaker, Oepts, Bram van Velde et al…  No chance, I suppose.

Feminist Avant-Garde Art of the 70s, The Photographers’ Gallery

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Ulrike Rosenbach, Art is a Criminal Act

(Rosenbach is the one on the left – and right).

 

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Hannah Wilke, SOS

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Penny Slinger, Wedding Invitation (1973)

 

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Birgit Jurgenssen, Nest (1979)

I didn’t notice, I promise, how these four images make pairs that echo each other until I’d put them in.

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Lynda Benglis (in action, 1969)

It was a surprise to me to realise how familiar many of these images are to me, an old white man – the candour and wit on display here must have driven quite deep into my psyche.  Then again, it could be because the artists were young and beautiful  and not averse, to say the least, to posing naked; and since many works parodied the exploitative cliches of advertising, art etc., this would have been unavoidable.

The only really shocking image is the cover photo of a French magazine, showing the body of a young woman victim of the Hillside Strangler (two perpetrators acting together, as it turned out), surrounded by police and photographers on a hill above LA.  This occasioned a protest event featured in the exhibition.

Missed marketing opportunity by the PG; in a corner vitrine, you can see a copy – maybe the only one – of “The Cunt Colouring Book”.  With the recent vogue for adult colouring books and Christmas coming up, a repro could do well…

Lord Halifax’s Ghost Book – The Bordeaux Diligence

My second surprise of the week was to come across this story in this lovely book, published in 1936 (my Fontana paperback edition is from 1961 – we are promised on the back that “your flesh will creep; you’ll bolt your doors to no avail”), which is worthy of a Bunuel film, or a segment in one at least.

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A Frenchman is asked by an old woman to do her a favour; will he ask that gendarme at what time the Bordeaux Diligence (a horse-drawn carriage) starts?  In all innocence, he does so – and he is arrested and taken to court.  When he repeats his question in court, the shocked judge sends him to a penal colony.  he hasn’t learned his lesson yet; he tells the governor why he is there – and ends up in solitary confinement.  And so on.  Eventually, he gets home and spots the old woman.  She agrees to tell him the reason for his misfortune – but when he stoops to hear her explanation, she bites his ear and drops dead.

 

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The Black Sea, December

Happy Christmas to all my readers.

Blackpaint 

22/12/16

 

 

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Blackpaint 568 – Terry and Julie, Little Fascists, Ghost Cities

September 12, 2016

Photographer’s Gallery – Terence Donovan and “Made you Look”

julie

In amongst the hard-faced young James Bond types in belted raincoats and beautiful, tubular, posing women, this captivating shot of Julie Christie, looking groomed but feral; there’s that smudge or graze near her elbow – bit more dirt and you could see it as a Don McCullin job.  This, and the famous close-up of Terence Stamp are the stand-outs, but it’s all good.

 

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This is the other exhibition on at the PG; New York, London, Senegal; especially good, the ones of Senegal dandies in 1904.  The man on the poster in the plaid trousers is from New York in the 80s, I think.

Childhood of a Leader (dir. Brady Corbet, 2015)

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I expected the Omen after the trailer, with the ominous, crashing, pulsing electro-classical score (Scott Walker of the Walker Brothers – remember?); set in France or Belgium (filmed in Hungary) at the end of WWI, as the Treaty of Versailles was evolving.  It starts with footage of the fighting and the Versailles cavalcade – dozens of cars in convoy through the streets.  The countryside is dark, distressed, the trees and the chateaux and houses distressed and damaged; the winter landscape, black trees, black clothes, black cars – the lighting in the picture is typical.

The film is constructed in three “Tantrums” and an Epilogue, showing the boy as an adult dictator, reviewing his troops before cheering crowds.  There is a Sun emblem with wiggly rays, I think… Who is he supposed to represent?  It’s based on a combination of a Sartre short story of the same name with a section of John Fowles’ “The Magus”.  I haven’t got to the bit in the Magus yet, but the Sartre story has the boy growing up to be a member of a fascist group and taking part in the murder of a Jew.  Bit of a stretch to becoming a dictator.

There’s nothing here that shows any insight into how a dictator might gain – as opposed to inherit – power.  Where are we in the final section: America?  Central Europe?  The child is close by birth to influence and power, but nothing here really suggests an interest in it, beyond the exercise of his immediate will.  The tantrums are not that dramatic; chucking stones at churchgoers, self-starving, refusing to dress, manipulating servants, embarrassing Mother, defying Father… Next thing, he’s dictating…

The music and visuals promise much – lots of Metropolis, a circular dome against the sky, black coats, white blouses, distressed walls, Hammershoi, Manet, a desolate winter field with a figure in the distance – but the story is paper-thin.  The boy reminded me a little of Mark Lester in “Oliver” – but much more, the little girl in “Outnumbered”.

Behemoth (dir. Zhao Liang, 2015)

behemoth

 

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A nude, prone, rear view of a male torso against the grey/brown, scarred – too weak a word – devastated landscape of open cast mining, fields of green weeds before scores of massive, identical tower blocks.  In such shots, triangular, straight-sided layering as of glass panes.  Poetry read over shots.  Coal mines, steel works, quarries, “ghost cities”, truck ballets (nose to tail, as they crawl up slag heaps to vertiginous drops and shed their loads), fire dragons blasting through the air, sparks, puddles of molten metal and clinker in the foundries.  The lung patients in hospital and dying at home, the grey/black liquid from their chests filling jars.  The empty cities, apartment blocks all the same, no cars on the roads, but the traffic lights operating…

It’s a rare thing; an art film and social documentary interwoven perfectly.  Nearest thing I can think of would be “Leviathan”, the fishing doc.

 

 

Nicolas de Stael, Etel Adnan, Wim Oepts

No particular reason for linking these three, except that, at different times, in different places (France, Holland, Israel)  they seem to have seen the world similarly

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De Stael

 

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Oepts

 

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Adnan

 

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Holy Stone and Sand – WIP

Blackpaint

12.09.16

Blackpaint 457 – de Stael at le Havre, Perfect Backs and Zola

August 7, 2014

Nicolas de Stael at le Havre – Lumieres du Nord, lumieres du Sud

I’m deeply indebted to Jon Hensher for commenting on 453 and letting me know about this stunning exhibition of de Stael’s late sea-and landscapes, mostly from 1951 – 55 (the year in which he killed himself by jumping from his studio window in Antibes).  Wikipedia gives his place of death as Paris – this must surely be an error, as he jumped from the 11th storey.  Why?  he was very successful and producing fantastic work.  Apparently, he suffered from recurring depression and had had an “unsatisfactory” meeting with an art critic.

Although the exhibition contains only one or two paintings that approach real abstraction, his work throughout is concerned with shape and colour rather than the accurate depiction of reality.  Sea and shoreline are represented by bands or stripes of colour, detail of ships or buildings by his familiar dabs or “tiles” of paint.  On the whole, the textures lack the thickness and crustiness of his earlier large abstracts, apart from one or two, such as “Landscape, Agrigente”,  which are scraped or scratched into (these are, to my eye, among the best).

What I hadn’t appreciated was his mastery of colour.  A few examples below:

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Paysage, Sicile 1953

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Landscape 1952

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Figures by the Sea (I think – my notes are very scrappy)

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Calais – this is the exhibition poster; shades of Vanessa Bell’s “Studland Beach”?

I could rhapsodise about these pictures for some time, but that would be tedious, so I urge all my readers to drop everything, go to France and see for yourselves.  Incidentally, Wikipedia mentions the Bay Area painters as a point of comparison, in that NdS returned to figurative painting after abstraction; there is however a quotation from the artist on the wall of the museum, indicating that he himself made no distinction between abstraction and figuration.

Wim Oepts

Dutch painter, died 1988, who came to mind when I saw the more intense de Staels:

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Also Anthony Frost, a bit – those ones he does with sacking.

Tate Britain Archive Room – “The Model and the Life Room”

This is easy to miss, as its down in the basement, at the bottom of the Fred and Ginger stairs.  it’s a collection of life drawings and sketches by the likes of Gaudier- Brzeska, Hilda Carline, Keith Vaughan, Augustus John, Michael Ayrton and Ithell Colquhoun.  There is a drawing by Alfred Stevens called “Seated Woman Gazing at Magog”, which is another in my Perfect Backs series:

alfred stevens

It goes with the likes of Kitaj’s smoking woman

kitaj

 

 

and the back of the real Ginger, dancing with Fred at the end of “Swing Time” (buy the DVD to see what I mean).

fred and ginger swing time

 

Here’s my own best effort, not in the same league, I know:

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Zola; Rougon – Macquart cycle

Started the 20 novel cycle on my Kindle, having downloaded the complete works for £1.99.  What it demonstrates to me is the importance of the translation.  I read “Germinal” and “The Debacle” (or The Downfall, as it is called in the Collected Works) in the 60s Penguin Classics versions; I remember a racy,modern,  brutal, colourful prose style.  The style here is archaic and sentimental – the word “damsel” cropped up early on, used by the narrator, not a character.  Not sure I’ll be able to last the whole twenty – easier than Proust, though, and more happens.

 Next blog: Braque and Yoko at Bilbao, Martial Raysse at the Pompidou.

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 Sonia “on the beach”

Or maybe she should be on her side?

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 Blackpaint

7.08.14