Posts Tagged ‘Zvyagintsev’

Blackpaint 650 – White Show, Bacon and Sea Star

July 22, 2019

At the The Edge  of Things, Agnes Martin, Jo Baer and Mary Corse, Pace Gallery until 14th August

This is a very white exhibition, as can be seen from the examples below.  In the words of the booklet, these three painters “paint what we don’t yet know.  They make paintings about how the eye sees, not what it sees – altogether sidestepping the problems of illusion, illustration, even expression.  For them, a painting is not an image that says or shows us something, it’s an object that does something to us.”

Baer’s pictures have a dark blue border round them; some of Martin’s have patterning that resembles tiny bricks and one has faint, wide pastel stripes.  Mary Corse did the one immediately below.

 

 

I’m generally not a fan of minimalism, so not the target audience, perhaps – I should say however that the other visitors to the gallery there at the same time as me were very enthusiastic, as are the comments on Twitter etc. that I’ve read.

 

 

Couplings, Francis Bacon, the Gagosian Grosvenor Hill until Aug 3rd

I’m not sure I fully understand the rationale behind this exhibition – the title and the Bacon quotations cited seem to suggest that the pictures are those that involve more than one person, or entity; as Bacon says, (I paraphrase) once you have two people in a picture, you have a narrative.  One of the paintings, though, is Bacon’s famous picture of Peter Lacey, who is alone.  Who cares, though?  Great show, including some of his best figure studies (the early 50s ones are the best, for my money).

 

Is this an appropriate frame for the contents? Hmm….  Love the bedsheets.

 

Detail of the above.

 

The above picture with admirers.

 

Not keen on this one, of naked figures working on an allotment(?); I include it as an example of later work.

 

 

Bacon’s marching men, apparently unaware of the polar bear lurking on top of the glass cube….

Sorry about the levity – I am a genuine fan of Bacon and thoroughly recommend this show.

 

Sea Star, Sean Scully, the National Gallery until 11th Aug

A fabulous exhibition, free like the Bacon and the white one, based on Scully’s response to Turner’s “Evening Star”, which is also on show.  I’m not sure about the connection – but Scully’s work, as in Venice two years ago, has sections of fabulous slippery, syrupy paint applied with a looseness of brush technique.  The green square in the centre of the painting below, for instance, has a richness of brushmarks that almost makes it a painting within a painting.  I’ll stop now, before I get into Pseuds Corner country.

 

 

Sometimes, he does these inset squares in the larger picture…

 

 

 

 

A couple of details, showing the brushmarks I’m on about.

 

Bermejo, National Gallery

No photos of this, I’m afraid.  He clearly loves doing armour; a pair of soldiers in the resurrection are clad in armour that makes them look like samurai.

 

Loveless, Dir. Andrey Zvyagintsev 2017

Fascinating film.  Bourgeois Moscow couple, marriage collapsing, at each other’s throats, ignoring the suffering of their son.  He goes missing and the film shows the attempts of the voluntary organisation that searches for missing children to find him.  The police can do no more than take details; the actual searching is done by the volunteers.  In this respect, it strangely resembles a public information film – but not too much.  The sulphurous relationship of the parents keeps the focus tight.  There is a great cameo of the boy’s grandmother, a blistering, hate-filled babushka living in a rural cottage, visited by the warring couple and the volunteers, on the off chance that the boy may have fled to her – some hopes!

Some of my efforts to finish, as usual:

 

Judgement

 

Judgement (Detail)

 

Headless 1

 

Headless 2

Blackpaint

23/07/19

 

 

 

 

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Blackpaint 547 – Knees, Neon, Ken and Viagra

May 28, 2016

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Green Thing, Blackpaint

28/5/16

Today’s blog is about exhibitions in the West End, two of which have just ended- but you can investigate the work further online.  I just didn’t get round to going soon enough…

Jenny Savile,  Gagosian

This exhibition finished today, I’m afraid, but the drawings on show were stunningly good, as can be seen from the example below – just look at those knees coming out at you.  They are huge, by the way (the drawings, not the knees; but then again, the knees are huge too, of course, because the drawing is).  They are executed with a variety of mark makers, charcoal, pastel, ink too, I think, and most are covered with Twombly-like scribbles in pastel (the drawing below is an exception).  What the purpose of the scribbling is, I’m not sure; I saw her interviewed on TV and she was talking about how children see and draw things, so maybe it’s something to do with that.  Whatever the reason, the drawings are so bold, sure and strong that the scribbles don’t detract from the basic structure – although to my eyes, they don’t enhance it either.

An essential little exhibition, then; unmissable, as they say.

jenny savile

 

Francois Morellet, Annely Juda, Dering Street W1

This one is on until 24th June.  Morellet is French and is now 90 years old.  He founded the GRAV group in the 60’s, which believed that (I quote from the leaflet) “the notion of the sole artist was outdated and which focused on the direct participation of the public.”  He uses materials like neon and sticky tape and his pieces are symmetrical, geometric and slightly off-kilter.  Take the piece below – you want to push the two pairs of rectangles so that they line up to make a big one and the heavy black lines form a cross.  Or at least, I do.

The pieces are neat, succinct, attractive in a passing way.  Nice contrast to the nearby Savile.. until today, of course.

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Michelle Dovey, The Colourful Sausage Trees, Gimpel Fils, Davies Street… until yesterday.

dovey,

Done it again, I’m afraid – visited it in the last week.  What you would have seen would have been a dozen? or so paintings like the one above, in bright colours, yellows, pinks, of her “sausage trees”.  they are quite small – 36*48 inches, that sort of size.  But now they’ve gone, planted out again.

 

The Music Lovers, Ken Russell, 1970

I’m on a Ken week at the moment, my appetite having been renewed by the fabulous series of TV films he made for Monitor and Omnibus, three of which have just come out on DVD.

The best of these was the one on Delius, “Song of Summer”, and I was delighted to see Max Adrian back as Rubinstein and Christopher Gable, Fenby in the Delius film, as Chiluvsky, Tchaikovsky’s male lover – that’s him on the right below, a far cry from his portrayal of Eric Fenby.  I didn’t recognise him until the credits rolled.  I thought Richard Chamberlain as Tchaikovsky was weak but Glenda Jackson as Nina riveting; beautiful, strong featured, able to transform to bleared, blasted and grotesque for the madhouse scenes.  There’s a lot of Jackson in Maxine Peake, I think.  Forgot to mention Maureen Pryor, Jelka in “Summer”, Nina’s procurator mother in “Music Lovers”

music-lovers

Elena, Zvyagintsev (2011)

This was on TV the other night; a murder story strangely unresolved at the end, it reminded me strongly of Chabrol.  I was very pleased with this insight, until I looked the film up on Wikipedia and found that same comparison.  Viagra as a murder weapon, though – that must be a first??

 

the ring

The Ring – don’t insert the video!!

A life painting that went wrong; the head was strange so I painted it out and put another one on – and got that malevolent Japanese girl from “The Ring”.  Head’s now right, though.

Blackpaint

28.05.16

 

Blackpaint 531- Loker, Blacklock and Taking No Prisoners

February 8, 2016

John Loker, Flowers Gallery, W1

Sorry to say I missed the boat on this one; the exhibition ended on Saturday.  Nevertheless, I thought the paintings were spectacular and deserved an airing on these pages.  They are acrylic and it looks to me as if he has used some sort of multi-pronged marker or scraper to interlayer thin lines of different colours across the surface of some; in one painting, the colour mix, seen from the side, appears to be floating above the canvas.  they are big, by the way; 200*215 cm, that sort of size.

loker1

Space is a Dangerous Country – RE-entry, 2014

 

loker2

Space is a Dangerous Country – Columbia/Disaster, 2015

No doubt about the nature of the content, then – which brings me to the next artist:

 

George Blacklock, “Colour and Abstraction” (Crowood Press, 2015)

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Ancestral Voices V

I went to his book launch last week at Chelsea College of Art, where he is the current dean, I think.  He was an engaging speaker – it was one of those set-ups where he was “in conversation” with another lecturer, followed by questions from the floor.  One piece of very sound advice to artists; don’t be modest with other artists (or prospective buyers), spending time telling them what you don’t like about your own pictures – you’ll put them off.  Tell them what’s good, instead.  Sounds obvious and probably only necessary to say to British artists; I know I’ve done it and so has my partner.

Anyway, from both the book and the talk, it’s clear that Blacklock isn’t really an abstract artist at all, though he looks like one at first glance.  His images are abstracted from real world images – Michelangelo’s Pietas, a banjo player, the US flag – and in that sense, are representational.  He is a big fan of de Kooning, using DK’s famous “slipping glimpser” phrase as the title of a joint exhibition with Gary Oldman in Mexico.  Many of de Kooning’s works are representational -though “abstracted” – the Women of course, but also the light on the water ones, Villa Borghese and so on.

Although he said he didn’t want the book to be a “How to”, that’s pretty much how it’s turned out, with sections on perspective, Fibonacci series, Golden Section, materials etc. and exercises for the aspiring abstract painter. Well worth the twelve quid, though, for Blacklock’s own terrific works.

The Return, Zvyagintsev (2003)

After an unexplained 12 year absence, a father (Konstantin Lavronenko) turns up again in the lives of his wife and two children, receives the ministrations of the unquestioning woman and administers family life with terse instructions.  He takes the two boys off on a “fishing trip” to a deserted island, suppressing any dissent with instant, sweeping, casually delivered executive action.  Where has he been, what is he seeking on the island?  That’s for him to know – the boys must simply obey and learn.

As in “The Banishment” (2007), which also features Lavronenko, Zvyagintsev seems concerned with Russian masculinity, especially how men behave with their wives and children.  Russia comes across as the most ingrained patriarchal society, even as, with “The Banishment”, the story is borrowed from the USA.  So, Zvyagintsev does tortured and torturing fathers and husbands, Tarkovsky does crazed or slightly touched seers (Stalker and The Sacrifice) and Sokurov does – something else.  I’ll come back to him.

Sicario (2015) dir. Denis Villeneuve

Unrelentingly grim and violent; US v the Mexican drug cartels; hanging, beheaded bodies, casual shooting throughout, Del Toro “doing what has to be done”, Emily Blunt being ridiculously obstructive with her prissy legal scruples – towards the end, I thought I was watching “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia”.  Not seen it?  Far superior – Warren Oates and Sam Peckinpah, a difficult to beat combination.

Exterminating Angels

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Angel I

 

angel2

Angel 2

 

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Angel 3 (WIP)

Blackpaint

8/02/16

Blackpaint 476 – Blackpaint’s Best and Worst Films 2014

December 31, 2014

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Best Films and DVDs

Exhibition,  Joanna Hogg

Both Viv Albertine and Liam Gillick are great in this third brilliant film by Joanna Hogg (the other two being Archipelago and Unrelated), this one focusing  on two practising artists living in a designer house somewhere in Kensington, I think.  It’s funny and touching; I love the pretentious and yet stilted way they talk to each other about art; self importance, coupled with inarticulacy – reminds me of my partner and I.

Leviathan, Paravel and Castaing – Taylor

This is the documentary about deep-sea fishing from an American trawler (?) in the North Atlantic; staggering shots from above and BELOW the water – no clearly audible dialogue, mostly at night; hypnotic.

Leviathan, Zvyagintsev

Russian Barents Sea coast; municipal gangsterism and corruption, allied to the Russian Orthodox church, prodigious vodka, cigarette and herring consumption, firearms, violence, pathos and whale skeletons.

The Travelling Players, Angelopoulos

Classic Greek film; a travelling theatre group steer a precarious journey through the years of WW2, the British intervention and the ensuing civil war.  Operatic; fantastic.

A Separation, Farhadi

Enthralling Iranian film, concerning an urban middle-class couple, their crumbling marriage and the daughter in the middle.  Sounds unpromising – watched it twice (on Film4).

Inside Llewyn Davis, Coens

The film inspired by Dave Van Ronk – very loosely – downbeat, very funny, surprisingly good “folk” music; the only problem for me was a cameo from John Goodman, doing one of his huge, threatening eccentrics, for no apparent reason.  My friends in the Pretentious Marxist Book Group thought it was crap because it didn’t explore the political dimension of the 60s US folk boom – fortunately, in my view.

The Great Beauty, Sorrentino

Saw it on DVD; features Tony Servillo, which puts it up there immediately; features old men dancing in an embarrassing manner, a frequent Sorrentino trope.  Obvious homage to Fellini and none the worse for that.

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Worst Films

Julia’s Eyes, Del Toro

Dialogue and situations seem OK in Spanish, but the subtitles demonstrate how ridiculous and cliched they are; the eyeball horror doesn’t carry it.

The Killer Inside Me, Winterbottom

This is actually a well- acted and directed film, but the violence perpetrated on the women in it is horrible and unwatchable.  The ending is ridiculous.

Two Days, One Night, the Dardennes

Not a terrible film (Marion Cotillard is great), but a disappointment and not the masterpiece that the Guardian and Observer critics sat.  The problem is that there is no story arc – you know she has to visit a bunch of her work mates over a weekend and try to persuade them to vote for her reinstatement instead of their bonuses.  Straight away, you are thinking – or rather, I was thinking – “one down, twelve more houses to go”.  It looked like a telly film too.  still, the politics were right on….

Mr. Turner, Mike Leigh

Again, not terrible by any means – but a disappointment.  Too Dickens-y, especially his estranged partner, who keeps popping up with her (and his) daughters, demanding quite reasonably, some support from the artist.  Famous artists et al introduce each other to each other, famous incidents come along like buses, as they tend to do in biopics.  It looks brilliant sometimes – the Temeraire boat trip, for instance – and Spall is great, but I think Leigh’s other historical film, “Topsy Turvy” is far better.

Happy New Year.

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Life Drawings

Blackpaint, 31.12.14