Monday, July 24, 2006

Tating it up...

So yesterday went with M and her friend to the Tate. We could go for just 45 minutes but that was enough for me. Okay so who agree’s the building is a bit menacing not aided by the fact tht friend said it was like something out of the ghetto or the concentration camps where the main ‘chimney’ looked like something that would spill out smoke and ash. Ugh!

But the main installation in the foyer (for the lifeof me, I cant remember the artist or what the exhibition is called so n o picture but will post when I got with the folks again in August). Anyway, I just want to talk about the main one that really really got to me.

It was a table with three of the four legs cut short but to the effect that the table was tilted back like being absorbed by the floor. There were these two buckets welded together, a little rust on them and these two chairs, the kind you have in high-school, one stacked on the other. It….was
unsettling. And I found it weird that I kept looking at it with this niggling sensation …like, my fingers curling and uncurling like, something wasn’t right. It was…not right. It felt like an abandoned room, the kind you walk into and its been in disuse for a while but the window panes are still intact (usually, with an abandoned building, kids love to break the panes). Again, like something isn’t right. Anyway, it was eerie because I knew I felt strongly but I didn’t know how I felt.

Then what did grab me was “Birth” by Jackson Pollock. The caption reads: Pollock`s Birth is shot through with primeval energy. The process of birth is seen as a desperate struggle. The mask-like faces, drawn from Inuit and Native American art, lend the image an unrestrained energy. Like many modernist artists, Pollock was fascinated by `primitive` art for its expression of fundamental human fears and desires, particularly as traditional ideas of `civilization` were tainted by Europe`s slide into fascism and war.

Okay all that is well and good but it was so, raw I guess…its this primeval explosion with …it …I could almost hear the faces screaming.

This was the other one that caught my eye (caught being used loosely – more like grabbed me by the throat)

The Sleeping Venus: The work of Belgian artist Paul Delvaux combined classical perfection with an erotic and troubling atmosphere. The sensuousness of Sleeping Venus is set against its oppressive night-time setting. Delvaux later explained that it was painted in Brussels during the German wartime occupation and while the city was being bombed. ‘The psychology of that moment was very exceptional, full of drama and anguish’, he recalled. ‘I wanted to express this anguish in the picture, contrasted with the calm of the Venus’. Though never an official Surrealist, Delvaux was associated with the Belgian group around Magritte.

Yeah well, what got me is the fact you have this woman asleep, and death iss right there, just…waiting and the only hang up is the woman in red talking to him. And the sky in the background didn’t help. You can hear the thunder in the air, the click-clack of Death’s feet on the marble floor, the temple in the background and the figures wailing. I guess

its how everyone around Venus sees death and sees it bearing down on her…everyone knows it but Venus herself.

Enough maudlin…the others I loved were a series of pictures:

Signs that Say What You Want Them To Say and Not Signs that Say What Someone Else Wants You To Say by Gillian Wearing

The series of photographs called Signs... brought Wearing international recognition when it was first exhibited in 1993. This selection of five images shows the range of responses which Wearing elicited from passers-by, whom she selected at random, and asked to write their thoughts on a piece of paper. Wearing challenge

s social stereotypes and assumptions, and often works in collaboration with members of the public as a means of 'interrupting the logic of photo-documentary and snapshot photography.' She has said 'A great deal of my work is about questioning handed-down truths.'

`I have been certified as mildly insane!' 1992-3

‘Everything is connected in life. The point is to know it and to understand it’

very Donald Shimoda!

`I signed on and they would not give me nothing'

(this is just depressing so I’m choosing not to comment)

‘I like to be in the country’

(and she says something to the effect that her last holiday abroad was very nice but she couldn’t afford it)

`I'm desperate'

(hahahaha – this one just made me laugh out loud)

Oh and I bought two prints for my wall in NY:

This is Wassily Kadinsky’s Cossacks

Kandinsky believed that abstract paintings could convey spiritual and emotional values simply through the arrangement of colours and lines. Cossacks was made during a transitional period, when he retained some representational elements, such as the two Russian cavalrymen in tall orange hats in the foreground of the painting. Kandinsky considered these as points at which the images could be registered, rather than the true content of the painting.

Me: I see the earth in the lower corner of the painting, to the right. And its like everything conceived by a person seems to be larger than the tiny space we live in…if you have read Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (if you haven’t run, go buy and read) then you will know the Total Perspectivity Vortex (or something like that) that shows a person in respect to the entire universe thereby annihilating their ego. Anyway, point being, that even though you can be one person, it sometimes feels in a moment of pure joy that the planet can’t contain your hopes. I also see that thing above the rainbow as hands, kind of placing the rainbow there for someone. Of course, it could also be seen as doves But then again, its modern art and I think everyone has their own interpretation.

And I have forgotten the name of the other so will post later


AB said...

Hey there, I too liked that Belgian artist's painting a lot. It's so beautiful. Almost seems real.

Zaphod said...

Well, it scared the bejesus out of me because there was this lady covering up the skeleton and I was taking in the picture, admiring Venus and wondering what that woman off to the side in red was doing...then this lady moved aside and i saw the skeleton and freaked a bit...(still get a shiver down me spine)