Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Cloudy (In a Good Way)

Lately I've been thinking a lot about clouds.

London seems to have a lot of the low clouds...

Luckily there is more variety beyond the science.
Simon Guillain after Annibale Carracci,  A saint (maybe Francis), 1640s

Michelangelo Buonarroti, The Punishment of Tityus (1532)

Konstantin Kalynovych, Museum of Clouds (2000)

Anish Kapoor, Cloud Gate (2004-2006), Chicago

Indoor Cloud created by Berndnaut Smilde -  Time's Best Invention 2012

Indoor Cloud Created

Of course some prefer the sun. 

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Trying Hard to Like You

I hadn't heard of Wilhelm Sasnal until his show at the Whitechapel Gallery earlier this year. Which is kind of embarassing, given that he's the best-selling Polish contemporary artist on the market.

Wilhelm Sasnal

But then I saw the show, and thought: "Really?" From the pigsty next to his parents' house that supposedly looked like a concentration camp, right to a reinterpretation of Seurat's Bathers at Asnières - everything seemed flat and lifeless. Like failed photographs, or Alex Katz - I didn't get it.

The other day I came across this painting. In one moment the visible brushstrokes moved me more than the entire show had. I dug deeper, making my way through metres of Google-Image pages, feverishly looking for work I liked. 

And yet, most of his stuff left me cold. Except for these.

Untitled, 2009

Forest, 2003

Anka in Tokyo, 2006

Warsaw, 2005

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Clark's Cocker

Last week my parents came to town and insisted on a cultural outing. Since I wasn't in the mood for a dusty opera, I took them to see the Michael Clark Company at the Barbican.

Oh là là? Contemporary dance can be a gamble, but I was confident: Ever since Come, Been, Gone had blown my mind in 2010 (including music from David Bowie and custom-made backgrounds by one of my favourite painters, Peter Doig) I knew that Clark combined fun and sexhilaration like no other.

Come, Been, Gone, 2009/2010

And of course "New Work 2012" was perfection. In the first half, surreally-built dancers executed measured moves sharp like scarpels to music by 80's band Scritti Politti. Only to woo us after the break: Comme des Garçons-esque outfits, Tetris music and projected word games blended with surprising subtlety.

Scritti Politti - Jacques Derrida

But the end! The backdrop turned out to be a curtain, which lifted and revealed a full-blown band, Relaxed Muscle. Jarvis Cocker, painted like a Mexican death mask and swinging a whip, threw up a live performance which turned the Barbican into hell. In the best possible sense. The dance-cum-rock revelation made me want to stand up and scream my lungs out. Instead, I waited patiently until the end of the show, and clapped. And clapped. My parents loved it too.

The last 37 seconds of the show

Relaxed Muscle - Let it Ride

Avant-garde since the 80's