Sunday, 10 December 2017

Brossa Poetry, MACBA

Fantastic show, the best section consisting of 'visual poems' on sheets of A4 paper. The works are displayed pinned to the walls or at eye-height in frames, allowing the audience to see both sides of the drawings. Great, un-fussy and matter of fact display. 

The poems are gorgeous visual gestures and playings. Cutting, sticking and inserting, playing with the paper as a three dimensional object. Often including newspaper type or cuttings as well as tickets, string, pins, matchsticks and other ordinary items. There are also some more traditional poems and some small sculptural works. 

Lack of Catalan wasn't a problem, though I would love to read some of his other poems and even in the drawings there were titles and a few incorporated words, only a few of which I understood. 

Odd to call them visual poems - like a different way of looking at drawings- not as drawings but more abstract, as ideas rather than gestures perhaps? Or maybe just drawings by a poet.

Definitely a show to mull over on a second visit.

Also two other great shows on at MACBA at the moment:
Beneath the Surface. Works from the collection looking at sculptural paintings, including the gorgeous Derek Jarman film Blue
Rosemarie Castoro, Focus at Infinity.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

David Salle at CAC Malaga

CAC Malaga is a confusing space. It is one single storey building, I found myself walking around what I think were three separate shows, but the layout meant it was not easy to tell where one show ended and another began. It would be impossible to go and see one show without walking through another. I don't think this should be an issue, but it caused mild confusion as I was looking at the works.

David Salle paintings were in the first space and were genuinely engaging works. They seemed to be looking at both subject matter; narrative and form and also at the actual stuff of painting; playing with the canvas, cutting and filling holes and shapes in the surface, jigsawing works together.

The first painting to catch my eye was Charge! This was a colourful war painting, painted loosely and looking like a copy of something much older (there's probably a reference there that I didn't get). The whole painting is overlaid with Yves Klein -like prints of female bodies, pressed onto the image. The women look as if they are swimming, stretching and some are in the fetal position. The body prints have loose pencil lines around them, as if they were planned very meticulously and sketched out first. They made me think of an extremely physical making process, the loose painting of a large canvas and the manipulating the work and the bodies to print over it. The fact it was painted first, already invested with time, makes the printing process much more intriguing, presumably a messy difficult thing which can't go wrong. I am still questioning the imagery; a war scene (male) with impressions of nude female bodies masking the original image.

Other Salle paintings were more domestic, and more looked like copies of older works. These had parts of the canvas cut out, and (one coffin-shaped) other stretchers jigsawing into the gap. I really enjoyed looking at the works and feel like I need to see another Salle show to work them out more. They were very successful paintings for me.

The other interesting thing in the CAC was an installation by Kimsooja, Lotus: Zone of Zero. Lotus lanterns are hung high up in a grid and there is audio of melodic chants. The lanterns are a deep flesh-like purple, when you're walking underneath it feels comforting, womb like. The installation of the work misses it's mark though, the rectangular grid doesn't mirror or in any way take into account the triangular-ish shape of the room. The work feels as if it was moved from another gallery and installed in exactly the same way.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Sigh, Sam Taylor Wood at Museo Guggenheim, Bilbao

Watching Sigh feels absurd, mesmerising. It was the stand-out work for me at the Guggenheim this weekend.

The film is shown on a number of screens arranged in a circle, so the viewer stands surrounded by the different sections of the BBC Concert Orchestra. We can hear a piece of music, specially written for this work and inspired by one of Taylor-Wood's earlier pieces. The BBC Concert Orchestra are playing, without their instruments. The members of the orchestra are dressed in ordinary clothes (no concert-black) in what looks like a warehouse space. They are stern, absorbed in their playing. They mime the in-between gestures, the taking on and off of parts, the relaxing/limbering up of the mouth. Some forget to hold their instruments when they're not playing, their hands resting open on their knees. It's a beautiful collusion between 'serious professionals' and seems like magic at times, the drummer mimes a sound and it appears.

Here is a short video of San Taylor-Wood talking about the work, with some clips of the work itself. Here is a link to the write-up on the Guggenheim's site.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Thomas Bayrle thoughts from Ice Cream, Phiadon

When did it start?

'It started early. Gottfreid Semper's phrase "All construction comes from weaving" really bowled me over. All of a sudden the material / canvas in front of me was more than just a textured, flat, woven surface. Now this texture was a relief, a three-dimensional flat sculpture. Long before I'd heard these words, I'd been amazed by the repetitive ups and downs rendering the most delicate single thread into a firm, integrated collective structure. The body, an atlas, linen etc were all fabrics, the sight of which would trigger images in me of endless cityscapes, in which I could and would live myself. Materially these fine structures also provided an acoustic connection to the great big lilting 'sing song' which was even more important for me: the rosary, the rhythmic time signature of railway sleepers, Steve Reich and the beat of heavy diesel engines.'

Thomas Baryle, questioned by The Wrong Gallery.
Ice Cream Contemporary Art in Culture, Phiadon Press Ltd 2007