Moonbeams on my pillow

Final prep for Society o’ Bukbindas (SoB).

In a recent interview Yan Martell said he thought that art can bring about changed perceptions by altering your perspective, “to posit a different reality” [to that/those with which you’re familiar].

All my life in art this is what I have tried to achieve. I always looked for a difference. Now in my Performance Art [PA] I have discovered a way to animate my vision. What on earth is this PA some of you may say and how come you are doing it? RoseLee Goldberg, in Performance Art. From Futurism to the Present, says

‘…the very presence of the ‘performance artist’ in real time ‘stopping time’, that gives the medium its central position. In the first decade of the 21st century PA is at last being folded into the history of art, moving from the margins to the centre…PA continues to be a highly reflexive, volatile form- one that artists use to articulate and respond to change. It continues to defy definition and remains as unpredictable and provocative as it ever was.’

As I said I always looked for a ‘difference’ and PA gives me the opportunity to make a difference, as well as making books and all my other ‘art’ stuff. I got into it back in 1973 when a friend called Chris Leonard asked me to do an Apulhed Mask Show in the drama theatre at college. I tend to do a piece of PA at the start of each of my 25 or more exhibitions but now I have caught the bug and my PA is as important a part of my output as anything I ever created. It panders to the actor in me, the show-off, exhibitionist and all that stuff we usually hide. I feel I can achieve the impossible in PA. The impossible not something like flying or walking on water but things I would not do as a rule. Recite poems, dance, mime, wear a dress, wear a Tibetan Monk’s yellow hat, all crazy things I’d avoid normally cos deep inside this shallow disguise is a normal man, I’ve yet to find him though.

RoseLee Goldberg’s book entitled ‘From Futurism to the Present’ gives clues as to how long PA has been around. For me it began with Alfred Jarry and in a way his work has never met its equal. Everyone after that was re-framing what he did but don’t misunderstand me, there’s been and still are some really wonderful PA creators. And she is correct in saying that it has gradually entered into the thoughts if not building of the gallery. PA isn’t exactly easy to sell. So Saatchi for one may have had difficulty harnessing it for his collection. That’s one of the great appeals of PA, it hasn’t been strangled by the gallery, yet. I am in a lucky position. I am now an OAP, I’m retired from my day job and I don’t have to ‘do’ anything. But I choose to make books and PA cos I feel I have something, garnered from my 50 years trying to ‘make it’ as an artist bloke, which I can bring to the PA place. What’s that? Well it seems you can do PA almost anywhere. This week (ending 27Feb2016) I did a small part of my new piece in the foyer of my sports club cos someone asked me to ‘Do it here for me, right now’, so I did. And that broke a duck. I hadn’t dared do it like that but as I was asked, I did. And a link in the shackles dropped off (Ta Lara Ann!).

We all know about books.

Many of us make beautiful books. But do we all remember the way the word was first turned from an oral thing into a physical thing?

At first it was inscribed in clay then a variety of different grounds were tried. We are now embarked on the digital age and who can dream of where that will take the book? I look at different book forms and try to create them and their makers, using my body and some props and specially composed music.

 

The bark mask?

1 treeking sm

The bark mask is typical of my creative process. I conceived the idea of using tree related stuff to create a mask because we make books from trees and I began to make it using materials which I had saved from my work in my garden. As I moved through its making I allowed the mask to dictate to me some of its form hence some rather unusual asymmetrical results with the elements of surprise and a degree of shock. Purportedly the Tree Sprit brings with him a warning about the need to be Eco-Friendly. But as with all symbols and signifiers there’s a lot more to it than that.

And there’s more to PA than finding difference and exhibiting one’s prowess in becoming the book! PA is a forum for protest and complaint too. I have a gripe about the men, it’s almost always men, purportedly to be ‘world leaders’. My gripe goes back past world war one and forward to present day when these jerks ‘lead’ [from the back of course, in safe bunkers] the country to war.

 

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/01/25/the-worlds-wound-or-the-worlds-wound-up/ In this blog (above) on 25th Jan 2015 I spoke about Putin taking Russia down an unfortunate old path which the Tsars & Stalin used many times in the history of that country, I said:

 

“Putin needs to be given an out, a chance to climb down, to admit a mistake and a chance to heal the damage, before it escalates into a catastrophe. The ‘world ‘leaders’ are complicit. They are in danger of engaging in a 3rd ‘World War’. STOP. See the comparison between Ukraine 2014 and Serbia 1914. Be very careful.”

Since then I have met a Ukrainian who reminded me of the terrible incursion Russia has made into that independent country killing some of the person’s friends AND RUSSIA IS STILL THERE. Putin is also involving in Syria supporting Assad and bombing groups of Syrians who are combatting his (Assad) regime’s heinous measures against Syrians, 11 million of whom have fled. Stop the killing now your madnesses. lennon an bombs 2 snowflakes smmy image of my Uncle John making snowflakes out of bombs (so they shot him 5 times)

I hope that this peace brokered with John Kerry and Russia is the ‘chance to climb down’ I mentioned above cos the war-path is a bad trail to follow. I won’t say ‘ask Blair & Bush Jnr’ now cos that’d be too obvious.

So, back to my PA at S-o-B this coming Saturday, a lot happened overnight! I awoke having decided in my sleep to actually make this PA easier to comprehend for the S-o-B visitor. A lot of PA uses few if any words. The artist just does the piece, no words nor explanations, it its purest terms. I have decided to give an ‘in’ to my actions. I shall talk thru the first couple of stages, explaining where (I think) I’m coming from.

Finally I had a wonderful experience as I awoke at 05.10 hrs today. I looked down the bed and saw a stream of light along the length of my body. A bit like the white line down the middle of the road illuminated by those old cat’s eyes. I knew I was in bed not on the road. I looked up and saw the curtains had a slight opening in them and the halfmoon was peeping thru the gap sending a beam of light over my body. As I stood up it was down my bed and up over my pillow. I love synchronicity, Jung is one of me six ‘wise’ men in the poems in my Clay Jug. Let’s hear the Captain sing one of his most beautiful songs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjazg_lTfJA See you on the end of the rainbow in Kentish town on Saturday 5th March.

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2010/dec/18/captain-beefheart-don-van-liet-obituary 

Bless

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Verdun 100th anniversary!

See below for some images of my beautiful hand made books that I call my ‘Leaf-Books’. In fact they are both one-off/unique copies from the Clay Jug project. In them are six original etchings that I did plus one woodcut taken from a Tibetan woodblock. The etchings were made to illustrate six ‘poems’ I wrote about six men who contributed a lot to building our humanity.

So. I wrote, in preparation for a work I hope to develop thru 2016:

“07.21 hrs 21st February 2016 One hundred years and six minutes ago the German bombardment for the battle of Verdun Erich Georg Anton von Falkenhayn’s concept that attrition would bleed the French dry meant he used, ‘total, ruthless methods to achieve a limited aim,’ losing many Germans in the process of annihilating the French who tried to defend it. The scale of German losses brought Falkenhayn much criticism.  Indeed the failure to capture Verdun ultimately resulted in Falkenhayn’s removal as Chief of Staff.

http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/verdun_falkenhayn.htm

I am saying this not because I glory in war stories, on the contrary I abhor them. I have spent much of my life advocating an end to all wars and my series of books based around my Clay Jug theme are testimony, not so much mine as that of six equally anti-war men, about my point. The six men I chose all made their peace with man’s inability to stem wars. Each of them in some way made a significant contribution to ideas which promote peace and harmony. Even Joseph Beuys who was in the Luftwaffe spent much of his post war days trying to bring about a unification of what he called Eurasia. Like the Dadaists after WW1 his strange antics were anti-art-establishment actions which were designed to upset the status quo and allow for a more universal acceptance that the old ways of using bronze and marble could be ousted and any material can be used in ‘sculpture’, including the artist’s body.” Ironically the ‘art world’ adopted his work, sucked it in to the ‘establishment’, like they do with all the rebels they cannot tame- see sir mick jagggger abart that- they hike the prices up and now you couldn’t afford to buy one of Beuys half eaten marmalade tarts unless you were a Trump from Trumpingtown.

And that’s where I come in. In my Performance Art (PA) my body and its movement become the artwork, the living sculpture.

I did a big blog about my rightful place in the pantheon which also mentions Beuys and a ‘talk’ I did at the Minories, Colchester in 2013 which, for those interested in my Performance Art, you may like to visit, here tis:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/my-claim-to-a-plaice-in-the-pantheon-with-my-pantstillon-my-2-recent-talks-and-an-oxford-visit/

Later this year I am planning on doing a piece of Performance Art about the Somme but that’s a big one and it’ll have to be designed for a specific venue, so if you have one where you’d like to see it let me know, especially if you have a venue that could be used

. I think it’s very relevant to remind folk about the futility of war. All wars have to come to an end sometime and there’s rarely any ‘winners’. The debacles in the Middle East in the past 20 years show that is still true.

Right now am working twards a small 15 minute piece (part 2) of Performance Art for the Society of Bookbinder’s bookart day.

Pina Bausch’s dance company came to Sadler’s Wells and I saw them on February 14th. I was there because of the Wim Wender’s documentary which galvanised my interest in their work and I was not disappointed. I was watching and I decided to add some moves into my planned PA piece for March 5th at Kentish Town. I have been working up this idea of telling the history of the book since clay tablets in Ur and I’ve managed to design a sequence of moves in which I mime the different processes with some small dance moves joining up the sketches.

Before I do my piece I shall be showing several of my own books in part 1. Here’s some images from them, as you can see my work is unorthodox

unique hand made, second in series
unique hand made, second in series

Front cover to Leaf Book Two

semi see thru Japanese paper with Tibetan woodblock print behind
semi see thru Japanese paper with Tibetan woodblock print behind

Intro to Leaf Book Two. You lift the tabs to see the woodblock print

My Gurdzhiev poem over my etching of G.
My Gurdzhiev poem over my etching of G.

Gurdzhiev page in Leaf Book Two

unique book, hand made
unique book, hand made

Leaf Book One

Leaf Book 1 has six etchings in a pouch, secured by leather straps
Leaf Book 1 has six etchings in a pouch, secured by leather straps

The pouch keeps the six etchings neatly together in Leaf Book One

intro leaf book 1 sm

Intro to Leaf Book One

Silesi in book sm

Silesi page in Leaf Book One

 

Pottery, Prose & Poetry 

a dramatic sky  signals a busy time getting ready for this new season of events

a dark cloud sm

Once I wanted to be a writer, now I write.

Once I wanted to be a Performance Artist, now I perform.

Once I wanted to be a maker of books, I make books.

Once I wanted to be a father, then I got children of my own.

Once I wanted to be a lover, then there was you.

You can make it if you try

Aim high

And by and by if you don’t give up

You can become your dreams

Although

Sometimes we encounter obstacles

Have faith in your vision

And what you wish to become

 

Once I wanted to be an astronaut

Then I realised

I am flying thru space

On a small planet we call Earth

One day my spirit shall soar above this temporary home

I’ll look back at all the beautiful things

I will smile

Then I shall let go

And travel speedily

In the blink of an eye

To the next great adventure

God knows where

Thank You

a wing sm

Thanks for all that I have been

For all what I have seen

For what I was able to do

That is my experience

I sure got lucky

I lived my life in peace

That’s what I wish for all

Peace on Earth

Forever may be.

Forget those historical rights

And wrongs

Aim to live together

For the good of All

Look after what you can.

Pete Kennedy 14.02.2016

a ponder upon pot poems sm

I’ve chosen to feature the Clay Jug in my piece for the Society of Bookbinder’s bookart day on 5 March at Kentish Town because has many aspects to it; book, binding, etching, woodcut, letterpress, pottery, prose & poetry so I’ve chosen it as my main focus. Sonia Serrao, who has kindly asked me to be there has requested I do it as a two part presentation, 15 minutes in each.

a leaf book 2 cover sm

Here’s one of the books I made what I’ll be going on about.

I have separated it into a short intro-talk with my books as the objects revealed and then they become my props in a new piece of my Performance Art (PA). I am aware that the S-o-B members who attend won’t necessarily be au fe with PA and I promise my piece will be very ‘book’ related. There’ll be music by my young friend Luke Walker which he wrote specifically for my Clay Jug story. I will ‘explain’ the PA piece in my intro and I have been working on the choreography, still am, it’s quite ambitious inasmuch that I wish to use my body to ‘be’ various forms of the book since Sumerians made cuneiform tablets. Which should be easy cos some folk think me as “dumb as a brick.”

a leaf book 1 + cat

And another one which my cat has taken over as his bed!

I thought I had worked out all my moves until I sat for 3 hours watching the wonderful Pina Bausch dancers at Sadlers Wells yesterday and got inspired to add some more (adventurous) bits. http://www.sadlerswells.com/whats-on/2015/tanztheater-wuppertal-pina-bausch-auf-dem-gebirge-hat-man-ein-geschrei-gehort/

So I am spending this week sorting out my piece.

Also, I felt I had to take something new in the bookbinding sense so I am working on a new binding for the collaboration prints that David Jury & me worked up in 2014. I’ve done a ‘dummy’ which has a few teething problems that I hope to iron out between ‘rehearsals’.

a wobin sm

Robin rehearsing his PA

Finally, as well as the Bausch Co. there’s another dancer and mask wearer who inspires me toward my PA, Leonard Cohen, here he is with his old age mask, watch it til the end. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuCpTi0EtbU

and here’s some Bowie stuff you should see:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSx3uT9cJ04 bowie duz imagine

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jogv7tD18gs rik wakeman on bowie

http://www.theverge.com/2016/2/15/11004570/grammys-2016-lady-gaga-david-bowie-performance lady gaga duz bowie at granmas

That’s real nice! Two bloggerds visited ma site just now and ‘liked’ today’s offering! ‘Likes’ are rare as hen’s teeth in my blArt. AND they tipped my ‘views’ up to 10,000. Thank youse much. Namaste

 

‘and Lennon’s on sale again’

 

‘…it is the very presence of the performance artist in real time, of live performers ‘stopping time’, that gives the medium its central position. In the first decade of the 21st century PA is at last being folded into the history of art proper, moving from the margins to the centre…PA continues to be a highly reflexive, volatile form- one that artists use to articulate and respond to change. It continues to defy definition and remains as unpredictable and provocative as it ever was.’ RoseLee Goldberg in Performance Art (PA). From Futurism to the Present.

As the new year gets going the great news is that I shall be doing a short performance art piece at the Society of Bookbinders in Kentish Town in March.

SoB Book Arts Day 2016

London and South Region of The Society of Bookbinders

Book Arts Day

Saturday 5th March 2016  (10:30 – 4pm)

(£10 members SoB, £15 non-members)

The day will comprise:

 An illustrated talk on Book Arts by Sarah Bodman

 A book arts fair presenting a variety of emerging and established book artists (many works will be for sale).

 Demonstrations by a selection of the exhibiting artists.

 A spoken word performance by book artist Pete Kennedy.

 A mini exhibition of Sónia Serrão’s personal collection of artists’ books collected over the last 20 years.

Sarah Bodman is an artist and researcher at the Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR), UWE Bristol, where she investigates contemporary book arts. She is also Programme Leader for the MA in Multidisciplinary Printmaking at the Bower Ashton campus, editor of the Book Arts Newsletter, Artist’s Book Yearbook andThe Blue Notebook journal for artists’ books, and writes regularly on artists’ books for ‘a-n’ and Printmaking Today.

 

I have chosen to do a variation of my Clay Jug piece because it resonates ‘book’ and I have several book projects I’d like to show anyone who turns up to see. It was originally done tward my MA in Art & the Book and I have ‘danced’ it at IPA in Glastonbury & Bristol where it was very well received. The books that grew into the project were greatly influenced by Joanna Drucker’s wonderful book on the Alphabet. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/790760.Alphabetic_Labyrinth I experimented with:

  • use of clay tablets like cuneiform,
  • poti like the Tibetan book form,
  • scrolls like medieval manuscripts and
  • the idea of knowledge being found in buried or hidden pots.

I use the music that Luke E. Walker created for Clay Jug to spark my movement thru this piece. Here’s a link to Luke’s music on soundcloud:

I also recite the words of Kabir and, maybe, Osip Mandelstam). I also intend to show a couple of my most beautiful unique copy books that I did to house my six poems generated from the project. PLUS David Jury’s version in letterpress with a surprise package.

I am also developing a piece which I did at IPA several times in Oct2015 based on the words of a song from the wonder-full cd  named still calm melancholy air brush hush by Colin Lloyd Tucker called Brush in which I have his words written and show them with movement as the piece progresses. I mime making a painting and in the end, in some venues, I actually brush an image onto a surface which can be paper and/or glass, perspex, wood, anything. I am looking to do it in shop windows, particularly art supplies places.

It fulfils my desire to follow in the footsteps of zen masters who write their thoughts in beautiful calligraphy and do drawings too. I may use Colin’s beautiful ambient music before I appear ‘on set’ but more & more I am working tward not having beautiful distractions as I move thru a piece, I am working tward playing the music in my head as I move.

see-   http://campus.poetryschool.com/follow-brush-making-zuihitsu-poetry/

another  new idea I am working on is:

 Somme Lads – Burnley Boys 1916

Designed as a solo work where PK plays two combatants, Tommy & Gerry. This is a commemoration and hopefully a reconciliation, of the horrific battle of the Somme July 1916. Tommy has a helmet like the one worn by Brits in WW1, but this also could be a cooking pot or wok like those we used to wear as children when playing war games.

My aim is to try to stop all wars on planet Earth, no pressure then Pete! My request is that the world works towards de-powering those perennial ‘leaders’ who create wars and create a planet where war is but a dim distant recollection. Can you Imagine that! Here’s Lennon my working class hero singing his song in a set which has all my favourite foibles in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2hvkPyiAFE  You see John dressed in apparel almost certainly designed to antagonise the obviously ‘privileged’ audience his band played in front of dressed in his red suit and black round specs.

And Lady Gaga, almost outdoing Lennon with her glasses pays tribute to one leader (Obama) who tried not to wage war and her favourite song writer in her version of Imagine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urjyP95H6vk

Here’s  Marianne Faithful singing another Lennon classic, Working Class Hero in which he lays it down like he sees it, quite lucidly I believe. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2SDRQJrawU

Finally another working class hero David Bowie who sang ‘Lennon’s on sale again’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IftjxN_KJoM and whose outlandish dress-sense set the stage for Gaga.

I was hoping to do it in June at the book fair at BALTIC (Artists’ Book Market BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art Saturday 18 & Sunday 19 June 2016) but haven’t been selected to do an intervention this year. So, if you have a venue in the North east area and want to see one or more of my pieces near the weekend of 18-19 June please let me know.

pete's earthen vessel