A visit to a Giacometti and a Paolozzi show + Beuys book.
I was fortunate not to miss the Paolozzi (Paolo) exhibition at Whitechapel twice http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/exhibitions/eduardo-paolozzi/ because it was tremendous. Whilst in the bookshop there I succumbed to buy a book on Beuys which kind of added to the sculpture sweep because I also went on to the Giacometti (Giaco) at Tate Modern http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/giacometti which is even better but the two are linked because Paolo would undoubtedly have been aware of and influenced by Giaco’s incredible works. Each of the 3 artists I mention gives a perspective to ‘art’ worth considering and the 3 together for me give a broad vista of possible approaches which for sure inspire me a lot.
To me Giaco’s art is as pure as the snow that surrounds his home in Switzerland, his was a dedication to an ancient method, he worked and reworked his materials and models ad infinitum. Paolo also worked his materials and added new exciting dimensions to sculpture after he stopped merely mimicking Picasso et al. and of course the ex-Luftwaffe Beuy extended the possible materials and contexts in which we can work.
Personally I need no more than these three and I am inspired for the rest of my days.
- Giaco reminds me of my first aim when I decided to become an artist which was to perfect my abilities in paint, print & sculpture. Before I left school I had been taught by David Wild about the Slade school’s techniques of drawing in paint pioneered by Coldstream and also shown ways of applying paint to draw a model from life in a lively way influenced by David’s hero Paul Cezanne. My heroes at the time were Van Gogh & Matisse whose colour and flat fields infiltrated my own work which rapidly headed off into Expressionism in Kokoshka, Munch, Soutine, Otto Dix etc. but I had been schooled in the need to ‘draw’ and I drew by doing loose loose line and mark and colour then pulling it in like reigning a wild horse to regain control then off again on the rampage til pulling it back again. This led me to producing work some compared with Auerbach but I had never heard of him yet I had been influenced by his teacher Bomberg and a man called Haagensen. And of course Feliks Topolski.
Now if you take the last 3 and then look at Giaco’s works you will see why I consider him to be a painting master. He pulled the paint around as if it were clay and his move into 3D work was an organic shift where he merely continued to do in clay that which he was so adept in when painting- creating work which existed in the moment yet lasted forever.
- Paolo went to visit artists like Giacometti & Brancusi on his trips to Paris. Having met the likes of Topolski and Josef Herman myself I know first-hand how the older master can inspire confidence and point tward future potentials with just a few words. Paolo would have seen the collage work of the Dadaists, particularly Schwitters and Ernst which he picked up on and took into his graphic & sculptural works. The screenprints from the 1970s on display at Whitechapel gave me an opportunity to see first hand prints which had inspired me during my own student days. The prints which quote Wittgenstein were a logical conclusion of his cut and paste of 1950s comics & mags but altogether more sophisticated. Although I was rather limited by the rank facilities at my (teachers training) college and could not aspire to doing 20-30 colour pulls I did add silver & gold to my ink colour spectrum on my Henley series, which was also influenced by Richard Hamilton & Barnett Newman.
Altho I liked his robot like found object sculpture of the 1960s it was his later portrait heads that really blew me away. I loved the way he cut and pasted in 3D using parts of heads and jutting other shapes into them.
Image taken at Whitechapel show
His figures take on a presence similar to those of Giacos.
Image taken at Whitechapel show
- I bought Claudia Mesch’s book about Joseph Beuys which is filling in lots of gaps in my knowledge about him. I love the way Paolo pushed the boundaries but Beuys went even further. Watch out because now my Shrewd Idiot series is about complete and ready for sales I feel the urge to return to my physical making of 3D objects. Starting with some reworkings of my head of my late father.