Category Archives: exhibitions

3 sculptors & me

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

henli black silver sm

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.

3 heads sm

Image taken at Whitechapel show

His figures take on a presence similar to those of Giacos.

a wite fig sm

Image taken at Whitechapel show

  1. 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.a v gud bird an full jak sm

 

 

Gee Vaucher/Penny Rimbaud/Firstsite

a-gee-sm

This is my first blog of 2017 because I have been so immersed in making my new Shrewd Idiot deluxe edition which I shall talk more about in the near future but now a long overdue look at the work of Gee Vaucher & Penny Rimbaud which has resounded around Firstsite Gallery in Colchester since last November and will continue to permeate that space until sadly on 19th February the show(s) will end.

gee-corridor-entrance-sm

I have been thrilled by the breadth & depth of their works and will try to exhibit some kind of overview here. If you have not seen the show of Gee’s imagery get down to the gallery and don’t miss an incredible show. This is what I believe that gallery was built for. I believe that Gee & Penny are both native Essex folks who have been steeped in ‘art’ all their adult lives and both made considerable contribution to the fields they have ploughed, sown and harvested. I’d say this could take the prize for the best show so far at Firstsite being at least as good as their wonderful Bruce McLean show (but I still cannot afford the catalogue for that show at £25!). The ground covered by the Vaucher & Rimbaud collaboration is vast and I have struggled to get the words down to cover the bits I have seen and witnessed because there’s been so much going on. Gee became involved right from the hanging and with all of the planning of various films, workshops and concerts which have accompanied the show.

angel-gee

I missed the open evening and the first event I attended was Gee’s film called ‘Angel’ in which a 14 year old girl stared into the camera for a long long time.

angel-gee-sm

Gee Vaucher with Angel in the post film talk.

It is a powerful piece which grew out of Gee’s several images of childhood painted onto large canvasses which you can see in the exhibition.

Gee was interested in the loss of that innocence which occurs when young girls get to an age of transition from primary to secondary schools when they just have to toughen up to survive. Angel was a good model. She was able to sit still and in contemplation despite her old sister being in the background as a distraction. Angel is several years older now but this was her first viewing of the film and a sort of propulsion into a star position which she took with poise & grace.

a-yng-girl-smgee-amer-justice-sm

The Exhibition

Gee’s show on the walls is full of works done over the past 40 years with her extensive and varied media. It seems she excels at any medium she adopts. For those faint heart-ed-ones amongst you I should say that much of her work is challenging with little concern for any timidity. Gee ain’t presenting the human form like a Botticelli.

chained-sm

She reveals all and cuts all into collages of bodies and animals which she extends into beautifully strange sculptures. I shan’t even try to explain in words what she does, just let her visual vocabulary speak for itself like she was outspoken in the 70s & 80s against the inconsiderate and/or ill-considered policies of the likes of Reagan & Thatcher. Her political satire is devastatingly cut throat on issues like the Vietnam war and the sending of Americans to kill maim and be killed and maimed.

gee-state-heads-sm

The Publications

Under the publisher name of Existential Gee and Penny have designed written and printed many books and small format works. As with all their work there’s a difference and a good quality that pervades. The exhibition catalogue with an intro by the new Director Sally is a snip at £15 I think.

 

The Events

I didn’t attend all and there’s still one or two left to go to but I was really impressed by the ones I got to.

a-penny-poem-5-sm

Penny Rimbaud brings commitment and a great deal of gravitas to his content and delivery.

I loved the ‘orchestra’ at his performance of his ‘Requiem’ poem. He once said in an interview, “Benjamin Britten’s ‘War Requiem’ is probably the greatest musical/lyrical influence of my life. As a young kid I was a chorister and met Britten when he conducted and I sung in what I think was the first British performance of his ‘Spring Symphony’. It was this event that introduced me to his music and it wasn’t long before I first listened to the ‘War Requiem’. It completely bowled me over. As a ‘war baby’ my early years had been filled with tales of war, all somewhat tinged with the ‘glory’ of it.  The ‘War Requiem’ told a very different story. Britten’s passionate  settings of Wilfred Owen’s profound (anti)war poems touched me deeply at every level and introduced me to ideas of pacifism which became so central both to my life and to my philosophy (even if at times I have doubted it!!). It was this piece of musical genius that taught me at a very early age that one could say ‘no’, and, indeed, had every right to do so.

In his ‘The Pity of War’, with music on cello by Kate Shortt and Liam Noble on piano, his reading of Wilfred Owen’s words was very powerful & evocative, sending me to read the originals where Owen compared the advocates of war and the victims of that cause to the biblical Old testament’s Abram and Isaac with a very differing outcome! When the god of WW1 gave the leaders the nod to prevent the Death throes, in Owen’s words:

‘But the old man would not so, but slew his son

And half the seed of Europe, one by one.’

Leaving the Ram of Pride triumphant and intact.’

The Discussion

A highly knowledgeable panel of:

Stevphen Shukaitis, at-gee-talk-stevphen-shukaitis-sm

 

Brandon Taylor, at-gee-talk-brandon-taylor-2-sm

 

Rebecca Binns a-becky-binns-at-gee-talk-sm

&  George Mackay at-gee-talk-george-mackay-sm

discussed the different aspects of Vaucher’s works on 1 Dec 2016. Rebecca Binns is doing a PHD about Vaucher’s and she brought a feminist perspective to the proceedings. Brandon Taylor has written books which include observations on her collage, indeed in the French version of one a collage by Vaucher is used for the front cover. You missed a good debate about her work but I can show you some photos that I took of the event which was introduced by Firstsite’s new(ish) curator Stuart Tulloch.stu-tullock-sm

The Gallery

Gee made full use of the wonderful facility at The Firstsite Gallery with stunning red flags inviting visitors in to her really well hung and presented work throughout. Firstsite Gallery has a much maligned history and this series of events & the main exhibition ought to go a long way to establish it on the map of must visit spaces in this country. It’s a great gallery!

Sally Shaw, the new director has a healthy demeanour and a listening approach and I wish her and her staff well for a great future which the town of Colchester needs. Sally has said anyone with ideas please come forward and put them to her as the job is still massive to take the place forward.

a-look-out-sm

 

Lookin Back

October 27th 2015, on my 65th birthday, shortly after doing the IPA [International Performance Association] fortnight, I become an OAP (Old Age Pensioner) and realize that I am an also an OPA (Opsimath Performance Artist). For those what don’t know (like I didn’t before I accidentally discovered the word whilst checking the meaning of ‘opulent’) an ‘opsimath’ is ‘a person who learns late in life’ and I certainly realised my love of Performance Art (PArt) late in my 50 years as a artisbloke.

A new stage name, ‘DANI OOPAPA’ or ‘OMI OOPAPA’ maybe?

It may be an idea if you read this blog about my work watti dun in 2013, it’ll let you know where am coming from:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/my-past-pages-from-the-net/

The rest of this is about the last year (2015) & my ‘links’ (not) with some gallery spaces and it will soon go into my ‘about’ in my wordpress site. The knowledge, skills & experience I have accumulated did not come easily, it came as the result of determined effort and my desire to learn then apply my abilities. Colchester has been my cultural centre since 1975 and I have exhibited there several times; one man shows in Trinity Street gallery (1994), the main Library gallery (2000) and the Red Lion Bookshop (2014) and participation in several group shows in particular at the Minories as the Final show of my MA qualification (2013) followed by a solo ‘performance’ there.

Jan 26th 2015

On the basis of my thinking that it may be better to fill the walls with my work^, than close the gallery with the walls effectively empty I make an offer to Firstsite Gallery Colchester.

(^ work which has seen 25 solo shows in Essex since 1978 and has been loved by many of those who came into the shows who indicated their feelings in the visitors’ books),

‘Dear curators,[the head curator (MC, see below) had quit the gallery for a plum job in a big gallery in Germany leaving deputies i/c]

I was in firstsite on Saturday 17th January and I noticed the gallery is almost empty at the moment and one of the assistants told me it is not scheduled to have a new show until March- I feel impelled to ask you to give me the freedom of your walls and spaces and I’ll mount a big show based of the work I have produced in the past 48 years.

‘Dear Pete,

Thank you for your email and for sending your proposal for an exhibition at Firstsite.

I’m afraid that we are unable to host an exhibition of your work in the coming weeks. The galleries are committed to other activities during this period, including essential maintenance and a 5-week long residency by Maria Loboda, during which time she will fabricate a new work in situ. Furthermore, as I’m sure you are aware, our exhibitions are originated and developed over much longer periods of time and through extended conversations with the artist.

31 Jan 2015’

Shortly after sending me that short note she quit the gallery.

Here’s some links to the blArts (my word to combine my Blatherings on Art) I did about firstsite:

About Bruce McLean- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/bruce-mclean-not-trendy-but-twitchy/

 

Bruce McLean said- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/this-is-the-best-exhibition-of-my-work-ever/

 

Two part report on firstsite symposium- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/so-we-live-in-a-digital-cage-part-2/

 

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/so-we-live-in-the-digital-cybernetic-age-the-d-c-age-digital-cage/

 

Krzysztof Fijalkowski, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Norwich University of the Arts gives a  talk about Henri Chopin- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/henri-chopin-and-others-who-got-forgot/

 

The Man from New York talk- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/andrew-roths-talk-at-first-site-last-saturday/

 

Ann Stephen from Australia’s talk- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/first-site-talk-success-but/

 

Feb 2015– The ‘free community place for arts’ in Colchester called Slack Space did a lovely ‘artists book’ show:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/artist-books-stories-at-slack-space/

&

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/my-artists-books-from-slack-space-to-babe-11-12-april/

 

Also in February the Art Council withdrew the funding from Firstsite gallery and I did a blog about making an offer to help the crestfallen director who on his appointment had said on being announced as Firstsite’s new director in November 2012, “The positioning of Firstsite within the local community is essential to my new role. I hope to extend Firstsite’s mission in bringing excellent art to everyone, supporting artists from the region to develop their careers and demonstrating the value that contemporary visual art brings to society.”

“To Matthew Rowe

I would like to meet you and discuss some of the issues that abide with you and the wonderful firstsite gallery along with its inherited problems and its legacy. I once had a long chat with Michelle Cotton (MC) which she began reluctantly but gradually warmed to and eventually said, ‘You should meet the new director Pete’

I also had a small article in Venue which flagged up the wonderful work of Bruce McLean and how well it looked in the space. I had tried to get Michelle to inform me about which show would follow McLean so I could prepare a longer article for Venue.

I would like to help you to move the gallery forward, why because I have lived in Essex since 1973 and taught art for many years and I see the need for such a big and potentially great space for art(s). At present it is nowhere near reaching its potential and that for many reasons, many of which you know some you may not be aware of.

So, if you would like to meet so we can talk and see if there are ways I can help please respond.

Pete Kennedy MA, DMS, Adv Dip, etc (I didn’t inc. an honor bestowed on me c.2008 RA Doubtful!) 14.2.15”.

MR never bothered to answer my offer yet the local MP and the rep of the Art Council had answered me, somewhat condescendingly I’ll have you know, the MP was ousted at the next election.

My blog abart it:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/moving-on-letting-go/

In April Matthew Rowe Director left:

http://www.colchesterchronicle.co.uk/2015/04/08/fancy-a-firstsite-job/

my blog about it, ignore the title, that was not intended to rejoice, I felt sad about MR and MC and all them what tried to bring advanced art ideas to Colchester but their intent altho well-meant was not so well based on the needs of the local community which yes would benefit from ‘education’ into 20th century+ art but it’s ‘the way you tell ‘em’ which counts. BE WARNED there’s a lot about my work in this and all ma blogs:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/oh-bee-joy-full/

 

Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th April

I attend the BABE book art fair at the Arnolfini where I share a table with David Jury. On the Sunday I do my reading and dance about my poems which are featured in my two books called ‘Inside This Earthen Vessel’. It was performed in a room they call the lecture room but it had no atmosphere at all. Chris Leonard a friend of over 40 years who lives near Bristol turned up, my mate Dave Doughty came down from Essex to film it and two other folk came plus the gallery helper who had to be there. It was really hard mustering any enthusiasm in such circumstances but those who came all seemed to enjoy it (?). It was invaluable doing it with so little an audience because it brought home the maxim, “The Show must go on” and taught me by experience how to lift myself up when the chips seemed to be down. It was good practice too.

Ere’s ma blog on BABE.

4pm Pete Kennedy ‘readings’- Inspired by Kabir’s poem ‘Inside This Clay Jug’ (transformed from Rabindranath Tagore’s translation by Robert Bly and recited by Pete) Also, various renditions from the original book on Six Mystics- G Batch (G…iorgi Ivanovitch Gurdzhiev. B…euys Joseph. A…ngeli Silesii. T…enzin Gyatso. C…arl Gustav Jung & H…ermann Hesse.), Inside This Clay Jug and Inside This Great Jug.

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/?s=jug+talk+at+babe+%26+bukman+dances+on

 

April 2015, Interim Director Anthony Roberts takes over for a year, my blArt:

Triumphal Buzz

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/06/13/91326/

I join a guided tour led by the new Director, blog:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/?s=FIRSTSITE+NEW+BEGINNING%2C+PART+2.

July- I go to the BALTIC gallery Gateshead book fair and do my Outlaw Pete Intervention, everything begins to fall into place:

Baltic Artists Book Market 2015

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/?s=baltic+artists+book+market+2015

After my gig at BALTIC I realise I am only skirting around the edges of Performance Art these past 40 years so decide to join the IPA http://www.ipapress.i-pa.org/ in October which leads to possibly one of the most momentous shifts in my thinking and doing in my whole life as a artisbloke:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/?s=2+weeks+doing+performance+art.

Then another blog, yes it HAS started:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/now-i-have-begun/

So, I start to try to get ‘out there’ into the PA community. I have to say sadly my initial tentative approach to LADA has been a damp squib and my attempt to contact the organisers of SPILL fest also hit the rocks. Here’s some blogs:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/11/29/lets-do-it-live-art/

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/12/14/lets-dance/

My links to IPA have proved much more warm and rewarding. During the ‘pop up performances’ with IPA I return to the Arnolfini and do some much more well received performance art and we use the ‘lecture room’ as a base in which to change our clothes. I did an impromptu engagement with two little boys in a puddle outside the gallery thinking nobody was watching and I got these lovely words from two of our course leaders (Vest & Page) who happened to be in the café looking on proceedings as I splashed with the kids.

“Thanks for your warmth and smiles during the IPA days – we will always remember you jumping with the kid in the little water pond on the streets in front of Arnolfini.

Keep being magic and shining, V&A

v & p latex colord dancers

And I shall never forget their wonderful performance at Arnolfini! I was touched & inspired bigtime and I learned masses from observing them.

 

November I take part in the day of Performance Art at Firstsite gallery.

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/11/09/the-frailty-of-being-human/

Next in November I had a table at the Hadleigh books fair:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/life-begins-at-65-now/

And here’s a blog about my first ever article in an American Journal (JAB):

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/my-german-ghosts/

 

December– Interim Director Anthony Roberts leaves Firstsite before a year is up (with my artist’s math I make it 9 months, just long enuf for a babe to gestate?) BUT he managed to get over £2 million support from Art Council before he goes. Thanks Ant yer dun a great job cos you turned the old tanker around, now it’s headed in the right direction, let’s hope it don’t come aground again. What an end to the year and an era at Firstsite gallery in Colchester, these two events are the final things which Anthony Roberts oversaw as ‘interim’ Director before taking his leave! He left the space in a much better place than he had found it in.

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/12/29/december-at-firstsite/

 

The future at Firstsite.

Now their work begins and they’ve a lot of work to do. The gallery is nowhere near a fully functioning gallery and socially inviting/accepted place. The budge that AR gave it is just that, a budge. It requires a mammoth transformation in its view of the world, local, national & international. Maybe more importantly the local council needs to sort out the locality, that in immediate proximity to the gallery as well as the whole town which over the past 10 years has sunk. It needs imagination and creativity, just as does the gallery. The roads around the gallery, especially the closing of entry into Queen St from the High St., need urgent attention vis a vis right to drive without impunity. The parking access near the gallery needs making available and accessible. The access to and from the car park in Priory St. needs sorting as does the total access and right to use the field outside the gallery. Visitors to the gallery should enjoy complete 360 degree access to the ground around the gallery.

 

Postscript- I can’t, or couldn’t, detach from the idea that my art was worthy and the world did me a dis-service by not attaching to it and giving me loads a money and praise and love and attachment. Then I look see what those results brought for the likes of Michael Jackson, John Lennon & Elvis the Pelvis and I can see I don’t want loads a money and praise and love and attachment. I am now more ready to give up my forlorn attempts to be up there with the famous ones! I think myself lucky that I never made it. I no longer ‘mind’, even if I did in the past. I have had my moments, I’ve had positive feedback which has gone into the burner and helped energise me as did criticisms cos often I’d not take them laying down, I’d up and at ‘em. I’d make my next ting beat better. All the time I wanted to improve. That’s why I find myself an opsimath, a ‘person who learns late in life’, or should that be an Opzzie-Mouth in praise of Ozzie Ozbourne?)

So you see my links to galleries in the past 50 yearns has been rather limited, you could say galleries are my limited company; Pete Kennedy Galleries Ltd. However, onwards and now I’m an Opsimath!  My next blog will be about relationships, according to TED they make your life last much longer if they’re good! Here’s my final blog for this lot:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/12/21/i-tried-to-change-the-world/

ta to Zelda Chappel fer this image via @Steve_Perfect, ta 2 yu 2 blue

a len bern on art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving on, letting go.

Image featured above shows a strange bird looming over the slanted side of firstsite gallery. What will it be a harbinger of? What does it presage? Only good I hope in the end but that is going to be a challenge which must be worked towards wholeheartedly and in unison by all the stakeholders; the council, the gallery, the public and art lovers from all over this land. It’s gonna take time and investment.

Recently (12th Feb?) I saw a pretty damning report on BBC Anglia tv in which the footage they used was several years old, altho they did have a reporter there to interview the director that day. They reported that the ‘Arts’ Council was threatening to withdraw support for the gallery. I decided to write to the several parties (excepting the Beeb as they never seem to take any notice, you get this thing that says they get millions of letters and sorry they won’t bother to reply) showing my concern that the true picture of the valiant efforts made by the gallery in the past few years has not been recorded and to offer direct help to its director Matthew Rowe from my 50 years’ experience in art and gallery visiting since seeing the big Henry Moore show at Tate in 1967. On 13 Feb I said, ‘Dear Matthew, I believe with my experience and qualifications I may be able to help you. Please see the attached. Also, please acknowledge receipt as I have guessed at your email address.’

I felt that local MP Bob Russell’s take on the gallery was quite negative when he cited how much millions it costs each year. OK compare that to how much the Castle takes? He replied saying I should contac the press with one of my less positive points. But he had replied within 24 hours!

I contacted the arts council in the guise of Hedley Swain and sent him the above list of links to my blArts. He replied within 24 hours and thanked me for my ‘other’ views, ‘It is useful to us to have different opinions and view-points to draw on. I assure you that Arts Council will do all it can, working with other local stakeholders, to improve the current situation.’

matthew rowe

The Director did not respond to my offer to help. Not yet, 28.2.15, but it’s only 15 days since I sent my offer.

I’d like to update the story so far on firstsite gallery in Colchester. I hear they are preparing a new launch with a fresh approach, I wish them well and I pray that it works not just for them but for all the interested parties. I believe they need more help from Colchester Council not less. There is a need for parking right next to the gallery in the space down which buses used to turn in their scores daily. At present parking is totally banned there and it is a total missed opportunity. Our society is used to ‘on site’ parking like at all the big supermarkets nowadays. People are loathe to walk more than 50 metres to a place. I know that’s true and the council’s refusal to provide on site parking is adding to the gallery’s problems in the past several years. There was supposed to be an art college coming very close to the gallery as part of the plan but that fell through. The whole area was supposed to be being built up with a multi-million pound development which never materialised. Then the gallery opened with its slanting wall and very little natural footfall. I believe the gallery needs a re-structure/build. Getting in some consultant architect the likes of Richard Rogers may help. There’s a need to get rid of the slant and to somehow introduce a mezzanine floor something like the one at Barbican gallery which can add space to exhibit more stuff.

outsite leans

Strange flying tings seen looming over firstsite

There is still a lot of space around the gallery which could be used to provide amenities for the local population which would also bring more folk in proximity to the gallery but it seems that nobody has enough imagination to propose any ideas. At least I have not seen any moves on that front, but I am not local and don’t get all the local news. I have offered to meet the Director to put forward some of my own ideas but he is obviously too busy hatching the re-launch plans. Or he just doesn’t want to know what a fool believes.

in the not too distant past I was called an ‘advocate’ of firstsite gallery Colchester but in fact I am a commentator (a common ‘tatoe). I’d like to play in their team or at least help the team but they don’t select me. Last week I was told my latest effort to gain a place on the hallowed walls was unsuccessful. They invited bids for a wall space 8m x 3m and once again I gave it my best shot, but I  didn’t score this time.

Now, personally, I am ‘Moving on, letting go’. I done e‘nuff’, I tried and tried agin and cannot suck seed. Am not moving on, letting go through any bitter feelings, I still have sympathy for their plight but I feel I have done more than the average commentator in my effort to assist. Picture me standing outside the gallery banging my head against the wall. I believe I deserve a bit more respect but of course what I believe and what actually happens are rare bedfellows.

It’s not hard, there’s lots of evidence.apul gnum wall

ps You have to replace the brick wall with a gold tin wall.

Well it may surprise some of yez but yes it hurts. But I am almost a Buddhist and am learning not to cling on, I’m no clingon!

Before I go let me give some links to the blArts I done about firstsite:

About Bruce McLean- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/bruce-mclean-not-trendy-but-twitchy/

 

Bruce McLean said- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/this-is-the-best-exhibition-of-my-work-ever/

 

Two part report on firstsite symposium- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/so-we-live-in-a-digital-cage-part-2/

 

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/so-we-live-in-the-digital-cybernetic-age-the-d-c-age-digital-cage/

 

Krzysztof Fijalkowski, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Norwich University of the Arts gives a  talk about Henri Chopin- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/henri-chopin-and-others-who-got-forgot/

 

The Man from New York talk- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/andrew-roths-talk-at-first-site-last-saturday/

 

Ann Stephen from Australia’s talk- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/first-site-talk-success-but/

The gallery is going to find it difficult to re-connect with the folk who once frequented it as it has been empty now several weeks and the café has disappeared and the continuity has been discontinued. If you pop in there at present not only do people keep coming up to you asking if you had permission to venture thru to where you stand perusing the 8×3 space before you apply but there is an eerie silence and emptiness which is going to hard to re-fill or even firstfill. I hope I have filled you in with my fill. Eugh that’s Awe-fill!

 tward entrance

Some more images of firstsite gallery at present

skylites

lookin out

 

17.03.15- I managed to spend a few minutes in conversation with the Director who came over as an amicable man with a basketful of challenges which I must say he is approaching with a good degree of patience and positive planning. The gallery has re-launched and re-branded with a wonderful new show which I like but I fear the local population won’t be won over with. The four artists local(-ish) at least to Essex I am reminded chosen to fill the 3x8m space are all very good practitioners, evidence of which is shown in a display of some work from each in the 8×3 space. the new cafe proprietors look to be setting about setting it up beautifully with local suppliers being utilised. Good luck for the future!

some new pics of the new set up, still quite empty of footfallers.

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Now for something completely different but I believe relevant, especially for my regulars and  you know about my ‘what I believes’:

When I was 30 year old I scored two goals in 2 minutes (big head), one headed into the top left hand corner from a corner and t’other straight from the re-start when I nicked the ball as they kicked off, ran half the pitch length evading a lunging leg of a desprit full back and rounded the goalie to chip it in against Ingatestone for Maldon Saint Marys second eleven in a cup game which we won 2-1. Later in the same cup the manager left me on the sub’s bench for the Final aginst RHP which my goals had gotten the team to, playing a kid of 16 in my stead. Earlier that season, in the winter cos the ground had an inch or two of snow on it I had headed a goal in from a corner in a melee and felt a deep pain in my belly, so deep I thought someone had kicked me, it turned out this Charlie had decided to thump me in the stomach as I headed the ball.

a bad tackle(beyond the pale)

Unlike Nemanja Matic of Chelsea v. Burnley last week who took this bad (beyond the pale) tackle from Ashley Barnes I withheld my desire to retaliate*, I took his number, I remembered his face. Ten minutes from the end of that final I aksed Old Bill the manager if I was going to get a kick? “Oh sorry Pete I forgot you, get on now.”

a fyutballa peteHow could you leave this fella out?

PK in 1981

Sadly I couldn’t pull back the goal deficit in the 5 minutes left (which meant in the 30 odd years I played football I never got a winner’s medal!) but I had my eye on Charlie. I am not sure he remembered me without snowdrops on my head. Anyway I re-introduced myself on the half way line. It was a fair but hard tackle (NOT beyond the pale). He didn’t get up but only missed the last three minutes of play. I never returned to play for Maldon Saint Marys second eleven, not ‘nuff respec’. I did return to football 20 years later and scored loadsa goals as a veteran, well the ball is still a sphere and the goals are still in the same place and I still loved the game.

But ‘respec’ is wattam talking about. * Matic was sent off and banned from a Wembley Final for retaliation, Barnes got off scot free. Talking about the dinosaur attitude of institutions the FA have done FA about the ref’s ineptitude; he should have sent Barnes off before Matic took the law into his own hands and then the FA should lift the ban so Matic can participate in the Wembley Final . It’s not as if his shove on Barnes was life-threatening, more like a person in the isle at a supermarket pushing a trolley. (ps Chelsea still won!)

 

My ‘Artist’s Books’ From Slack Space to BABE (11 & 12 April)

So what is an artist’s book? Or what is my artist’s book? In answering the former I can point to some beautiful examples of the form, well no it’s not a ‘form’ as form indicates rules to bind you by, there isn’t a ‘form’ there is just the ‘difference’. The difference is such that  artist’s books are often difficult to file in a library. They often have no side panel recognizing ‘title’. They rarely have isbn’s or all the detail about who published it and the artists’ rights. AND THEY CAN BE UNIQUE IN THE COMBINATION OF MATERIALS THEY JUXTAPOSE. So in Slack Space this week there are artists like Chris Rushton

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and Miranda Campbell (& Others) who stretch the ‘form’. Chris’s work exquisitely combines her dyed textural papers and folds and tears and cuts into forms.

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Miranda makes leather bound books but also creates these wonderful things with cracked logs, feathers and curled paper with words on which would look odd on a library shelf. Anselm Kiefer makes unique books in which he uses plasterboard or lead or paper or photos as his base and then he sticks them in acid and throws mud on them and buries them and all sorts of stuff as he approaches each book as an individual work much as he does his ‘paintings’ (he’s not at slack!).

keif bukbird merged

I find his work inspiring with its freedoms and its ignoring of norms and mores (moreys? Morays… moray eels are like his books scarey). But I guess one day when I have shed the fetters of the ‘books’ I have in the pipeline I shall follow his example and make more one-offs and make em big and make em so cumbersome they can’t leave my garden where I’ll mekem wid loads of rubbish and muck and I’ll burn em and kick em and all that cos I once did karate so I can kick like a gud en. I joke but am not joking. I love it when I see the craft in book artists like Kate Bufton at Book Transformations https://twitter.com/BuftonKate and  Fiona Dempster at Paper Ponderings http://paperponderings.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/purely-pencils-part-ii.html both of whom produce voluminously but there’s a sense of control and craft there which altho I admire I wish to break free https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEKVLjXO2Fk I’ve fallen in love with difference, in fact I’ve always loved her. My work is different. At present I am not cutting and folding and binding with dexterity but I am writing about my heroes, what I call mystics; artists, poets, thinkers and Joseph Beuys the shaman. And that leads me to my ‘performances’ which are part of my books. In fact I can cut the strut, fold my limps and unbind my-self thru the dance I do at my ‘talk’ or ‘reading’. And what are books for if not to be read, or scanned. In fact at the first (Slack) reading from my collaborative work with David Jury which is on display at Slack I realised something wonderful. His prints are stupendous and my words are whatever you decide they are

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but when I put them into an amalgamated form where I could read them as one piece the possibilities are enormous. There’s no video of me doing that yet, so you’d have to invite me to your place if you want to see it for yourself. Last year or was it 2013 I did an article in which I promoted the idea that a pot with writing on was a book cover

the book of gnolidge
the book of gnolidge

and the scrolls around it or dropped in it were the pages. Now am saying my reading is part of my book. Beat that Anselm!

I am not taking the pot to BABE but you should see it on the powerpoint projection in the entrance to the Arnolfini. I am really looking forward to meeting you all at BABE.

 http://www.arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/babe-2015-bristol-artists-book-event

I shall be the last one of BABE’s ‘Performances and Readings’ (Meeting Room, Arnolfini) on the second day, Sunday 12th April

cast in arranged order:

 2pm Judy Kravis of Road Books

2.30pm Graeme Hobbs, Colva Books – Hill Pond. The pieces I wrote were instead of photographs – written photographs.

3pm, Field Study International – Emanation action.

3.30pm Nancy Campbell and Donna Williams – Poems in BSL and English about language learning and extinction.

cover of six mystics intro
cover of six mystics intro

4pm Pete Kennedy ‘readings’ – Inspired by Kabir’s poem ‘Inside This Clay Jug’ (transformed from Rabindranath Tagore’s translation by Robert Bly and recited by Pete) Also, various renditions (with masks) from the original book on Six Mystics- G Batch (G…iorgi Ivanovitch Gurdzhiev. B…euys Joseph. A…ngeli Silesii. T…enzin Gyatso. C…arl Gustav Jung & H…ermann Hesse.), and Inside This Clay Jug and Inside This Great Jug.

Here’s Mercury going into the mystic with one of the most beautiful and touching moments ever recorded. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3RJLOyGVf0

Namaste

ps The featured  image at the top is of Paula MacGregor’s book in the show presently on at Slack Space.

Artist Books & Stories at Slack Space

The exhibition of artist’s book work in the old police station in Colchester has started with a bang of readings last Thursday night in the blizzard outside conditions but still about 30 folk turned up. This event flagged up this National storytelling week and it was well worth it. I was unsure what to expect altho I knew a lot of the bookartists were good I had no idea who was reading. The show was set up very well and the works look great. I shall list some I like below. Then the readings began at 7pm, 5 poets and writers; Steve Ovel (poet), Candyce Lange (writer), Natalie Pfeffer (poet), Pete Kennedy (poet, printer and prancer), Pete Smith (story teller).

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Steve Ovel warmed the mike first, some of his poems seethed and what a lot he had got. I really liked several but I would suggest he finishes his next reading on a high note not down in the dumped relationship darkness.

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Candyce Lange with her American drawl read her short story beautifully. For me there were touches of the way Bukowski reads. Her story was well crafted and held my interest, I really loved it and was shaken when she revealed that she had written it in a couple of hours.

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Natalie Pfeffer read her poems beautifully and once again they were well crafted. I wasn’t taking notes so I cannot recall a word of them but she was impressive.

me dignify smUglihed

Pete Kennedy that’s me, well all I can say my reading from the combined texts in David jury’s letterpress version of my poems went down really well much to my surprise as I felt I was following some experienced practitioners whose word-smithing was excellent. Even my little jig went down well.

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Pete Smith then told a story, ‘The Waterfowler’, this is national story telling week after all. He was lovely. He told the tale of how a man who used to shoot geese for a living from a punt and how he got lost during a shoot to be guided home by a mysterious man in a long black cloak a floppy hat and an upside down pipe. It warmed the cockles of me heart.

Artist’s books show

What a lovely little show! Paula MacGregorpaula sm

and the other volunteers at Slack have mounted this widely varied selection of books really well using the limited resources at hand. I thank them for all the hard work and dedication it must have taken. A special mention must go to Chris Clarke – who is responsible for the ‘mathematical equations and the unique logistics of hanging the work’.  He is also a very personable bloke what has offered me advice on how I can improve my ‘talk and prance’ act! And of course my abject apology for accusing him of setting up the wrong track on Thursday nicht! I had just zoomed into the clouds reading the amalgam poem and I did not recognize the music so I hurled some nearly expletive deleted…s at him, something about not being able to get the staff… which he took graciously in his long stride (he’s about 6 foot 4!) and he put the next track on and THAT was the wrong ‘un, so there i were blithering away and he got it right and am sure I heard him whisper, ‘Shut up you twinkle toed prancer, just DANCE!’, but then again maybe he didn’t? Bless him.

Paula MacGregor has some lovely assemblages of interesting items picked up from second hand shops which she combines cleverly with her knowledge of making books. I liked the use of scrolls.

 pauls mcgregor buk an scroll sm pauls mcgregor scroll in cabnet sm

Sandie Cottee I think I am right in saying Sandee uses a ring binder machine to create some of her books which feature lots of collages. Many of her books ‘tell stories’ using ‘upcycled materials’.

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Karen Dennison Karen is mainly a poet but she like to illustrate hers and others’ work. She is working on multi-layered imagery. I added the layer of the windows reflected in the glass.

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Helen Armstrong Bland has done some brave complex folding using maps and images of people in which her stories emerge in ‘reconstructed narratives’.

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Chris Rushton makes astounding books with dyed papers which she tears and folds in complicated ways sometimes adding words in her exquisite hand. Texture, pattern and shape abound.

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 Wendy Allen has done really tiny but significant books of late using letterpress and stitching. She is another book artist using the ancient art of scrolls but with an intricate swirl of stitches alongside words.

 wen alen table sm wendy allen unscrolled sm

 Ailsa Clarke has only one book in the show but it is very beautiful it’s hand-drawn words and marbled paper with careful folds enhanced by ‘scarlet thread’ looks like a bridge astraddle a river.

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David Howe has sent in one of his unique ‘books’ with pages in a grid made of twigs which echo the window panes. His use of natural materials and the play of textures, pattern and space is always exciting. It is possible to read the words but I see them more as another texture, woven words symbolising signs for language.

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Miranda Campbell has also used things from the woods to hold her beautifully curved stories on paper strips. Her ‘normal’ bookwork is ace and then she makes these wonderful book-sculptures.

miranda campbell swirls sm

Paul Garcia has taken to book-binding like a mathematician takes to Escher’s work and his output has the twists & turns of that Dutch master printer especially in the lovely red ink of his Celtic Knotted illustration. His attention to detail in his leather sculptured book in a box with a concave hole produced by the receding holes growing smaller reminds me of the apple shaped holes in my book ApulGold which is replicated in his rendition into which Garcia has put an infinite amount of skill and dedication into his work.

 paul garcia celtic not sm

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Pete Kennedy (talking about me) has put in a new concertina book showing images which he took of barges in the early 1980s. The quote from Joseph Conrad rings around the red sails. Also showing is the original jar shaped composition for the pages of Inside This Earthen Vessel.

 pete kennedy barges sm

David Jury has brought his wonderful version of Inside This Earthen Vessel which Paula has exhibited alongside the original. This set of prints show David’s requisite skill as a letterpress printer. Also congrats to Paula MacGregor and Pete Smith for the hanging. I love the posters of David’s letterpress set up which show the difficult task he had bringing together all of those differing fonts.

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Sally Chinea has made some beautiful book-sculpture stories with which I complete this short report

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The image of the cells at the back of the police station tells its own story of the history of this remarkable place.

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Newcastle Hatton gallery & the Baltic

 a peter yates (2)

Sound art at the Hatton gallery Newcastle

10.30 hrs, 27.1.15

Attendant ‘Ray’ says, ‘It’s quite interesting…more than you’d think…but there’s other galleries [rooms] thru there…’. His voice (not quiet) adds to the sound as Danny Bright’s sound art show ‘Ghosting the Periphery’ begins. http://www.bogstandardaudio.co.uk/

Man (Ray) on a phone (that’s an attendant called Ray not the great artist bloke who did Rayographs!) …footsteps (on the loop) across wooden floorboards…electronic sound akin to Brian Eno (?)…7-8 minutes in a sound like a didgeridoo… am facing two pillars

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The minimalist atmosphere heightens my senses, I’m ‘looking’ at these pillars and the light from the windows. Beebeep Beebeep Beebeep from the desk area adds to the noises, more from the student shop area in the foyer adds or distracts? Another attendant on the desk mumbles on the phone…ancient domed skylites above

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Foyer voices overpowering. Subtle sounds at 16 minutes…real footsteps and Sneeze from deskman who begins talking with Ray. 18 minutes sounds like bins rattling…Australian girl’s voice from the foyer very loud…quiet creaking floorboards from behind, it’s Ray walking on his rounds.

I expected a light show from what I saw on the post card. In fact a light show would enhance the sounds. The light from the windows etc was doing a light show of its own. The minimalist atmosphere really heightens my senses.

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Like when I awoke today at 04.20 hrs 4.2.15 and looked to the sky, not an elephant’s eye no, only/just the nearly full moon and a ‘star’ which happened to be Jupiter. What more would you want? Earth’s satellite and a planet from our Solar System!

T’other rooms were full of good stuff too. Kurt Schwitter’s Merzbarn wall

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resides there and his sound poem Ursonate inspired ‘Ghosting the Periphery’. http://www.twmuseums.org.uk/hatton-gallery/latest/news/new-sound-installation-to-reflect-on-hatton-039-s-history.html

a peter yates (4)

Also showing at Hatton is a peter Yates exhibition. Yates was a colleague of Richard Hamilton at Newcastle art college: http://www.twmuseums.org.uk/hatton-gallery/whats-on/exhibitions/peter-yates-paintings-1939-1982.html I really like the way the curator of the show mounted these images in a pyramid shape which is so much more exciting than just setting them in a line at eye level. Especially when you see that the images refer to triangles and pyramid forms.

All this Schwitter’s stuff has it seems influenced me too and last night I finished preparing a reading for the new bookart show at Slack Space in Colchester from the version of my poem created by David Jury. I have typed it up as it is on the letterpress page with the subtext in there too and it’s going to be interesting trying to read it. I hope I don’t go off into a sound wail to match Schwitters! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2L6mbZalg8E  (This is a wonderful intro to his work.)

And here’s one of my poems from the DJ pages:

Let’s Go, Ego

Deep inside the jug swirling & Dancing Getting up with Sophia  And living Finding symbols from the ancient of days. Peeping behind the curtain of   appearances and finding  the word hidden within. In Mystic Synchronistic swing each With his Gnostic ring ting ding  C G Jung deciphers your dreams Moment as With a ring a ding a ding SING  Fighting the monster of the It comes, without fear deep  In the dark sea of Sometimes profoundly well Metanoia night.  Plunging into the deep abyss of Nekzia  Rising astraddle a silver steed All past masters dance to greet him. Clinging to nothing Other he reaches balance. Synchronicity is everywhere, Nothing  Times comes from happenchance.  Contacting the eternal source He realises his place With a Badly, altogether sadly RING A (there’s nothing wrong with that) DING TIW NIH

So, if you got the time and the notion be there, the reading is in the 7-8 pm section.

OK so the open event was good, the show is great and I did my ‘reading’ along with 4 others, see my report which I shall post on Sunday.

And then I went into the Baltic which is quite a big noise gallery in Gateshead. I loved the small exhibition of a winner of a prize for last year’s MA students. Mo Coade MA had some images of beautiful colours made in the river by pollution from a glass factory (?) and two screens showing film of the riverside where the colours change with the ebb and flow of the water oh the beauty of pollution!

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I followed my nose up to the library which has grown exponentially in the past 10 years under the guiding hand of Gary Malkin. Here he is looking at my rubber stamp from my new book Inside This Earthen Vessel which prompted him to tell the tale of when he worked in London making rubber stamps. A call came from the set of Octopussy for an urgent need to make a stamp which they needed to use as a fake tattoo on a Bond girl’s back. He had to explain there was no helicopter landing pad near the stampworks, so they sent a motorbike around.

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I mentioned that I do artists books and he asked to see some and he liked what he saw acquiring two for their collection then he took me and showed me the artist’s book archive which is the next part of the library he’d like to develop. Baltic has already got a strong tie with the world of artist’s books, in 2003 they had a big exhibition of them curated by Clive Phillpot who compiled an informed ‘catalogue’ of views & opinions on artist’s books at the time in ‘Outside of the Dog’. There’s a difficulty displaying artist’s books as they, or many of them, don’t necessarily fit into normal shelves. Gary intends to give access to the archive where folks can then open the archival boxes. I look forward to my next visit to Newcastle to view the growing archive.