Category Archives: Glastonbury

My German ‘gHosts’.

All of a sudden my life is beginning to happen. ‘It’s almost as if the stars are tangled in a ghostly spider’s web. The whole network is beginning to glow, to pulse with light, exactly as if it were alive…’ (p. 166, Tom Wolfe in Cool Aid Acid Test).

I spent 65 years ‘trying’ to ‘get there’ and suddenly somehow I arrive! Like Clementine, I’m on tea & croissants. On Friday night last when I turned on the Mercury prize I discovered a man/voice which was as big a revelation to me as hearing Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks on vinyl way back in 1968 on an old Dancette record player exactly like this one.a dancette

Benjamin Clementine was chosen as the top album (?) and what a phenomenon!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a68KJWe_Tfk

Although I am not a phenomenon I did surprise a few folk at the IPA fortnight (http://www.ipapress.i-pa.org/official-news/ipa-autumn-2015-official-news/great-blog-from-pete-kennedy-about-ipa-autumn-2015/  recently but I been a long time gestating. During the time of my ‘working life’ I never ‘made it’, that’s for sure, partly cos I were too busy working for a living. But I never gave up my pursuit of the goal which was to make a mark on the consciousness of the era in which I have lived.

It was a long hard battle. I wrote, I painted, I did graphics (‘comic’, caricature and stuff) and I drew. I drew cos I could. I actually draw because of the battle I had to fight to acquire the ability to draw. It wasn’t easy cos as a 16 year old I was cack-handed (kakˈhandɪd; ‘clumsy, awkward or inept way of doing something; originally meaning left handed’, in other words I couldn’t draw for toffee but now I’m ambidextrous and am proud of that. Although I perform across a number of media it was the ability to draw which I chased hard until I achieved a certain skill which allowed me to draw the likes of Feliks Topolski, Miriam Patchen and more recently Vest & Page.

When Richard Morphet, the then Keeper of the Modern Collection at Tate, said to me in c. 1994, ‘Your work has a very German feel’, I think he was referring to the new breed from Germany like ‘upside down man’ Baselitz, yes there was a similarity but it stemmed from our all having the same influences in art history. Here’s one of my portraits (of Michael McKell actually) showing the similarity in technique. This is one of the illustrations which are reproduced beautifully in my article in JAB38 but here I am showing it in colour, it needs colour as does much of my oeuvre.

Michael McKell lino cut, black & brown

When Brad Freeman gave the go ahead on my article for the Journal of Artists Books (JAB http://www.journalofartistsbooks.org/current/) and I pondered on being asked to feature my own work, mainly in book and print but also in paint, and those who had inspired, directed and influenced it. It soon became apparent that many of them were of German origin. My father and his father’s generation had been embroiled in war with Germany yet I was inspired by so many German artists and writers. Significantly many of my influences had been on the Nazi regime’s list of ‘degenerate art’. The writer, artist and mountain walker Hermann Hesse, significantly, even stood up against the First World War. Anselm Keifer, Dieter Roth and Joseph Beuys all had to cope in their various ways with having been born in Germany and the aftermath stigma of the Third Reich.

a The scale is the result of the dance

my portrait of Anselm Kiefer

Luckily my embroilment has been with the positive creative side of the German spirit. The list is long and the work they did will give insight into my own output, about which the article will further inform you. Beneath German military imperialism lays a deeper current, German humanism as manifested in the work of writers like Hesse, Walser and Klee, each has had a profound effect on my work/output which I shall be linking to the work of the following artists showing how they have had an impact on my thinking:

Expressionists; Shmidt-Rotluf, Franz Marc (Post Card To Prince Jussuf), Kokoshka with his very literature base and liberal brush.

Dada etc; Max Ernst Collage books (La Femme 100 tetes) and his Livres d’artists,

Bauhaus; Klee, Schlemmer

Post war; Anselm Keifer, Dieter Roth and Joseph Beuys

Add to these Munch and Soutine, both of whom have a similar ‘feel’ and indeed the former certainly influenced the Expressionists. https://www.google.co.uk/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=expressionist+painters

*Kokoshka was born in Austria but was associated with German Expressionism and dada.

Wikipedia says that Kokoschka (who became involved with Performance Art) was a master of ‘innovative oil painting techniques anchored in earlier traditions’ which resonates with my lifelong observation  about ‘art’ or rather  ‘the creative process’ passing down a (transcendent) chain or  down a line/ lineage.

I see my portraits as descendent from the work of Rembrandt or El Greco, then Van Gogh and Soutine yet it never lamely mimics any of them. They set the example but I always looked to move it on. I was born into a generation which experimented with and pushed the barriers, sometimes too far, too quickly. I have always looked over my shoulder or down to see my feet standing on the shoulders of giants. I fought hard with my own inadequacies to overcome my incompetence in various media. I did find my way to doing some oil paintings which had considerable skill. All of the time I heard Max Ernst whispering in my ear that ‘painting is dead’, yet I refused to allow that to happen, I love the push of the wet gooey brush across the dry canvas surface and my attempts to make a difference. I was aware that so many great artists had (before I began) created a great legacy of amazing works which I could hardly hope to match, so I would push off in another direction. To find that direction I would look intensively into the history of ‘art’ and into the practice which was going on around me from the time of my first successful paintings and prints until today.

In the early 1970’s I was lucky to see the work of Soutine, de Kooning, Barnet Newman and Dieter Roth all of whom did what I considered to be ground-breaking work which itself was keeping to the lineage of the greats that went before them. I wanted to create new and original work which proved ever so difficult when the art market only really wanted to have the work of established masters or people who were following in their footsteps. They wouldn’t look at my work because I was not in the canon or established or I didn’t have the right track record or had not been vetted by the right colleges. And who can blame them when so many artists were being produced, choosing who to back and add to the canon must have been difficult. But I carried on making my art regardless, for 48 years now. Now it can be seen that I have created a large oeuvre which has a wide variety of differing styles and ways of working, yet another taboo in the ‘art-world’ where they like it if you concentrate on a small area then you can be boxed up and sold.

I was inspired by Ernst. I saw Roth as an oasis on my starving journey. And later I saw Beuys and Keifer doing things I had done as a result of pursuing my own star only they did them more than I ever could with my limited time and resources.

‘Beuys never made a painting on canvas; he explicitly rejected this traditional artistic production.’ P68 JB-A Colourful World, pubr. Schellmann Art, Munich 2011. Here is a difference because I did do paintings and other things onto canvas, I wouldn’t stop because Beuys did not choose this medium, but I would be able to consider many materials for use in my own work having been given permission so to do by Beuys having used them either before I did or without my knowing that he had and my later finding out he had used materials I had chosen, except before me. What Beuys, Ernst and Roth did was encourage my daring when it came to which materials could be used to make my work with. Had I stuck to the limited media which my educators and many British artists before the sixties had stuck to my output would have been severely limited. Even today many of my pieces are frowned upon by people from all walks of life because many have little idea as to the way art and its use or abuse of materials has moved for better or worse in the past 50 years.

On 23.7.14 I got a note from David Jury about our collaboration for an artists book Inside This Clay Vessel http://www.abebooks.co.uk/9780950426716/BATCH-Introduction-Thoughts-Clay-Jug-0950426717/plp :

‘I did a lot of work on Vessel page 2 (V2) today but had to make quite a few changes from yesterday’s efforts. I expect to get a printed result tomorrow. It was Braunschweig University that I visited, but they have no link to Beuys. The permanent exhibition of Beuys I mentioned is kept at a fantastic gallery in Berlin, the Hamburger Bahnhof. They have a couple of fabulous Keifer pieces too, but they are not always on display.’

I had been asking him about his visit to Braunschweig and the artists that he’d told me about with a view to me going there one day(?). In 2015 I produced a book about the making of my picture called Venus Stairs which was inspired by Schlemmer’s Bauhaus Staircase. The more I see of Schlemmer’s oeuvre the more I love it, especially the stuff he did related to performance, especially now that I am so involved with Performance Art.

Two weeks ago I recited my Beuys poem at firstsite Gallery in Colchester. The poem pokes fun at Beuys and his ways but it’s also an homage to him. When I spent 2 weeks in the company of Performance Artist Jurgen Fritz I was aware that I am still a novice in the field of Performance Art but Jurgen said encouraging things about my efforts. I have been eating, sleeping & dreaming up Performance Art pieces since then and my next blog will be about the IPA fortnight.

making the point

Here’s me reciting my Beuys poem. He had gold on his face, I couldn’t afford gold so I used black.

 

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2 weeks doing performance art.

I’m on fire!pink bonfirebonfire at earth spirit centre

I just spent 2 weeks doing performance art with some TOP TOP people. Jurgen Fritz (JuF)  set up IPA 10 years ago. His fellow leaders were Vest & Page (VaP) amazing, they work as a dyad and Jurgen works alone. 20 of us were split into 2 groups for intensive training over 8 days 10am -10pm each day. Am well knackered now. Especially after staying on for the second week:

“Pop Up Performances

International Performance Association (IPA) Bristol comes to the Arnolfini to present a series of innovative ‘pop-up performances’ by 16 international performance artists;

Alba Murcia (Spain)

Nicole Murmann (Switzerland)

Oozing Gloop Ye Olde (UK) Image001

Taz Burns (UK)

Bojana Videkanic (Canada)

Pete Kennedy (UK)

Andrea Greenwood (UK) andrea greenwood

Jolanda Jansen (Netherlands)

Carol Andrea Montealegre Pinzón (Colombia) andrea carol2

Sam Ford (UK) Image053

Robert Hardaker (UK)

Anna Kosarewska (Ukraine) anna

Öykü Aras (Turkey)

Debbie Guinnane (Ireland)

Amruta Mapuskar (India)

Jamie Burr (UK)

Leo Kay (UK) not in popups. These will take place over three days (22-24 Oct 2015) in the foyer, stairwell and landing areas of Arnolfini, as well as outdoor locations of Castle Park, St Nicholas Market and Bristol Harbour.” This was one inspiring bunch who worked on Performance Art (PA) workshops for 10 hours on 8 days together under the guidance of Vest & Page aka Verena Stenke & Andrea Pagnes  and IPA instigator Jurgen Fritz http://www.fritz-performance.de/.

And boy did they do some good stuff in the streets of Bristol. Jurgen took over 1000 photos which when I get access to I shall be putting some onto this post. Right now however am just notifying yez that ‘AM BACK AND AM DIFFRUNT!’

I played my part as the old fart but they didn‘t seem to mind, in fact they kept saying nice tings and that only encouraged me to do more. I learned that I am a player and so as of this moment my work begins.

And it’ll take more than one blog to describe some of the wonder-full things that occurred down at the Earth Spirit Centre near Glastonbury then in Bristol. For me it was a life-shifting insight into possibilities around the edge of which I have tampered since my first PA piece at St Lukes in Exeter 1973. All of my life has been a preparation for my future PA outputs. My books will tell the story of that life from college days to now and of the old works I did in the visual arts and writing of books then. My future books will reflect my movement into PA. I’m going to move my blArt name on to PArt, no longer blArtin but PArting. Good time to change on the last day of my ‘When I’m 64 period’ and on 27th October I reach my OAPs; the Old Age Pensioner who does Occurring Art Performing.

longer deeper version ‘we all want a happy life’

There’s a short version of this at https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/06/28/we-all-want-a-happy-life/ but this one’s delving deeper into my passion, ‘What makes things tick and why are we here?’

We all want a happy life!

patti an hands sm

‘May I be Nothing but the peeling of a lotus papering the distance for you underfoot. Tiny yellow bundles bursting like stars Like smiles And the laughter of the bells’ Said Patti Smith on reading her pome to the Dalai Lama commemorating his 6th july 80th birthday forthcoming. Then surprise surprise out he came at Glastonbury! http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/e84mxj/live/c9wrbp He cut a cake full of fresh fruit. Then walked out front and did a speech, “We all want a happy life Each new day Birthday In order to be more happy day Keep here (points his chest) More Compassion It creates Honest, Truthful Transference And Trust We are social animals Friendship does not come thru money” scarfin patti Then he let Patti kiss his forehead and he blessed the crowd and was led away. blessin crowd

Patti did a great set, especially her ‘Horses’ and Sir Van’s ‘Gloria’. Other highlights for me were Mike Scott & his new Waterboys. He sang a song about Kerouac & Cassady. He is on the track by Jackie Leven that inspired my Clay jug series. Seems we sing from the same songsheet only I don’t sing/can’t sing. I loved the masks they wore. yello mask best sm Also ‘Goat ‘ wore great masks too. I thought my masks were good, but now I must return to the mask-board. squidgerat kin smkbHere’s one I made earlier, The Squidgerat King.

In fact I ain’t got no time to mek masks right now am making books and stuff ready for BALTIC bookfair in a couple o weeks. http://balticmill.com/whats-on/artist-event/artists-book-market

Some Implications of seeing Gyatso at Glasto

I seem to have had ‘some deep realisation, some moment of realisation’ (Miller) but be wary too, cos the Dalai Lama warns that nothing is permanent nor as it seems. (And I must thank Auntis BeBe Cee for the use of images they projected to the world over iplayer. Mere fleeting moments of my joy not just watching Patti Smith and her white haired band perform so ‘strongly’ as the Lama put it but also the shock & glee at seeing the man known to his people as The Ocean of Wisdom appear in person at Glasto (something I have never done, altho I did go to its inspiration, The Bath Festival 1970).

Now let me delve deeper. Overnight I slept on what the implications are of seeing two folk I have much admiration for, Patti Smith & Tensin Gyatso, together on stage, two such apparently diverse lives and styles. Like Rabindranath Tagore reportedly said, ‘You and I are artists Dilip, not yogis by temperament.’ So Patti the artist and Gyatso the yogi meet! I had picked up a book I read (reed) but never finish, DALAI LAMA- THE CHANGE INITIATOR published in Bombay 1993 and written in almost pigeon-English by two (very) Indian men, Dr Bhaskar Vyas & Dr D V Nene. Their turn of phrase is of course from their cultural background, their use of English is not quite ‘correct’ but still better than my use of Indian, cos I don’t use it at all. Nevertheless they have written pretty profound stuff and my almost chance picking up this book to browse again has led me to a personal realisation which I shall inform you of. If you can come with me and ‘get’ what am about to try to reveal then you’ll maybe agree it is special. If you are too busy etc, then so be it. Patti’s first line was ‘May I be Nothing’, immediately I thought about Nothingness, termed in India as ‘Sunyatathe experience of peace, devoid of any content. Also Sunyata is defined as pratit-yasam-utpada dependant arising which the Dalai Lama says is the way everything depends on everything else, nothing is not interconnected. In fact EVERYTHING JUST IS. And in fact every no-thing ‘just is’ too. OK bear with me. Our Indian authors Vyas & Nene in a very short passage in the book mention several renowned spiritual leaders in quick succession, I shall quote directly as it is complex and you will need to read thru several times but for me it makes so much sense: ‘… is best explained in modern [the] modern astrophysical term of ‘Black Hole’. This is where the entire Universe is collapsing into; and all that goes into black hole is reduced into such a density that is hardly exists at all but then the black hole might also be the originator of “new universe” at the other end of it. Sunyata is like a black hole. All phenomena collapse into it and it becomes nothingness; yet, it gives rise to all the phenomena as we see them. Action within or action without ultimately may mean nothingness. But at the same time, it is action that characterises life. We may therefore choose as to what kind of action we may take recourse to, but act we shall have to, so long as we are alive.” Interestingly the Dalai Lama commented on Patti’s form of action whilst he also mentioned her age vis her and group players’ white haired bonnets. He seemed tickled pink by her powerful voice and the strength of her actions (at her age). Then Patti said his voice carries much further than hers. Such mutual respect from so diverse natures. Gyatso is so considerate of others’ feelings yet Patti seems to ride her rude horses slipshod over accepted norms as she swears cusses and spits her way thru her set both are masters of illusion. Neither are what you seem to see. He looks meek yet is strong like a mountain yak. She looks hard yet she’s such a soft internal spirit. I saw her at the Blake society give a speech-reading-recital-sing her own poemsongs and those of Blake. She was so intimate with the audience, so loving and gentle. You must watch it on iplayer.

ps I have decided to send this out to all of youse who are starring at the forthcoming Artists’ Book Market at BALTIC where I have a table under my title Apulhed Originals. I have done ‘Apulhed’ since I created him in 1971, he’s like a weird Rupert/Tin Tin/Snoopy character created to carry my ideas & explorations in graphic form altho nowadays he only makes cameo appearances like in the header above. Apulhed was my alter ego and companion thru the early days of my writing and art-making. I look forward to meeting some of yez at BALTIC.

I hope nobody gets upset at my ‘networking’ to my fellow table holders at BALTIC but I come from the same generation as Pattis Smith and we got the balls to get out there and tell it. But I do not condone spitting on stage, am not going to do that, there’s a limit!

We all want a happy life!

‘May I be Nothing but the peeling of a lotus papering the distance for you underfoot.

Tiny yellow bundles bursting like stars

Like smiles

And the laughter of the bells’

Said Patti Smith on reading her pome to the Dalai Lame commemorating his 6th july 80th birthday forthcoming.

Then surprise surprise out he came at Glastonbury!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/e84mxj/live/c9wrbp

He cut a cake full of fresh fruit. Then walked out front and did a speech,

“We all want a happy life

Each new day

Birthday

In order to be more happy day

Keep here (points his chest)

More Compassion

It creates Honest,

Truthful

Transference

And Trust

We are social animals

Friendship does not come thru money”

scarfin patti

Then he let Patti kiss his forehead and he blessed the crowd and was led away.

The image of Apulhed in the top o ma blArt is drawn around a photo of the Dalai Lama taken during his flight from Mao’s Chinese invaders when he was very young.

blessin crowd

Patti did a great set, especially her ‘Horses’ and Sir Van’s ‘Gloria’.

yello mask best sm

Other highlights for me were Mike Scott & his new Waterboys. He sang a song about Kerouac & Cassady. He is on the track by Jackie Leven that inspired my Clay jug series. Seems we sing from the same songsheet only I don’t sing/can’t sing. I loved the masks they wore.

Also ‘Goat ‘ wore great masks too.

I thought my masks were good, but now I must return to the mask-board.

In fact I ain’t got no time to mek masks right now am making books and stuff ready for BALTIC bookfair in a couple o weeks.