Category Archives: Live Art

An idjet suckseeds!

At last I did ma Shrewd Idiot & The Three Graces gig in front of an audience (of 22+ cos some came in came out as you’re allured to do in Live Art pieces, altho one or two walked out before I began!) and I finally discovered with a little ‘elp from ma frend (see below) why I do it. At the Arnifini in Brissole in their wonderful Dark Studio. It had been suggested that nobody would have the energy nor drive to wend their way up there at 5pm on an afternoon but beautifully every available seat was filled and the witnesses seemed quite attentive, nay near mesmerised.

at BABE 2017 crowd GREAT sm

Much to my delight, as I had practised the ting and planned it over so many weeks without knowing if I’d be talking to myself alone on the day. I wantu thank my friend Dave who was first to say how much work it needed just six days before the event. Then my friends Max, Linda, Christine & Tom who said it really needed some big changes just five days before the event. I applied their advices. Christine did a lovely print & fold job on some words for me to hand out as folk arrived from which I read my ‘intro’ before I began the real ting.

Three old college mates came and it was wonderful to see them. Each of them features in ma big new deluxe book The Shrewd Idiot based on my thoughts & activities at St Luke’s College Exeter between 1969-73. My mate Gus was joined by his daughter Hannah who also does Performance Art and wasn’t even born in the time the books are about!

Tanya came to see what my fuss was all about. I’d like to thank them all for coming as well as all the other folks who came along. The gathered presence really inspired me to rise out of my fears and let the whole ting ting along well and it seems they all enjoyed it, especially the ones I mentioned above.

So what happened?

a PAPete shows Ahed Sees sm

First I shewed ma 3 new books (quickly as I was told this gig should last just 15 minutes).

a PK reeds da poem

Then I read from Christine’s handout.

a PAPete68 mask BEST sm

Then I got into character for the first few movements. The mask was taken from a painting I did back in 1968 which was exhibited in Burnley Artists Annual summer show that year. It was a face which represented the 17-18 year old me-myself-I, which is what the books appear to be about. It is also the first page of the Shrewd Idiot book printed on Zander’s Translucent paper so you see the title page beyond it as a sort of palimpsest. There’s 10 images on Zander’s Translucent in the deluxe A3 version each of which brings a palimpsest quality. For me it is a metaphor which signifies that life is not just what we can see and touch, there’s lots of other ‘stuff’ behind the veil. The painted face becomes another form of veil too, my mask. I always work on hunches in most all of my creative endeavours. I had a hunch these masks would be powerful, and they were, or should I say, ARE. I hope to have many opportunities to use them again and in fact I hope to make some 3D wraparound masks for future appearances as Apulhed & The Shrewd Idjit.

I did a couple of crazy dances meant to show what a ‘wild one’ I was when I left ma home toon to find ma way in th’world. The ting got serious when I told them I’d found a new girlfriend (Rose) but (rather carelessly) lost her at the bus stop. Van D. Man brought me a Beautiful Vision of her. After I lost her Lady Gaga had me howling at the moon in my doldrums.

apul 73 prays BRILL sm

Suddenly, out of No-where, came a Stranger with an apple-shaped head and he seemed to want to help me. But he was a new arrival on this plane and he was somewhat perplexed by the sad things mankind does to humankind. He almost set off back to whence he came without giving me (and you) the benefit of his shrewd wisdom. When I did my first ever Performance Art gig using his visage on masks in Exeter in 1973 he seemed to see a shaft o’light thru the haze and so he stays but he said, ‘Man must mend his ways, starting with YOU!’

Then Van sang Warm Love bringing back memories of the time we had together, a memory I chased and tried to cling on to. But I returned to my old wild ways, by now I was making a Cry For Love, aided by Iggy & Bowie’s song and ma new mask.

a PAPete coxie begs sm

I’d almost given up hope when this beautiful woman (Camellia) arrived and gave me a present I didn’t really deserve which Iggy Pop told the story of.

Camellia also brought her highly intelligent rational skills with her which I celebrate with The Waterboy’s song Whole of the Moon. Sadly I couldn’t keep hold of Camellia at the time and I was on the road again alone and missing her.

apulama implores sm

Once again after the moon enter Apulhed-man.

a PAPete in hat glances sm

This time lifting me up onto a higher plane where I was again joined by Van. He sings about being a Dweller on the Threshold, I tip toe across the burning ground and kneel down by the water where the lovely song about spirit leads me away, to delve into the mystic. “I looked at the swim and I dived right in!”1 apulama astoundin electric DARKA sm

To find the truth you got to look inside.

apulama & me contemplates sm

Meditation helps you to do that.

a apulswalo outlineI actually had picked up the wrong mask for my final fling so my Apul-Swallow mask insisted he be photographed outside of the Arnolfini as a goodbye gesture.

a beautiful winners + stars in ma eyes sm

And all my friends came too…

The feedback has been good too. One friend said he remembered that I always liked to dance, another said she thought I danced beautifully which came as a pleasant surprise. My old mate from Enfield said ma gig was ‘…very moving and affecting…’

This was also what ‘James the tech’ in the Dark Studio said, ‘I was strangely moved by it.’ I am so pleased that it came over that way.

The Enfield Man (EMan) later wrote me saying, “…we had a chat afterwards about your performance and books and we reckoned that, based on what we saw, your books together with the performance was the best thing that we saw at the event. What you did, in my opinion, was to say, “look artists’ books are really different“…they are not just books with the limited and specialist vernacular that goes with the production of a “book” for a literary audience …artists’ books are a completely separate art form. Your performance really adds to your books as works of art. ” Also- “…The Shrewd Idiot book has a wonderful feel and special value attached to it just from a “laying on of hands” point of view…”

That’s exactly what I hoped I would achieve in my works, altho’ it has not been easypeasy. Sometimes I have wondered whether I been forever Barking up the wrong trees, ‘Am a long way from home (my comfort zone). How did I get here?’ It is so gratifying that am getting such lovely reinforcing comments.

ps I am working on a smaller version A4-ish) of The Shrewd Idiot which should have much of the ‘feel & look’ of the bigger (A3-ish) deluxe version but will be a tiny proportion of its cost.

Talking about ‘the feel & special value’ of real books my downunder friend Fiona Dempster did a blog – https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/15b43ee869fd87b2 on th’smell of the buk.

This coincided with my friend (who I met at BABE four years ago!) Susan at Bound’s tweet: https://twitter.com/boundbyhand/status/850335549034561537

An Incredible Coincidence

Ma next blArt will be about the poet Pessoa and my being caught between Bookartbookshop & The Poetry School on Thursday 6th April.

Wonderful breaking news about the book.

PK 68-73 cover front sm

Wonderful breaking news- I picked up the first copy of my second book in my series about my college days from my binders Sullivan & Son, Colchester and it looks beautiful. I’ll only have one display copy for BABE but it’s a great sidekick to my Shrewd Idiot book. It’s got 37 images on Zanders translucent paper and is bound in an unusual way inspired by a little book that Rauschenberg made about 1954.

After my last blArt about nearly being marmalised by my big book I received several emails from folks out there showing how my stupidity generated lots of mirth, and sympathy, including one from my blogger friend Fiona in Australia.

‘Pete, Not your brightest moment right?  Nonetheless I totally understand as I often think my way through things like that – only to realise I have forgotten one important element of the process that could cause my downfall!

The book is looking brilliant – when I first read your email I thought you had made some super stupid mistake with the book for which you were kicking yourself; but in a way I was pleased it was ‘only’ a glancing physical blow… Glad the nose is the only damage done. Fiona.’

Fiona, I love your bit about I maybe ‘had made some super stupid mistake with the book’. Super Stupid is one of my stop off points.

Much of what I ‘appear’ to do is not what it appears to be. So, the Shrewd Idiot (SI) appears to be a story about a budding artistfella but it’s not, it’s about the advent, and continuance thru a lifelong period, of ‘creative consciousness’. Which led to my interest in Dalai Lama & Buddhist stuff including Zen, all of which I have not explored sufficiently yet. But I tink that skirtin alongside it has changed my life, given me more grace and satisfaction that I am on the reight track. (In Burnley where am frum we say reight rather than right!) [But we don’t say reight for write, right].

Finally, if you’re still awake, I am doing a 15 min live art ‘performance’ of the book at Sarah’s BABE and have learned to edit songs on audacity which I’ll use as backing for my piece and as you say…’as I often think my way through things like that – only to realise…’ there’s a beautiful line in a Iggy Pop (Up man) song Shades, “that may be something my mind had not followed through” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehABjBdTq-Y ) and that so applies to me so many ways! As far as the book’s concerned, after 40 years I think I thought of everything. It’s beautiful cover, the texture of the flysheets, and even the colour of the page marker ribbon. It is my masterwork.

About my gig at Arnolfini during BABE on April 1st.

As always I tend to do things which are considered impossible or inconsequential by ordinary folks and agreeing to do a 15 minute ‘Live Art’ enactment of the 4 years I spent at college in Exeter tween 1969-73 may seem to those who don’t know me as rather ambitious. Well representing 4 years in 15 minutes is not as daunting for me as galvanising a crowd seems to be. Those of you who know me well know too well how shy & retarded I can be so advertising myself is not an easy task but it just got harder. During last week I was taking a look at the Arnolfini website and its publicity about what’s going on around the BABE days specifically what’s on at that weekend-

“BABE 2017 includes a mini exhibition, performances, interventions, book making workshops and more! See the series of events happening throughout the weekend.”

which took me to:http://www.arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/series/babe-2017

So I contact the gallery and say that I find there’s no mention at all there of my gig and that I am getting worried as it’s a great deal of travel and organisation that I am putting into it,

“I am putting many hours into the preparation of the music, movement, masks etc and I find it quite upsetting that my Live Art gig is not mentioned at all.

Please can you flag it up, otherwise… I’ll just be doing it just for a couple of friends.”

attached two of the 6 masks I have prepared, plus a pretty detailed outline of the piece and that will also show that, although it is only 15 minutes duration, I am putting a great deal of effort into getting it well polished.

My concern elicited a reply which could be taken as rather disheartening although I am sure it was meant with the best will in the world, I am not disheartened, I replied,

“I understand your feeling that ‘it might just not be worth it this time?’ but I am getting a lot out of preparing it which I am sure will come in handy later, for more gigs to do with the books.

I was thrilled when Sarah gave me the spot…”

I cannot contemplate backing off now, anyway, many of my costs have already accrued.

I am very committed to this gig and I want it to enhance the weekend, to add another dimension, otherwise I would not have embarked on it. I shall keep in mind the possibility that, as the Dark Studio is such a lovely venue, there will be a few come to see me do it. They can stand up too if they like and one of the things about Performance Art (PA) is folk can come and go as they please, it’s not like a performance where people sit and watch, even endure, to the end, no PA is Live Art and the ‘audience’ can be as much part of it as the PA practitioner.

I know 2 people already who will be attending, another one and ‘three’s a crowd’!

As always, the show must go on. I learned that at the Arnolfini in October 2015 when I did a PA piece outside in the rain.

a pete in rain at arnolfini crouch sm

I thought nobody was interested but I continued doing ma gig and only afterwards found out lots of people were watching and enjoying it. OOZin Gloop liked it as did Paul Hurley’s friend. Nicole Murman a Swiss participant took the image above and about 80 more photos for which I am really grateful. PA is notoriously undocumented as a lot of it happens spontaneously. It’s very ‘in the moment’ and the best stuff often occurs when things appear to be going wrong, that’s when Vest & Page say, ‘It has begun’ or, ‘Now we begin’. Vest & Page happened to see me jumping in puddles with some childers shortly after I had finished the rain dance and Andrea said he thought I made a good clown, Verena said she were just getting her camera ready when the kids stopped bouncing and I bowed out.

However, my PA at BABE 2017 is well planned and I shall be rehearsing the moves over the next 10 days, this is my preferred way to work. Below is a very apt quote from Walliams & Lucas of Little Britain rehearsing: a lit brit quote

Mine won’t (‘flow slickly’) I’m sure! And neither will my costume changes, will they?

If you can spare the time and the effort to make your way up to the 2nd floor let’s prove that the Dark Studio can attract people* in for the actions of The Shrewd Idiot and his mates, The Three Graces plus the ‘spirit master’, Appleheadman. Nay, some folk may decide to come on April 1st just to see me make a fool of myself! A Wise Fool hopefully. A bit of a Clown, a Serious Jester etcetera etcetera etcetera…

Don’t be a Square, I’ll see You there. Get it or you’ll Regret it!

(*people who have, already, either been showing their wares all day or folks who came to buy their books)

An announcement on World Book Day

An announcement on World Book Day (not for children tho’!)

10-si-buks-2317
A Pile Of 10 deluxe Shrewd Idiots 2nd March 2017

YES THE SHREWD IDIOT’ (deluxe limited edition of 10) IS NOW READY FOR PURCHASE!

As part of the ‘PK College Days Trilogy*

BUT BE QUICK COS THERE’S ONLY 8 LEFT!

b

Pete Kennedy will be doing a fifteen minute Live Art Piece (LAP) of his

‘Apulhed & The Three Graces’^

to introduce the book’s content at Bristol’s Arnolfini gallery in the Dark Studio

at 5pm on April 1st 2017.

And that’s no joke.

As they used to say way back when, “Be there or be square”.

PK will ‘perform’ his books’ content with the help of a series of masks, costume changes, specially edited music, mime (?), dance (??) and poetry (???). Please bring your cameras and flash away then, if possible, send PK some of your images for his blArty blog! “I hate it when you go to a gig and they’ve banned the use of photography. Some of the best work in my books was camera assisted.”

*The ‘P.K. – COLLEGE DAYS TRILOGY’ is comprised of two circa A3 books;

1-si
Front cover of The Shrewd Idiot
  1. ‘The Shrewd Idiot’ [Out Now- the story of Northern Lad recounting how Three Graces and his ‘creation’ Appleheadman helped him to rise out of the morass (short for His Moron’s Ass?), &
  2. ‘Pete Kennedy The First Five Years’ [To be released soon- 37 artworks 69-73 printed on translucent paper to complement The Shrewd Idiot], both in a deluxe edition of ten.

& 3. ‘Appleheadman Sees’ – which is circa A5, unlimited edition. Out Now

apulscreem-2017-bw-repeatd-hd-sm
Back cover of Appleheadman Sees.

The three books can be bought separately or as a trilogy. Buy one or both of the deluxe editions and get a free copy of Apul-One’.

^ ‘Three Graces’ are three women who partnered our Northern Lad at some time during 1969-73. Each of them came to him at crucial times in his life and each brought new and wonderful loving experiences.