Tag Archives: dance

Trajal Harrell at Barbican.

‘The object of choreography: bodies, time & space.’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xf9LAo_buic

When I saw the first day of Harrell’s ‘Hoochie-Coochie’ season at the Barbican I loved him & his troupe of dancers and his choreography. I wanted very much like to take some photos during the dances but of course Barbican has a blanket ban on anyone doing that! I like the way Harrell crosses the boundaries with his art. So I drew them! You cannot keep a determined man down.

from Caen Amour

Caen Amour

Caen Amour is the longest piece at 1 hour 10 mins and his latest creation, it involves 4 dancers (3 male 1 female; Thibault Lac, Alex Roccoli, Trajal Harrell & Perle Palombe) and the audience. In my sketch the head on left shows how incredibly creative the troupe are with simple props, you have to see them to understand, in this sketch he is wearing a ‘tie’ wrapped round his head and dropping down his face. The central figure is totally covered in long garments and seems to have them pulled together at the mouth by hands. The woman uses a dress to cover her arms and head down to her bum, her nose makes the little black mark to left of the word ‘sheer/sheen’ and her nipples make the two ‘eyes’. Of course my rapid sketches do no service to the beauty of the dancers movements and costumes which are festooned with colour and glittery surfaces.

The dance owes much to a range of influences from Japanese ‘butoh’ to Folies Bergère, from Martha Graham to hoochi coochie dancers. All four main dancers have a trademark Trajal style of movement which comes in from his earlier ‘minimalist’ work and they use gyration and arabesque which crosses genders. “We perform as the all-female shows, though we are mixed genders.” They hold their hands above their heads and make hundreds of moves with their fingers, wrists elbows waists genitals knees feet and bum-see-saw daisys. It’s hard to describe. They are all strong, dedicated, muscular lithe they tease with their ‘c’mon in baby’ looks like strippers would if I ever saw any, not that I have, well not that many Mrs Moneypenny. The music is mesmeric and appropriate; it set the pace and the scene. Three dancers,  do most of the show then Trajal enters from through the pillow-seated audience and stamps his style on it. The audience becomes part of the show/choreography when the follow the invite to go round behind the set and watch the dancers disrobe and re-attire for their next entrance and they move on and off the stage with rapid frequency. If you click on the link you’ll see 3mins of Caen Amour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7h6LURgMoWg

 

In The Mood For Frankie

in the mood for Frankie

Although only 3 male dancers took part in In the Mood For Frankie it turned out as fascinating as Caen Amour. It’s hard to detail the dance, it’s best to go watch it. The dancers moved across the set in twos with the third player sometimes criss-crossing the others. I found it peculiar that when one of them decided to replenish water in a conduit he used a plastic bottle rather than the brass jug which one dancer was dancing with altho’ taking in the ‘minimal’ and ‘realness’ using ‘everyday objects’ rather than things for show. Trajal talks of…”rejection of spectacle, virtuosity and make-believe…, his work ‘uses constructions of gender, artificiality and social roles to critique authenticity…realness operates precisely by blurring the line between perceptions and constructions of the fake and the real.’

There’s a great Guardian article which contains lots of links to more material about some of the wide variety of things which Trajal takes in when he designs a piece, https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2017/aug/01/trajal-harrell-the-dirty-dancer-voguing-his-way-into-history

This article is a good intro to one of Trajal’s influences, Rei Kawakubo’s fashion,

https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2015/sep/20/rei-kawakubo-radical-chic and if you watch the video of her boys walking the walk you’ll see how Trajal mimics the walk in several of his works.

 The return of La Argentina

Carmen Amayareturn of La Argentina

Here I have Trajal watching over La Argentina as she danced.

The clothes he wears in his The return of La Argentina are fluted like her dress altho’ he only dons pieces of fabric, one colour on one leg, another on the other, one colour on one arm another on the other. He does dance with a flamenco dress(?) as he enters. He sits on a piano stool and does a ritual with some spoon and bowls. He scrapes the spoon around the Japanese dish which as its made of clay with a heavy grog sounds a bit like chalk scratching a blackboard but music all the same. As he departs he wears two rectangles of fabric folded into square in which he places his hands and motions toward the crowd which sits & stands watching. Is he waving? Maybe. He’s gesturing some sort of call, some of us wave, he smiles and backs away thru the gap between the audience and he smiles and shoots off up the stairs, the dance is done.

 

See this interview with curator Leila Hasham- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAK_GG4AFrU

 

 

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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.

a new ‘Shrewd Idiot’ book

Here’s a sighting of ma new Shrewd Idiot book during the binding at Sullivan & Son.

1st-sighting-sans-cover-sm

It’s A3 size, that’s with two A4 type-written (By Jill nee Williams in the late 1970s) sheets on each page. There are 13 ‘big’ images at A3 size potted thru the script along with lots oif little doodles and some nice images dropped into the typed pages. There’s lots of alterations and corrections through the document because it was originally meant to be a manuscript to attract a publisher deal. In the 1970s the publisher would take this document and hand it to the typesetter who would follow the instructions which I had put over the type and any which were added by the publisher. This ‘manuscript’ was never intended for public consumption hence the need at one point to go through and change all names when I thought maybe I’d self-publish as a normal book which would be typed into a modern form where all the corrections and changes could be implemented so the viewer never see them. However, I decided not to have it re-typed, that would have made my job a lot easier so it was a must to avoid, NO, better to really really struggle with the original typed pages, scan them in then alter them as required in photoshop then design the layout in Quark (I know, Quark is so out of vogue now and it’d be much easier in Indesign, so I stuck with Quark, you know me.

So, there we have it, the book is now printed and with my binders who have now debossed the actual cover cloth with my little drawing of the Shrewd Idiot pushing his barrow of books, well one BIG tome anyway!

a-cover-embossed-a4-right-side-view-sm

This red image is only half the cover, it sits to the right hand side of the cover making it look like the fool is pushing his barrow off the book.

Everything about the book is not exactly what it seems at first glance. It looks like a story about a young bloke who left his home town and travelled as far away as he could to get an education and how he was initiated into all those things young fellas need to be initiated into. But it’s not about that at all. It’s about awakening, awakening of consciousness and the acquisition of skill to carry the revelations that an awakened consciousness finds in a pretty uninterested world. By the end of the book the idiot has a lot of disappointing outcomes but they are just more revelations about how hard life can be especially when you have a penchant for making life difficult or finding the hard way to do the easy things.

In the end the book is not about that fella back in the early 1970s, it’s about his older version now in his mid-sixties and how he never gave up on his dream of showing folk the quality of what he found in all those initiations and revelations and how it took more than forty years to bring them out in a public format. You’ll see as soon as you open it that it is not what you thought it was as the opened book shows, it has a beautiful feel to it and again that’s an acquired sensibility from over 40 years of continuous effort and striving to achieve.

And the best is yet to come because this is just number one in a whole series of publications which this guy has been preparing over the past. But there’ll be no more quite like this, I’ll find easier ways to do the design and layouts. Watch this space.

apulscreem-2017-black-on-wite-sm
the original face of Apulhed when he saw mankind’s inhumanity all over the planet Earth

The book plus a sister publication of 37 A3 images should be available by the end of February 2017 and hopefully a facsimile publication of the famous concertina ‘book’ called ‘Appleheadman Screams’ which I did in 1972. Nothing has changed, the things he screamed about are still going on…and on…and on. Apulhed shows a perturbed visage but he won’t accept the original face of Apulhed when he saw mankind’s inhumanity all over the planet Earth, he decide that rather than flee this realm he will stayy to spread happiness and compassion, slowly but surely he knows that humankind will return to peace.

I am doing a launch Performance Art piece at the Arnolfini during the BABE book event on Saturday 1st April. Watch out cos that’s not what it seems either, whereas if you can get to it you’ll see what looks like a Clickerti-Clix year old bloke prancing about with words and masks and dad-dancing (not! I do Zumba once a week don’t you know), it’s really an introduction to the Shrewd Idiot book with all its ins and outs. More about that in my next blog.

That’s where it’s at pretty baby!

OK here is the vid of me at BABE in April 2015, it’s taken the overall count of visits to my blArt over the 6,500 mark, is that going viral?

a mask beuyHerr Beuys is watching

https://onedrive.live.com/?cid=07628A1BAB38FC9E&id=7628a1bab38fc9e%21101996&authkey=%21AuwEF6VxemmDRcY&v=3

A special thanks to Dave Doughty who filmed it, Kara who did the cd operating the music at VERY short notice. Luke Walker and Colin Lloyd Tucker for the musics and of course the Killers. And thank you Duncan for your encouragement & support as always. I’ll never dance as well as you do.

It’s scarey cos it shows me flaws and all. It’s important cos I can learn so much from seeing it and from any feedback it may elicit. This seems to have gone viral, at least 20 folk have ‘tuned in and dropped off’ within 12 hours of my posting it. Enjoy.

That’s where it’s at pretty baby! That’s where it’s at, here’s Sam Cooke singing it, Van Morrison dropped a refrain from Sam’s song into one of his concerts! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txQoANzba-I

(27.04.2015) Sometimes reality comes by and hits me in the face, like a cold wet kipper, a slap in the face with a smelly old fish.

The artists I like most are Japanese if you please, they are of young and old times if you please; Hiroshige, Tadanoori Yokoo and the ones I saw at the ‘original print fair’ at the R A yesterday; Yuriko Takimoto (gallery jin), Nana Shiomi ((Rabley Contemporary) and Chitra Ganesh altho she’s Indian I guess (Durham press, Pennsylvania). I loved Katherine Jones (Rabley) collographs too. The trouble with all the rest is they are just repeating ad infinitum what’s gone before. They don’t understand an original unique artist like myself. There’s only (ever been) a few like me, original-unique. Trouble with my output is it’s always been too far out for them to catch it up. That’s where I’ve always been, out, far out. I got left out in the cold running thru the fields crying out in the wildness. But, I DON’T CARE! On the surface it seems I have been small fry, but there’s a big kick inside which has always driven me on. I shall never be a ‘success’ (like me old Burnley mucker James Anderson the cricketer who is breaking all records and getting accolades world-wide, but, and any (material & critical) success I may be donned with in the last quarter of my life in this incarnation will only be a sideshow of little import. I shall remain small fry. It’s too late to start now. I have had to (try to) continue over these past 47 years ‘without portfolio’ but that’s nothing new for a boy from the 1950’s estates. I started off poor and I still remain strapped for resources in a physical sense. I am fabulously rich in otherways which I am sure will out in my series of books started with the new Shrewd Idiot and onto my Squidgerat Scrawlings through to I Telt Yeez I Was A Genie’s Ass. Yesterday I heard that Bert Irwin had died a few weeks ago in his 80’s. Alan Davie’s work was prominently shown at the Original Print fair at the RA and he died recently too. Chris Ofili and Grayson Perry’s prints were there in all there glory but mine are not, that’s a reflection of my lack of ‘success’ but am not crying nor whingeing over tings that didn’t occur, no, I am determined to continue pursuing my visions and making my outputs some of which are unpredictable even to me. And that’s the way I work, I am of the school which believed we should not be able to predict every outcome because chance and opportunity should be in the mix when creating, allowing for surprise and breaking new ground. John Cage said of Rauschenberg in ‘Silence’, “Modern Art has no need for technique. (We are in the glory of not knowing what we are doing.). And I am a Modern Artis, if nought else. Ray Rushton wrote really positive things about my werk for the Essex County Standard in October 1993 like, “Kennedy mostly uses his plethora of open line either as a wiry composition in its own right, or more often, to knit together patches of colour as in the large painting of Topolski.”

I have abandoned all efforts to gain entry into the Ice castles of art(s). I give up…not ‘making art’, no. this blArt is my art or pArt of it. No, I shall continue making my art ‘til the day I die. But am not ‘attempting’ any longer I’m just ‘being’, me. No pretentions, no submissions, no entries, no mores, just me. I am ‘When I’m 64’ now be blowed, I don’t need ‘them’. One of the concerns is that without being in the ‘fold’ or the ‘canon’ you can’t survive. Well, I am still alive and the folded canon is much diminished by my absence, with its lack of my presence. The thing is, the ‘art world’ batters out the same old song. I bin looking hard at art since 1967 when I first visited the Tate. Also in ‘67 there were a massive retrospective of Matisse and today there’s another big Matisse show at tate Modern, I’ve lived thru 2 maybe 3 major Lichtenstein shows, or Warhola or Henry Moore etc shows. Yet so many others never get heard of. Trouble is hundreds maybe thousands go into art training, learning various skills to sometimes very high levels and some, like me, always ‘believe’ that with enough effort & dedication they can ‘make it’. Make it ? make what? Make it into the canon? Become ‘recognised’ as players etc? when really there’s next to no chance. Probably less chance of ‘success’ in the art world than if they (both male or female) tried to become premiership footballers. In other words, NO CHANCE. People like Heinious Hurst, Tarki Vermin are truly freaks of an art-nature. The art world exhibits them like the Victorians shewed people with difference in fairground freak shows and the (still) gullible public flock (like sheeps) to she em.

For me the world of art is so much wider deeper and longer than them lot, or any udder latest flavour or favoured it. It guz bach even past the Venus of Willendorf. Human inventiveness & creativity is really what art is about and that is it’s worth. So, when I once ‘taught’ art I was really teaching alternative ways of looking at and approaching a challenge, ways of creating new solutions, different ways of tinking & looking and finding. Different ways to re-iterate old and new ideas. And this country, GB, has an incredibly rich history of nurturing creative talent acrosst the arts (& sciences look at Dyson, Richard Rogers & Norman Foster) in dance, art, literature, drama and music to name but five alive^.

Here’s a quote from an old blArt of mine which was entitled ‘My claim to a plaice in the Pantheon with my Pantstillon.’ And I was playing with the word place which we sound the same as plaice and I was mucking around with the word Pantheon and belittling it by analogising it with the idea of flying by the seat of my pants but managing to keep them on:

‘The prophet is one who embraces /embodies an “alternative consciousness”…[they] serve to criticize in dismantling the dominant consciousness and energize persons & communities by [promoting moves toward another consciousness]. See Walter Brueggemann- the prophetic imagination. Beuys said, “when I speak I try to guide that power’s impulse into a more fully descriptive language, which is the spiritual perception of growth” The intervention of speech and conversation into his visual works plays a meaningful role in ‘How to explain pics to a dead hare’. The hare has symbolic meaning in many cultures, Germanic tribes saw it as a symbol of fertility. The gold mask Beuys wore during his performance saw gold as a symbol for the power of the sun, wisdom, and purity, and honey as a Germanic symbol for rebirth. For Beuys ‘Honey on my head of course has to do with thought. While humans do not have the ability to produce honey, they do have the ability to think, to produce ideas. Honey is an undoubtedly living substance- human thoughts can also become alive, honey was the product of bees who, for Beuys (following Rudolf Steiner), represented an ideal society of warmth and brotherhood. Gold had its importance within alchemy’. All of this is from wikipedia.

‘Gold had its importance within alchemy’ transformation and transcendence which my whole project ‘Inside this clay pot’ is about. I have quoted from these Beuys’ sources not to gain kudos nor benefit but to help you understand that we (creatives) all ‘tap’ into ‘stuff’. As a teenager I realised artists like Henry Moore, Matisse, Van Gogh and Soutine, writers like James Joyce and Henry Miller were tapping in to what I later called ‘creative consciousness ’ in my book ‘The Shrewd Idiot’ watti rote tween 1976-81 and unpublished until 2015. The possibilities there are enormous. John Winstone Lennon, Bob ‘Dylan’ Zimmerman, Bruce tha Boss, Van D. Man, Baby Bowie, Ken Campbell, all tap into the source.