Tag Archives: joseph beuys

leaf-books + verdun anniversary!

See below for some images of my beautiful hand made books that I call my ‘Leaf-Books’. In fact they are both one-off/unique copies from the Clay Jug project. In each of them are six original etchings that I did plus one woodcut taken from a Tibetan woodblock. The etchings were made to illustrate six ‘poems’ I wrote about six men who contributed a lot to building our humanity.

So. I wrote, in preparation for a work I hope to develop thru 2016:

“07.21 hrs 21st February 2016 One hundred years and six minutes ago the German bombardment for the battle of Verdun Erich Georg Anton von Falkenhayn’s concept that attrition would bleed the French dry meant he used, ‘total, ruthless methods to achieve a limited aim,’ losing many Germans in the process of annihilating the French who tried to defend it. The scale of German losses brought Falkenhayn much criticism.  Indeed the failure to capture Verdun ultimately resulted in Falkenhayn’s removal as Chief of Staff.

http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/verdun_falkenhayn.htm

I am saying this not because I glory in war stories, on the contrary I abhor them. I have spent much of my life advocating an end to all wars and my series of books based around my Clay Jug theme are testimony, not so much mine as that of six equally anti-war men, about my point. The six men I chose all made their peace with man’s inability to stem wars. Each of them in some way made a significant contribution to ideas which promote peace and harmony. Even Joseph Beuys who was in the Luftwaffe spent much of his post war days trying to bring about a unification of what he called Eurasia. Like the Dadaists after WW1 his strange antics were anti-art-establishment actions which were designed to upset the status quo and allow for a more universal acceptance that the old ways of using bronze and marble could be ousted and any material can be used in ‘sculpture’, including the artist’s body.” Ironically the ‘art world’ adopted his work, sucked it in to the ‘establishment’, like they do with all the rebels they cannot tame- see sir mick jagggger abart that- they hike the prices up and now you couldn’t afford to buy one of Beuys half eaten marmalade tarts unless you were a Trump from Trumpingtown.

And that’s where I come in. In my Performance Art (PA) my body and its movement become the artwork, the living sculpture.

I did a big blog about my rightful place in the pantheon which also mentions Beuys and a ‘talk’ I did at the Minories, Colchester in 2013 which, for those interested in my Performance Art, you may like to visit, here tis:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/my-claim-to-a-plaice-in-the-pantheon-with-my-pantstillon-my-2-recent-talks-and-an-oxford-visit/

Later this year I am planning on doing a piece of Performance Art about the Somme but that’s a big one and it’ll have to be designed for a specific venue, so if you have one where you’d like to see it let me know, especially if you have a venue that could be used

. I think it’s very relevant to remind folk about the futility of war. All wars have to come to an end sometime and there’s rarely any ‘winners’. The debacles in the Middle East in the past 20 years show that is still true.

Right now am working twards a small 15 minute piece (part 2) of Performance Art for the Society of Bookbinder’s bookart day.

Pina Bausch’s dance company came to Sadler’s Wells and I saw them on February 14th. I was there because of the Wim Wender’s documentary which galvanised my interest in their work and I was not disappointed. I was watching and I decided to add some moves into my planned PA piece for March 5th at Kentish Town. I have been working up this idea of telling the history of the book since clay tablets in Ur and I’ve managed to design a sequence of moves in which I mime the different processes with some small dance moves joining up the sketches.

Before I do my piece I shall be showing several of my own books in part 1. Here’s some images from them, as you can see my work is unorthodox

unique hand made, second in series
unique hand made, second in series

Front cover to Leaf Book Two

semi see thru Japanese paper with Tibetan woodblock print behind
semi see thru Japanese paper with Tibetan woodblock print behind

Intro to Leaf Book Two. You lift the tabs to see the woodblock print

My Gurdzhiev poem over my etching of G.
My Gurdzhiev poem over my etching of G.

Gurdzhiev page in Leaf Book Two

unique book, hand made
unique book, hand made

Leaf Book One

Leaf Book 1 has six etchings in a pouch, secured by leather straps
Leaf Book 1 has six etchings in a pouch, secured by leather straps

The pouch keeps the six etchings neatly together in Leaf Book One

intro leaf book 1 sm

Intro to Leaf Book One

Silesi in book sm

Silesi page in Leaf Book One

 

Peter D. Cowboy 

glasses & gun close up

Peter D. Cowboy  alias Rhody O’Dork odork sheriffsays he’ll be coming to BALTIC with me and, as you already know, when he says that there’s nought I can dae aboot it (that’s me Geordie heritage talking noo).

Am away frae ma compooter a few days after I post this, am on the trail as O’Dork puts it.

a beuys influence

Above is a bit from a buk on Keifer I bought last time I wer in BALTIC. (O’Dork bought a yeller plastic doll which he’s bringing to the show).I am an inbetweena. I do these performance ting and I create images, artefacs and buks. So I look forward to ma latest show, ‘How to explain Veus on the stairs to a live audience at the Baltic’ and keep an eye on my stall at the same time! Well I got this split personality and so we should be Alright Now by the Free.

Alright am ready, nearly.

madgrad earings an fleurs sm

Ps here’s ma girl getting her MA at Courtauld & St Clements this week. Proud Pete.

expecting on stairs at tate brit smtate

And. I saw this lady on the stairs at TATE same day, I feel a painting coming on, oh no, I did not aks her permission.

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.

last blArt to BABE

C G Jung spent most of his life investigating the nature of humankind in its dreams and distant past. He was an advocate of the I Ching and a Gnostic thinker. In some ways Jung was an exile from his contemporaries and his own daimon. ‘Since my contemporaries understandably could not perceive my vision, they only saw a Fool rushing ahead. A creative person has little power over his own life. He is not free. He is captive and driven by his daimon.’ (Memories, Dreams & Reflections, p356)

Pete Kennedy is just an Idjet in a Jug who looks a bit like old Jung did but hasn’t got his pedigree!

mystic pete

So the fool called Kennegly set himself up to do a short ‘performance’ at BABE cos he thought it were a long time before it appened. BUT. It’s appening this weekend coming and he’s reading some poems what he wrote about the artist from Cleves called Beuys who was himself a bit of a Fool rushing ahead into ‘talks’ with his blackboard under his arm.

blakbord bee

So Kennegly is doing Beuy’s life-history in a poem or two or tree. The blog below gives a little bit o backcloth, or should I say a broad canvas.

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/09/25/inside-this-earthen-vessel-poem-6-shaman-beuys/

Hope to see you there.

a flyer back

psThere will be beautiful evocative music composed by Luke E Walker https://soundcloud.com/luke-e-walker/clay-jug-back-story behind the readings which adds atmosphere and an element of chance. Keifer said, ‘To be an artist you need to play & Dance’ or words to that effect. Chris Wilder (?) an assistant in the making of The Bigger Picture’ animation which came secondish in the Oscars said, ‘You go to these places to make dreams come true…’ That’s why am doing ma ting at BABE and hopefully later this year at The Baltic. I’ll bee dancing and prancing like Jagger did (altho am not as ancient as he is! tho nearly yam) with a wing and a prayer on the ledge with Mr G (urdzhiev)

getting ready for BABE.

So, getting ready for BABE.

You have a new ‘book’ Inside This Great Jug out in time for BABE, why?

pete's earthen vessel

Well, I wanted to complete the cycle of artist’s books which emanated from my love of that poem by Kabir Inside This Clay Jug. It’s the third version of the poem(s) and the last changes which I shall ‘publish’ as an artist’s book in an edition of 25. Although the Beuys’ poem I shall be doing at BABE has already been changed several times since I completed Inside This Great Jug. I have a version which I intend to use at BABE now and that is it! No more alterations or ‘improvements’! And I am shewing that to nobody before BABE, except in spoken form, in practice.

 

So it follows on from and develops the poems in your second book in the series, Inside This Earthen Vessel. What then is Inside This Earthen Vessel (ITEV) about Pete?

 itev cover

It’s about spiritual harmony, peace on Earth, goodwill, humankind(ness). It’s about some (6) humans  who sought to find harmony & answers then share their ideas (whose names make up the title of an earlier book in the series G BATCH)

g bat cova

G Gurdjeff

Beuys

Angeli Silesi

Tenzin Gyatso

Carl Gustav Jung

Hermann Hesse

(As it happens only one of them, Tenzin Gyatso the Dalai Lama, is still living in his human body, the others still live on in the ideas they left for us).

ITEV is a search for peace and harmonious existence. It shows six men who pursued practices which encapsulated a vision of what life can mean and how to prepare for leaving the mix of sorrows and joys of this mortal coil…foil…toil…. Coiling, swirling, twisting, trickstering, mysterying, and most of all it’s about dancing to the sound of the Cosmos, to the sound of one hand.

I have made the words in the new version, Inside This Great Jug, are a bit easier for the casual onlooker to understand which will be important if I am going to read any of them in the Arnolfini to people who may never have met me nor seen my work before. The images are also a bit brighter in Inside This Great Jug as I’ve made the portraits more colourful. Whereas ITEV is a more complex package with the layouts of its poems being in the shape of a pot and the pages remain unbound but kept in a little folder. Inside This Great Jug is a concertina folded book with a cover. And it’s a dinky tiny thing which people seem to like and they are calling it ‘pocket size’.

I notice there’s one poem which is very different from the other six?

Yes well that’s from the collaboration I did with David Jury who took the words from ITEV and reset them in his letterpress version. We edited the poems and even added a subtext. That odd one out is from that version of ITEV. It’s handy really because I chose to have it in this new book cos am doing a reading of it in the ‘talk’ at 4pm on Sunday 12th April. Most of that ‘talk’ will feature the life and work of Joseph Beuys because he is the most artist-like of the six men in the poems and of course it’s being done in an art gallery. I won’t be ‘talking’ all the time I hope to be able to answer any questions that folk bring up although it’s only scheduled for 20 minutes. Then I guess they’ll be rushing back to pack their tables if they are fellow stall-holders. Visitors should have an hour to make final purchases and walk, float or fly out of the gallery, depending how they feel after watching my gig! They may even dance all the way home.

My old mate Duncan recently sent his summary of my Clay Jug Project. I chose to emphasise the words which are emboldened:

Pete,

I’ve been thinking about where you have arrived at with your Clay Jug project ……

You are now presenting and embracing a set of representations of communications of knowledge from six chosen mystics.

In the beginning was the word and yours is represented by the Jackie Leven chant of Kabir’s Inside This Clay Jug , a memory of the oral tradition of conveying knowledge.

Your presentation contains the vocal tradition through poems, complemented by spiritual dance and music in order to enhance the meditative experience; this is a time before the word was conveyed by writing.

Your clay jug containing scrolls represents the first forms of conveying words.

Your self-made books are a next step in the man’s way of representing knowledge, illustrated by drawing and symbols.

Then, you move to type-set books and try and preserve the original energy of the dancing communications, through layout and emphasis.

Even though you can view this as a historic progression of representing the written word, you are trying to maintain and enhance the meaning and rhythm of the original thoughts and vocal communication of the mystics in all its forms together.

You can view your project as a complete set, with no linear sequence, of the different forms of conveying the knowledge of the mystics, they are presented all together and intertwined, so giving more emphasis to the wisdom of the words and the form does not detract too much from the words.

Your presentation and artefacts created, deliver a dancing pageant of art representing the communication of the knowledge of the mystics through the changing forms of communication.

Duncan Walker (14.2.15)

Duncan has been a friend of mine since we met while playing football for the school team in 1961. He has kept a close eye on the way my art and ideas has developed since we were at school. Another old friend who I met in 1969, Ian Woolard, tried to put a comment on this blog last week. He filled in the form on the blog and pressed send, but it never came through. I wonder if that happens often? I mean, there was about a 20% return in ‘views’ from the folk I notified last week, which is great, but never do I get any comments, which should be coming in if only by law of averages. IF you have commented on my blogs and never got an acknowledgement from me then that would be cos it never showed up in my domain. So, you should make comments in emails maybe, then if you wish me to add them to the blog just say so and if I can bear the view expressed I shall add it in. Ta.

The Dalai Lama walked passed by me several years ago

I am not a Buddhist per se Percy (if that is your name?). I am interested in the ideas of Buddhism but I am also interested in football and rock & roller which does not make me a footballer nor a Rolling Stone. The Dalai Lama is the living one amongst my ‘Six Mystics’, men of ideas who moved human cultures forward (to what I am unsure but to a better understanding of why we are here and to whence we are heading would help), which feature inside my Clay Jug Project. I say project, it’s fashionable to call a plan or a dream a ‘project’ because although it began as a topic in my MA studies it was in fact ongoing before that and it won’t leave me alone. Each of my six mystics has led me on in some way down the path of knowledge and each has signposted some area of ‘ideas’ which I have explored. So Joseph Beuys inspires my ‘performances’, not only because when I don a trilby there’s a slight resemblance but because he had so much gall and you gotta have loads of galls if you’re ‘performing’ art. Also he was a reject. His college did not like his ideas so he created his own college and basically had a ‘sit-in’ at the old Institution and his creation became more widely known than the Institution and maybe more influential on folk like Anselm Kiefer and others. Beuys may appear an odd one out in my 6 mystics but he was deeply into the spirit of ancient Celtic culture and each of the ‘mystics’ is into the spiritual in some way. I have always had this feeling that there is more to life than the everyday necessities. I looked up to the sky at 5am today and it was cloudless and thousands of stars were glittering in the darkness. There’s wonder out there and when you listen to Jung you see there’s wonder inside you too. Most of my mystics say that that wonder is divine. Or like Beuys they are driven by it. Hesse looked to the East for inspiration then he built the ideas from Eastern cultures into his books alongside his knowledge of western monasticism which itself was from the East- Egypt, India etc.

 

In a way I am talking about grace and empathy, skills I hope I am learning as I grow old-er. My one big example is the Dalai Lama who passed by me several years ago and O I was lucky to get a wonderful snap of him.

dalama hands

I intend to do some more artworks based around him in the not too distant. I did one awhile back and donated it to the Tibet Society and they were so unimpressed by it saying, ‘In Tibet we have a tradition of making images which goes back hundreds of years. We don’t do Impressionist works.’ So there. Get back in yer garret Peter. Here it is. I was quite proud of it.

 tibet lanscape

 

I copied a photo of some mountains in Tibet with fields running toward them. The stripes running vertically at the back of the mountains are…more higher mountains, and that for me is a portrait of life. I climbed to the top of my mountain, passed my B/Ed degree, and found there was more to do. Now I got an MA too, and a few other things and I have stopped looking for mountains to climb. Not that I am tired, cos I am, but I have decided to enjoy the view more. Am looking back on my life and seeing what I achieved, sharing it with youse, and of course I shall continue to output. But let me show you this da lama an mts smwhere I took one of the mountains and placed an image of the Dalai Lama back in his own country. With a Tibetan wheel of life too. He’s pointing out that behind that mountain is a bigger one and behind that, infinity.

I saw him on tv one night and I took out my paints and I created this

Da Lama in color sketch sm

Which am using in my new mask for BABE in April. Am creating a new book with six re-worked masks in and six re-worked poems from G Batch & Inside This Earthen Vessel. One of the most impressive performances I have seen in all my days was the Tashi Lunpo monks doing Tibetan dance and music with these astounding costumes on. I won’t be wearing any costumes like theirs. In fact the skills employed in making them go back hundreds of years.

a tashi dancers

I am reading a wonderful little book by the Dalai Lama called ‘The Way To Freedom’ in which he explains a lot of the Tibetan Buddhist idea rather well. And I love the image on the cover where he’s got his hands clasped.

I went there on the day he opened the Peace Garden in the Imperial War Museum and I did a drawing for the Tibetans of him and the circle in that garden but they turned it down when I offered it to them. Once again it didn’t fit their ideas. No offence taken.

dalama peace gdn small

He’s in his tall yellow hat holding a Tibetan book called a pothi and overlooking the Peace Garden. And I got a yellow hat like what he wears, but I just look stupid in it, innit? yello hat meOm Man

I have a BIG blart about a local much maligned gallery (of Colchester fame) forming in the pipeline but I need to wait for some replies to enquiries I am making so altho impulse wants me to do it this week the wise, calm strong steady side of me says WAIT. I come not to malign this gallery but to praise it. There’s been enough malignations hitting it already. It needs support and help to develop a better public profile and I’d like to help even more than my occasional blogs about it in the past may have done. Watch this blArt.

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

chris rushton sm

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.

slac 020

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

ves 6 sm

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.

‘Inside This Earthen Vessel’ Poem 6 Shaman Beuys

The LABF at Whitechaple begins this evening. http://www.londonartbookfair.org/

For those of you who have been following my recent blArts I just had a realisation. In the page about the Dalai Lama David Jury in the subtext picked up on the parallel between my being an expat from Burnley and the DL having been exiled from Tibet a notion which reverberates thru that print. I now see most all of the six men in my poems had to run from something. We are all are just passing through.

 

  • Gurdzhiev was a Russian Orthodox Christian native of Kars which was caught up in a fight between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. His father, a peaceful story-teller, was murdered by Turks during the Armenian massacre which some call a genocide.
  • Hermann Hesse was exiled from his native Germany for standing up against the Prussian military swing to arms which manifested in world war 0ne. Hesse was already famous and the authorities did not like his stance, he felt obliged to shift over to the mountains of Italy.
  • Tenzin Gyatso is still exiled from Tibet after fleeing from Maoist force in 1959.
  • Scheffler was a monk from Silesia who switched from Catholicism to Protestantism and back to avoid the attentions of the Inquisition after he wrote his inspired poem called The Cherubinic Wanderer.
  • C G Jung spent most of his life investigating the nature of humankind in its dreams and distant past. He was an advocate of the i ching and a Gnostic.In some ways Jung was an exile from his contemporaries and his own daimon. ‘Since my contemporaries understandably could not perceive my vision, they only saw a fool rushing ahead. A creative person has little power over his own life. He is not free. He is captive and driven by his daimon.’ (Memories, Dreams & Reflections, p356) Jung + pipe
  • Pete Kennedy is just an Idjet in a Jug hiding from the ladies in Burnley what want to talk to him about all sorts of promises he made in his youth and did not no way never keep and who looks a bit like old Jung but hasn’t got his pedigree!). a odorkapul sans dork
  • Joseph Beuys, a Celtic son of Cleves, was running from his Luftwaffe past.

 

Poem 6 Shaman Beuys

‘Don’t mention the war’ said another satirist who, when he Cleese…d, his hair shot off. Joseph Beuys had a life before he became an artis. His first life, in the Luftwaffe, ended as he catapulted thru the glass between him and the outside. David deliberately paralleled Beuys bursting thru the screen with the pot bursting as it hit the ground in his final page of the poems. The subtext mentions no safety belt. A pot don’t wear a safety belt so the mention seems odd, but it refers to the fact that Beuys said had he been strapped in, according to orders, he would have been annihilated like his companion was. So once he recovered from a broken jaw and a burst skull with the help of (allegedly) some Siberian peasants who covered him in grease and wound him up in felt he forewent the Nazi cause and spent the rest of his days, not wearing any safety harness, attacking the powers that be and trying to establish a better world through the example of his outputs which, like dada after the WW1, totally rejected the maxims and mores of the previous ‘leaders’. (Phew that’s a gobful! Innit?)

Last but not least that Celt Showman what is called Jo Beuys. My mention of Halstatt & La Tene refers to large Celtic communities that dominated the landscape in Europe around 3000 years ago. He hails from near Cleves, where the Swan Castle (the Schwanenburg) still has a golden plated swan as a weather vane. http://celts.etrusia.co.uk/celtic_cultures.php I find their art & artefacts are a beautifully robust craft. http://www.pinterest.com/viziglar/hallstatt-and-la-tene-cultures/

 

Beuys refused to engage in painting onto canvas and other traditional methodologies preferring to make installations & personal appearances with demonstration and talk about his nutso crazy ideas. He used metaphor and analogy to convey his ideas which were often embodied in his materials.. he attracted attention by wearing a wardrobe which defined him and in which he could carry a lot of his artefacts, and chalk, for doing his blackboard talks.He used fat and felt as sculpture material breaking the codes of traditional materials like carved stone and moulded bronze tho he did use these materials too but more in juxtapositions of ‘found objects or objects totally out of their usual contexts. He often referred to vortexes, energy streams conducted by various materials like honey, messages carried by bees, he communicated with dead hares and live coyotes. He tried to make amends for Nazi atrocities by joining Eurasia up with his actions and outings and somehow over-riding the fact that he had been a Luftwaffe airman who survived an plane crash. DJ parallels Beuys bursting out of the plane with the Buddhist story of the broken pot which I mention in the sub-text when I said ‘I let go and this humble vase returns to dust’ ‘it bit the dust’, which is not all used in the text. This was a completion of the circle as the six poems begin with a title, ‘Destination Dust’ a reference to the fact that everything eventually returns to the original source, energy. So even the subtext move around, whereas in the first pages it is flippant and mundane by the final page it has grafted in to the main text and apart from the black humour of Beuys bursting thru the glass has become serious, considering human frailty and mortality.

ves 6 sm

The chant from the terraces which I heard as a young teenager brings the subtext into the main text inasmuch that my home town Burnley reached the quarter final of the European Cup and we did thrash the Germans, in the first leg, but Uwe Seeler and his bigger brother knocked us out in Hamburg. But McIlroy really was better than Eusebio, well nearly, he was part of the team from Northern Ireland which got to the quarter finals of the World Cup in 1958 and (not a lot of people know this) their manager Peter Doherty was my dad’s hero and I were named after him.

As manager in 1958 Doherty took Jimmy McIlroy and N. Ireland side to the quarter finals of the World Cup
As manager in 1958 Doherty took Jimmy McIlroy and N. Ireland side to the quarter finals of the World Cup

Here endeth the intro to our new books.

This was a meeting of two minds who have been ‘doing art’ for 90 odd years. Well, odd in my case, meticulous in DJ’s. For David is an ‘artist-dervish whirling around at the wayzgoose with his tweezers teasing new meanings from my words’ when it comes to working a press

For those newcomers to dis blArt the ‘poems’ in ‘Inside This Earthen Vessel’ were inspired by Kabir’s poem ‘Inside This Clay Jug’ sung by the late Jackie Leven https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfiKUhS1cnI . Someone asked if my writing (in the book G Batch which underpins these new versions) deserves the title ‘poetry’? Well, it’s a beautiful question. A real poet would not have the temerity to call their words poetry, that is for history to decide. Catullus, Patchen, Angelou, Blake, Bukowski & Stevie Smith all deserve (in my book of tings) the nomenclature. No, I write, I set out some of my words as prose, some as attempts at ‘poems’ or as I used to differentiate them ‘poyms’. There is a debate about whether folks like Bob Zimmerman, Mark Knopfler or John Lennon’s words are ‘poems’? Ask Picabia or Jarry about what makes up a poem, don’t aks me.

So, if I were aksed to put what the six ‘poems’ are all about I’d say first and foremost they are an appeal for humanity to live harmoniously in peace. They show six men who represent the cultures of most of the prominent human groups. They are against dogma. The poems all represent human beings who had the balls to look at the human situation and to be brave enough to stand up and say their piece almost always standing up for the individual and their right to think and make up their own mind. The poems are my personal insight into mystical knowledge as represented in six different thinkers whose lives and work had impact on a fair number of others to this day. My poems say that, contrary to the widely held view, mystical insight is an expansive subject open to everyone. Also inside the pot (earthen vessel) is Joy & Humour, Music & Dance. Mysticism runs like veins of gold (Blake’s golden thread) through human cultures and can bring many people together when they understand we are all striving for the same thing, which is to understand why we are here and to appreciate the beauty which surrounds us on planet Earth. ‘Stop The Killing, Stop The Killing NOW’ said John Lennon before some tramp shot him. Imagine that, where is John now? He’s out there following his vision of ultimate reality and laughing his cosmic chuckle just like the Dalai Lama does. Namaste.

Let’s waltz again with Lenny:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-E53gmeO-8&index=5&list=RDye6JssTdnvw

Peace Be With You.

My Next Blog, how the 2  ‘vessels’ buks (mi littul one and DJ’s Big Y’in) and paraphernalia were received along with several other David Jury gems at the Whitechapel, 26 thru 29th September? Maybe see yez thur?

Falling between two stools, who me? No way Hosey.

Before I begin (at the beginning) I must mention the wonderful BBC2 drama called a poet in NY, http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p01w6llk/a-poet-in-new-york it’s about Dylan (Zimmerman’s inspiration for his stage name)Thomas. It’s very very well done AND you got to watch the dance Essie Davis (Caitlan Thomas) does at 20 minutes in, wow, beautiful and uncannily similar to a dance my girl did when she was a child.

maddie dancin

 

She began to dance naturally and so unexpectedly to some music I was playing for a funeral for a friend (Christina Challis). I took several photos which I then turned into her portrait in my ‘master’ piece, Venus Stares.

a dancer

Took a long time for me to realise that my doing ‘paintings’ was me just merely following in the footsteps of giants but I must admit that since my early days of making art in the mid – late Sixties I never just wanted to idly ‘follow’. I did strike out early on and did portraits with difference. Like this one I did of my li’l sister back about 1968 whilst still in the 6th form.

young girl

my sister aged 14, now destroyed by mice.

Many of my portraits only used the sitter as an excuse to ‘paint’, to manipulate colour, shape and texture on a surface.  Recently I have found an idiom which can hold my idiosyncrasies, digital prints onto canvas. Which I can then leave alone or render, paint, collage, beat up, obliterate, destroy etc. the images which emerge are never meant to replicate the ‘real’ tings…my images are only triggers. For the mind, eyes, senses to take off. My future utube videos will give insight & inroads as well as being part of my art as my blArts are.

 

Do you know that I been held back/down by the weight (wait) of no expectations*? Or maybe, Not Expecting Much. Most everything I achieved was a surprise ( to so many, you? No, not you). * there is a Bruce McLean exhibition coming up at fistite gallery, Colchester in June.

Looking at his work you see a man who spat in the face of expectation, almost, “IF you’re not expecting me to do I can, I shall, I did- up yours.” Now, there is a lot of that in my work too but whereas Bruce got himself (determinedly) into a place where he was ‘expected’ to achieve certain levels (out of art colleges# etc) I did not.

# Art schools have been vetting stations for artists-to-be for years, I declined to go/avoided them determined to prove my worth by sheer hard work and my innate talents. By my old friend Percy V. Rance. Rancid may be a better name? It doesn’t work. Sadly after 45 yearns making art I remain Anon., arsk me if am bovvad? Well actually I Yam cos, like me ole mate Van Coff, I’m skint. But my brother won’t send me no cash (he’s Scottish true & thru by the way, as am I and am mean as mean can be). Galleries dealers market all missed a trick by ignoring me BUT they keep an age old trick up their sleezy sleeves, they get you when you die. Sadly for them I ain’t fixing to die anytime soon, so everybody loses. Except you that is you can select anything to purchase from my first 45 years output if yer quick enough.

And with expectation comes a certain belief or disbelief. ‘I can’t believe he’s done that,’ or ‘I thought, if anyone would do that , he would.’ Followed by sales, accolades, recognition. In my case these tings didn’t follow cos the expectations weren’t there. Therefore no sales etc. most everyone in the establisherment (and that includes art colleges) would not ‘see’ I did it. Consequently, like Van Cough, I never sold a sausage. In fact am tinking of starting a new publicity campaign in Germany, home of some of my art heroes like Dieter Rot, Jo Beuys and Anselm keifer. Maybe there they’ll get my achievements, my originality, my contexts. Like. My ‘Books Called Enbuk, In A Plastic Box’ (after D. Roth). And my ‘Rubbish Art’ like ‘Bedpetes’. Some people see my art as opuscule, but some (you?) love it.

stool puns

my play on stools pun

Let me explain my use of stools.

Both  Dieter Rot & Richard Hamiltoe used stools in their works. So did van Gogh. So did Beuys with fat on. And Gerhard Richter

http://www.gerhard-richter.com/art/search/detail.php?5617 did a skit on his one time tutor Beuy’s fat chair.

Hamilton said of the adverts which triggered his visual pun on toilet matters, ‘Some adverts make me wax quite poetical. None more than the series by Andrex showing two young ladies in the woods. His ‘poetic visual puns manifested in several photo/paintings of women crouching; ‘Girl with Skirts up’, ‘Girl with Trousers Down’ and ‘Girl with Tights Down’. He’s dealing with a number of ideas/issues here like the way Andrex used the notion of heavenly bliss in dreamy landscapes set in forest glades to advertise toilet roll. And the fact that even the queen uses the toilet daily, queen of the slipstream, yes i know. And Rot used the turd in his work in many forms, from number twos themselves to rabbits made from cow claps (?).

http://www.dieter-roth academy.de/Essays/das_weinen_das_wahnen4.pdf see also http://www.frieze.com/issue/article/this_mortal_coil/

.I suppose we could call their contributions The Turd Reught, or A Herd of Turd, or The Art of Turds?

 

 

The revolutin-airy will not be tooroor-eyesed! Nor bush-whacked by bandits.

Image

Five dames turned up for the second redlionbookshop talk. Louis Armstorng’s ‘What a wonderful world’ did not resound thru the rafters as I couldn’t bring my stereo set up. No music this time to soothe the atmospheres. But the poet in me turned up. my trouble is he won’t go away and even today ! (17th) I am/he is altering and adding to the poems about ‘Six Mystics’ which I read a rendition of last Saturday (15th). Interestingly, I do believe the poet is helping me. In the Gurdjeff poem he said I can fit in a thing about compassion which has arisen in my thinking. The idea that compassion is a flame which you cannot extinguish. I did have a line where G. went to Tibet , the fount of compassion, but now I have changed that to,

‘Climbing Tibetan mountains

Open range of the Snow Lion

To the flowering flame of Compassion’

I added to G’s last verse more of the senses, realising… realising I can do that why, because, I can!

‘Feel the everlasting flame of Zoroaster glows

Within each of us with eyes to see

And those of us with ears to hear the bee…s

Straighten up and smell the breeze’

I had also moved the lion of snow sentence from the Dalai Lama poem so I could add the idea of charity to his this morning when the poet told me to have Faith, Hope And Charity evident in the poems, which are as one, a group.

‘A refugee

Escaping into the charitable arms of his neighbouring India’

We rarely know what it is that drives us to create (our creativity) that may dawn on you as & if you develop. I didn’t know when I left school in 1969 that one day I would attempt writing poetry. Also that some of my writing would be about the meaning of (our) reality. I am neither preaching nor proselytising I’m just attempting to ‘think’ as lucidly as I am able.

These days I have, at last, found time to go back thru some of the writings I did (in my journals) back in 1979-80. Around that time I was a self-employed artist-writer working on The Shrewd Idiot and feeling the birth pangs of my First Squidgerat project. In order to try make some money, knowing it would take a long time for any funds from a book to kick in and that my own vision of ‘art’ and its products did not appeal to a mass audience, I was printing sweatshirts for schools and producing the first (Maldon) Barge Calendar. It is interesting to read the same complaint I wrote about the costs of putting on an exhibition, never mind its relative ‘success’ in the eyes of visitors and media, were then as now above the monies that it generated into my bank account. To all extent and purposes, if I were a wise man, I should have given up/in. And I am in an identical position today. To put it in a nutshell, my work doesn’t sell. So the sensible ting to do? Give up. Full Stop. But I fail to put my brakes on and I refuse to pack it in. vaingloriously I continue writing and making ‘art’. Like Olympic skater Robin Cousins said ( I think it wer im wat seddit), ‘If I don’t win anything people will see me as a madman’ then he won gold. Well I may not win any golds, they are like hen’s teeth anyway in the arts and it seems are reserved for the already famous, those already well catered for financially. There is a wonderful comparison between the late Tom Finney’s record and that of the present day footballer wayne rooney who has just signed a contract for £300 grand a week when Tom an infinitely better player got £20. Also Finney was never booked nor sent off, (he never tupped no-one but he would have nutmegged em! auteur’s note, nutmeggin is a nicer legal form of tuppin), rooney has had both, several times. Age wise I am a lot closer to Finney and I think I retain some of his dedication to the cause. I do it cos I love doing it.

I am 63 now and won’t have much time to break thru with any aspect of my work before I follow Tom and lots more of my heroes but I am not crying nor asking sympathy. I have given it a good go and shall continue so to do. I have some ideas on how to bring works, which have been in the pipeline for up to 35 yearns, through into a form which I would be satisfied represents my abilities, ideas, originality etc.two tings I must point out.

1. the zen master Ikkyū (1394-1481)wrote

Writing something

To leave behind

Is yet another kind of dream.

When I awake I know that

There will be no one to read it.

And

“fucking flattery, success, money.

I just sit back and suck my thumb.”

― Ikkyu, Crow With No Mouth

Then

2. ‘Being Flynn’ a film with Robert de Niro in, there is an incredible film! And its arrival in my life was coincidental with my final prep night before I did my second reading at Red Lion bookshop Colchester last Saturday.

Image

photoshop of the poet created by C C (thanks CC for revealing the real me to me!)

The film is about a relationship triangle between a young man and his present mother and absent father who is off chasing his dream to be another American genius writer. (I’m not American so don’t worry about me!) It is hard hitting and was the worst prep I needed when preparing to (pretend to be) a poet the next day. It helped me realise the stupidity of believing I can be a player. I mean, look at that idiot above, would you buy an etching from him, or a car for that matter?

So. I been round the houses, the trees, fields etc several times now. I started in 1967 with a Henry Moore exhibition at Tate, just Tate, there wer no Tate Mod then just ‘Tate’.That made me decide to be an artis chap. My art, that I have done since then, speaks for itself. I am getting tired of talkin. From now on I talk about other tings. Am no longer flogging a dead horse. The donkey’s given up farting now. And another reason nobody came to my readings. I am so goddamned ugly (but not so ugly as Jagga), no really. My Celtic name means Ugly Head (creator of Apulhed).

Image

a recent photo of the auteur

Remember ugly by name ugly by nature. I’m the one what used to tup the captain. I should have bin the captain! I was captain of Brun house team and the Wednesday league team Scrubbers what won the cup that season. That’s as high as the establishermont would allow me to go. And my lack of financial and critical and academic success, I have to admit, is my own fault, it’s my karma, I shouldn’t have tupped the captn. (For my Buddhist friends, please don’t get me wrong, it wer only a gentle tup. Not like one o me shin shatterin tackles. But no, I won’t go in to them.

Image

Alf Tupper (my alter ego) in 1969