Thursday, 28 February 2013

Balthus - Wuthering Heights

Balthasar Klossowski (or Kłossowski) de Rola (February 29, 1908 in Paris – February 18, 2001 in Rossinière, Switzerland), best known as Balthus, was an esteemed but controversial Polish-French modern artist.

Throughout his career, Balthus rejected the usual conventions of the art world. He insisted that his paintings should be seen and not read about, and he resisted any attempts made to build a biographical profile. A telegram sent to the Tate Gallery as it prepared for its 1968 retrospective of his works read: "NO BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS. BEGIN: BALTHUS IS A PAINTER OF WHOM NOTHING IS KNOWN. NOW LET US LOOK AT THE PICTURES. REGARDS. B."

Balthus's style is primarily classical. His work shows numerous influences, including the writings of Emily Brontë, the writings and photography of Lewis Carroll, and the paintings of Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, Simone Martini, Poussin, Jean Etienne Liotard, Joseph Reinhardt, Géricault, Ingres, Goya, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Courbet, Edgar Degas, Félix Vallotton and Paul Cézanne. Although his technique and compositions were inspired by pre-renaissance painters, there also are eerie intimations of contemporary surrealists like de Chirico. Painting the figure at a time when figurative art was largely ignored, he is widely recognised as an important 20th century artist.

Many of his paintings show young girls in an erotic context. Balthus insisted that his work was not erotic but that it recognized the discomforting facts of children's sexuality.

In 1933, after spending a year in Morocco on national service, Balthus created a series of prints illustrating Wuthering Heights. Balthus closely identified with Heathcliff, modelling the character's features in the prints on his own.

In the 1930s, Balthus was in the thick of Parisian art life. He painted Joan Miro and Andre Derain and designed sets for Artaud's surrealist production of The Cenci. He designed other sets for productions of Shakespeare and for Camus's L'Etat de siege. Picasso, in particular, was both an admirer and collector of his work.

What does Balthus himself have to say about Wuthering Heights? In this book, not a lot, but what he does say is quite interesting – although I hope it doesn’t provoke an outbreak of Freudianism. He says:

‘I am a very emotional man, perhaps too much so… My youth was an absolute whirlwind of Feelings, exactly like Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, which I illustrated. I was completely at home in this novel. It described my youth perfectly. I was in love with Antionette – de Watteville – and I was determined to win her. But Antionette, on top of being a difficult girl, was already engaged to someone else. I reread her letters every evening. I think that, like Heathcliffe, I didn’t want to leave adolescence.’ 

Balthus himself has said that it is wrong to attempt to psychoanalyse his paintings, although that didn’t stop the man he said it to from doing precisely that – but more of that anon (meaning: another day). For mine, it is better to look on what Balthus is doing from Karen Blixen’s perspective – that is, it is wrong to try to make a story into life; instead, the artist must make a story out of life. And that is exactly what Balthus is doing, in my book. He is remembering that he is a bit of a Heathcliffe in order to create art. His life provides the raw material. His paintings seem to tell a story because that is exactly what is happening. Elias Canetti got annoyed with the Bible because everything that happened to him was already recorded in there. Perhaps Balthus might have had a similar experience of Wuthering Heights.
Gary Sauer-Thompson

Jacques Rivette: So I went to this exhibition. Seeing as he’s a bit of an eccentric and all that, I am very fond of Balthus. So I went to the exhibition which was actually superb. I already knew the drawings produced by Balthus for the book that the Gallimard editions had intended to publish at the beginning of the 1930s – around 1932 or 1933, I think. These drawings, by the way, were more or less contemporary with Buñuel’s first desire to film the novel … I believe he had already written the screenplay…

Valérie Hazette: Which he only shot 20 years later …

JR: Yes, but still, his screenplay was written at the time in question. So it was in the air for this little group, and Buñuel, Balthus and so on knew each other. They used to gravitate around the Surrealists, while retaining their independence. And then, although I had already seen some reproductions of the drawings, the Balthus exhibition of Beaubourg featured a small, separate room – a kind of tablier, as one says in old French – where they actually displayed all the Balthus originals – the ink as well as the pencil ones, the final drawings as well as the sketches.

And I was struck by the fact that Balthus enormously simplified the costumes and stripped away the imagery trappings which are so much foregrounded in the Wyler movie. I wondered why nobody had ever made a movie in which Catherine and Heathcliff were the age they actually are in the novel. Because in the Wyler movie they are 30 and in the Buñuel movie 30 or 40.

Therefore they are adults, and it does not mean anything. Well, it does mean something, but something completely different. So I felt like making a movie with some very young actors. I started with this idea in mind and made the first adaptation – well, maybe not the first one because there are adaptations that I have never seen – in which they are their age.

Balthus was also never a Modernist. He rejected both Abstraction and Expressionism in favour of a style that draws heavily on the aesthetics of the fading frescoes of Piero della Francesca. Balthus steered clear of the avant-garde. Although his first exhibition in 1934 was staged at the Galerie Pierre, a bastion of Surrealism at the time, and in 1935 the Surrealist magazine Minotaure reproduced his drawings based on Wuthering Heights (1847), Balthus never mixed with the group around André Breton, but was friends with individuals such as Alberto Giacometti, Antonin Artaud, Georges Bataille and Pablo Picasso.
Jan Verwoert

Instead of attending art school, he bicycled to Arezzo to copy the Piero della Francescas. Throughout his career, the presence of the quattrocento masters remained a pervasive, albeit an unlikely one: whether in the monumental modelling of Balthus's chunky young girls, with their aloof smiling faces, or in his later - and only partially successful - use of the chalky-textured "casein" tempera.

These were spliced with a disparate range of influences, from Bonnard, Gustave Courbet and Seurat, to Poussin, John Tenniel and Wuthering Heights. One of Balthus's early masterpieces is the disquieting 1933 painting, The Toilet Of Cathy.
Louisa Buck

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Yuck 'n Yum - Artist Residency Opportunity: Call for applications‏

Art + forensics = a bloody mess. Well actually it is a ground-breaking residency opportunity.
Hello our lovely Yuck 'n Yummers,

We wanted to let you know of a super exciting opportunity before anyone else hears about it. We are sending this to you a few days before it gets released through wider arts residency avenues as a thank you for being our supporters and part of the YnY family!

As part of the inaugural Print Festival Scotland, the Hannah Maclure Centre, Abertay University’s exhibition space and cultural hub, and Yuck ‘n Yum are teaming up. Together we are offering an artist-in-residency opportunity within the university’s ground-breaking forensic science department.

Working in collaboration with forensic scientist Dr Kevin Farrugia, the selected artist will get to spend up to four days in Abertay’s forensics labs, exploring the ways print visualisation techniques can be manipulated to recover finger- and shoeprints from crime scenes. Describing the techniques involved, including chemical enhancement alongside specialised photography and lighting methods, Dr Farrugia expects there to be “a lot for the artist who comes over in June to learn about and experiment with.” The artist will then have the opportunity to work in the Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) Print Studio to develop ideas inspired by their time in the forensics lab.

The selection panel for the residency will consist of Clare Brennan and Dr Kevin Farrugia from Abertay University, Morgan Cahn and Alex Tobin from Yuck ‘n Yum, and the renowned print artist Paul Harrison.

Speaking about what they’re looking for and what this artist-in-residency opportunity has to offer those who submit a proposal, Clare Brennan, Curator of Abertay’s Hannah Maclure Centre, said:

“We’re looking for everyone and anyone with an artist’s practice to apply, and we’d like people to think as broadly as they can about this opportunity - they could propose anything from a series of prints or paintings, to something more immersive like a performance or sound installation.

“The artwork created during this residency – whatever it turns out to be – will be displayed and distributed within the context of the inaugural Print Festival Scotland, as well as shared with over 300 delegates who are coming to the Impact 8 conference, so it’ll be a great platform for an artist to showcase the work they do to a wide and varied audience.”

An artist fee, travel and accommodation are available as well as a network of support to help realise the resulting artwork.

Submissions are now open.

Images l-r: Kevin Farrugia, Joanna Fraser, Kevin Farrugia

The deadline for submissions is April 19, 2013.

The residency itself will take place the week beginning June 17. More details on the application process below.

We hope that this is something that tickles your fancy. Get your application writing pants on pronto!

Love from the YnY team!


What to expect from the residency:
  • Travel to/from Dundee
  • Up to 4 days based in the Forensics Lab at the University of Abertay, Dundee working alongside Dr Kevin Farrugia (commencing w/b MONDAY 10th JUNE 2013)
  • Up to 4 days based in DCA Print Studio (dates flexible)
  • 2 days install period and 2 days festival/conference time (sometime from 26th August -1 September 2013 depending on the evolving festival programme)
  • Up to 14 nights accommodation in Dundee, not necessarily to be used consecutively (Bed and Breakfast)
  • Artist fee of £150
  • The selected artist will be expected to adhere to the Universities Health and Safety Regulations whilst on the premises
Panel members:
  • Morgan Cahn, Yuck n Yum
  • Alex Tobin, Yuck n Yum
  • Clare Brennan, Hannah Maclure Centre, University of Abertay Dundee
  • Dr Kevin Farrugia – School of Contemporary Sciences, University of Abertay Dundee
  • Paul Harrison – Impact8 International Printmaking Conference

What we request from you:
  • Artist Statement
  • CV
  • Proposal (up to 500 words)
  • 6 images of your current work. Jpegs no larger than 4mb per image.
  • For moving image: 3 Quicktime files or 3 online links. Max. of 5 minutes per film (Please state a 60 second period within each film which you would like the panel to view). This can be on DVD (for postal submissions) or via

Dropbox (for digital submissions).
Please submit all of the above to:
The Hannah Maclure Centre
Student Centre (top floor)
University of Abertay Dundee
1-3 Bell Street

Or share your work via Dropbox
(please state “Impact Residency” as the subject)


Deadline: April 19th, 2013

Monday, 25 February 2013

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu - PONPONPON

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (きゃりーぱみゅぱみゅ Kyarī Pamyu Pamyu) (Kiriko Takemura (竹村 桐子 Takemura Kiriko, born January 29, 1993), also known mononymously as Kyary, is a model, blogger, and recording artist from the Harajuku district of Tokyo. 

"PonPonPon" is a song by Japanese pop singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. It was released as the lead single for her EP, Moshi Moshi Harajuku, and later included on her debut album, "Pamyu Pamyu Revolution". The song was written and produced by Yasutaka Nakata of Capsule. The music video, a psychedelic tribute to kawaisa and Decora culture, was released to YouTube on July 16, 2011 and became a viral hit. As of December 2012, the video has over 41 million views.

The music video for "PonPonPon" was shot by Jun Tajima. The theme of the music video is "kawaii", which means cute in Japanese. Tajima regarded Kyary as a person bending the definition of "kawaii" by mixing it with weirdness. The art director Masuda Sebastian, of fashion brand 6%DOKIDOKI, adopted the randomness of "a room of a girl who isn't good at tidying up", adding "a taste of the 60-70s". The fashion stylist for the video was Kumiko Iijima.

The video is a mix of 2D and 3D animation. It depicts two worlds, the first of which was created by Masuda Sebastianone and looks like a room of a girl; the other is her own mental world, where her face is pink-colored. The video starts with a microphone stand coming out of Kyary's ear. The microphone stand is used to imitate the image of Freddie Mercury.

In the meaningless, repetitive chorus, "Pon Pon Way Way Way Pon Pon Way Pon Way Pon Pon", Kyary performs a dance choreographed by air:man with the lyrics inserted as kinetic typography. When Kyary claps during the bridge, slices of bread appear because "pan" is the Japanese onomatopoeia for the sound of a clap, as well as the word for bread. 

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (きゃりーぱみゅぱみゅ), born on January 29, 1993, is a Japanese fashion designer, blogger, model, and high school student. Kyary began her career as a model for Harajuku fashion magazines such as Kera! and Zipper. After achieving a measure of fame, she began to establish herself as a businesswoman by launching a line of fake eyelashes called “Harajuku Doll Eyelashes by Eyemazing x Kyary” and appearing at fashion shows. In April 2011, she frontlined the charity event “One Snap For Love” with legendary Japanese fashion editor and photographer Yasumasa Yonehara and Japanese brand 6%DOKIDOKI for victims of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

On July 20, 2011, her single debut, PONPONPON was released. In July 25, 2011, Warner Music Japan released the song’s music video, a psychedelic tribute to Kawaisa and Decora culture. The video, full of rainbow-colored outfits, toys, and various kawaii elements, soon became a viral hit on YouTube, gaining international popularity. Elements such as the dancing faceless characters, skulls, and eyeballs made the music video extremely weird.

The single was produced by Yasutaka Nakata and is the first release from Kyary’s debut mini-album, Moshi Moshi Harajuku, to be released August 21st, 2011. “PONPONPON” quickly rose to the top of the iTunes charts in both Finland and Belgium. On July 31, 2011, the song entered Billboard Japan’s Hot 100s chart at 72.

I’ve tried to stop thinking about this video for months but I can’t, its got to be the most epic thing on the internet arguably speaking, I mean orange sharks, hockey goalie masks, and Kraft mac ‘n’ cheese…. < sigh > tooo much!

I really really think that she is singing about Eating Disorder, bulimic or something. I wish somebody could tell me what is about the song. Please… I need it. I need it….

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is a model, blogger, and apparently a musician from Tokyo Japan. I have no idea what she’s singing but I’m praying to the Hello Kitty gods that the lyrics are as completely crazy and bizarre as this video is.Each frame of the video is full of candy coated everything, flying slices of toast, giant tongues, and all sorts of other things that are just to weird to explain. Watch the full video in all it’s Harajuku, kawaii, and decora madness after the jump.

ぽんぽん - pon pon means "a belly" in Japanese baby words. The phrase "PONPON 出して しまえばいいの" - "pon pon dashite shimaeba iino" can be interpretted as two ways: the first meaning is "you expose your belly and you hide it then it's ok", the secound meaning is "you should expose your belly". I think the latter would be true, because it's positive. The Japanese has many onomatopoeia, pon pon is one of them. It also means the sound of tsuzumi(Japanese hand drams) , the sound of something is popping or the sound of to uncork wine bottles. There are other onomatopoeia in this song like "zen zen","don don", "poi poi" "so so" and "way way". But they have no means, they are only for rhythm like rap musics.

The image of this PV is filled with funny and weird things. I think they also have no means. Kyary said that she loves things which are not only kawaii but also weird or a little bit creepy. When she was a high school girl, she went to Harajuku around four days in a week. One of her favorite fashion stores was 6% Doki Doki where was produced by an artist Sebastian Masuda and he was the artist of the stage setting of her PVs. She said that she bought 60% of her wardrobe were bought at Candy Stripper where was filled with weird accessories like a necklace of an eyeball or gloves of a skeleton.

Sunday, 24 February 2013


Girls Aloud (l-r) Sarah Harding, Cheryl Cole, Kimberley Walsh, Nadine Coyle, Nicola Roberts

Extract from Andrea Dworkin - Woman Hating:

Pain is an essential part of the grooming process, and that is not accidental. Plucking the eyebrows, shaving under the arms, wearing a girdle, learning to walk in high-heeled shoes, having one’s nose fixed, straightening or curling one’s hair—these things hurt. The pain, of course, teaches an important lesson: no price is too great, no process too repulsive, no operation too painful for the woman who would be beautiful. The tolerance of pain and the romanticization of that tolerance begins here, in preadolescence, in socialization, and serves to prepare women for lives of childbearing, self-abnegation, and husband-pleasing. The adolescent experience of the “pain of being a woman” casts the feminine psyche into a masochistic mold and forces the adolescent to conform to a self-image which bases itself on mutilation of the body, pain happily suffered, and restricted physical mobility. It creates the masochistic personalities generally found in adult women: subservient, materialistic (since all value is placed on the body and its ornamentation), intellectually restricted, creatively impoverished. It forces women to be a sex of lesser accomplishment, weaker, as underdeveloped as any backward nation. Indeed, the effects of that prescribed relationship between women and their bodies are so extreme, so deep, so extensive, that scarcely any area of human possibility is left untouched by it.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Zazou - All Things Pass Into The Night @ Kage, Dundee 22.02.13 - pictures

To the Kage last night for the last ever Zazou, witnessing the end of an era. I took a few photos and here they are:

 The name of the club is/was Zazou

Broadcasts beamed in via Zazou TV

Assorted Zazouers

A last strut on the weird and wild side of the disco tracks

DJs Stefan Blomeier and Il Discotto lay Zazou to rest one final time 

Friday, 22 February 2013

Gregor Schneider - Totes Haus u r

Gregor Schneider (born 5 April 1969, in Rheydt) is a German artist, whose main area of work is constructed rooms. In 2001, he was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale for his infamous work Totes Haus u r exhibited at the German Pavilion.

Since 1985, Schneider has been working elaborately on the house on Unterheydener Straße in Mönchengladbach-Rheydt. The "u r" refers to Unterheydener Straße und Rheydt. Gregor Schneider created replicas of the existing rooms by building complete rooms inside of other rooms each consisting of walls, ceilings and floors. These doubled rooms are not visible as rooms within rooms to the viewers. Additionally he slowly moves the rooms out of sight by employing machines that push ceilings or complete rooms. Hollow and interspaces are the results of the form of the installations. Some rooms become inaccessible, because they are hidden behind walls and some have been isolated by concrete, plumbing, insulation or sound absorbing materials. Via outside fixed lamps, different times of the day have been simulated. The rooms are numbered consecutively (u r 1 -) for clear distinction. At the beginning the originals rooms have been all areas of a house: a bedroom, a coffee room, a lumber-room, a kitchen, a corridor, a cellar. Since the middle of the 1980s visitors of the Haus u r have been reported as having had frightening experiences inside the house.

In 2001 Schneider won the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale when he exhibited his childhood home, Totes Haus u r (Dead House u r) in the German Pavilion. But this was no ordinary suburban dwelling: visitors walked up to an inconspicuous brown front door, the kind found on any German street, only to be admitted in to a house of horrors. The place was a maze of fake partitions, lead-lined rooms, makeshift sleeping quarters and a kitchen encrusted with mould. The most disturbing aspect was the basement, whereunder a low ceiling, amid the dirt and dust, hung a disco ball. Schneider is at his most gruesome when he alludes to sex and death, and more than anything this small prop suggested something sordid in the house of Schneider, as horrific as the nefarious activities of Fred West or Josef Fritzl. Although Schneider would argue (possibly disingenuously) that any associations we make concerning his art are constructed from our own ghoulish imaginations.

It is difficult for us to know why Schneider decided to transform his childhood house into such a charnel. He has been doing so since the age of 16 when his father died, and critics have often suggested Schneider's continued investigations and manipulations are the result of trauma. If that is the case, Schneider is not telling. What he does say is that he hopes his work helps us to reflect upon and overcome our worst nightmares. That these fetid rooms have become highly sought after by collectors and museums certainly reveals how compelling we find the most disquieting aspects of the human condition.
Jessica Lack

Like the psyche as multiple dwellings imagined by the great Russian theatre theorist Constantin Stanislavski, the Totes Haus ur is actually several houses. It is made from parts of the Haus ur (begun in 1985) — which is both Schneider's home in Rheydt, Germany, and his major piece as an artist—and is also an autonomous work. It contains multiple houses within itself that register Schneider's ongoing project of reconstructing the interior of the house; his own description of the project reads, in part: "wall in front of wall, wall in front of wall, wall behind wall, passage in room, room in room." Unlike the orderly psyche described by Stanislavski, in which everything is easy to find until the last crucial moment, this labyrinthine environment felt like a particularly difficult place in which to locate the elusive bead, as if it were an architectural representation of a psyche so turned in on itself that the journey into it leads to dead ends, hazards, and conundrums like windows that open only onto other windows and rooms bathed in light that appears natural but is actually artificial. Or perhaps the Totes Haus ur is not so much the site of a quest as the product of a restless search that involves ripping out, moving, and rebuilding walls, doors, and whole rooms in the hope of finding or creating the place into which the invaluable bead disappeared.  
PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 

What is Schneider's Dead House ur? Nothing the artist tells us about the place seems completely unequivocal. Who owns it? Does he actually live here? Is Hannelore Reuen, whose name is on the entrance, a real person? We ask, but we get no straight answers, though a few things do appear certain: More than fifteen years ago, Schneider, a teenager at the time, began taking the building on Unterheydener Strasse apart from within. (The structure, apparently owned by his family, was once thought to be uninhabitable because of its proximity to an industrial complex.) By now, the original dimensions and configuration of the various rooms are all but impossible to reconstruct. The list of "improvements" the artist has made over the last decade and a half reads like a strange form of experimental literature, working through every conceivable repetition and duplication of basic architectural units: "wall in front of wall, ceiling under ceiling, section of wall in front of wall, room in room, lead in floor, light around room, light around room, wall in front of wall, wall in front of wall..." At this point, not even the artist can recount all the steps involved.

"I come from the Expressionist corner," Schneider tells us over coffee. Precociously drawn to the arts, he had already gravitated in his early teens to painting, creating images of young, undernourished girls and screaming faces. He also dabbled in body art, covering his torso with flour or burying himself in the soil. Extreme practices of automutilation and self-inflicted pain fascinated him; he was especially taken with the story of Toronto practitioner John Fare, who in the late '60s hacked off parts of his body one by one and finally beheaded himself in an amputation machine. "I saw the human scream as the ultimate in expression," Schneider told Ulrich Loock in an extensive interview produced in conjunction with the artist's 1997 exhibition at the Bern Kunsthalle. "Then [I] flipped into the opposite mode." He began to build soundproof cells, rooms of total isolation, covered with layer upon layer of insulating materials. One of them--the ultimate in claustrophobic nightmares--has a door with no handle on the inside and a merely decorative, nonfunctional knob on the outside. Once the door is shut, the person inside is gone forever.

Esse est percipi, said Bishop Berkeley, but Schneider would beg to differ. He is interested above all in forms of existence that escape perception--substances, spaces, objects, and qualities that remain hidden. When one wall is built in front of another, a space is created between the two. Schneider fills such gaps with red or black bricks. Disappearing between the walls, these solid materials can't be seen, but they're there. The invisible works are just as significant as the visible ones to Schneider, and the very distinction between the two might be of minor importance to him. Listening to the artist talk about his interventions and constructions--workman-like descriptions of dimensions, materials, and tools--one glimpses a vision of the world that doesn't translate well into common sense. By no means mystical, it nonetheless involves a profound experience of space. "I was registered as having a perceptual disorder and being mentally ill, but I only told them what I was doing at the time. I didn't lie. I told them that I build rooms," Schneider explained to Loock, responding to the curator's interest in the genesis of the artist's activities."
Daniel Bimbaum

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Aphex Twin - Avril 14th, 47 piano covers

Richard David James (born 18 August 1971), best known by his stage name Aphex Twin, is an Irish electronic musician and composer.

Drukqs (stylised as drukQs) is a 2001 double album by electronic musician Richard D. James, released under his most frequently used pseudonym, Aphex Twin. It is his fifth studio album under this alias. At least 13 of the 30 tracks are piano compositions, both prepared piano (a style made notable by John Cage) and normal piano.


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Valie Export - Action Pants: Genital Panic

VALIE EXPORT - Action Pants: Genital Panic, 1969

Valie Export (often written as 'VALIE EXPORT') (born May 17, 1940 in Linz as Waltraud Lehner, later Waltraud Höllinger) is an Austrian artist. Her artistic work includes video installations, body performances, expanded cinema, computer animations, photography, sculptures and publications covering contemporary arts.

In her 1968 performance Aktionshose:Genitalpanik (Action Pants: Genital Panic), Valie Export entered an art cinema in Munich, wearing crotchless pants, and walked around the audience with her exposed genitalia at face level. The associated photographs were taken in 1969 in Vienna, by photographer Peter Hassmann. The performance at the art cinema and the photographs in 1969 were both aimed toward provoking thought about the passive role of women in cinema and confrontation of the private nature of sexuality with the public venues of her performances. Apocryphal stories state that the Aktionshose:Genitalpanik performance occurred in a porn theater and included Valie Export brandishing a machine gun and challenging the audience, as depicted in the 1969 posters, however she claims this never occurred.

The contrast with what is usually called "cinema" is obvious, and is crucial to the message. In Valie Export's performance, the female body is not packaged and sold by male directors and producers, but is controlled and offered freely by the woman herself, in defiance of social rules and state precepts. Also, the ordinary state-approved cinema is an essentially voyeuristic experience, whereas in Valie Export's performance, the "audience" not only has a very direct, tactile contact with another person, but does so in the full view of Valie Export and bystanders.

I met with VALIE EXPORT about three months ago at MoMA when she came to New York to preview her friend Marina Abramović’s exhibition. It was a sunny morning in March, and we sat down outside the staff cafe sipping glasses of grapefruit juice and talking about her signature work, Action Pants: Genital Panic.

The story goes like this: In 1968, at age twenty-eight, Austrian artist Waltraud Hollinger changed her name to VALIE EXPORT, in all uppercase letters, to announce her presence on the Viennese art scene.  Eager to counter the male-dominated company of the group of artists known as the Vienna Actionists—including Günter Brus, Otto Mühl, Herman Nitsch, and Rudolf Schwarzkogler—she sought a new identity that was, she says, not bound “by her father’s name (Lehner), or her former husband’s name (Hollinger).” She transformed herself into VALIE and appropriated EXPORT, the name of a popular cigarette brand, as her last name.

This act of provocation would characterize her future performances, specifically Action Pants: Genital Panic, for which she is best known. For this performance, the artist walked into an experimental art-film house in Munich wearing crotchless trousers and a tight leather jacket, with her hair teased wildly.  She roamed through the rows of seated spectators, her exposed genitalia level with their faces. Challenging the public to engage with a “real woman” instead of with images on a screen, she illustrated her notion of “expanded cinema,” in which the artist’s body activates the live context of watching. Born of the 1968 revolt against modern consumer and technical society, her defiant feminist action was memorialized in a picture taken the following year by the photographer Peter Hassman in Vienna. As you can see, in this picture the artist also holds a machine-gun. EXPORT had the image screenprinted in a large edition and fly-posted it in public squares and on the street. The grouping of six vintage posters that the Museum has recently acquired preserves the idea of her original, guerilla-style installation. It was thrilling to speak to EXPORT about this legendary work, which is featured in our exhibition Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography.
Roxana Marcoci

It should come as no surprise that Action Pants: Genital Panic (1969) has become Valie Export’s signature work. A volatile mix of Fluxus happening, Situationist subversion, Viennese actionism, media critique, sexual politics and anarcho-terrorism, the work continues to influence and elicit debate. A defiant gesture born of the turbulence of 1968, it teeters between ideological inspiration and hopeless nihilism. Problematic from every angle - is it an act of female empowerment or feminine hysteria? - Export’s anti-spectacle is, at heart, a paradoxical affirmation of the self via a masochistic (and militant) fragmentation and exposure.

The few photos from 1969 are now iconic: Export sitting on a stone bench, leaning against a wall, bare footed, in a tight leather jacket, legs spread with the crotch of her jeans cut out to reveal pubic hair and labia, her facial features set in a stony stare, machine gun clenched in her fists, hair teased into a puffy mane, à la Robert Smith circa 1984. As the title indicates, Export is ready for action, but not perhaps the kind you’d expect. Dressed to kill, she’s a subculture of one: her disobedient pseudonym, cut-up fashion and predilection for self-abuse anticipating Punk by half a decade. And, like Punk, which in the wake of failed Situationist efforts to overthrow the Spectacle, adopted a strategy of undermining the Capitalist machinery from within (hence the Sex Pistols much-lauded ‘swindle’) Export seized upon the media as a means of talking back.
Charles LaBelle 

I didn’t want to perform in a gallery or a museum, as they were too conservative for me, and would only give conventional responses to my experimental works. It was important for me to present my works to the public, in the public space, and not within an art-conservative space, but in the by then so-called underground ... When I was performing my actions in public, on the streets, in the urban space, new and different forms of reception developed. In the streets I provoked new explanations. I wanted to be provocative, to provoke, but also aggression was part of my intention. I wanted to provoke, because I sought to change the people’s way of seeing and thinking ... If I hadn’t been provocative, I couldn’t have made visible what I wanted to show. I had to penetrate things to bring them to the exterior.
(Quoted in VALIE EXPORT, pp.148-9.)

The black and white photograph, Action Pants: Genital Panic, was taken by the photographer Peter Hassmann in Vienna in 1969. EXPORT had it screenprinted as a poster in a large edition of unknown size in order to flypost the image in public spaces and on the streets. At the end of the 1960s, the notions of guerrilla warfare and revolution on which it played were particularly pertinent – in 1967, the famous Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara was executed, and the following year students rioted in Paris, and the American cities of Baltimore and Washinton DC were shaken by civil unrest after the murder of Martin Luther King. In 1994 the image was flyposted in Berlin, where EXPORT was teaching at the Hochschüle der Kunste (the Academy of Arts). Tate’s holding of six, which the artist has specified should be exhibited as a group, reflects this history of the image by emphasising its status as a multiple. Another photograph with the same title taken by Hassmann in 1969 shows the artist sitting on a wooden chair next to a wall in a room with a parquet floor. She wears the same outfit and holds the same gun, but she has incongruously feminine sandals on her feet and holds the gun pointing upwards. This version of the image was issued in 2001 as a gelatine print in an edition of twenty. In Action Pants: Genital Panic EXPORT defends her female body with the male phallic symbol of the gun. Her self-exposure emphasises her lack of a penis, demonstrating the symbol of power to be a prosthetic and its possession to be a product of role play, positing action over biology. The combination of macho aggression with femininity is typical of EXPORT’s imagery from the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Elizabeth Manchester

Monday, 18 February 2013

Sunday, 17 February 2013


Extract from James Young - Nico: Songs They Never Play on the Radio:

Prague 1985

As the bus rolled into Wenceslas Square Nico was at her wits' end. She had nothing left and no one cared.

We parked up outside the elegant Hotel Europa and watched the Russian soldiers' dismal foot patrol, followed by the occasional rusty armoured car. The impression wasn't so much hostile as omnivorously boring. The spotty toy soldiers didn't want to be there, and the people didn't want them there. For the heart of a city it sure was quiet. There were a couple of stalls selling pickled slices of grey fish. Apart from occasional pairs of old ladies with empty shopping bags, everyone seemed to be somehow alone. I realised when we'd all climbed out of the bus that we were, in the eyes of a totalitarian regime, what constituted a crowd.

As we were directly in front of the Europa, Nico assumed it must be our hotel, and began lugging her bag towards the entrance. When Demetrius pointed out that we weren't actually staying there, that we didn't, in fact, have any place to stay, she gave him a mighty kick in the balls, a steel-capped castrating avenger. When the heroin was out, Nico always seemed to get sudden bursts of energy.

Demetrius doubled up, gasping for breath, his hands cupping what was left of his retracted testicles. Passers by smirked, but didn't stop. The soldiers expressed a slight consternation as they goose-stepped past, but they didn't stop either. Nothing could alter the mechanical rhythm of the city's artificial heart.


1977: Bowie appeared on Bolan's TV show 'Marc' and sang Heroes. He and Bolan then played a short composition called "Standing Next To You". Also around this time, they wrote atleast one other song together, called "Madman".

When Bolan and Bowie reunited in early 1977, the balance of power had shifted fully to Bowie’s side, to the point where Bowie could feel charitable. Staying at Bolan’s London flat during the Iggy Pop tour in March ’77, Bowie offered to co-write a song with Bolan, and the half-song (tentatively called “Madman”) that resulted had promise. With a raw, vicious opening riff that sounds like it’s inventing the Gang of Four, the best surviving version of “Madman” has Bolan’s shredding guitar fills and Bowie snarling lines like “when a man is a man, he’s destructive/when a man is a man he’s seductive.” Bolan would play the tape for friends: he was going to rework it, make it the center of his next record.

“Madman” was recorded ca. 4-7 March 1977 at Bolan’s flat, where Bowie was staying during the Iggy Pop tour’s stop in London. The Cuddly Toys covered it in 1980. “Standing Next to You,” or whatever it’s called, was rehearsed and taped on 7 September 1977, a week before Bolan’s death. Neither’s been released officially. 

It's said that Marc had given a tape of Madman to some fans. Whatever, the song first saw the light of day as this Cuddly Toys single in 1980.

The band on the back are wearing glittery clothes - waaaaay out of date for 1980 - and the personnel are listed as Sean Purcell, Tony Baggett, Faebhean Kwest, Billy Surgeoner and Paddy. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that, ahem, Faebhean was the singer.

Snowy Red was the one-man electronic band of the former Chainsaw guitarist, Micky Mike. With the "Vision" LP and some tracks on the "The Beat Is Over" LP, Snowy Red was, for a brief moment only, a band. After the Belgian New Beat boom, Snowy Red called it quits and Micky Mike disappeared, only for the band to resurface again in 2004 as a duo (with a guitarist) at the Belgian Independent Music festival. This track is from the 1982 release "The Right To Die".
(Thanks to my man Rob for the tip)

When a man is a man, he's destructive
When a man is a man, he's seductive
When a woman is a sensitive thing
When a woman is a woman, he's a madman
Madman - Madman- Madman - Madman

When a man is a friend, he's a stranger
When a man is a man, he's no angel
When a woman is a sensitive thing
When a woman is a woman, he's a madman

Madman - Madman - Madman - Madman

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Hello, Hello, I'm Back Again

Ben Robinson - Hello, Hello, I'm Back Again, 2013

Gary Glitter (born Paul Francis Gadd, 8 May 1944) is an English former glam rock singer-songwriter and musician.

"Hello, Hello, I'm Back Again" is a 1973 hit single performed by Gary Glitter and co-written by Glitter and his producer Mike Leander. The song is about a man calling his lover after being away for some time and begins with "Did you miss me (yeah), while I was away?", with "Hello, hello, it's good to be back... Good to be back" sung repeatedly in the chorus. In 1995 the song returned to the UK charts when Glitter re-recorded it, under the title "Hello, Hello, I'm Back Again (Again!)".,_Hello,_I%27m_Back_Again

Ben Robinson - Hello, Hello, I'm Back Again (Again!), 2013

In October 2012, ITV showed the documentary "The Other Side of Jimmy Savile" in its Exposure strand, which detailed allegations of sexual misconduct by the late BBC DJ and presenter. The story developed and extended over the ensuing weeks, and included an accusation against Glitter. He was alleged to have been seen having sex with a 13- or 14-year-old girl in Savile's dressing room at the BBC. On 28 October, Glitter was arrested and questioned by police in London. Glitter was released on police bail until the middle of December, and was subsequently re-bailed until February.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Jutta Koether @ DCA, review

The name of the seventeenth-century French classical painter Nicolas Poussin is seldom one to conjure with in the art world these days. Poussin is all about stern logic and precision, what the art historian and sometime Russian spy Anthony Blunt held up as the manifestation of divine reason. So the contemporary German artist Jutta Koether doing Poussin, she of the big, visceral, pop-inflected canvases? That might sound an unlikely pairing.

But here it is at the DCA, Seasons and Sacraments, a show inspired by two Poussin painting cycles. The first gallery is filled with the Seasons series first shown at last year’s Whitney Biennial, four large paintings each presented to appear floating on sheets of glass. These new takes on Poussin are raw and dynamic, busy with translucent layers and figures representing Old Testament scenes. There’s even a porcelain cat sat in the corner of Winter, quietly reflecting on the apocalyptic vista before it. A pink figure laughingly fondles apples in Spring. These images also have other, more contemporary motifs appearing in them: the zigzag of a financial market graph plots its way across the landscape, an emblem for our straitened times. Poussin’s visions of cosmic order are here brought down to earth and applied to the everyday.

Over in Gallery 2 are Koether’s responses to The Seven Sacraments. Ordination spans the whole of one wall, the red paintings at door height acting as “Mad Garlands”, some inscribed with slogans to occupy the undetermined space. Confirmation is interpreted as three sheets of glass that incorporate sculptural elements suspended in clear liquid acrylic. This frozen detritus, hanging in the centre of the gallery, includes a few exhibition door passes that are literally the keys to the art kingdom. Baptism features the German Formula One racing car driver Sebastian Vettel, a more contemporary idol for a global TV audience.  Koether’s revamp of classical antiquity brings Poussin up to speed with the zeitgeist, and the results are sparkling.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Susan Hiller - Psi Girls

Susan Hiller (born 1940) is an American-born artist who lives in London, UK. Her art practice encompasses installation, video, photography, performance and writing.

Psi Girls 1999 features imagery from films about girls with telekinetic powers, synchronised on five large screens at the moment of high tension in each film, when the girls use their extraordinary psychic powers to move objects. The excerpts, from Brian De Palma’s The Fury (1978), Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979), Mark L. Lester’s Firestarter (1984), Danny DeVito’s Matilda (1996) and Andrew Fleming’s The Craft (1996), are saturated in washes of vivid colour. The soundtrack featuring the drumming and rhythmic clapping of a gospel choir, reaches a crescendo at this point, a familiar cinematic device to increase tension, only to end abruptly with a burst of white noise and a period of silence. The use of different coloured filters in each of the projections, immerses the viewer in coloured lights and adds to the range of physical sensations experienced.

I used five films that show girls, pre-adolescent and adolescent, who have telekinetic powers, that is, they can mentally move objects. I’ve made an immersive environment using these images which of course suggests relationships between the power of art and magic. Basically what I do with the soundtrack in that piece is to have a minute of silence followed by a minute of very compelling music by a gospel choir which has a very strong rhythmical beat. I’m attempting to introduce a situation to the audience so that when you look at the images, the moving, exciting, colourful, huge images in silence, you are allowed a distanced scrutiny. When the music starts, you feel your heart pumping, you feel this music which is of course designed to drive you towards some sort of belief and you have a completely different experience. This is a deliberate attempt on my part to share my own ‘between’ position.
‘P.S.I Girls’ has not really left my head since I first experienced it. The work would ebb and flow from my thoughts when I was working on my own pieces. I would like to use this space to ramble about the work and my feeling and thoughts on it and Hillers wider practice.It was created in 1999 and when presented at Tate Modern Gallery, London in a fairly large room of its own, consisted of five screens showing looped clips of montage from films primarily about young girls with telekinetic abilities, which were all, except one, appropriated from mainstream Hollywood cinema. Each clip is a montage of a different film. The clips are all shown simultaneously, their original sound removed, as was their original pigmentation. Instead each clip for its duration was coloured either blue, yellow, red, violet or green. The colours moved from one clip to the next in a random sequence. After each clip had run its course. Silence was intercepted by a soundtrack of rhythmic drumming, both of equal length. The colours had a cycle that ran in time with the soundtracks. This cycle of sound, silence and change of colour brought in a performative element into the work. A kind of simple narrative subtlety played out and hinted at in front of the viewer. When presented at Tate Modern, seating was provided in the centre of the room which, in strictly formal terms, added to the ambience of the exhibition room and made it appear to be more like a screening room or small cinema where concentration is aided by the surroundings. I want to show how all these formal elements are inextricably linked with as well as aid the content and meaning of the work. I will go on to compare the formal elements of the work with other artists who use video linked with pop culture or appropriated more mainstream film within their art practice. One major element at stake within the work is how artworks are actually experienced by an audience.
Pete Inkpen

Psi Girls (1999) is a video installation comprising five floor to ceiling projections and a loud soundtrack made by an uncredited percussive gospel choir, whose rhythmic handclapping is central to the work. There is great pleasure to be had in a warm, dark, empty space, listening to beautiful music. But it can also be disturbing: the use of other people’s music may go beyond legitimate appropriation and sometimes threatens to contribute disproportionately to the artist’s work. Hiller trained as an anthropologist, and her art practice often involves the appropriation of ‘cultural artefacts’. The fact that she is an anthropologist may be something about which it is doubtful she should boast - Psi Girls in some ways is like a good pop promo, but one in which the name of the band remains unknown.

The work comprises edits from five feature films, screened simultaneously, each of which last two minutes. They hop sideways on completion, giving a dynamic motion to the space in a syncopated, angry dance of giant moving images. Each monochrome film is tinted a retro colour - sick disco green or naff perspex pink - a sort of groovy disco hell of sub-genre Hollywood imagery. The movies reach a crescendo with the driving rhythm of the unnamed musicians; a raising of the pulse that peaks excitedly and effectively but which is then wiped out in a searing blast of cruel white noise, only to start again. Overall, the effect is powerful: strong, young and rock and roll.

The orderings and reorderings in the work are appropriate as a reflection of Hiller’s interest in collecting, a subject she has made work about before. Psi Girls is itself a collection of thematically classified images, arranged and randomly rearranged in an exercise of power and ownership. Collecting is, of course, as much about the empowerment of the collector over the external world as it is about pleasure in the intrinsic worth of the collected subject. A great deal of the subject of Psi Girls then, is the schemata of the work juxtaposed with its ostensible subject: parapsychology.

Psi phenomena are those aspects of the mind claimed by parapsychology to be beyond normal perceptual processes, such as telepathy and clairvoyance. They function partly in this work as Hiller’s metaphor for art making. The five film edits are of young females who employ telekinetic skills (making objects move by use of the mind alone) to disrupt the world. A number of pubescent schoolgirls watch as a classmate derails a moving toy train with her mind; a glass travels the length of a table to break, as a child rests her head on the table’s surface; an attractive college student balances a pencil on its point, prior to its crashing; a child, wired up by authoritarian ‘mad scientists’, ignites remote objects to the alarm of the now panicking, foolish males; and another child commands physical objects from the adult world to move at her remote command, in a gross disorder of the possible.

All share a similar conclusion at the end of their two minutes: disorder or damage effected by the young females to the physical world, in contradistinction to their usual disempowered status. Hiller’s protagonists defy certain fearful aspects of power relations, such as those between the physical and mental worlds; adult and childhood sexualities; male and female; old and young; and art, artist and viewer.

Between these categories writhe many other possible discourses, but about which Hiller provides no real theory, making these discourses less privileged relative to the overall work than first appear - as if they vigorously rattle the bars of their theoretical cages but can only escape into their neighbour’s cage. Hiller abdicates responsibility at the point at which her ideas threaten to become literal - a strategic exit which provides an imaginative space for the viewer, but one which could also be read as a relieved cop out.

Although Psi Girls has panache, it is severe: the reordering of the images and their abrupt severance effected with austere perfection and an impatient authoritarianism. And, despite lacking authorial pronouncement, it seems to contain a creeping, unspoken judgmentalism. While excitingly rich, allusive and spine-tingling, it is also seethingly angry, disordering and destructive - of itself as well - forcing unbounded energies to collide with each other in a wilful compression of anarchies.
Neal Brown 

Susan Hiller - Spazio Culturale Antonio Ratti (ex-Chiesa di San Francesco) - 14 July/8 September 2011 from Fondazione Antonio Ratti on Vimeo.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Jutta Koether - Seasons and Sacraments @ DCA, Fun A Day @ Roseangle Café 08.02.13 - pictures

To the DCA this evening for the opening of Jutta Koether's new Poussin-inspired show with associated artist's talk. Then at Roseangle Café was the opening of Fun A Day, with a mighty roster of 34 artists all exhibiting their daily creative doings. I took a few photos and here they are:

The name of the show is Seasons and Sacraments

The Seasons I, 2012

Jutta Koether with The Seasons III, 2012

 Jutta Koether holds forth

Marriage, 2012-13

Confirmation, 2013

Ordination, 2012-13

Ordination, 2012-13

Baptism, 2012-13

 The name of the show is Fun A Day

Rachael Disbury - It was January in the (new) year, 2013

Abigail Bai Kie - Meet 31

 Matthew Randle - LOCH FUN

Mary Beth Quigley - Creatures