Saturday, 31 December 2011

10 Reasons to love Pipilotti Rist at the Hayward

1. She's got a cool name - Pipilotti Rist was born Elisabeth Charlotte Rist in Grabs, Switzerland, in 1962. As a teenager she renamed herself Pipilotti in honour of Pippi Longstocking, the fearless, funny and uninhibited heroine of Astrid Lindgren’s children’s books *

2. Her work has a sense of wonder - By combining videos with everyday objects, she changes their nature and imbues the most ordinary events or objects with a sense of wonder *

3. She uses technology in intriguing ways - She integrates video projectors and screens in unexpected things and places: tiny monitors are hidden in handbags or displayed on a gigantic lettuce, projectors are placed in a watering-can and a hanging saucepan, and a book, a vase and a chair are all used as projection surfaces *

4. Her work is personal but is something that everyone can relate to - She believes that the objects that surround us contain memories and have stories to tell. She has progressively redefined the relationship between audience and art work, creating all-enveloping visual environments that place particular importance on the viewer *

5. She creates a parallel world and invites you into it - "When I close my eyes, my imagination roams free. In the same way I want to create spaces for video art that rethink the very nature of the medium itself. I want to discover new ways of configuring the world, both the world outside and the world within" *

6. Her work is psychedelic - She fuses dazzling colour, sensual images and mesmerising music to create immersive video installations in which the visitors themselves become important elements *

7. Her work is playful - She studied graphic design in Vienna, where she made Super-8 animation films, created stage sets for bands and did a lot of drawing. Deciding that she wanted to work with moving images, she returned to Switzerland to study video in Basel *

8. She loves music - Her first video work, I’m Not The Girl Who Misses Much, was made there in 1986 while she was still a student. Soon afterwards, she began working as a freelance video technician and joined the folk-punk band and performance group Les Reines Prochaines *

9. Her work is sensual in a 'nice' way - At no point is the content ever sordid, only ever a sensual exploration of the female and male form - Ann-Marie Rayney, Artists Insight

10. She presents a personal feminist viewpoint - Her works seem like necessary, important counters to a more mainstream image of women's bodies in film – an exploration of looking, spying, glimpsing - Laura McLean-Ferris, the Independent

Quotes marked with an asterisk above are taken or adapted from the Hayward Eyeball Massage website. The site also carries a lot of background information and a number of videos, including this taste of the exhibition:

And an interview with Pipilotti Rist:

If you want to read an excellent 'proper' review of Pipilotti Rist's exhibition see Adrian Searle's piece in the Guardian. And then go and see it (until January 8th).

Happiness is a Warm Gun features in Rist's I'm not the Girl who Misses Much 1986 installation (which is part of this exhibition). Here are some Beatle mixes that keen fans may enjoy: The left channel mix with unused Tuba overdub; the control monitor mix; the opal organ mix; and, of course, the original:

Finally, a Happy New Year to everyone - To finish up, here's a fun New Year's Eve game to play (courtesy of Mondo Blogo - click for more pics):

Far out, man ...

Friday, 30 December 2011

Boxing Day swimmers in Teignmouth 2011

The good weather encouraged a record turnout of swimmers and onlookers at Teignmouth on Monday for the annual Boxing Day dip in aid of the RNLI. Here are a few photos of those brave enough to take part:

... and Boxing Day in Teignmouth on the way to The Ship and home ...

... and the Ness:

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Arcade Fire, Bowie, Flaming Lips, Coasting & more

Haven't really had time to do any proper blogging this week but here are a few tracks and videos that are worth a listen or look:

First up, on M’Lady’s Records of Brooklyn, a new album titled You're Never Going Back (click to listen) by Coasting. According to Pop'stache they are the "lo-fi duo with appassionato and gusto. Composed of guitarist Madison Farmer and drummer Fiona Campbell, the New Zealand-based pair incorporate both the pep of a glockenspiel with a fuzzed overtone of a classic atmospheric guitar riff that has a Built to Spill feel to it." Or to put it another way: Grrl power meets punk meets the White Stripes. Their potential is probably best shown on the final track of the album - Delusions of Grandeur - which moves beyond the basic approach of the other tracks.

Erin K and Tash ("a fun-fuelled world of horseheads, cupcakes, rats, sex dolls and nursery rhymes" according to the Barfly reviewer) have been getting a few plays of this Suzanne Vega soundalike track on the radio, and the video is pretty good.

Arcade Fire have been around for a while. This track: Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) also has a great video and the tune combines Catatonia with 70s Electropop ... There is also an interactive version at Sprawl II (dance activated if you're feeling energetic - webcam needed).

Talking of Arcade Fire, David Bowie did his Gilbert & George/ Antony Newley/ Truman Capote impression at Fashion Rocks in 2005, and he performed two songs with the Canadians: Wake Up (from Funeral), and Five Years (from Ziggy Stardust).

This, however, is Life on Mars (from Hunky Dory), with Mike Garson on piano. Garson made a unique contribution to Bowie's Aladdin Sane, giving the song an avant garde jazz feel with lengthy and sometimes atonal piano solos (Wikipedia) and has subsequently maintained an ongoing musical relationship with Bowie.

All three tracks were released on iTunes (click for better sound). The video quality could be better but it is good to see the great man still belting them out some 30 years after the last time I saw him at Earls Court.

Ziggy and the Spiders from Mars

The Flaming Lips - one of my favourite bands - also did a cover of Life on Mars but, better still, here is a very young-looking Wayne Coyne and the band doing She Don't Use Jelly on Letterman in 1995 - watch out for Wayne's photos and other stuff on Twitter and see also my previous post about the Lips performing live with Weezer in July 2011.

And so, finally - Have a good Xmas everyone - See you in the New Year ...

Merry Xmas!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Catching Up: Pipilotti Rist, Frank Stella, Postmodernism, Gerhard Richter and more ...

Life has been busy recently and I've been to more exhibitions/gigs than usual - so I'm afraid that the blog has got a little behind.  This is the first step in clearing the backlog and bringing the blog up to date.

Frank Stella - from Connections at Haunch & Venison

Sadly, several of the exhibitions I've seen are now finished, including: the excellent Frank Stella - Connections at the Haunch & Venison; the British Art Show 7 - In the Days of the Comet at Plymouth; the Fishstock festival at Brixham; and Steeleye Span - the Now We Are Six tour at Babbacombe. I'll post a few photos & stuff from these soon, but the real point of this post is to recommend some stuff that you can still get out to see over the next few weeks before they finish - stuff which, IMHO, should not be missed.

Postmodern Grace Jones

At the V&A there is Postmodernism: Style and Subversion (to 15 January) - an exhibition which shows the impact of postmodernism on popular culture as well as on architecture and design; at the Hayward, Pipilotti Rist has put together a great quirky and psychedelic show Eyeball Massage (to 8 January); at Somerset House, Twenty Years of Dazed and Confused (to 29 January - free) picks over some highlights from the magazine's history; and at Tate Modern, Gerhard Richter - Panorama  (to 8 January) shows why this artist is so impressive. These are all well worth going to see.  

See my updated posts: 10 Reasons to love Pipilotti Rist at the Hayward and 5 Reasons to catch 'Postmodernism' at the V&A.

Others which are still running include the Power of Making at the V&A (to 2 January) - this is free and can be fitted in alongside a visit to the Postmodernism show; John Martin - Apocalypse, at Tate Great Britain (to 15 January) - this one is interesting but I wouldn't say overly compelling; and the Indiscipline of Painting - international abstraction from the 1960s to now, at Tate St Ives, which I found a bit disappointing, but nevertheless worth a look at just six quid ...

Hyena Stomp 1962 by Frank Stella
from the Indiscipline of Painting at Tate St Ives

Here are some more upcoming events and stuff that may interest you:

The Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery (RAAM) in Exeter finally reopened this month after a long closure for refurbishment. There are three exhibitions which can be seen in the new galleries: Early British Photographs from the Royal Collection; French and British paintings from Impressionism to the early 1920s; and The Road to Rome - Artists and Travellers on the Grand Tour. In addition RAMM has commissioned a piece called Ghostwriter from Blast Theory - an artist group using interactive media - which can be accessed and interacted with by visitors as they enter the museum. Blast Theory are also exhibiting more extensively at Exeter Spacex until 18 February.

The Museum of Everything is having a two week sale until the 22nd December. This includes The Catalogue of Everything from exhibition #1 for £10 - which is good value, compared with £180 for the Books of Everything covering exhibitions #1 to #4. For £10 you get 20 12"x17" pages with descriptions of, and colour illustrations by, many of the contributors to exhibition #1, including a large section on Henry Darger.

Henry Darger

Folk - Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin's full back catalogue is now available for downloading. This includes Phillip's first solo album, About Time (2005), Live at Bath University (2009), and The School of Trobar - Love Songs and Trance Hymns (2007). These cost £6 - £8 each. Hard copies of Singing the Bones and Live in the Living Room are also available.

Finally, Stargazy Pie - a festive group show by the New Street Artists co-operative - is on in the (smallish) third room at the New Street Gallery in Penzance until the 23rd December. Worth a look if you are in Penzance.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Museum of Everything at Selfridges

The Museum of Everything exhibition #4 has only a few days left at Selfridges in Oxford Street.

A few days ago I finally got to take a look at what's on show. The store has given over all their Oxford Street windows to the Museum and each window has large scale models of works from the exhibition. A selection of window photos - snapped between Oxford Street shoppers - are shown below:

The exhibition space is in the basement - the Ultralounge - and is smaller than I expected (smaller than suggested by the extent of the window displays). Nevertheless the Museum has packed in over 400 pieces of work.

Tomoyuki Shinki - Incurve, Japan

Previous Museum of Everything exhibitions have contained Outsider Art, but the art has been by recognised artists (to a greater or lesser extent). The best known of these has probably been Peter Blake and material from the former Walter Potter Museum (see previous post on this). Exhibition #4, however, features work from people with developmental and other disabilities from across the world. In the words of the Museum itself it is "Britain's first and only museum for the unintentional, untrained & unknown artists of our modern age".

George Wilson - Creative Growth Art Center, USA

In addition to the work itself there is a lot of interesting background information available in the exhibition about the artists and the studio workshops where they are based.

William Scott - Creative Growth, USA

The exhibition is fascinating and has attracted a large number of visitors - although it has also attracted some criticism, notably from Adrian Searle in the Guardian. It is true that it does feel a bit uncomfortable being critical of some of the work (it's not all brilliant) because the artists are not professionals and are, in fact, disadvantaged in some way or other. However, the great majority of it is as good as the work of 'regular artists' and much of it is considerably more interesting.

Jeroen Pomp - Galerie Atelier Herenplaats, Netherlands

If there is a theme, it is that of the obsessive/compulsive - one that all art-lovers and collectors can easily relate to. You can view some of the exhibition works digitally here - but it's not really a substitute for seeing the show, which has a wider range, including a significant number of sculpted and made objects (the images reproduced here are from the digital museum).

Daniel Green - Creativity Explored, USA

Marianne Schipaanboord - Atelier De Kaai, Netherlands

In addition to the exhibition itself there is a Museum shop containing some rather expensive mementos and the equally expensive books of exhibitions #1 to #4. It seems churlish to criticise but, as a registered charity, you do wonder about their marketing strategy - and why is there no entry charge? However, you can view and buy Museum merchandise online at the Shop of Everything - it's in a good cause.

All in all, however, a great exhibition - And now we can look forward to #5 ...

The last day of the exhibition is 25th October.