Saturday, 31 May 2014

On the Search for the Waters of Oblivion


I saw this great (1812) painting by British Romanticist John Martin, entitled Sadak in Search of the Waters of Oblivion, when I was at the Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM!) a few weeks ago. Sadak, who you can see clinging for dear life to the rock at the bottom of the painting, is a fictional character from a 1764 book by James Ridley, Two Tales of the Genii. Ridley published under the name 'Sir Charles Morell' and pretended to have translated the tale from Persian, although actually wrote it himself in English. It's good to see the painting at full scale. It's big and impressive, about 185 x 130 cm. The Saint Louis Art Museum store sells a t-shirt with just the detail of Sadak clinging to the rock, which I bought and am wearing as I write.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

On the Passage from Virgin to Bride

Duchamp's (1912) painting The Passage from Virgin to Bride (now at the MOMA in NYC) was one of his last paintings, the kind of art he would come to deride as 'retinal art'.

Although it is obviously very abstract, I think it actually looks fairly bride-like in miniature or from a distance, as this screen shot from Google search might make clear (I love the range of colors you get from doing a Google search for copies of 'the same image'):


 

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Thursday, 8 May 2014

On a Penchant for Activities in the Dada Vein



I appreciate Dutch performer Jaap Blonk's technologically-enhanced performance from memory of German Dadaist Kurt Schwitters'  nonsense poem Ursonate, which Schwitters developed over many years starting in 1925.


I also enjoy this description from the BBC website of Jaap Blonk:
    "His unfinished studies in physics, mathematics and musicology mainly created a penchant for activities in the Dada vein, as did several unsuccessful jobs in offices and other well organised [sic] systems."