ON POETRY, WRITING AND RANDOM CULTURAL MATTERS

Sunday, 30 December 2012

New Year's Resolutions

If you resolve to do just one thing in 2013, let it be this - please buy more poetry books and I don't mean anthologies or dead white men, or worse, anthologies of dead white men, I mean new books by poets writing now, and read them and love them, and read them again and love them some more.

Poets need readers and readers need poets.

It's all very well going to poetry readings to be entertained for free, but please, oh lovely audience, please buy our books. You will not make us rich, my royalties pay for nothing more than my train fare to visit my publisher, but you will earn our undying love, keep the presses afloat and our art-form alive.

Nonsense in Oxford

Edward Lear's 200th Birthday exhibition at the Ashmolean was, to be honest, a bit of a disappointment. Not enough Nonsense! But then, the whole point was to show his wonderful illustrations of birds, which are breathtaking in their detail. I just wish there had been more of them. I was much less taken by his landscapes of Italy and Egypt (sketches, water colours and oils) as they are all a bit "Victorian Romanticism of the Orient" for me (see also Roberts, Holman Hunt, Dadd etc.) That's my fault though, not Lear's. He is a product of his time after all and had not read Said. However there is one brilliant oil of an eviscerated tower, which has given me ideas.

Ashmolean

I'd have welcomed much more Nonsense as there was precious little of the Owl and Pussycat and those bad Limericks, although hilariously a pin board was provided for visitors to write their own, with the same mixed results. This is not a poetic form that I ever want to dabble in. Someone remind me of that if ever I do.

Hurry if you want to take a peek, it's all over on 6 January. Also, if you want to see the brilliant Pre-Raphaelite paintings you're in for a disappointment as most of the best ones, especially the large canvases by Holman Hunt, Millais and Rosetti, and the Burne-Jones painted wardrobe are all in Tate Britain for a special exhibition, which I toyed with attending until I realised I'd be paying £14 to look at paintings from both museums I can see for nothing any other time.

http://www.ashmolean.org/exhibitions/

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Does my penis look small in this?

In her essay in the current (Winter 2012) edition of Poetry Review[1], Pascale Petit explains that for her there is still a difference between men and women’s writing. That old chestnut. I thought that was a first or second wave Western feminist debate that was long over, done, dusted, buried. I remember writing about it myself over twenty years ago.

There are a few points on which I specifically want to take issue with her. I disagree with the proposition that difference (if indeed there is any) comes from women’s ‘closer relationship with the body and its wonder, shock and messiness’. Not to doubt that women do indeed write from and of the body, there is plenty of that around, I do it myself, but it seems disingenuous to therefore imply that men do not, or worse that the male body is less wonderful, shocking and messy. Take this for example from Matthew Caley’s poem Upside Down:

                ‘Apparently Ezra Pound would lay at languorous angles on the inevitable chaise-longue
-          feet up, head down – believing as he did
that so prone his seminal fluid would flow from his testicles to his forehead, thus energising
the brain...’[2]

or Chris Meredith’s worrying visit to the doctor, You were right to come:

                ‘The body mottles
                like a foxed old book...

                Definitions blur.
               
                I become earth
                the ridge of me this mountain
                its lesions breathing poison into air.’[3]


Next is her implication that there are female subjects or themes, territory where men seldom tread. Granted men may not write too many poems about getting their hair done, but many write about other so-called ‘female’ concerns. For example take Michael Longley’s delight at the first visit of his grandson in The Leveret:

                ‘A bumpy approach in your father’s arms
                To the cottage where, all of one year ago,
                You were conceived, a fire-seed in the hearth...

Tomorrow I’ll introduce you to the sea
Little hoplite...’[4]

or Philip Gross’ far travelling Fantastia on a Theme from IKEA:

                ‘We could see ourselves in one, these half-a-rooms
                of dolls’-house lifestyle, life-sized (books on the shelves
                in Swedish)....

                ....us – the human dream...’[5]

And I have not had to hunt for these examples, they all come from recent books waiting to be properly shelved in my library. They are from contemporary writers I have read in the last year or so. They are current and now. Of course one could tit-for-tat this debate until one falls over with exhaustion. As Petit, in welcoming plurality, herself acknowledges, for many gender is not relevant to their craft. Here here.

Rather I propose something more profitable in potentially making such distinctions and which Petit starts to explore in the case of contemporary Chinese poetry: that is the relevance of the question outside the relative comforts of the West. I would certainly like to know more about and understand whether it is prescient in cultures and literary traditions where for, say, the mutilated, black-clothed woman, the notion of female equality might still be a sick joke. If someone could point me in the right direction on that, I’d be grateful.



[1] Pascale Petit, Do Women Poets Write Differently to Men? Poetry Review 102:4 Winter 2012 pg. 68 – 74.
[2] Matthew Caley, Apparently, Bloodaxe, 2010 pg. 46.
[3] Chistopher Meredith, Black Mountains: Poems and Images from the Bog-Mawnog Project, Mulfran Press, 2011 pg 19.
[4] Michael Longley, A Hundred Doors, Cape, 2011 pg.5.
[5] Philip Gross, The Water Table, Bloodaxe, 2009 pg 19.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Obituary - Dennis O'Driscoll

Today I learned with great sadness that Irish poet Dennis O'Driscoll has died. I heard him read but once. I met him but once, at Aldeburgh four years ago. It was late in the evening and the book stall was finally quiet enough for me to browse and decide where to invest some prize money I had won in a poetry competition. His huge book of conversations and discussions with Seamus Heaney, Stepping Stones, had not long come out. I decided on that. As I looked up to hand the book seller my hard won cash, there was Dennis. He signed it immediately, told me a little of its genesis and congratulated me on my writing. What a generous man. He will be much missed I'm sure.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Paris Lit Up Writing Workshop

The first workshop of 2013 will be on 6 January at 12h30 until 14h30 in the library at Shakespeare and Company. The theme is THE CITY and there will be lots of writing prompts and suggested exercises for writing about cities and their contested spaces. See you there!

More information here: http://parislitup.com/ai1ec_event/paris-lit-up-writing-workshop/?instance_id=165

Friday, 21 December 2012

Hair - Musee de Quai de Branly

A rather eclectic exhibition, meaning wide ranging and somewhat illogical, but nonetheless interesting. Of special note are the Nazca mummies, which I have never seen before and the shrunken heads. Not exactly for the faint hearted.

However the most shocking and moving things were the tonsuring of so-called women collaborators at the end of the war. I like to think they had done nothing more heinous than fallen in love. Capa's photographs were familiar, but the film footage was truly shocking: laughing crowds including children, women being beaten and one with blood running down her face where she had clearly been punched. Shameful stuff that needs to be seen.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Impressionism and Fashion - Musee D'Orsay

Of course, if you meant to see the Bohemian exhibition, this is not the right place to go. No matter. We enjoyed this one just as much, all the more for a two for one offer care of my visitor's Eurostar ticket . I shall watch out for that again. Amazingly no queue to speak of at 3pm on a Sunday.



So, Renoir(could have done without quite so much of him, but he is a pet hate of mine), Manet, Monet, Tissot et al,  mainly portraits, mostly the famous ones, and costumes - fantastic.

Apart from wondering whether all women in the nineteenth century were suffering from severe malnutrition or a surfeit of corsetry, it was great to see so many beautiful gowns. There are some fabulous blacked beaded numbers with amazing pin tucking and pleats that I could actually see myself wearing if, of course, I was suffering from malnutrition or a surfeit of corsetry.

Ideally the blue velvet and wool gown with a long pocket next to the bustle for a fan or parasol is clearly something that needs to come back into fashion immediately; so very useful for an ipod or whatever. Mostly I wanted to take home the cream silk parasol with black lace covering and several pairs of silk shoes. Another day...

http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/events/exhibitions/in-the-musee-dorsay/exhibitions-in-the-musee-dorsay/article/limpressionnisme-et-la-mode-30634.html?tx_ttnews[backPid]=254&cHash=91636ff9e2

Poetry News - Advent Poem

One of my tattoo poems appeared on the Poetry Advent Calendar here last Saturday 15 December:

http://poetryadventcalendar2.blogspot.com


Monday, 17 December 2012

Poetry News - Christmas Poem here

My Christmas cake poem appears on this site under today's date;

http://greatbritishbardoff.blogspot.co.uk/

Friday, 14 December 2012

Poetry News - Review of Cape Town

From today's Cape Times - super!:


Review - Kate Noakes - Cape Town

Anyone who has looked beyond Cape Town’s tourist traps will smile in recognition at these closely observed poems about the city and wider environs.
A five-month work stint in early 2011 proved a fruitful time for Welsh poet Kate Noakes, whose third collection this is.  Her subversive eye found rich resources in the place, its past and present politics, and life. 
Poems range from ‘a yard of silver’ snoek to the ‘Green and yellow blanket man’ begging aggressively in Long Street, from hadedas ‘plagued with smoker’s cough’ to quagga and zebra ‘bar-coded for its foals to find home’, from forced removals to fracking and HIV transmission.  Noakes employs a deft touch, vivid imagery and frequent humour.
This elegantly printed hardback is an empathetic, thought-provoking invitation to view our city with fresh eyes. 
Sarah Rowland Jones

Cape Times, Friday, December 14, 2012, p.32

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Poetry News - Review of Cape Town

A generous and very kind review of my new book, Cape Town, by the lovely Lesley Saunders is available here for your reading pleasure. Definitely cheered up my day.

http://toddswift.blogspot.fr/2012/11/guest-review-saunders-on-noakes.html

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Poetry News

Eighteen, a new poem of mine, appears in the latest edition of Prole (9).



Please go here to buy a copy of this great magazine http://www.prolebooks.co.uk/

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Paris Lit Up Writing Workshop

Paris Lit Up Writing Workshop

A drop-in workshop led by Kate Noakes on the first Sunday of every month at 12h30 - 14h30 in the Library at Shakespeare and Company. It is open to everyone, beginner to prize winner, and is designed to get you writing prose and poetry. Kate provides ideas and writing prompts on a theme each month. It is not a feedback workshop.

The first workshop for 2013 will be on 6 January.

Kate has an MPhil in Creative Writing from the University of Glamorgan, has published three books of poetry and has taught creative writing for Oxford University. She is presently working on a novel.  The workshop cost is 10 Euros. All you need to do is bring is writing equipment and something to lean on.

parislitup.com

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Poetry News

My poem Tattoo in Winter will appear on the Poetry Advent Calendar on 15 December. Why not visit everyday until New Year's Eve?      http://poetryadventcalendar2.blogspot.co.uk/













Friday, 30 November 2012

Paris Lit Up

New community site for all things literary in the anglophone scene in Paris: events, readings, publications, workshops, reportage and so on. Please visit parislitup.com regularly

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Graffiti Latest

No sooner had the hoarding gone up on Cafe Hugo this week (Place des Vosges, 4eme) than the street artists were out and about.

In particular Monsieur Chat paid a visit with this rather super cat and roses image - powerful, simple lines

and he left another new cat  just around the corner.



Other things appearing in the very near vicinity this week included this helpful reminder (N.B. Syria, Israel, Palestine).


Sunday, 18 November 2012

Twilight Breaking Dawn Part Two

All good things come to and end, eventually. So it's goodbye to bad acting, terrible wigs, too much white make-up, implausibly glittery vampires, new borns without voracious hunger (how does that work?), werewolves who somehow manage to transition back into human form already dressed in cut off denims (really, how does that work?), Taylor Lautner's six pack (pity), the house in the woods (want), the woods and the whole Cullen shebang.




As you can tell I have sometimes had trouble suspending my disbelief, but it was a sad day yesterday when the Twilight saga drew to a close. It's been an entertaining few years and there aren't that many films you can go to with your teenagers, or rather that your teenagers will let you tag along to. I will miss the silly, flawed plots and soppy teenage luv, but the value of several hours of escape from the serious world should not be underestimated, nor the power of the fabulous North West scenery. Adieu.

http://www.breakingdawn-themovie.com/

Saturday, 17 November 2012

English Language Bookshops in Paris - La Belle Hortense

Bit of a cheat this one, but they do have a shelf or two of English books, honestly.



What they have rather more of are decent bottles of wine. A lovely place to buy a book and settle down for a nice glass and a good read, all just ten minutes from my front door. I think I might start calling it the Mother ship for its perfect invention.

Get down to rue de Vielle Temple in the 4eme pronto if you want to sample its delights.


Two Door Cinema Club - Zenith

It's not often I go to a real big name band gig these days as I've been to hundreds and am partially, well a little bit, deaf as a result, but when I do I like to pick a good 'un.



Two Door Cinema Club are one of my current favourites for their ability to play a very tight tune. Their set last Thursday at Zenith in Paris was an almost perfect performance. They played for just over an hour, which as my companion noted is all one can expect from a band with only two albums to their name; The Cure they are not.

Still, these are two albums of stonking stuff. The new one, Beacon, is a must buy if you haven't already. And it is so, so much better to see them indoors than in a muddy field in Reading where I saw them last. Congrats on a great show boys.

http://twodoorcinemaclub.com/

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Le Foulard


Lucy Hopkins' current show, Le Foulard, which won the Prague Fringe Festival Creative Award this year, was in Paris for two performances this week. She has been touring it all over the UK this summer and early autumn and is heading off to Australia shortly. Lucky Aussies I say. If you are there, do not miss it.

Lucy has written and performs a one woman Art Show using four characters, or representing four different aspects of the self. It holds the perfect balance between wit and seriousness without descending too far into either. Lucy is a physical performer in that she uses her body to its fullest and it is a joy to watch her move. She also has a voice lovely and versatile enough to sing and more or less simultaneously translate La Vie en Rose.

Le Foulard is scarf in French and she cleverly uses a huge cape-sized one to signal the character changes, some at break-neck speed. This is a simple device that works most effectively enhancing the sense of movement on stage.

My favourite part of the show is her interpretation of Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive in a thick Eastern European accent. Hilarious!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Graffiti Latest



Early graffiti by the prisoners in Chateau Vincennes -lit and preserved now for its historical importance.


How might current work be considered in three hundred years?

Friday, 2 November 2012

Hopper, The Grand Palais

Calling all Night Hawks. This is a must see before January.



An extremely well curated exhibition taking its time to show his influences, especially those in Paris, of course, before letting one lose on his journeyman work (magazine frontispieces), etchings and water colours, interspersed with massive projections of black and white film of early twentieth century New York and photographs by diCoria showing Hopper's own influence on contemporary artists.

The reward for all this is in the final room where most of his well known paintings (like Night Hawks, above) are generously hung. The final work in the show is Sun in an Empty Room ,which sums up the ennui of city life where the most important things are a night cap and a woman sitting alone at a window sewing.

A great retrospective and worth every cent of the 12 Euro entrance fee. Be warned though, either book in advance on line or be prepared to stand in a queue for hours, literally. If you want to get in by 10.30am, you 'll need to be to be in line by 8.30am. I kid you not. He is that popular here. Enjoy. I certainly did.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Islamic Art Galleries, The Louvre

Opened by Francois Hollande on 18 September, the new galleries are seriously well worth a visit.


Candelabra beaten from a single sheet of metal


Arranged chronologically, the art works are mainly ceramics, glass, metalwork and calligraphy on all kinds of surfaces. I love art that is basically a celebration of the word.



There is an impressive selection of mediaeval Persian carpets and the mosaic tiles are all fab.



Moghul jewelry and jewel-encrusted daggers could have found their way home in my pocket, along with the odd sanctuary lamp, rock crystal ewer and lustre-glazed bowl.




Worth the price of admission to the Museum alone. Try to pick a less crowded day - public holidays are probably not the best choice.

Frankenweenie, Tim Burton

Opened yesterday in Paris, the latest animation from Tim Burton is a triumph: part-pastiche, mostly lovable if the gothic is your thing. And it is mine.


Inspired by a strangely Vincent Price looking science teacher, Vincent revivifies his dog Sparky. Unfortunately his less well-intentioned class-mates try to imitate him with disastrous results (giant rampaging tortoise/godzilla, weird cat/bat creature and so on).

Set in the same kind of anonymous black and white American suburbia as Edward Scizzorhands, this was the perfect Hallowe'en treat as we are in a city where the night of tricks is not really celebrated.

Five stars all round. Excellent. Go see, no need to take a child.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Cape Town News

Many thanks to Charlotte Chase for the mention of my recent London launch here: http://www.charlottechase.co.uk/tag/non-fiction/

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Graffiti Latest

New work by Konny Steding. Her gallery show is currently at Galerie Moretti & Moretti, 6, Cour Berard, Paris 75004 until early November.

I love this Sid Vicious portrait - it beings back memories of my youth.





Saturday, 13 October 2012

Poetry News - Cape Town London Launch

A little snippet from the launch of Cape Town in London this week for your viewing pleasure - more on Monday in Paris:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FYaemnrxtM&feature=plc






Graffiti Latest





Variations on a squid

Friday, 12 October 2012

Poetry News

Another of my tattoo poems for your reading pleasure on Ink Sweat + Tears:

http://www.inksweatandtears.co.uk/pages/?s=kate++noakes

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Poetry News

Links to two interviews I have given lately:

http://sidekickbooks.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/resurrecting-quagga-interview-with-kate.html

http://www.laurelzuckerman.com/2012/09/kate-noakes-poet-talks-with-lisa-burkitt-about-writing-inspiration-and-working-cash-jobs.html

Graffiti Latest


From the Goutte d'Or in the 18eme (the other side of Montmatre):
 mother and child, twice


 and the front of the Theatre Lavois  Moderne 
(now under threat of closure, boo) 
painted by Sick Boy and others.


Sunday, 7 October 2012

Graffiti Latest


Ghosts of Paris - Jerome Mesnager
 
from walls in the 5eme to Art Jingle in the 4eme - 
off the street into the gallery...





Monday, 1 October 2012

Poetry News

Nice article on me here if you'd like to read it!

http://www.laurelzuckerman.com/2012/09/kate-noakes-poet-talks-with-lisa-burkitt-about-writing-inspiration-and-working-cash-jobs.html

Saturday, 22 September 2012

The Dark Film - Paul Farley

Another great outing from Paul Farley. This collection starts with a terrific poem on writing - The Power- and continues in this vein. I especially enjoyed the controlled non-nostalgia of his boyhood poems like Quality Street and Newts. As he says at the end of A Thousand Lines 'I will not write nostalgic poems/I will put these things out of mind.' He does this very successfully indeed. Highly recommended.

The Dark Film




Friday, 21 September 2012

Alternative Paris - Street Art Tours

As part of Unstrung Letters' new season of events, on Wednesday night this week, we were treated to a short Street Art Tour in the 11eme from the guys who run Alternative Paris.



As readers of this blog will know, I am especially interested in all forms of street art and graffiti and have been photographing it all over the world for the last several years.  See above by Invader. So, a super evening as far as I was concerned and I learned a lot about styles and the artists. I am now seeing ignorant style everywhere.

If you are don't know what that is, but want to find out - take a tour. Check them out here: http://alternativeparis.org/ or follow on facebook.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Poetry Reading - Paris

Please come to a reading on 27 September at L'Atelier de Vertus, 6, rue de Vertus, 3eme at 19h30. Jason McGimsey and I will be reading work on the theme of Passion and Revolt. See you there!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Graffiti Project latest

From my summer holidays in Crete - a little bit of indignation, a little bit of hope in Heraklion.



Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Poetry Reading - Paris

I will be reading for Poets' Live next Tuesday evening, 11 September, at 7pm, at Carr's pub in the 1eme (1 rue Mont Thabor). Please come and listen to me, David Barnes and Gary Storrey.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Poetry News

Hirundine, the opening poem of my collection, Cape Town, will appear in the next edition of Sitegeist, a journal of psychoanalysis; edition 8 of which is devoted to poetry and psychoanalysis. Details here for those interested in this sort of thing:http://www.the-site.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=38&Itemid=52

Monday, 13 August 2012

Poetry News

A new poem from my forthcoming book I-spy and Shanty will appear in the next edition of South magazine this autumn. The good thing about South is that submissions are selected anonymously, so everyone is in with the same chance of being published. It's all about the work. You can check it out here and order a copy, if you were kind and so minded:
http://www.southpoetry.org/

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Cinema en plein air, Parc de la Villette

The season for sitting in a park at night watching a movie on a giant inflatable screen is upon us. I made it to the Parc de la Villette this week, as finally the weather is being kind, to see Looking for Eric, which is a bitter sweet offering from Ken Loach that I seemed to have missed when it came out in 2009.

It was odd though listening to the French reaction to a film in which the English worship of Eric Cantona plays a central role. Great company and it is only a pity it goes on late for a school night.

You can see the rest of the programme here:http://www.villette.com/fr/agenda/Cinema-en-plein-air-2012.htm

Go early and picnic, but if you take chairs, be courteous and sit towards the back. It's free by the way.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Jane Austen House Museum, Chawton

We set off  on a sunny day, but no sooner had we traversed a few miles of country than the most audacious rainstorm caught us quite unprepared...



Luckily it's the 21st century and we were in our van not a chaise. I hadn't been to Chawton for years until yesterday and what a delight. The garden was looking fabulous and the house was freshly painted with new rooms open. The holy grail that is Jane's writing desk is now behind perspex, but is being faded by the sun streaming in from the front window. Her patchwork quilt is carefully behind glass and in a dark back bedroom, so hopefully it will last.



Chawton is a picture postcard village with thatched houses and a lovely manor. We avoided Cassandra' Cup themed tea rooms to picnic in the park across the road, not exactly Box Hill, but the English countryside on a summer's day while the nation was indoors watching the Olympics, perfect.

http://www.jane-austens-house-museum.org.uk/

Friday, 3 August 2012

Poetry News

I am thrilled to be one of 108 poets from around the world to be included in the Rhino Poetry Anthology which will be published in South Africa later this year. It is shocking that hundreds of rhino are killed for their horns every year to supply the Chinese medicine trade. I am glad to be in such good company to raise funds to prevent these attacks on one of the world's most endangered animals.

Please buy a copy of the anthology when it appeasrs. More information on this project from the noble Harry Owen here: http://rhinoanthology.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/appeal-for-sponsors-do-you-know-someone-who-can-help/

Black rhino

Friday, 20 July 2012

Jenny Saville, Modern Art, Oxford

I remembered her vast fleshy canvasses from Sensation in the late 90s, so it was fascinating to see how her work has matured. Still vast, still fleshy. The wateriness of the eyes struck me especially today. New work includes movement drawings of mother and client directly referencing da Vinci and others. There are two of these drawings hung in the Renaissance galleries in the Ashmolean as well this summer. Great idea and we enjoyed those two and the sort of mini art trail through Oxford to see them.




Terrific stuff and I am so glad we made the effort to get there today.  My personal favourite was the central panel from her Atonement studies, a self-portrait as a blind woman, the eyes liquid like moonstone. Unbelievably it's her first solo show. Brilliant and free. Go soon, it's on until 16 September.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Poetry News


I am the featured poet in the current edition of Envoi, June 2012, which has six of my tattoo poems - the project I have been working on for the last year.

You can buy a copy of one of the longest running UK poetry magazines, now in its 53rd year, for a very reasonable five pounds and fifty pennies here: http://www.cinnamonpress.com/online-shop/envoi-poetry/

Super, even if I do say so myself!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Pompiers' fundraising

The Paris Fire department have been following the marketing strategy of Abercrombie and Fitch this week i.e. find all the very best looking and gorgeous pompiers in your employ and send them out to sell tombola tickets to women leaving their offices in La Defense. Worked for me - I'll have two, thanks. Now if I can just win the prize... but quite where I would park a Renault Twingo I'm not sure.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Kim Moore - If we could speak like wolves

If We Could Speak Like Wolves

Kim's pamphlet is out now from Smith Doorstop. For a dose of doing it different up north, check her out. It's a varied collection of the bucolic and quirkiness of the everyday. Her poems are in the Lakes and by the sea, but also the bedroom and pub. Super.

Go here to buy a copy http://www.poetrybusiness.co.uk/shop/details/583/Prizes/Poetry-Business-Competition-Winner/If-We-Could-Speak-Like-Wolves-Kim-Moore

Gerhard Richter, Pompidou Centre


I tried, honestly I did, but I simply didn't enjoy this one. Now in Paris after London and Berlin, Panorama is a survey exhibition of his work since 1962 (when he destroyed all previous work) starting with his paintings from photographs (as in the portrait of his daughter, above).

I think my single biggest problem is that I found his abstract painting building up paint in layers generally unappealing for to its colour palate - yellow and green are just not for me.  Only one of these did I enjoy - Forest - which was mainly blues. I've been wondering about why this is. What makes the brain favour one set of hues over others? How does this get wired in? Answers on a postcard please.

Grey is a key colour for Richter and there is a whole room dedicated to such, but it lacks conviction for me being neither light (white) or its absence (black). The purpose of the huge mirror and most of the glass pieces either baffled me or struck me a pretty banal. At least the kids had fun making faces.

The series entitled 18 October 1977 about the Bader Meinhof was interesting and I do say yes to the triptych of Ulrike Meinhof portraits from newspaper photographs. Other political work includes a portrait of his Nazi uncle and a surprising small painting of September 2001. The chromatic pieces are OK, but not exactly ground breaking. 

The most recent work is from 2010, Aladin, a series of six paintings on glass which was for me the best in the show. Go if you must spend 13 Euros (gasp). It's on until 26 September. 

http://www.gerhard-richter.com/

http://www.centrepompidou.fr/Pompidou/Manifs.nsf/AllExpositions/685A3BA543D440FFC125795F0049FA85?OpenDocument&sessionM=2.2.1&L=1

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Leopold Museum, Vienna

If you are in the Austrian capital this summer, make sure you see the Klimt exhibition at the Leopold Museum. As well as some lovely paintings (landscapes and figurative work including the fabulous gold knight) and many of his personal effects, it has over 400 postcards written to his girlfriend in his scribbly script. Some are domestic and everyday, others are genius. I wonder what the equivalent will be today - I can't see 400 emails being printed out exhibited a hundred years hence, but by then perhaps everything will be on line, searchable and infinitely available and the art gallery and museum quaint curiosities inhabited by strange beings who actually want to go out into the physical world.

The museum houses the largest collection of Schiele's work too. Many of the paintings were totally new to me and if you like his style, they are brilliant. He produced an incredibly large body of work for someone who died aged 28. Plus unlike in the Klimt I was able to take some shots - enjoy the mourning woman, nude, self-portrait and washing line.