Tacita Dean: Antigone 1 – Where did I get the courage to put out my eyes?

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The following sketches, and the ones I’m going to put in the next three blog posts, were all drawn at lightening speed – just a few seconds each – trying to capture the thrill of seeing Tacita Dean’s film “Antigone” that was being shown at the Royal Academy in London. Screen shots – a moment in time.

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Footprints 1 – Following me around.

I can’t remember when or where I drew these footprints. I dug them out the other day, when looking for something else. A complete mystery, but obviously from somewhere.

It reminds me of the quote from Rodin in my previous blog “Walking with Rodin.” and I deliberately mis-quote him here: “It is not my Footprints in themselves that interests me, but rather the thought of where they have come from, and where they are going to.” Having unearthed them, they already seem to be following me around the house a bit. I’m wondering if they are about to disappear all by themselves behind a cupboard or something, and re-emerge again in 5 years time, to haunt me.

As to what animal it is – that I think must have come out of my imagination. Polar Bear, Mammoth, Yeti? Perhaps I will have to lie in wait, and see if the animal that produced them appears again.

They are not mine – I have ascertained that. Although I did draw them. Or did I?

Walking with Rodin.

When he was talking about his sculpture “The Walking Man,” Rodin comes up with the wonderful quote: “It is not my Walking Man in himself that interests me, but rather the thought of how far he has come, and how far he has yet to cover.”

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“The Burghers of Calais” being paraded before the public.

This quote I feel applies both to the recent British Museum exhibition “Rodin and the art of ancient Greece,” which examines the influence of the sculptures from antiquity, in particular the Parthenon, on Rodin, and also Rodin’s own philosophy that enjoyed the effect that time has on sculptures (the lack of limbs, heads and general knocks that they have taken over the millennia), and makes a feature of it in his own work.

The Elgin marbles in the British Museum never really grabbed my attention before, but this exhibition made me have a truly great respect and admiration for the sculpture created by Pheidias. The man was a genius in how he could transform and manipulate the cold hard and heavy marble into living flesh, and to make it look as if it weighed hardly anything.

090818 r2Apart from the drawing at the top of Rodin’s “The Burghers of Calais”, for which I found a convenient seat, it was too crowded in the exhibition to be able to draw anything comfortably, so I took myself off to the Parthenon Gallery within the British Museum to view the remnants that didn’t make it to the exhibition, and here I managed to draw this horses head, originally one of four that was pulling a god’s chariot from out of the waves.

 

Seeing “Red”.

We went to see the excellent play called “Red” by John Logan, on Friday evening, up in the West End. Set in Mark Rothko’s Bowery studio in Manhattan, during the late 1950’s, when he was in the process of creating the Seagram murals for the Four Seasons Restaurant. A project that was abandoned1959-60, with the Tate Gallery in London being the beneficiary of a decade or so later.

The play has just 2 actors, Alfred Molina as Rothko, and Alfred Enoch as his assistant, Ken, with no interval and intense dialogue (you have to admire the actors), the thought processes going on in the painters head are well developed with Ken being the innocent simple foil against the complexities of Rothko.

There is, at the end, just a hint that the tide had turned with Ken moving on, and Rothko in a slight mental knot which may have led to the pulling of the plug on the commission, and eventually into the drinking and depression that followed through the 1960’s.

This play has left me wanting to read and find out more on Rothko, and his thinking. Leaves me to say, thank you Jane for taking me.

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Waiting room at Charing Cross station.

Trying to understand deckchairs.

I’m sure that there are plenty of comedy acts about putting up deckchairs and failing. It seems to me an equally impossible job to draw them successfully. Perhaps I haven’t the patience.

230718 - Deckchairs 1In London’s Green Park (or “Brown Park”, or “Straw-coloured Park”, as the heat-wave seems to have repainted it) the deckchairs have already been put up for you, but as I was idly drinking my coffee, I could see a game of Cat and Mouse going on, as people dodged around trying to avoid paying the attendant with his ticket machine.

230718 - Deckchairs 3When you are trying to draw or paint them, the deckchairs always seem to have too many bits of wood, or frames, and does this interlock with this, or that? Do they go in front or behind the canvas seat?

And what about the stripes? Deckchairs always seem to be striped. Yet more lines to get entangled with when drawing! Always a mess, but fun to draw all the same.

230718 - Deckchairs 2Deckchairs are never that comfortable to sit in anyway I find, and there is always that fear of imminent collapse as you sink into one, and the difficulty of getting out in a hurry as the deckchair attendant draws near… –  “OK you win, here is you £2.80 for an hour…”

Personally, I prefer to sit or lay on the grass anyway. So much less hassle. I like the easy life, although I do think I need to set myself the challenge of drawing, or painting, deckchairs again sometime – keep going with my attempts until I can get the hang of it…

230718 - Deckchairs 4Not there yet!