Friday, October 28, 2011

Tate Modern

I may have already said this, but since I became a regular London visitor about a decade ago there have been some things I have intended to do eventually and others which I've never thought the need to do. Recently I was in London, possibly for the last time in a while, so I did some stuff I always meant to get around to. The poster child for this was walking on the Abbey Road crossing made famous on the Beatles' album cover.

I have to be honest and say that the Tate Modern art gallery never held any attraction to me. While I can swoon over Impressionist masterpieces at the Courtauld Institute (feel free to call me a Linkphilistine, or indeed a Palestine for comedic effect), my exposure to more modern art is limited enough that I still regard it as the Emperor's new clothes. I have come to love Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles at the National Gallery of Australia, but for the most part I just don't "get" modern art. I stop short of dismissing it out of hand (although I come close), rather I think of it like many other artforms that, perhaps to my detriment, I don't appreciate. I won't list the many and varied examples of expressions of the human spirit which elude me, for fear of being dismissed as totally lacking any artistic merit at all.

I won't apologise for the following, but I will say that the reason I ended up at the Tate Modern was that I wanted to let my daughters know that I had walked across the bridge that was blown up in Harry Potter 6 ("Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"). Its real name is the Millennium Bridge. Admittedly the other reason was purely to walk across such a controversial bridge - when it was first built there were all sorts of reports about it swaying alarmingly. However there I was crossing the "Harry Potter" bridge, so when I reached the southern bank of the Thames in front of the Tate Modern, it seemed silly not to go in.

I have to say that I am surprised I had not previously heard what a ridiculous design this building is. It's so bad that you almost feel like it was a deliberate attempt to keep out the plebs. However I eventually found a way to look at the art. I was suprised to see a Monet there, but that's neither here nor there. Here is the description of one piece of art that I captured on my iPhone. Stupidly I didn't take a photo of the actual painting, but I eventually found an image of it online.

"The Bigger Picture. Clyfford Still, 1953. Matthew Collings, painter and critic.

"The blue in this painting is full of differences.
"Ruffled and disturbed, it sometimes seems brilliant and full, sometimes dark, almost black. It's a shape but it also has shapes within it which gradually emerge - you can see a kind of vertical trawling shadowy form, indeterminate, like weather changing, or something passing by under water. When you register the other colour areas the whole arrangement snaps to, and the painting becomes much more flat. It has very little to it, but the effect is amazingly rich. The yellow creates a feeling of great distance. Nothing is careless, everything relates to everything else."

I'm sorry, but clearly Matthew Collings is a wanker. It's an almost entirely blue painting with tiny bits of other colours on top and bottom. But wait, there's more. Surely this is the wankiest description ever to accompany a painting (the same painting by the way, this time by the artist).

"Clyfford Still 1904 - 1980
"Born and worked USA

"Oil on canvas

"'My paintings have no titles because I do not wish them to be considered illustrations or pictorial puzzles', Still wrote. 'If properly made visible they speak for themselves.' In a letter discussing this work, he explained that the red at the lower edge was intended to contrast with and therefore emphasise the depths of the blue. He saw the yellow wedge at the top as 'a reassertion of the human context - a gesture of rejection of any authoritarian rationale or system of politico-dialectical dogma."

Since he refused to give titles to his works it took me even longer to find an online image of the piece.

The old saying is that if you can't find anything nice to say, don't say anything. In the spirit of that belief I won't say anything at all about this total load of bollocks that pretends to be art.

I mean really, "politico-dialectical dogma"? Anyone who takes that seriously deserves serious derision, pointing and laughing.

[I really wanted to use the expression f***ing b***s*** in this blog, but I'm much too polite to use words like that.]


Blogger Gordon said...

Lol - that looks like something my 9 year old drew on an iPad. (I had no idea he had such political awareness!)

3:14 AM  
Blogger Jude said...

I wonder what you'll write when you decide to really 'get your freak on'. :-)

2:11 PM  

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