Artistic Devices: Hockney in London 2017

I was working at Chelsea School of Art in Pimlico recently and took the opportunity, after a meeting about a prospective TV programme, to nick into Tate Britain which is directly opposite and see the David Hockney exhibition.

To mark the occasion of this major retrospective, entertaining if a little rammed, I’d like to dig out my Hockney Picture of the Month, Portrait Surrounded by Artistic Devices, which is in the show of course.

Portrait Surrounded by Artistic Devices - David Hockney

Portrait Surrounded by Artistic Devices (1965)

And to add an extra something to celebrate the exhibition I’d like to highlight some other artistic devices in evidence in this show. For the significance of ‘artistic devices’ I’ll quote from my earlier post:

The person portrayed is partly obscured by a pile of (obviously painted) cylinders. Above his head is a shelf on which are a selection of large brushstrokes. The cylinders are crude 3D representations, obvious devices or techniques, which stand out as abstract in a still figurative world of suits and rugs and shelves. The shelf is just a 2D line. The strokes on the shelf are more flat, abstract components of painting, exposing the technique and undermining the illusion. The pile of cylinders is actually painted on a sheet of paper glued to the canvas to leave the viewer in no doubt as to the artifice, physical materiality and flatness of the endeavour.

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Sunbather (1964) – water devices (although it’s complicated – Hockney had painted lines on his pool floor)

A Bigger Splash 1967 by David Hockney

A Bigger Splash (1967) – plant devices & more water devices

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Henry Geldzahler and Christopher Scott (1969) – glass devices

Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy 1970-1 by David Hockney born 1937

Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy (1970-1) – carpet devices

Coincidence No. 399 – Dictators

14/4/17 Screening of Charlie Chaplin’s ‘The Great Dictator’ at The Barbican cinema, London to mark his birthday (16/4/1889):

Herring (based on Hermann Göring):

We’ve just discovered the most wonderful poison gas. It will kill everybody…

Adenoid Hynkel (based on Adolf Hitler, birthday 20/4/1889):

All right. Later.

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11/4/17 President Trump’s Press Secretary Sean Spicer at his regular press briefing at the White House compared Adolf Hitler to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad

Sean Spicer (based on Josef Goebbels and/or a buffoon):

We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War Two. You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.

If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.

Adolf Hitler

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Chaplin and Hitler were born the same year, same month, same week.

While Hitler celebrated his fiftieth birthday in April 1939, backing and speaking at the largest military parade in history,  Chaplin celebrated his birthday working on the script of ‘The Great Dictator’ which included a huge military parade and an extended sequence of a ranting dictator’s speech.

Both Chaplin’s Tramp and Hitler’s dictatorial scamp wore a toothbrush moustache.

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Coincidence No. 398 – dreamlife

I am in a cafe in Kentish Town with a Syrian refugee film-maker. We discuss my helping her get some job shadowing type work experience. I offer to contact a colleague at a particular documentary company. Within 60 seconds an alert comes up on my phone lying on the table indicating an incoming email from the boss of that very company.

We have been talking about dreams, half-dreaming, out of body experiences and premonitions. I mentioned my interest in coincidences in this regard – the unexplained, the patterns behind the surface world.

I suggest the best way to make a film of this film-maker’s dream-like experiences (which is her ambition) is through animation and a viable way of creating those animations might be by collaborating with students or graduates of the National Film & Television School. We talk about her recent interaction with the Head of the Film School and that he wasn’t feeling well the day they talked. Within 60 seconds an alert comes up on my phone lying on the table indicating an incoming email about the boss of that very institution who is stepping down from his role after 14 years.

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Strength

I love this photo from the news this week

 

Saffiyah Khan

Brummie Saffiyah Khan takes on the EDL mentality

Typographical London

On my flannage around London yesterday I decided to play a little photographic game – inspired by the Z (as in Ritz). These were gathered between Moorgate and Piccadilly, via St Paul’s and Temple. Can you recognise where any of these come from?

A to FG to LM to RS to XY to Z

Coincidence No. 397 – quintuplets

4/4/17

I fall asleep with the radio on and half-wake up in the middle of the night to a story on Up All Night (BBC Radio 5) where Rhod Sharp is interviewing a Canadian about his efforts to preserve the house where the first ever surviving quintuplets, the Dionne quintuplets, were brought up. I’d never heard of them.

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The Dionne quintuplets 1938

Later that day I’m reading my book group book, ‘It Can’t Happen Here’ by Sinclair Lewis. On p.73 I read: “…upon the impossible occasion of Bishop Cannon’s setting fire to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, kidnaping the Dionne quintuplets, and eloping with Greta Garbo in a stolen tank.”

The Casting Game No. 132

Harvey Keitel and Don Galloway (of ‘The Big Chill’ fame) take turns and tag one another as Joel McCrea in Hitchcock’s ‘Foreign Correspondent’ (1940)

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Joel McCrea (centre) as John Jones aka Huntley Haverstock

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Harvey Keitel plays John Jones

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Don Galloway plays Huntley Haverstock

Coincidence No. 396 – Telegraph

This is just a small one (but I liked it).

I go to the Telegraph’s offices for a meeting in Victoria.

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My Alter LEgo at the Telegraph’s offices, Victoria

I reflect on how different these slick new offices (two floors of a modern office building) must be from the grand old days in Fleet Street and their own building.

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Old Daily Telegraph building at 135-141 Fleet Street

I walk from the Telegraph meeting across St James’s Park to an evening gathering of scriptwriters in a basement club. When I pop to the Gents above the urinal is an old Daily Telegraph 1D ad on enamelled metal. Not a huge coincidence but a nice little throwaway one.

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This one was auctioned in Jan 2016 in Wiltshire

Coincidence No. 395 – Kilts

Saturday 1st April

I’m walking into Saracen’s stadium at Allianz Park, North London for the Sarries V Glasgow Warriors European rugby fixture. As we walk past a kilted Scotsman the Enfants Terribles are discussing the origins of Kilts and the younger one (who is always full of useless facts) talks about how it is actually an Irish invention.

The next evening I’m watching Hitchcock’s ‘Foreign Correspondent’ with Enfant Terrible No. 1 when the main character grabs a military type at a drinks and asks him, as a distraction and to get rid of a fellow guest who is in his way, to explain the origins of the Kilt to this in-the-way Latvian.

So the question of the origin of the Kilt twice in two days.

– Excuse me. I beg your pardon, sir. I have a Latvian friend here… who’s particularly interested in the origin of the kilt. I wonder if you’d be interested in talking to him. He’s a lovely fellow.

– It’s a most amazing story. You see, the Greeks, in the early period, they used to wear a kilt…

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(1940)

Coincidence No. 394 – DRG TCB

16/3/17

I am at a meeting in BAFTA with an old colleague of mine. He mentions his films are distributed by a company called DRG. I said I think I met a bloke from there a couple of years ago at a documentary festival in La Rochelle. It was the company name with three letters which made me make the connection. (We had dinner together in a group one evening, nice fella, but I haven’t seen or thought about him since.)

About an hour later, thirty feet from that spot, I go to the loo and bump into that very man. It’s turns out his company is not DRG but TCB.

So two years on, based on an incorrect connection, the same man is in the same place. Now that’s what I call a Coincidence (No. 394)!

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