Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Strike the Empire Back, exhibitions at Tate Modern

At the Tate for a workshop on how to talk about your work, run by Emerge and Shape. info here Very useful, I took a brief look in some of the galleries and at Michael Rakowitz's exhibition, Strike the Empire Back.
The exhibition posed the influence of science fiction on the American and Iraqi military, especially Star wars. Michael Rakowitz took the symbol of the arch, crossed swords, used in Iraq and made his own arch in the gallery the swords are now light sabers and helmets at the base are cast in resin with components from action men. Review here.

Rakowitz writes that In 1995, Saddam Hussein's son Uday presented his father with a prototype helmet that was an exact replica of Darth Vader's, for the Fedayeen Saddam,( a paramilitary organization responsible for assassinations and intimidation.)

After the fall of Baghdad in 2003 paintings by Science fiction illustrators were apparantly found in Saddam's palaces, including the poster for the 1980 Star Wars sequel.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Billy Childish at the ICA

I went to see the exhibition of Billy Childish's work at the ICA last week. Info on the exhibition here. I didn't know too much about him apart from the fact he lived in Chatham and wrote poetry and music and was a bit of a punk. It was good to see some of his work, artists books, paintings, prints, videos and poetry.
A good article about Billy Childish here.

" you also walk up the sides of trees,
your tiny feet stepping close
to the wings of moth"
from Divine Conception 2007

I enjoyed the thickness of the paint applied directly on linen canvas, paintings of boats from the river Medway, and the figure of Robert Walser, who was found in a field close to the asylum where he had been staying for some years. Walser has been an influence on Billy Childish's work, especially his writing.
The combination of sketches and photographs in some of his artists books gave me an idea for similar combinations. There was also one of his mother's pots in one painting and outside on the ICA desk, they were very interesting and I thought I'd see if she exhibited them herself.

For Woman's Day and signs of Spring.

I have been thinking about a series of images and texts for Woman's Day and experimenting with spray painting and printing some paper.

The series is called True Romance, this is the first piece that looks at the issue of equal pay for woman. I was surprised to find that equal pay was first enshrined in the 1950s and to see the discrepancy that there still is especially in part time work.
It amounts to another huge tax on woman's earnings.

Out and about over the last few days it seems that tentative signs of Spring are finally emerging. It has been a long and cold winter this year and the daffodils are still not out fully here in London. In St James park the crocus were just out and daffodils just starting to flower. There were quite a few people out in the park and seagulls , ducks and geese on the water.