This is a continuation of my series “African Memories”. I post it now on the occasion of tomorrow’s solar eclipse which made me think of the eclipse of february 16, 1980. Northern Tanzania was an ideal place to witness the event and we just happened to be there. I took some pictures but because I had no tripod, they weren’t very good. But like the other pictures in this series, they were altered by time and water damage. Some of the changes just happened, some were caused by me on purpose.
These are low resolution copies of high resolution (1200 dpi) scans. To appreciate them fully you should see them in high resolution. Below are some details of the pictures above. See if you can match them.
An eclipse lasts only a couple of minutes. A short moment which, over time, becomes a strange memory, evoking unfathomable spatial events. Memory is what this series is about. I will continue the series in the near future. Follow this blog, if you want to see more…
War (and my revulsion of it) is a recurring theme in my art. Below some recent examples.
“Give us war!” (2016)
In this I combined painting with a world war I photograph.
Doomsday Machine (2017)
Mixed media on a found objects assemblage, 28 inches high, 18 ” wide, 9″ deep.
Mixed media on found canvases. 18″ by 48 inches.
Battlefield (close up)
Feed the vultures and hyanas (2017)
A combination of painting, own photograph and photographs of the US civil war.
Forgotten Warrior (1) (2017)
Forgotten Warrior (2) (2017)
The two images above combine painting with photographs I took of decaying mannekins in a “Forgotten Vietnam Warriors Monument” in southern New Jersey.
Sic Transit (2016)
This is a fragment of an enamel plate on a grave I photographed in Italy.
Other works on the theme of War can be found in previous posts on this blog such as HERE.
Triptych #2 (closed) 2017
mixed media on wood 25 by 16 by 3 inches.
Triptych #2 (open)
Triptych #2 middle panel
(In a previous life this was a dart board in a bar)
Untitled (Gold Coast) 2017
Mixed media on found canvas. 20 by 20 inches.
Come Together 2017
Mixed media on found canvas. 28 by 24 inches
Come Together (close up)
I admire very much the work of Mark Bradford, which occupies the US pavilion at the Venice biennal this year. Like a great composer finds the right notes, Bradford virtuously plays with colors and lines . Like me, he often uses found material. Like me, he often combines collage and painting; we use some similar techniques. Only, he does it better. Certainly more monumentally, spectacularly, successfully. Bradford’s work achieves an exquisite tactile sensually that reminds me of some of the work of Tapies, Burri and Kiefer.
An interesting take on Bradford and the ‘art world’s reaction to him, is the following article by a fellow artist-blogger. His name is Eric Wayne. I’m not (yet) a fan of his art, but I find his comments on the ‘art world’ often to the point.
The Belgian pavilion is also worth seeing, showcasing the photographer Dirk Braeckman.
Although I agree with Eric Wayne that it’s a mistake to reduce an artist’s work to a political statement, I do think Braeckman’s pictures are subversive. They resist the concept of time that rules us, the fetishization of speed. He shows us that another, slower, deeper way of looking at our world is possible.
I can’t believe this is only my first post of this year; I intent to make up for that. There’s a lot I want to show. I’ll start with three new pieces.
“ART” Oil on canvas, wooden frame (16 by 18 inches)
This work contains an original painting by Adolf Hitler, portraying a snug little harbor. It was probably made in 1917 or 1918 and is signed by the famous monster hero. In the clouds, we see stock quotes, symbolizing the rising value of this commodity. The text on the frame is a dialogue:
“Do you think it has any value?”
“I don’t know. The frame looks kind of nice.”
“I bet in China they make those for next to nothing.”
“But have you seen the signature?”
“OMG! Could it be…a real Hitler?”
(Actually, the text was a bit shortened to fit on the frame). Many thanks to my friend Malachi McCormick who did the calligraphy.
SHIP WRECK Mixed media (18 by 15 inches, 5” deep).
This work is an exact copy of a detail of a sculptural installation by Damien Hirst in Venice. I hired Italian craftsmen (their names are unimportant) to make it and they did such a good job that it’s virtually indistinguishable from the original. And yet it’s different, for the few who can see it. This is called “appropriation art”.
“STORIES OF THE STREET” Mixed media on found paper and wood (20 by 23 inches, 3” deep)
Wood and coral from the beach, poster and other paper from city streets. In this work too, various copyrights were violated.
Here are some more distorted memories of Africa. As usual, you can click on the image to see it larger, then you also see the title (although in most cases, it’s a provisional one). I still have a lot more astonishing water-damaged pics so there will be a part 3, but not this year. So I take the occasion to wish all my art-loving friends happy end-of-year moments, and, for everybody, a better year than this one. May the ghosts of the past that were unleashed in 2016 return to the dustbin of history. Let’s drink to solidarity, that it may win over fear.
Not long before we came to America, we traveled in Tanzania. When, much later, I looked at a photo-album of that trip, I discovered that several of the pictures had suffered serious water damage.
Others may have been dismayed at seeing this, but I was delighted. What the water had done, was beautiful. If you have followed this blog, you know that I find pleasure in incorporating natural processes, chemical transformations that require the passage of time, in my art. Time, memory, serendipity, the metabolism between humans and nature, are my constant themes. In those inadvertendly altered souvenirs, I found them united.
Of course, I played with them. Adding layers, incorporating some painting and external images including in one some dried rose leafs. Tripping in Memory Lane.
This is part one.
These images are low resolution, but they exist in high resolution of which I sell archival prints (send me an email if you’re interested) which show a lot more detail. For example, here’s a detail of “After the kill” (the 6th pic above) :
I hope to post part 2 soon. Happy holidays…