Posts Tagged ‘London’

London Street Art Prepares for “The Thousands”

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

The blind flaneur needs to figure out how to get to London for this. via RJ Rushmore at Vandalog:

The street art exhibition I announced last week finally has a name: The Thousands. It also has a special blog where you can find regular updates about how well (or poorly) the whole event is going along with plenty of teaser images. Go there now to see some examples of the work that will be on view at The Thousands.

… The name The Thousands comes in part from a short fable by Daniel Alarcón which was published in McSweeney’s #28. I see the story of “The Thousands” in street art all the time. Around the world there are thousands of anonymous and semi-anonymous people and artists working outside the restrictions of government and/or the art establishment to create something that cannot be understood by those authorities. And this exhibition highlights the best of those thousands so that the art establishment will hopefully begin to understand and appreciate these artists. So that’s why it’s called The Thousands.

The Thousands will be open from November 18th through the 22nd of November at Village Underground in London (54 Holywell Lane, London, EC2A 3PQ).

Tracey Emin: Those Who Suffer Love

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

The work takes on an existence of its own … Emin at the White Cube Gallery. Photograph: [Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images/Guardian]

Guardian art critic Jonathan Jones reviews Those Who Suffer Love and concludes that
Tracey Emin is far from a narcissist because her depictions of sex and suffering draw on “honest truth”:

It’s as if Egon Schiele had collaborated with Thomas Edison to create the world’s first dirty film. Blue drawings flicker in the dark, or not the dark really, for a neon sign gives the entire space a green tint. Like Schiele’s women, the woman in this cartoon shows us everything, but the title – proclaimed by the neon sign – says this isn’t about sex, it’s about pain: it is called Those Who Suffer Love. The oscillation from drawing to drawing gives it a primitive, raw energy. The handmade quality gives it authenticity. The passion gives it life.

Downstairs in Tracey Emin’s exhibition at the White Cube Gallery, drawings from the sequence in the film can be seen among other examples of her graphic works going back to the 1980s. Emin draws with an honesty that only a snob would mistake for clumsiness. Her total lack of pretence is accompanied by a rich and sensitive knowledge of art: she knows that drawing is more than design, more than a shorthand for ideas, that it has a tangible existence of its own.

Her White Cube show celebrates the publication of her collected drawings. A negative view would be difficult to sustain – it’s an extreme and prissy understanding of drawing that would suggest Emin can’t draw or is only a pasticheur.

There’s a broken, smudged integrity to Emin’s drawings. It’s a powerful achievement to have so ably projected herself as a personality in the modern imagination and yet all the time be so firmly wedded to craft, to making. With a pen or a needle, Emin draws. I suppose the realities of the sex, love and loneliness she depicts are repetitive, but only in the way Munch or Klimt or Picasso are.

Emin is one of the most truthful artists of our century and one of the most substantial. She has never succumbed to the folly of the monumental or turned yesterday’s ideas into today’s merchandise. On the contrary, she always seems to explore new territory, even as she obsesses about the same old things. It’s the thread of drawing that allows Emin to be so artistically vital. If you draw, you work and if you work, you make something that’s not just you.

So here is the paradox: Emin is one of the least narcissistic artists of our time. She pretends it’s all about her; actually it’s all about the art. And the art lives – an autonomous, flickering ecstasy.

I’d never heard off Tracey Emin until a chance encounter with raccoons several days ago. Now I’m intrigued by how she navigates the boundaries between narcissism, documentation and transcendence. I’m adding One Thousand Drawings to my wish list.