Vincent Van Gogh -“Skull with Cigarette”(1886)
This image was made just prior to the beginning of the 19th century; however it demonstrates a starting point for the shifting trend in skulls and skeletons in art that we will explore. Van Gogh painted this work while studying figures from life models at the Academy of Art in Antwerp. The students were at the time learning in the academic tradition, which relied heavily on the classical examples and practices of ancient Rome and Greece. Because Van Gogh did not agree with this form of painting, this image was most likely meant as a joking mockery of the academic practice.
Boss-eyed girl with crucifix.
2nd floor corridor, West End Hotel. Nice, France, March 2013.
If you’re interested in painting, Bonnard’s house is here in Le Cannet. Picasso worked at Antibes, Matisse further down the coast at Nice… They say it’s the light, the special quality of quartz in the Permian rock.
p.103, Super Cannes, JG Ballard.
It’s true, there is something special about the light on the Cote d’Azur - a shimmering sandy orangeness. Too bad this time round I had already decided on a night shoot. Next time…
According to the receipt used as a bookmark, I bought Super Cannes at 10:23pm, 12th June 2002 at Waterstone’s Booksellers, Terminal 1 Airside, Manchester Airport. I was on my way to New York (courtesy of a free flight) to buy my first big digital camera, a 5MP Minolta DiMAGE 7i.
Gerhard Richter, Selbstportrait, (1996). 56cm x 46cm, oil on canvas. Catalogue Raisonné: 836-2
Albrecht Dürer, The Rhinoceros (1515)
Christies New York, Sale 2778, Lot 50, 29 January 2013.
Estimate: $100,000 - $150,000
Dürer never saw a rhinoceros. And yet his Rhinoceros served as the model for illustrations of the species as late as the end of the 18th Century. Here’s the story:
In May 1515, a rhinoceros, the first seen in Europe since antiquity, arrived in Lisbon as a gift from Sultan Muzafar of Cambay, to Emanuel I, King of Portugal. Emanuel intended to present the animal to Pope Leo X, but first a fight was arranged between it and an elephant. This was to verify the reports of classical writers that the rhinoceros would attack and kill the larger beast. The contest ended by default, as the elephant fled upon seeing its adversary. The rhinoceros was sent off to Rome, but its ship was wrecked in the Gulf of Genoa and the animal drowned. It had to be forwarded to the Pope stuffed.
Dürer never saw a rhinoceros in any form. He learned of it from a sketch and description sent by Valentin Ferdinand, a Moravian printer who had settled in Lisbon, to a friend in Nuremberg. Although the sketch has failed to survive, the inscription on the woodcut (at the top) is worded as if it were a literal transcription of the report sent from Lisbon:
‘In the year 1513 [sic] A.D., on May 1, there was brought to Emanuel of Lisbon, the great powerful king of Portugal, such a living animal from India. They call it a rhinoceros. It is represented here in its complete form. It has the color of a speckled turtle. And it is almost entirely covered by a thick shell. And in size it is like an elephant but lower on its legs, and almost invulnerable. It has a sharp strong horn on its nose, which it starts to sharpen whenever it is near stones. The stupid animal is the mortal enemy of the elephant. The elephant fears it terribly, because when they encounter, it runs with its head down between its front legs and fatally rips open the stomach of the elephant which is unable to protect itself. Because the animal is so well armed, the elephant cannot do anything to it. They also say that the rhinoceros is fast, lively and clever.’
Vladimir Tretchikoff, Chinese Girl (1952)
Bonham’s South African Art, Auction 20617, 20 March 2013.
Estimate: £300,000 - £500,000
Vladimir Tretchikoff’s original painting of the Chinese Girl, believed to be the world’s most reproduced print, is to go on sale in London as part of Bonhams’ South African art sale on 20 March.
Tretchikoff, who grew up in Russia, Harbin and Shanghai, eventually settled in South Africa in 1946 and painted the Chinese girl in Cape Town in 1952.
His model was Monika Sing-Lee, then 17, whom he spotted working at her uncle’s launderette in Sea Point, Cape Town.
Chen Yu, Bone and Wolf, Singapore January 2013 / Shiraz Randeria, shoot for Nowness.
Tomoko Konoike, Donning Animal Skins and Braided Glass (2011), Mixed media. Mizuma Gallery, Gillman Barracks.
1. René Magritte, The Bungler (1935) gouache on paper, at the National Galleries Scotland.
2. J.G.Ballard, You and Me and the Continuum (1966)
From the Ballard Concordance, an alphabetical list of all the principal words used in his novels and non-fiction work, with their immediate contexts (10 words before and after) searchable by word. Here: ‘Skull’ used 97 times.
Enjoying Barbican’s interactive Rain Room. The room-size shower senses your presence, and halts the water immediately above you, allowing you to walk through without getting wet.
Akane Koide, artist. Tokyo, October 2012, for Modern Weekly ‘Tokyo Youth story’.
Did a shoot with young artist group Chaos*Lounge, who work with collages and have a manifesto expounding 2010s’ art and critical of contemporary Japanese culture. Their base in East Tokyo was like their work, a mash-up of art books, paint, paper, and porn manga. They also have completed the interiors for three hotel rooms.
‘No Nukes Girl’, 1997. Yoshitomo Nara has provided a free hi-res version to download and print for demonstrations. We went to one Tokyo anti-nuke rally on Friday, shot and spoke to young protestors.
My shadow on Taro Shinoda’s ‘LRTT (Lunar Reflection Transmission Technique)’, 2007,
Telescope video (45min) at the Taka Ishii Gallery.