and now for something completely different. back in the summer, the hyperbolic crochet coral reef made an appearance in the hayward and the royal festival hall. my photos of the stuff in the festival hall - they wouldn't allow photographs of the hayward stuff by the original creators, which seems strange for a collaborative all-join-in project. the crochet techniques are discussed on the website - definitely one for the grace knitting group! also for the modular altar pieces - give everone a knitted coral, and the altar is a fabric reef to put them on.
it's behaviourally interesting as much as anything, as so often with turbine hall installations. the insides of the crack look too fake for my liking, but it's amusing enough. you could lose a phone down there - presumably they have a way of cleaning stuff out, or maybe not - time will tell. adam suggested scattering LED toys that would twinkle in the depths. how about flyers? love notes? prayers? use the crack as a labyrinth path?
and i almost forgot, philippe kindelis was handing out his map of free bus routes in london ie the ones with bendy buses [note for non-londoners: it's notoriously easy to ride on these without paying]. he says he's working on a fake oyster card that will give you free travel on all buses.
the 'reveal' table by ku-designs is an instant classic - not bad for a first try
trekinetic's hi-tech wheelchairs make disability look cool
ernie bakker's spira coffee table gives spirographic form to your tablecloth doodles - and i like his other spirograph-derived products and the ker-plunk olive dispenser
lojo is another good emerging church seating solution
vaugh shannon have relatively mainstream but witty furniture - i especially like the cityscape table
mr jones watches are very witty [though you need good eyesight]. remember you will die...
my current smallritual.org menu colours are taken from a rug by susan absolon for kappa lambda rugs. unfortunately it isn't on their not-great website. me photographing the rug: "i need the colours for my website menus!" she looked nonplussed.
this week is london design week. to kick off i went to designersblock's new show illustrate, which is a show of young illustrators in a series of empty retail units in a [rather ugly] new development near emirates stadium. as ever with these things it was a mix of the wonderful, the useless and the obscene. my photos here.
was hugely inspired by if everybody had an ocean, the summer exhibition at tate st ives. it brings together a series of artworks around the arc of brian wilson's life and career, starting with LA pop art and surf culture, then a psychedlic phase, followed by introversion and withdrawal.
part one, 'surf city', is artworks that pick up on the immediate environment of 60s LA - joe goode's 1969 calendar 'LA artists in their cars'...
...russell crotty's surf diaries, ed ruscha's photos of gas stations and swimming pools in self-produced books. my notes: attention to the facts of life [but they had nice facts - sun, sea, surf, cars...] of course the cars are nicer to us. frank acceptance of technology/modernity
[crotty surf diaries, above - astonishing line diagrams of surf action] better than photographs - more evocative of movement and speed [surf photos are dominated by the blueness of the wave - crotty's art tells more about the action, gesture, line] raymond pettibon: pen/ink drawing of surfer on wave, caption 'they're good days, you know. the last days of man.'
part two, 'the warmth of the sun' - psychedelia. notes: ed ruscha 'nine swimming pools' - wilful cropping of pools - serial document the everyday built facts sister corita kent - great to see some of her prints for real - dayglo ink! could we be this bold/religious? her incorporation of song lyrics and advertising copy - she clearly didn't have a problem with copyright! no TMs or Rs either. is it OK when it's in art?
part three 'it's so sad to watch a sweet thing die' collapse and withdrawal.
notes: allen ruppersberg 'where's al?' - polaroids and cards with conversational fragments about the absent al. this made me laugh. it was the kind of thing daniel miller would do, and the captions would probably all be true for him too. samples:
she: was al in town when you left? he: no. i think he went to texas. she: yeah.
he: where's al? i have something for him. she: i don't know. what is it? he: an old porno book.
she: where's al? he: maybe he's in one of his anti-social moods. she: oh.
the exhibition catalogue is rather good - in the form of an LP cover with inserts. shame there isn't an LP as well - to contain the beach boys songs quoted in the galleries and played in the loggia outside.
spent saturday evening in antony gormley's exhibition blind light at the hayward. photos here and vids below - on my phone of course though i would have loved to photograph it properly. bear in mind i was keeping out of sight of the attendants.
first up is 'allotment II' - concrete cases derived from the bodily measurements of named individuals of a community in sweden. i held the phone in portrait format, and can't find a way of turning the thing upright - you'll have to turn your head or the screen.
second is my experience inside 'blind light' itself - a glass chamber filled with dense fog, brightly lit, so that the visibility is almost zero. the camera has averaged the brightness, the grey fog should really be bright white like a white computer screen. i could see far less than the camera - the people were never that visible to me - but this may have been my glasses!
i enjoyed the exhibition, but my enjoyment feels at odds with gormley's intentions. it's fun being lost in a maze of friendly concrete robots. it's fun groping about in the fog, and watching other people doing the same. space station is metal lego or a transformer. the matrices [no pictures possible] are clever and pretty and float about like astronauts. but fun or humour are never acknowledged in gormley's explanations. faced with 'mothers pride', most of us laugh and think "he ate his shape out of sliced bread!'. but the explanation is about survival of nuclear war. 'drawn' is apparently about spatial uncertainty, but most of us are thinking 'these figures are propped up on their willies!" does gormley feel that acknowledging its humour [as hirst would do] would undermine his work?
gormley's work is about the human body in space, to the point of monomania - it was disappointing to find that space station resolves itself into - you've guessed it - a giant body. the body casts are the least interesting works here. these are casts of gormley's own body, and he has a curiously generic body. it has no obvious disproportions - no fat arse or skinny legs. for a man in his fifties he is in good shape, and yet he is also not visibly toned. i wonder how middle-aged spread would have affected his art - a pot belly on those casts would certainly take them from abstract human to particular human. maybe gormley would not have used his body, or continued to use it, if it had 'characteristics'. maybe he wouldn't be happy exposing himself in that way. as it is, his self-exposure is curiously anonymous.
brian eno's '77 million paintings' installation is in the basement of selfridges until march. it's the visual equivalent of his koan music - a huge number of elements combined at random, changing slowly. although the change is constant and quite dramatic it's curiously hard to actually see it happening - one's eye moves over the whole installation, and by the time it returns to any one element the pattern has changed. if you stare fixedly at one piece you see it, but you also find that in general the elements combine in a way that makes sense all the time - there is no 'in-between states' time. photos here.