“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Bigging up the Bigger Picture.

About the time that I suppose the cops and the bailiffs were turning up for their final briefing before the St Paul's eviction I was safely tucked up on the sofa watching the Hockney and Marr Show on BBC2. Hockney is always good value for money and very easy to listen to. Which is more than can be said for the fawning creep Andrew Marr. The program was designed to showcase Hockney's Bigger Picture exhibition at the RA. Not that I would have thought it needed any more publicity because regardless of what critics like that archetypal spiteful old queen Brian Sewel may think about it, the punters are climbing over each other to get in. But as I say, Hockney is good value, talks a good painting if nothing else and in truth seems to have matured into quite an amiable old cove. What really made me sit up and listen was his views on the importance of actually producing the works himself rather than directing a team of underlings as is the practice of Hirst and Emin. I can't see anything wrong with having a team of people create a big work of art, it's been a practice from renaissance times and probably back to cave paintings, but at least give credit where it is due. If the work is the product of a collective why not say so. It's rather like hearing that so and so is building a house round the corner. No they are fucking not. Builders will build the house. The Union Pacific Railroad that opened up the American West was not built by the Union Pacific board of directors but by countless unnamed Chinese labourers and, strange to say, The Shard is not actually being built by the consortium of Quatari suits who are putting up the money. Whatever we think of David Hockney's politics or his interpretation of the Yorkshire landscape, and personally I have my doubts about both, his honesty and his pride in craftsmanship are surely to be admired.


Jemmy Hope said...

"Who built Thebes of the seven gates?
In the books you will find the names of kings.
Did the kings haul up the lumps of rock?
And Babylon, many times demolished
Who raised it up so many times? In what houses
of gold-glittering Lima did the builders live?
Where, the evening that the Wall of China was finished
Did the masons go? Great Rome
Is full of triumphal arches. Who erected them? Over whom
Did the Caesars triumph? Had Byzantium, much praised in song
Only palaces for its inhabitants? Even in fabled Atlantis
The night the ocean engulfed it
The drowning still bawled for their slaves."

(Part of) "Questions from a Worker Who Reads" by Bretholt Brecht

henry said...

Hockney's interest/fascination with craftsmanship, and "how did they do that", did lead him to round up - with some great examples and experiments - the longheld suspicion that perspective wasn't invented by the great masters but observed when western europe imported indian/chinese mirrors and lenses. A very astute old geezer, last of the heavy smokers and deserving of a better interviewer than that useless (on everything he does)Marr.