Sunday, 15 November 2009

So it's grey, well so are my favourite cities

Yesterday I went to Tate Liverpool to see Joyous Machines: Michael Landy and Jean Tinguely. It was such an engaging exhibition, I don't think anyone could fail to be fascinated by Tinguely's work. Although most of his pieces were created from scrap objects, he manages to bring so much beauty to them:

Michael Landy with Jean Tinguely's Automatic Drawing Machine: M├ęta-matic No.17, 1959 (Painted iron wood, paper)

Michael Landy created his own responses to Tinguely's famous self-destructive sculpture "Homage to New York" (a rambling beast which destroyed itself in 1960 in MOMA's sculpture garden) by creating images which were made by drawing in masking fluid on black paper, before scratching into the masking fluid. It was a technique I had never really considered and which I definitely want to try. Some of his drawings were very beautiful. Some of his drawings I thought were a bit too busy, but I think that is probably the point when drawing a rambling machine like Homage to New York:

Aspects of the documentary he made about Homage were amusing; a list took us through the chronology of the sculpture - it played 3 ominous notes of a piano over and over, it turned on a radio before sawing the playing radio in half, it blew up balloons, it was connected together with 80 spinning bicycle wheels, it had a "child" (called The Suicide Buggy) which banged a drum of paint and ran away half way through, attempting to drown itself in the pond of the sculpture garden, and when Homage reached a certain point the whole thing exploded coins, gunpowder and bad smells (and the smell of a roasting joint of lamb thought to be inside the piano). So this was an artwork that catered to all the senses!

The suicide buggy, one of the few things to survive from the wreckage of Homage, due to its failed suicide attempt

I really e
njoyed this exhibition. It had less of the formality of a lot of exhibitions. Movement is so engaging because it really captures the imagination of the viewer. There is an aspect of "what happens next?" or "how is it connected together?" or just a fascination with how something so appealing was all put together using objects that are so familiar to us.

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