So, I was at the salon, getting my gold foil in place for the summer, and leafing through Paula Reed’s Fifty Fashion Looks that Changed the 1970s, picking up inspiration for the future. I took some notes and lodged some thoughts – I really do love psychological and sociological analysis of fashion, and this book was full of it, plus this idol for future meditative purposes:
From the intro:
‘It doesn’t take a PhD in psychology to work out that the layers that defined fashion’s mainstream look all spoke in some way about protection. The short skirts over long skirts, the cropped sleeves over wrist length, the dresses with tabards and aprons, the piling on of patterns and textures: all were like a regression into a gentler past. Meanwhile, the glittering feather-trimmed wardrobes of the disco divas were pure escapism. And fashion remained in flamboyant denial until punk exploded into the aggression of the 1980s.’
Bill Gibb‘s shapes and patterns are nomadic luxe. He is cited here as having said, “Reality is so horrific these days that only escapism makes it bearable at times.”
Kansai Yamamoto‘s Bowie costuming is sublime:
Kenzo Takada. ‘Once asked why he didn’t design sexy, close-fitting clothes, he winced and said: “I couldn’t, I’m too shy.”‘
Photographer, Deborah Turbenville, and her melancholic scenarios. Reed says she ‘shows women who desire something more than men can give.’
And this quote on disco that cut my heart to shreds:
‘Disco had its detractors, of course. Punk scorned it, equating it with the cabaret culture of Weimar Germany for its ignorance of social ills and its escapism.’
But this page on Kate Bush made everything better:
My concentration is not functional today. Not functional. Still, here is the newest development in this FMP-plannin’ – I figure I will not have the time to animate a wide open plane, so my thinkin’ is that I’ll shrink the aspect down width-ways, see? Either that, or create some kind of intra-dimensional doorways for the dancers to slip in and out of. I still feel lacking a solid basic premise, but argue myself out of that corner hourly with real-life hip rotations.
Much more effort needed tomorrow.
一 Sylvia Sleigh I only spotted these beautiful, hairy nudes in gift shop on my way out. The luxuriant masses of hair in Sleigh’s paintings speak of a decadence too often rejected in the modern, flesh-gazing world.
三 Richard Hawkins’ Hajikata Twist
Featuring exciting turns of phrase from the translated notes of Eikoh Hosoe, such as ‘flowering epileptic pus’, and glimmers of magnificently strange painted artworks, including (四) Jean Dubuffet’s The Tree of Fluids:
五 Louise Bourgeois’ Topiary: The Art of Improving Nature – beautiful parallels drawn in this series between over-pruning/artificial enhancement and the destruction of the health of the whole organism in both plants and humans (particularly women):
六 The word ‘Gesamtkunstwerk‘, meaning ‘translated as total work of art, ideal work of art, universal artwork, synthesis of the arts, comprehensive artwork, all-embracing art form or total artwork… is a work of art that makes use of all or many art forms or strives to do so’
七 (Very important now) Len Lye’s Free Radicals. Stumbling on this piece in the way that I did had a profound effect on me. My preconceptions were shattered, I felt so full of potential, so new and fresh and filled with enthusiasm. Looking at it now, on the computer screen – on YouTube, no less – I can’t reclaim that feeling. The small, dark enclosure for the screening was essential to the power of the piece. The sudden, independent, and personal realisation of the perfect synchronicity between the audio and the visual while being fully immersed by both was a moving experience. Gaze upon it now anyway, it has made me certain my FMP needs to be a projected piece:
The attendant in the room also let me in on Lye’s motivation. He says Lye was on a mission to find out what makes us happy.
八 Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, a French sculptor and draughtsman. I quickly became a fan, caught by one of his more colourful pieces:
九 Valie Export’s Action Pants: Genital Panic, just look:
十 Robert Longo’s Sword of the Pig:
十一 Hélio Oiticica’s Tropicália, Penetrables PN 2 ‘Purity is a myth’ and PN 3 ‘Imagetical’ 1966-1967
This is something I would push anyone to go see, and don’t much fancy going into much detail on what this actually is, for the physical interaction with the piece is key to ‘Oiticica’s hope that this sense of engagement would spread to all areas of [the viewers’] lives’. One of the most entertaining and interesting pieces of art I have seen in a gallery – though I benefitted massively from the guidance of a fascinating gallery assistant. I thank her from the centre of my enriched soul.
These notes from ‘The Transformation of Eve’, by Robert Martensen (from a fantastically interesting book Sexual Knowledge, Sexual Science), prompted a swift leap into the craft of the 1-page zine. It kinda counts as my first contribution to the 24 Hour Zine Thing, too, but I guess the components of its conception had been brewing away for a good week before the act. The passage which sparked this zine’s inception was from a medieval French medical study called Secrets des dames, and reads thusly:
‘And whosoever were to take a hair from the pubis of a woman and mix it with the menses and then put it in a dung-heap, would at the end of the year find wicked venomous beasts.’
[I’VE JUST REALISED I SPELLED VENOMOUS WRONG IN MY NOTES AND THEREFORE THE ZINE – ASS!]
Nuts. Ah well, here’s how the layout went (gotta have some more fun with paper folds and flaps and all they might suggest):
And your fancy flappy poster to frame and hang in your boudoir: