11 influential bits from Tate Liverpool

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.

Paul Rosana Reclining 1974.

Felicty Rainne Reclining, 1972 Oil on Canvas 42.5” x 60” (107.3 x 152.4 cm) Private Collection, New York

二 Eikoh Hosoe’s Man and Woman This too was spotted in the gift shop – it punched me in the eye as I leafed through one of Hosoe’s photography books.

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:

‘Sophie Brzeska’, 1913

九 Valie Export’s Action Pants: Genital Panic, just look:

(single image) Action Pants, 1969

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.