9 Aug 2012

Madge Gill 'Myrninerest'

There is a major retrospective of the work by the visionary outsider artist, Madge Gill at The Nunnery in Bow, London till 16 August. Madge Gill (1882-1961) had no recognition in her lifetime - she was a spiritualist and created work through a spirit guide she called 'Myrninerest'. Many pieces include a female figure - possibly self portraits. She is included in Jean Dubuffet's Collection d'Art Brut in Lausanne, but most of her output is owned by Newham Council. Quite a few years back I bought a magical drawing by Madge - here it is.

3 Aug 2012

Machines of Man Ray and Duchamp

Man Ray's Object To Be Destroyed (1923) combines a metronome with a photograph of an eye.  He said: 'I had a metronome which I set going when I painted - like the pianist sets going when he starts playing - its ticking noise regulated the frequency and number of my brushstrokes. The faster it went, the faster I painted. A painter needs an audience, so I also clipped a photo of an eye to the metronome's swinging arm. One day I did not accept the metronome's verdict, the silence was unbearable and since I had called it, with a certain premonition, 'Object of Destruction', I smashed it to pieces.'  In 1920, Marcel Duchamp made an optical experiment with the help of Man Ray. Making use of the fact that the eye retains an image for a fraction of a second after it disappears, he built a motorized machine. Segments of a circle were painted on glass plates and mounted on an electrically operated metal axis. Apparently the experiment was not a success. The objects from these 'experiments' are at MOMA, New York