Wednesday, 24 November 2010

À bout de souffle...

Breathless 1960
Jean-Luc Godard

A recent University study has concluded that we spend 46.8% of our waking hours daydreaming. Godard's 'Breathless' is the onscreen equivalent to those glorious moments of distraction. Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo spend most of the film lazing around in clouds of cigerette smoke and unmade beds, occasionally meandering along noisy French boulevards. The hand-held arriflex camera used to shoot the sequences makes the images seem lilting and hazy, sometimes uncertain but always romantic. She's gorgeous, he thinks he's Humphrey Bogart, they're on the run from the police. It's only in the final sequences that the dreaming comes to an end...and Michel's Parisien life and American girlfriend retreat to the smokey apartment, leaving him to face cruel interrogation alone. Sadly, I don't think I could carry off a pixie crop...even in a daydream, but next time my mind starts to wander I'll definately be trying on a pair of those capri pants.

Have a gander at the US Study into daydreaming here:

Friday, 5 November 2010

Red Light 'Dirk'-strict

German artist Dirk Stewen caught my eye this week, his work is melancholic but strangely soothing at the same time. His assemblages consist of old photos, grainy photocopies, watercolour and ink...often tied together with strands of thread which flit through the collages.

The young artist says that the range of colour he uses is inspired by the red-light district of Hamburg where he lives and works.  But instead of neon lights and seedy decor, his palette is more if the image is watered down or fading from sight. His highly visual environment undoubtedly influences his constructions. In the first piece below the combination of angular lines and fluid watercolour shapes hints at the female form being constrained or framed (think windows...) This notion is mirrored in the adjacent image, where a leaf is tied tightly to the leg of a chair. Something natural is attached to a harder, solid entity. Nature is constrained, like a woman peering out from a window, or glass box.  The second work also hints at the erotic, with the inky black hat alluding to sexual aggression  and fetishism.

'A thing or two'

from 'Droplets'

'Bronx Monkey II'
Thankfully, Bronx Monkey can't be explained by erotic means, but the grainy photocopy with its spangled threaded edge is tentative, delicate and a little bit kitsch. Stewen compares his work to decorations at a party, 'they look gorgeous at the beginning of the evening, but fade fast'. I think he might be selling himself a little bit short, I can't stop looking.  

Thursday, 4 November 2010


A few bits from Paris...