Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Bognor Artists Have Been Reading This Week for my website for the Jesus on the Tube image and story for the A Graceful Death exhibition, paintings from the end of life.  Go to this link to donate and find out about the A Graceful Death, the Film.  See our video explaining what we are doing, and be part of the team help us to raise the funds to make the film brilliant.

Bognor Artists Have Been Reading This Week

 We have been resting lately, we Artists in Bognor.  I say "Artists" and mean this loosely.  If I was being specific, I would say "Artist".  There is, as far as I know, only me in any of these movements.  I have named some associates, but they don't know about it.  They are not aware that they have been linked to the Bognor Art Revolutions as they happen from week to week.  For example, the Artist Friend in Middleton.  Well, she is a very good artist indeed and doesn't suffer fools gladly.  So far, she suffers me happily, but I dont want to alarm her and tell her she has been linked with - as I recall - Bognor Impressionists.  I may become a Fool and she will Stop Suffering Me At All.   The maths tutor in Barnham, who has been standing in for the maths side of things in the Bognor Renaissance, has no idea that I am even an artist.  It is best that he remains in his world of Algebra and Equations as he may not like the idea of representing the whole of Maths for an entire movement that he probably has no time for.  (The Bognor Renaissance).  He is very nice and it is in my interests that he represents our Bognor Renaissance without his knowledge.  We never found an architect, come to think about it.  There are lots of Barrett homes being built in Bognor at the moment, so maybe that can represent architecture in a rather vague way.  I am sure they are very intelligent and can tell us about Architraves and Doric Columns if we asked them.

As for Angst and Surrealism, Bognor doesn't need me to start an Art Movement to introduce them.  There are plenty of Angst ridden folk around here.  The word, if you remember, means Fear and Anxiety in Dutch, Danish, Norwegian and German.  And Bognor.  There is much deep seated spiritual fear and insecurity in the free human being along the high street here, and sometimes along the seafront too.  Very evident at closing time.  Which brings me to the Bognor Fishermen who have been representing, quite without their knowledge, the idea of Pre Raphaelite Bognor.  I did say that they ranged, in our paintings, in the pubs along the Bognor Seafront, from Sentimental Fishermen to Maudlin Fishermen to Pie Eyed Fishermen.  There is the wonderful idea of painting a Pre Raff masterpiece of real life along the shores of Biblical Galilee using the Bognor Pier and any number of Fishing Folk from the Bars alongside it.  There will be a moral in the painting, we will have to decide what it is.  Victorians liked morals, and this Bognor Pre Raff movement needs to decide whether we have moved on from that kind of stuff or not.

Surrealism was great fun.  We needed to sleep a lot to get our ideas.  I am still working on that.

Our Dada movement was singular in that we had a Supreme Leader.  My old friend Gair Dunlop was given the job, and at least was informed that that was his role.  Whether he wanted it or not was not considered necessary.  Gair, if you recall, was a member of that profound movement, the Aberdeen Dadaists, in about 1980ish in Aberdeen.  It was formed of three people, and only two of them knew what it was about.  Gair was one, Eddie Fisher was the other and I was the third.  I was the one who didn't know what it was about, but liked Gair and Eddie very much and went along for the ride.  It lasted about two weeks.

On to the Fauves. My idea was to let the Wild Animal in us (me) loose, and recreate Bognor as a Fauve painting.  Fauve means Wild Animal, and we (I) liked the thought that we (I) could let the inner wild beast out and go mad with wild and passionate brush strokes in reds, and oranges and yellows.  I thought that Bognor would suit a Fauve Overhaul.  The idea was to get the local council to fund the overhaul and to make Bognor into a Matisse or Derain painting.  That was very stirring stuff.

I forgot to mention that within this group of Artists that don't know they belong to any of these Bognor Art Movements, is a philosopher and author.  She wouldn't mind a bit, if she knew.  And if she did know, if she remembered.  She would intellectualise it all with panache and talk it over with her husband.  Between them, they would be witty and amusing and very insightful and then forget about it.  

So now.  This reading that we have been doing.  We are creative here, in Bognor.  We can turn our hands to many different methods of expression; for example the other day I customised a teacosy for the Glorious Clarissa, writing "Teatime for Clarissa with Love" on it in red thread, and adding some gingham bows.  The Cosmic Gardner writes poetry.  The 14 Year Old Visigoth that is my youngest son has found and been inspired by the poem "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe - we are sensitive, feeling types and we take our expressiveness seriously.  We have been reading books that are not on your average Bognor Bookshelf - we have been reading Gertrude Stein and Edith Sitwell.  

And now, because of that, we in the Multiple Bognor Art Movements have had an invitation to tea with Gertrude Stein herself.  The Bognor Art Movement is going for afternoon tea with Gertrude Stein, and that is that.  I will write of our adventure in the next blog.  Edith may well want to meet us too, but so far she has not said anything. 

Tea is tea is tea.  

(A Bognorisation of  "A rose is a rose is a rose."  One of Gertrude's more intelligable quotes.)

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Sleep Is A Reconciling, A Rest That Peace Begets for my website for the most travelled of my images, Jesus sitting on a tube train being ignored
www.agracefuldeath, for the A Graceful Death exhibition, paintings from the end of life  Go to this link to donate and find out about the A Graceful Death, the Film.  See our video explaining what we are doing, and be part of the team help us to raise the funds to make the film brilliant.

Look How The Sun Doth Rise When Fair At Even He Sets

I am quoting from an Elizabethan poem that I have not read since 1981, and may well have got it all wrong.  It is a lovely poem about not crying anymore, and I have skipped that bit to only quote the sleeping bit.  The sleeping bit is what I want to talk to you about today.  Wake up now, and take notes.

I have been feeling dreadfully lacklustre lately.  I have woken each morning feeling unrefreshed and still tired, and have longed for a different kind of life where everything is easy and straightforward.  Once up, I have felt better, and though feeling cheerier for being vertical, I have not looked very pretty.  "Nonsense!" I hear you all cry, but I do have to tell you that it is true, I haven't been looking my best.  "My,"  the Cosmic Gardener said to me recently, "you look done in."  My children have commented that I am not fetching and delivering to them with the same speed as before, and suggest with regret that I am getting old.  I have not wanted to get up from my chair once seated, not even to find a nice book to read;  not even when I have finished my task at the computer, to put the kettle on.  Not even, when my glasses slide off my nose, to push them back on again.

I have much to do, and as always, I take on far more than is necessary.  I think, "I know, I'll make a film!" and then think "Gordon Bennett.  How??"  I think,  "I know!  I will paint a huge portrait!"  and then think, "however will I do this?"  I think "Hurrah!  I will raise money for my projects and it will all be easy because I'm good and everyone will know that", only to remember that there is a recession on and people are trying to Not Respond To Projects, even though the projects are absolutely fabulous and everyone does know it.  The children are growing up and are forever needing Something, the house is lovely but large and gets a little out of hand with the steady flow of folk coming and going, some staying, some not - and always me, happy but getting slower and slower and more and more comatose, in the middle of it, trying to make sure it all works as well as can be expected, just like I always have.

But recently it has been different.  I have thought along the lines of Stuff The Washing, and I Don't Need To Paint (oh let me rest).  I have thought I Only Want To Wear Grey Clothes And Lie Down A Lot, and every time I sat in front of my computer in my busy and paper strewn office, I have thought, "Well, I am sure I came in here for something, goodness I can't even remember what my name is and ooooh!  Pretty flowers!" as I look out of the window at nodding daffodils in the garden and forget utterly where I am.  At the same time, there have been long journeys to London and back, perhaps the most significant one being when I went up to Teddington to collect the birthday cake from Dear Old Dad who had bought it for Dear Old Daughter for her 21st, and then didn't know how to get it to Brighton.  "It's my Duty" I said and whizzed up to London to solve the problem.  A last minute request for money from the Furiously Independent Son In Kingston saw me parked illegally in Kingston and waiting to hand over enough to pay for his History Trip the next day.  But when Son eventually appeared, he was so ill that I chucked him into the car and took him back to Bognor within seconds of seeing him.  

So back to Sleep being a Reconciling and so on.  Darling Dublin Friend called and asked how I was.  And so I told her.  "I am," I said in a low voice, "struggling.  I turned 50 last August and am going to be 70 this coming one."  "Oh," said DDF.  "I am, " I continued in a near whisper, "on my way out."  With no fuss, DDF asked if I was getting enough sleep. Proper sleep.   " I don't need sleep!  I haven't time! I am fine do you hear me I have far too much to do blah blah justify justify etc."  "Hmmmmm," DDF said, "I bet you wake in the morning feeling unrested and anxious."  That is true, I told her with astonishment.  What is this voodoo that you are doing? If she doesn't get enough sleep, DDF said simply, she wakes fuzzled and muzzled for the whole of the next day.   " I really need my sleep,"  she said without shame.  Go to bed she suggested, at a good time.  10.15 is a good time, not 10.16, and don't take a cup of tea to bed.  Take hot milk and try it. 

Readers, I did try it.  I got to bed that night at 8 and put my laptop in a cupboard downstairs.  I took hot milk to bed and I lay in my pyjamas and feeling a little self conscious, I put out my had to turn the radio on to hear some reassuringly furious radio 4 discussions on war and morals and tenseness, only to find it was morning.  I had fallen asleep.  I had slept from 8.02 till 6.30 and it was time to get up and start the day.  I was so impressed with DDF.  "She knows," I said to myself as I got up.  And my mood was lighter that day.  By 9pm that night I was in bed again and by 9.04 I was asleep.  A week later and I look nice again.  "You have," said a passer by recently, "a ruddy bloom."  I like the day times again.  The Cosmic Gardner had not offered me sympathy this week, my children have been dealt with with a new and brutal efficiency ("No I can't do that, cook you dinner, fetch your birthday cake, mend your trousers, paint your room - I'm going to bed")  And what is more, I cannot wait for bedtime.  With this new regime, I have found that I have jettisoned care and worry at the bedroom door.  I lie in my bed and giggle.  It is so simple, and DDF knows it.  Now I know it.  Eileen Rafferty, Photographer Extraordinaire, knows it too.  She has always told me I need to sleep more.  And I remember now seeing a small You Tube clip where the writer and socialite Arianna Huffington told us ladies that we should literally sleep to the top.  We don't get enough sleep, she says, and we are malfunctioning.  We get brownie points for not sleeping much, if at all, and to sleep is weak.  Well hell no.  We think we get brownie points but what we get is Madness.  Yes.  Madness.

So this blog is dedicated to DDF, Darling Dublin Friend, who has a deep and scary insight into how simple it is to make life shine again.  "Sleep is a reconciling,  a rest that peace begets, look how the sun doth rise when fair at even he sets."  I think she wrote that and pretended to be an Elizabethan poet. 

Just had a message from DDF and she said to me and I quote

"Delicious sleep thout pervadest me and hath made a nagging cranky bisom of me.  Come to me this night and lie with me - forsooth!" 

I say speak for yourself.  Kiss kiss.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

I Don't Got Nothing To Say. Except This... for my website for the best known of my images, Jesus on the Tube for the A Graceful Death exhibition, paintings from the end of life  Go to this link to donate and find out about the A Graceful Death, the Film.  See our video explaining what we are doing, and be part of the team help us to raise the funds to make the film brilliant.

Ain't Got Nothing To Say.  Except This.
Today is the absolute pinacle of achievement.  There are many types of achievement and the one I have got to is probably the best.  I woke as usual, thinking Lordy Lordy who wants feeding? Plodding downstairs in my dressing gown, eyes dark with lack of discipline about going to bed at a reasonable time, I felt overawed by the dreadful state the house was in. After providing a sumptuous breakfast for those staying with me this weekend, a sudden blinding light and a thunder clap heralded the Angel of the Lord who said, "Stop oh you who need a bath and should really have employed a cleaner! Stand up straight and watch this..." and with the trumpets sounding of all of the angels who deal with Artists and Housework, and with a semi clad celestial figure banging a huge angelic gong, I was shown a vision of what today could be. This is the vision I beheld:

Lo, and the Heavens parted and showed unto me, a house with clean floors and not a dustball in sight.  My eyes were dazzled in this vision as the Angel of the Lord turned my head to show me the bin was emptied and fresh bin bags in place where only seconds before, there had been left overs and potato peelings and teabag stains down the wall.  Hark! said a fierce voice, All this will come to pass if you get the hoover out and squirt some Mr Sheen.  I was led in my vision to the bathroom where all the hair left over from Furious Son With A Life To Live had shaved his head and beard, had gone and in its place, gleaming surfaces and beams of blinding sunlight bouncing off the whiter than white bath. The soap, the flannels and the shampoos were placed exactly to cover the burn marks both boys had made as they individually and for different reasons, at different times, had set fire to the bath in their younger days.  Angel! I cried, can all this be?  How clever to hide the evidence of bonfires in the bath in this way!  And then the vision changed and the Angel showed me myself sitting in glory in the bright yellow sunlight as it shone through the sparkly butterflies hanging in the window of my fragrant and miraculously uncluttered sitting room.  I was lying shining with the light of Splendid Housewifery, amongst exotic and sumptuous cushions on my sofa, smelling of a Fenjal Bath and wearing clean clothes and eating healthy food. And in my vision I knew, by the spirit of the Guiding Angel unfolding this vision of the future, that there was a toffee sponge pudding in the oven for later. 

So I cleaned the house, wearing only my old dressing gown.  I stopped first to have a frugal breakfast after my guests had had theirs, and spurred on by the knowledge given to me by my vision, I washed my house.  All of it.  And did the bin bags.  Yuck.  

By the time I had had my Fenjal bath (and lo, it came to pass etc), put on clean clothes, made some healthy food, it was 2 o'clock and the sun was at its zenith, streaming through the twinkly butterflies that hang from my window (a 50th birthday present) in a kind of Art Installation of colour and sparkles and hope.

So here I lie in my sofa.  Working up an appetite for tea and planning to text Daughter watching "16 and Pregnant" on telly all day next door in her pyjamas, to go and make it.  I am utterly content.  I have achieved the impossible and despite feeling allergic to and defeated by housework today, I have made my home a glorious haven, conducive to a restful, peaceful and spiritually uplifting day.  I long for many things in a wider sense, such as Artistic Success with Ease.  Such as Wise and Self Sufficient Children.  Such as Finding Life a Bit Easier and not least, Not Wanting To Eat Bread And Butter All The Time.  But now, for as long as the sun streams into my soul through the butterflies in the window, for as long as the house is zinging with lemon fresh cleaning materials, and for as long as I don't have to do anything till tomorrow morning, then I have succeeded.  I don't got nothing to say, except this.  Thank You Angel of Artists and Housework.  You Was Right.

"That's OK Matey.  The Lord has just asked me to tell you the sticky toffee pudding is done."

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

That Old Fauve Moment Again, Bognor Goes Wild for my website of paintings for the story and examples of the best known of my images, Jesus on the Tube for the A Graceful Death exhibition, paintings from the end of life

That Old Fauve Moment Again

Today we are going to celebrate our release from the Intellectual, the Political and the Furious.  With a passionate Hurraah!we are revelling in colour and more colour, and doing so with a jolly but Beastly look in our eye.
Well.  These Fauves then.  A rather brief movement, from about 1904 to 1908; a loose knit bunch of artists moved on from the painting style of the Impressionists who worked from life exactly as it was, and en plien air (when we were Bognor Impressionists we loved the en plien air idea and were often found gathered behind post boxes in force ten gales out by our Bognor sea, trying to work from nature and muttering to ourselves "Must capture the moment,  Must capture the moment."), and became interested in vibrant colour, wild brush stokes and a degree of abstraction and simplification of the subjects.  As with all these movements, Fauvism kind of happened, with the two artists who are credited with being the Chief Fauves, putting on an exhibition without any idea that they were a movement, let alone a Fauve one.  Henri Matisse was one of these artists, and Andre Derain the other.  "I say, Henri," Andre did not say as they painted together one summer before exhibiting with a group of artists in 1905 at the Salon d'Autumne in Paris, "you're a bit of a beast, you know."  "Fancy," Henri did not say in reply, " I thought you were a bit of a Wild 'Un too!"  This refers to the name "Fauve" which means "wild beast".  As you can imagine, the Fauves did not name themselves as such, a deeply unimpressed critic did that in an effort to cut them to the quick with scorn and derision.  Instead, he named a movement and everyone could breathe again and concentrate on following it.  This is how it happened.  In the Salon exhibition of 1905, the critic Louis Vauxcelles said of the collection of wildly, brightly, madly colourfully, seemingly over the top paintings as they hung in the same room as a Renaissance type sculpture, ""Donatello au milieu des fauves!" ("Donatello among the wild beasts").  There is that word.  Explained.  Fauve.  These artists were Fauves.  Wild Beasts. 

Andre Derain.  Wonderful light and atmosphere, and you can see how the splashes of colour and shape must have been hard to take for the general public, after the pain of coming to terms with Impressionist images.  "Will it ever end?" they must have murmured to each other.  "No."  Derain may have replied, his brushes loaded with daglo yellow and crimson, "and now for another Landscape."

I love the Fauves.  As the sole conscious member of each Bognor Movement, I am thrilled to be expressing myself this week in vibrant colours in a rather abstracted way. " Flowers?" I growl to my friends as they sit around my kitchen table, "they bring the Animal out in me.  Let me at 'em," and I paint huge canvases of greens, vermilion, yellows and oranges and if you look carefully and squint your eyes, you can see, if I tell you, that they could be a vase of flowers.  "Roar!"  I say. 

Matisse painted this picture of me at Aberdeen University.  All my friends are just out of sight in this particular work, and as you can see, I am very at home here.

When I was at university in Aberdeen, I and my dearest circle of friends were very inspired by Fauve paintings.  We loved the warmth and exaggerated colour of Matisse his figures, his interiors and landscapes - we loved the pictures of views from out of a highly patterned and decorative room through the open windows to the streets below.  The gloriously bold and colourful Kees Van Dongen, the wonderful Maurice de Vlaminck and of course, Andre Derain.  Somehow, in Aberdeen, we lived in an atmosphere of unconsciously recreated Fauve pictures.  We looked like the bold, bright and simplified figures.  Our rooms were identical to the images of highly patterned and ornate interiors that we saw and identified with.  We felt that these Fauve artists had painted us, and painted our fantastically eccentric digs, and we fitted in perfectly to the whole vision of it all.  The had painted our souls. 

Madame Matisse by Matisse.  Note the green line down the middle of her face to suggest shadow.  How fantastic is that?  How bold and brave.  Note her blue hair. Or maybe Mrs Matisse did have a green line down her face and blue hair.  Henri just created the Fauve movement to make her feel better.

 Bognor is becoming a wild and abandoned place for artists to be this week.  Our Fauvism has forced us to paint green lines down each others faces because we still need to loosen up a little and can't quite paint what we don't see.  Paint the green line on, say, my dear friend Eileen Rafferty (the photographer extraordinaire)'s face, then paint her onto the canvas from life, till we get used to seeing such wild and extreme colours.   Instinctively.  Fauves were also influenced by African art and African masks that were doing the rounds in Paris.  Many artists were affected by them, not least the Fauves.  We have no African art here, but we have loads of Polish people - with Polish shops - and probably Polish art.  We can be strangely drawn to that.  We Bognor Fauves need to paint fabulous views from our windows, onto the shopping centres below, in madly loose and free strokes of lime green and blue, wild and energetic sweeps of red and purple, and splashes of lemon yellow.  We have no axe to grind at the moment, all our anti-art, all our symbolism and deep seated insecurity about the human condition, all our horror of the bourgeoisie and our fixation on the unconscious, all seem to come to naught, as we leap into action and paint everything red, and wild, and abstract.  Our souls glory in the painterliness of it all.  Especially me, since I used to think I lived in a Fauve painting with my friends (none of whom are artists and all of whom do not know what I am on about, I expect).  In a passionate fit of Fauve, I will arrange the rooms in my house to look like a Matisse painting.   Bognor could do with a spot of colour.  Maybe the council will give me a grant to make the rest of Bognor into a Matisse painting.  That would be good for business, until of course, Bognor moves on and becomes intellectual and anxious again.  

This is a view of Bognor Regis Harbour after the council grant has enabled me to make it into a Matisse painting

And here is Bognor High Street, based on the Vlaminck painting that looks very like this.  Those figures are shoppers in Wilkinsons, but Wilkinsons has disappeared into colour and abstraction leaving the shoppers wild and confused.

Friday, 11 March 2011

This Artist Is Taking A Back Seat for my website for the best known image, of Jesus being ignored on a tube train for the A Graceful Death exhibition, paintings from the end of life for the We Fund page for the A Graceful Death, the Film project

This Artist, Me, Takes A Back Seat.

I could spend all my time writing about which Art Movement Bognor is doing at any given moment. I love doing it, and am terribly inspired by how busy Bognor can be when doing a new Art Thing.  But, I need to take it a bit easy.  I have other things to do, and they won't go away until I attend to them.  Portraits will not paint themselves, houses do not clean themselves, and the Cosmic Gardner does need some kind of response when talking about taking ideas from my paintings into the garden design...Excellent, I say, excellent.  That is what I want you to do, whatever you said, that is great.  What?  The 14 Year Old Son of a Balrog has just been suspended again from school this week.  Oh you Fool I said to him.  Yeah, Well, Whatever he replied.  He was home then, just when dear Older Son Who Is Not Amused By Anything I Say Or Do arranged to meet me in London only to collapse with a fever into my arms.  I put him into the car then and there, and drove him home fast, where he is recovering from tonsillitis and being very poorly indeed.  He is thin at the best of times, but now he is a Wraith, and needs his sheets changed every day he has sweated so much into them.  Never mind, I say.  I am here.  He was scared of being alone the first night, before we got to the doctors in the morning.  It was like having the little boy version of him back, but with a beard and hairy chest.  At that same moment - the Son of a Balrog being excluded again and the Unamused Bearded Wraith falling into my arms with a temperature, my darling daughter celebrated her 21st birthday.   "I'm Coming Home!" she cried, "meet me from the train and let's Party!"  "OK", I sighed, "hooray."  We did party, a bit, with sick son on one side of her and disgraced son on the other, and a very thoughtful visit from 80 Year Old Grandma who arrived like the cavalry with dinner nicely laid out in pretty containers in three wicker baskets.  So I didn't have to cook at all, but I did have to clean up and be fierce to Balrog Boy, concerned to Wraith Boy, and jolly to Birthday Girl all at the same time at the table.  

I have been to London and back to see my elderly father who had bought the Birthday Girl a cake.  Once bought, he couldn't see how it would get to her in Brighton or Bognor, from London,  so I said Let Me Come And Collect It, It Will Only Take A Day.  Lucky I did so, as I was able to scoop Wraith Boy off the street in Kingston and get him home and into bed before he became but a whisp of smoke.  My father is terribly generous, but having had a couple of strokes, doesn't always remember things, and can get into a bit of a muddle.  Going up to collect the cake was a pleasure, spending time with him is always good news.  He is terribly witty, and always makes me laugh.  Possibly, I need to go up and see him more often.  

And what else?  I am designing some Invitations to Olivia's new book launch.  Oh wow.  I am fundraising for the A Graceful Death film, and I am going to a school in Yorkshire next week to take one hundred Year 9s on a Jesus on the Tube workshop day.  Bear in mind my innocent little Balrog Boy is Year 9.  "You won't survive," he says helpfully.  Well if I get the real Jesus along, that will keep them amused.  Actually, Wraith Boy is very tall and bearded and other worldly at the moment.  Maybe I can get him to drift about a bit outside the window and look enigmatic.  There is a chance, I will say then to the Year 9s, that Jesus is with us as we speak.  And when they all point mutely and with awe to the figure meandering outside the window in his beard and sandals, I will say But I See No-One.  That will make them behave.  I must remember to tell Wraith Boy not to light up when being Mysterious and Divine, as the Year 9s will smell a rat.  "He's not Jesus, Miss!" they will all cry with vigour, "he's just a bloke with tonsillitis and a fag."  And so as not to lose face, I will have to pretend I still can't see him.

I am extremely tired at the moment.  I want to sleep all day and all night, and eat bread and butter, and be a blob.  I find it hard to stir myself, and so people have been telling me I look older these days.  However, I had a haircut this morning, and now I look beautiful again and everyone will tell me so.  If I prompt them.  With a pointed stick.

Bognor is going to be Fauve.  It will explode into colour and passion and I will tell you all about it in the next blog.  Goodnight.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Bognor Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors Even. Read On ... for my website for my best known image of Jesus sitting on a tube train being ignored for the A Graceful Death exhibition, paintings from the end of life

Bognor Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors Even.  Do Not Despair - We Have Gone Dada

Bognor is in the middle of a revolution of Anti Art.  We think the Bourgeois are to blame for everything.  We think that the reason and logic of the capitalist society is to be utterly ridiculed - not as in 1916 for leading the world blindly and ignorantly into World War 1, as that has already been done.  We are doing it because we like the idea that the capitalist bourgeois are to blame for things.  And that's what Dada is about.  And so we are doing it.

 "The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors Even" by Marcel Duchamp 1915 - 1923.  This is the rallying cry for the Bognor Dadaists, because it begins with a B in the title and we can put Bognor there and feel like we belong.

We have been traumatised here in Bognor Regis by having decided, in our last Movement last week,  to become Pre-Raphaelites.  This meant that we had to reject our other Art Movements because the the Pre-Raff Brotherhood thought all art post Raphael was no good.  That would have been from about 1550 onwards, and we Bognor Regis Artists had been dabbling with just that.  We had done the Left Bank, we had toyed with Angst.  We had been boldly painting en plien air like true Impressionists and we had been sleeping for days for dreams for our Surrealist phase.  The only Movement that we could still identify with was the Bognor Renaissance, which we liked very much and thought we were good at.  Plenty of scope, we said to each other, very right on as we get to include scientists and mathematicians and astrologers and so on.  And we were all set to go out and find some in neighbouring villages, like in Westergate or in Barnham (where I know of a maths tutor who we were going to ask to fill in for us as a Brunelleschi type - think architect of Florence Cathedral - unless of course, he was busy teaching).

So now we have become disorientated and unhinged and have become Dadaists. 

The Dada Movement began as a furious and energetic movement just before the first world war, in response to the madness and blind foolishness of the culture and societies that created and perpetrated such a war.  Dada was about anarchy, about ridiculing the meaninglessness of the modern world, and was anti bougeois.  It was rabidly anti-war, and rejected the prevailing standards of art at that time.  Oh they were a mad lot.  They produced manifestoes, public demonstrations, they produced visual arts, poetry, art theory, journals and theatre in places such as Zurich, Paris, New York, Berlin, the Netherlands, Georgia (Yes!  Georgia) and Yugolsavia as it was then.  Dada was vehemently anti art.  Everything that art stood for, Dada rejected.  It rejected traditional aesthetics, and where art was meant to appeal to sensibilities, Dada intended to offend.  Dada wanted to destroy traditional culture and aesthetics, they considered the status quo as having been utterly and horribly responsible for producing World War I.  Well our Dada Movement extends from Bognor Regis through to Chichester, East Dean, Arundel and Aldwick.  We are full of fury and are offending sensibilities by popping out of shops and shouting "Knickers" at people and then handing them a manifesto.  "We embrace chaos and irrationality," it says, "and what is more we don't care.  Boom boom.  Fried Potatoes. "  We have based this very loosely on the second Dada manifesto of 1918 by the Dadaist Tristan Tzara, a long and rambling piece from which the following is a teeny extract -

"The system of quickly looking at the other side of a thing in order to impose your opinion indirectly is called dialectics, in other words, haggling over the spirit of fried potatoes while dancing method around it. If I cry out: Ideal, ideal, ideal,
  •  Knowledge, knowledge, knowledge,
  • Boomboom, boomboom, boomboom,"

To get to the Art, the Marcel Duchamp piece that begins this blog is a great example.  It is considered by Duchamp as a "hilarious piece."  We agree, though we haven't done anything quite as funny ourselves yet. 

Famous artists such as Max Ernst

Max Ernst "Trophy Hypertrophied" 1919.  This is not considered Hilarious, but we think it worth a Chuckle

  and George Grosz are synonymous with the term Dada.  They took it very seriously, and produced some magnificent work that must have paralysed those who encountered it; can you imagine being faced with this kind of thing in 1919?  There was still Picasso, and had been Cubism, and Impressionism, but this work was incomprehensible by its nature.  It was not mathematical and dedicated to producing new kinds of Art (Cubism), it was meant to shock and disorientate you and shake you out of your capitalist bourgoise war mongering.  Goddamit.

Gorge Grosz "Republican Automatons" 1920.  We get the flag thing, and we get the bowler hat.  We like the clockwork stuff and we are doing one of our own like this.  I am standing by Bognor Morrisons shop with a wooden arm, not leg, and my cycling hat onI will be waving a flag of sorts, but it may just be a flag with my name and phone number on for a bit of self publicity.

Now.  We are full of this anarchy lark.  We are into Anti Art, and feel that until this madness ends, we will put on strange public displays and hope to get arrested.  Our problem is that we don't really have much of an aim - there is a war on, but our little West Sussex Dada movement would not make much difference to that.   We are not very politically aware here, we tend to react to things in our own little sphere, and don't hold out much hope that Libya will settle down thanks to our anti art.  No, things that we are doing our anti art for are possibly that Sainsburys is opening here at some point and a few people are cross about it.  Fine, we say, we'll do a bit of anti art for you.  It comes to our notice that the Bognor Youth like to drink themselves silly on cider and beer on the beach of an evening. " Ho!"  We cry, "that is Anarchy but not as we like it.  Here, read this poem and mend your ways.  Join us for a spot of  ridiculing the meaninglessness of the modern world, but sober up first. Boom boom!   Fried Potatoes."  

I have mentioned in an earlier blog that I was an Aberdeen Dadaist once in the early 1980s.  My friend Eddie Fisher and I stood for election to the student union as such, and I hadn't a clue what it was all about.  I had, I recall, my Dada hat which I wore with pride and ignorance, enjoying but not quite understanding the attention that I was getting.  Eddie knew all about Dada, he was a real intellectual, but I was just happy with my hat.  I met there one Gair Dunlop who joined the Aberdeen Dadaists, and like Eddie, being an intellectual, understood the whole thing.  Gair has been a close friend ever since then, and is now a well known and successful digital artist, film maker and university lecturer in Scotland.  It is to him that I dedicate our Bognor Regis Dada Movement.  It helps to have someone who knows what Dada is about, to keep us on track.  Except that he is very busy and lives in Scotland and probably doesn't have the time.  We may just have to make him into our Leader and not tell him, which would be very Dada and when he eventually finds out, we will be long past our Dada stage and be doing Turner somewhere near Petworth (where Petworth House has a huge collection of his paintings).  So any advice he may give us will be, hooray for anarchy, useless.  Hoooray.  Sorry Gair.  Boomboom Fried Potatoes.