The Lady Is Dead and The Irrepressibles


The lady may be dead but the art here is very much alive. The second great video of the week comes via the always essential Homotography, a short piece by director Roy Raz whose film features a pair of tattooed lesbians, a tennis match involving meat (or something), boys stripping out of their underwear to indulge in some peculiar—and for all we know, metaphysical—sexual congress, an elderly lady dancing round a piano, and a gang of luscious hunks who soap a car before sponging down their own bodies.


Do we have to worry about What It All Means? Of course we don’t, although the usual crowd of bewildered YouTube commenters struggle with comprehension like medieval rustics attempting to decipher so many signs and wonders. Think of it as the kind of thing Wes Anderson might create if someone dosed him with psychotropic chemicals that also turned him gay.


More important for me is the utterly fantastic song which Roy Raz uses, a number entitled In This Shirt by a ten-piece British group, The Irrepressibles, whose name I recognised but whose music I hadn’t heard until this. Lead singer Jamie McDermott’s voice is very reminiscent of Antony Hegarty which is no bad thing, although McDermott is probably weary of the comparison. Our musical culture would be greatly improved by more people taking their lead from Antony. The Irrepressibles’ site has a Soundcloud page where you can hear other songs from their recent Mirror, Mirror album, the CD of which is now on my shopping list. They also have a couple of videos showing their live performances which look rather spectacular. 2010 is turning out to be a good year for British music; when that music comes with cute guys attached it’s an added bonus.


Update: Roy Raz’s film is now also on Vimeo with other of his works.

The art of Jessica Harrison


left: Maria (2010); right: Dawn (2010).

British artist Jessica Harrison undermines the saccharine innocence of porcelain figurines in a manner which would no doubt appeal to a Surrealist and black humorist like Jan Svankmajer. As well as these recent pieces, her website features further contemporary takes on Surrealism including a number of pencil drawings, one of which is a self-portrait alluding to that Svankmajer favourite, Giuseppe Arcimboldo.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Surrealism, graphic design and Barney Bubbles
Jan Svankmajer: The Complete Short Films

Schloss Falkenstein


Proposal for Schloss Falkenstein (c. 1883).

A slight return to Ludwig II. Schloss Falkenstein would have been another beetling edifice in the manner of Schloss Neuschwanstein had it ever been built, and judging by this view it might have been even more grandiose. The painting is one of the proposals by stage designer Christian Jank whose plans had already been used for Neuschwanstein. Philippe Jullian makes some scathing remarks about the Gothic interior of the earlier castle but he may have had more patience for the Byzantine interiors planned for Falkenstein. I’m not sure how these would be reconciled with Jank’s exterior, however, the style being Gothic enough to satisfy Viollet-le-Duc. Ludwig’s untimely death in 1886 drew a line under his architectural schemes but Bavaria’s loss eventually became Walt Disney’s gain as Jank’s fantasias provided the inspiration for the castle in Sleeping Beauty (1959) and all of the Disney theme park castles. What Ludwig would have made of this we can only guess. I suspect he’d be entranced by the fantasy but appalled by the vulgarisation. He was an elitist, after all, and the castles were always for him alone, not hordes of T-shirted proles.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Schloss Linderhof
Schloss Neuschwanstein
Pite’s West End folly

Missoni by Kenneth Anger


I did have another Ludwig post planned for today but that’s been set aside for a different kind of fabulosity following the news that Kenneth Anger has made a new film. Italian fashion house Missoni commissioned Anger to make a short promo for their Fall/Winter collection and you can see the delirious results in high-resolution here. The film features Missoni family members peering out from among the layered moons and stars while the titles are by Arthur magazine’s Psychedelic Healing Visions Correspondent, Alia Penner.


“I’m fascinated by Kenneth Anger’s use of color and his ability to transform a film into a three-dimensional texture, a fabric of images in movement,” explained Angela Missoni.  This is how she introduced her decision to entrust the Missoni F/W 2011 campaign to one of America’s most famous authors and directors of avant-garde cinema.

Anger—a hyperactive octogenarian who loves working in the wee hours of the night and at dawn using sophisticated instruments such as the RED digital camera that has the characteristics of a classic 35 mm camera—flew in from Los Angeles to film the campaign in Sumirago that involved all the members of the great Missoni family. They are the stars of this campaign that was conceived as a series of superimposed and overlapping portraits. (More.)

Via Arthur!

Previously on { feuilleton }
Anger in London
Arabesque for Kenneth Anger by Marie Menken
Edmund Teske
Kenneth Anger on DVD again
Mouse Heaven by Kenneth Anger
The Man We Want to Hang by Kenneth Anger
Relighting the Magick Lantern
Kenneth Anger on DVD…finally

Schloss Linderhof


More Ludwigiana. Schloss Linderhof was Ludwig II of Bavaria’s miniature Versailles at Oberammergau and is a key location in Visconti’s film about the King. The house itself is a riot of gilded rococo which isn’t really to my taste but you can make your own judgement by taking a tour at the palace website or browsing the photos at Wikimedia Commons.


Of greater interest is the Moorish Kiosk in the palace grounds, a small pavilion originally created for the Paris exposition of 1867. The outside is a typical piece of Orientalist architecture while inside there’s some beautiful stained glass and a splendid Peacock Throne. This doesn’t feature in Visconti’s film, unfortunately, but the Venus Grotto does.


Philippe Jullian’s Dreamers of Decadence (1971) contains some pages about Ludwig and the inspiration he gave to Symbolist artists and poets. Reports of places like the Venus Grotto were among those inspirations, and Jullian recounts a description by actor Joseph Kainz of his first visit to Linderhof. The scene is played out in Visconti’s film almost to the letter:

All of a sudden the rock moved; an opening appeared through which we entered a long corridor, brightly lit with a red light. Along the walls of the grotto the King’s servants stood in line.

Still following the servants who were leading the way, I walked to the end of the corridor, as far as what appeared to be a natural opening in the rock. Through this opening there poured a sea of blue light. The interior of the grotto looked like a huge, dazzling sapphire, whose flickering brilliance spread over the craggy walls, entered every tiny crack, and cast a sort of magic veil over every object. I had stopped on the threshold, behind an overhanging rock, dumbfounded by the grandiose splendour that surrounded me; I was breathless with amazement. The ceiling of the grotto was vaulted, like that of a cathedral. I was inside the Venusberg.

I took a step forward and stopped again. The rock which had concealed me until then. had prevented me from seeing on my right a lake of astonishingly limpid water, lit by a sky-blue light. On it there glided two snow-white swans, while on the shores stood a tall man, all alone, and apparently deep in thought: this was the King.

For a moment I gazed at his fine head, his broad shoulders, his remarkably white hands which were casually tossing pieces of bread to the two swans; I also noticed the bright star made up of sapphires which was fastened to his hat.

He shook me warmly by the hand, releasing me from the feeling of depression which had affected me till then. Then the King took me up a path leading to the top of a hill in front of us. On the top of this hill there was a table made of sea-shells which stood on a large conch supported by crystal feet. Near this table there was a seat made of the same materials, and the servants brought along another. The King invited me to sit down, and supper was served.

Every quarter of an hour the King gave a signal and the lighting of the grotto changed; it turned red, then green, then blue, then gold, and into my imagination came memories of ancient legends and fabulous fairy-tales.

360 Cities has some panoramas of the Linderhof grounds with a view of the palace and one of the entrance to the Moorish Kiosk. As you’d expect, Flickr has a large collection of Linderhof photos while there’s also a pool of over five hundred images devoted to Ludwig II.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Schloss Neuschwanstein