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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

Leonor Fini: comment vivre sans chat

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“How to live without a cat” is the translation but this short television film is in French so the rest is a mystery unless you can understand the language. As with the Max Ernst film, language isn’t much of an issue when you have an opportunity to see La Fini and her many moggies. Leonor Fini was an obsessive cat owner and cat painter, and she could also look pretty feline herself on occasion. (A piece of typically Surrealist apocrypha has it that the pupils of her eyes were cat-like until she was 4 years old.) The Fini website lists a number of European documentaries about the artist and her work but most remain frustratingly elusive. This one is an official release to YouTube from the Ina.fr archives. At the end of the film there’s a shot of the painting below; Fini’s cats are always very self-possessed.

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Sunday Afternoon (1980) by Leonor Fini.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Angels of Anarchy: Women Artists and Surrealism
The art of Leonor Fini, 1907–1996
Surrealist women

 


MCMLXX

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Data 70, a typeface by Bob Newman.

The presence of electronic artists Data 70 in the Spatial mix at the weekend had me thinking about the preponderance of cultural items that were given “70″ as a suffix in the 1960s or in the year 1970. The air of futuristic optimism in the 60s drew attention to the birth of a new decade in a manner that hadn’t really happened before, and certainly didn’t happen for 1980 by which time the optimism had been sunk by a decade of political and fuel crises, and the end of the space race.

Data 70 take their name from the “futuristic” computer-like typeface designed by Bob Newman in 1970. Newman’s typeface wasn’t the first of the Space Age designs—Colin Brignall’s Countdown appeared in 1965—but Data 70 was everywhere in the 1970s. Data 70 (the group) dedicated a piece of music to Newman.

A few more 70s follow. These are only the ones I’ve been able to remember or stumble across so I’m sure there are more. And note: to qualify for this micro-category something has to be named “70″ only where the suffix signifies modernity or the future, no Expo 70 (the world’s fair in Osaka) or anything annual that happened to be labelled 70 as part of a series.

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Boccaccio 70 (1962).

The label might imply the future but the predominant tone of these entries is sex. Boccaccio 70 set things in motion by updating the Decameron to modern Italy. Despite the claims of the poster, anthology films are nothing new, and this one has four stories directed by Vittorio De Sica, Federico Fellini, Mario Monicelli and Luchino Visconti. Italo Calvino was one of the writers.

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Maximiliana oder die widerrechtliche Ausübung der Astronomie

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The title of this 10-minute film translates as Maximiliana or the Illegal Practice of Astronomy which is also the name of an art book created by Max Ernst in 1964. The film was a collaboration between Ernst and filmmaker Peter Schamoni, the subject being German astronomer and lithographer Ernst Wilhelm Leberecht Tempel (1821–1889). Tempel’s astronomy was “illegal” because he was regarded as an amateur by other astronomers which meant he was denied permission to name his discoveries. Maximiliana was the name Tempel and physicist Carl August von Steinheil decided on for an asteroid that Tempel discovered in 1861. This was deemed unacceptable so the asteriod was given the name Cybele instead (now 65 Cybele).

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Some of this is related in Schamoni’s film but you’ll need an understanding of German to appreciate the detail. The film is worth a look for other reasons, notably some shots of Ernst filling sheets of paper with the curious hieroglyphs that cover the surfaces of some of his later paintings. These hieroglyphs also feature in the Tempel book, and one of them appears in the film as an animated figure. Peter Schamoni made a number of art films including an excellent feature-length documentary about Max Ernst in 1991. That’s also on YouTube but untranslated so you’ll need some good German (and French) to appreciate it.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Max and Dorothea
Dreams That Money Can Buy
La femme 100 têtes by Eric Duvivier

 


Weekend links 233

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Alchemical Stone (2014) by Daniel Lasso Casas. Via full fathom five.

• “I am unsure if this reality is an everyday one. We don’t know if the universe belongs to a realist genre or a fantastic one, because if, as idealists believe, everything is a dream, then what we call reality is essentially oneiric.” Jorge Luis Borges in 1984 in conversation with Argentinian poet and essayist Osvaldo Ferrari.

• “I am transgender, so ‘he’ is not appropriate and ‘she’ is problematic. I’m what I think of as pure transgender.” Antony Hegarty talks to Cian Traynor about Turning, a new DVD and album project.

Unearthing Forgotten Horrors 2014 is a weekend festival of rural weirdness at the Star and Shadow Cinema, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Henry Darger, one of the most celebrated examples of an outsider artist (see: Vivian Girls), has been uniformly ignored by the literary firmament. Despite the success of his artwork, none of his fiction manuscripts have seen print. The language of literature is the language of privilege, in which even the stories of the working class are regularly clad in a bourgeois prose. The language of literature cannot be extricated from its white, genteel roots. Those of us without access to education are welcome to practice, but we must come in from the cold, adopt the house language. We must be civilized, scrubbed clean. Naiveté has no place in the colosseum of words.

Ravi Mangla on Coming in from the Cold: Outsider Art in Literature

Carel de Nerée tot Babberich en Henri van Booven, a collection of Beardsley-like drawings by a neglected Dutch artist.

Forever Butt is a new collection of the best of recent issues of BUTT magazine, still the best print mag for gay men.

Anne Billson’s guide to Brussels, another European city I’d like to visit some day.

• At BibliOdyssey: Schönschreibmeister, a calligraphy master’s album.

Third Ear Band live (and in colour!) on French TV in 1970.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen mix 132 by Spatial.

• The Internet Archive now has an Internet Arcade.

Crazy Cat Lady Clothing

The Pattern Library

Stone Circle (1969) by Third Ear Band | Sacred Stones (1992) by Sheila Chandra | Stoned Circular I (1996) by Coil

 


Fog Line, a film by Larry Gottheim

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As a piece of minimalist cinema, Fog Line (1970) makes Michael Snow’s Wavelength seem hyperactive. In a static 11-minute shot, trees and fields emerge from drifting fog; no sound or music, just the trees, a few suspended wires and the fog. Immerse yourself here.

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Gottheim’s film reminded me of the photos I took in 2005 one damp and chilly November afternoon on the banks of the River Mersey. The river snakes through south Manchester on its way to Liverpool, and is a pleasant place to walk when the ground isn’t as sodden as it was on this occasion. There’s a few more photos from that session here.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Wavelength
La Région Centrale

 


 




 

tracker

 


 

“feed your head”

 

Below the fold

 

Penda's Fen by David Rudkin