Channeling the chronomancer

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Greetings. As we try to channel our inner chronomancer, the significance of these devices and means of communication acutely rings true. In the midst of everything, I’m just getting on with my diary writing/drawing, seemingly obsolete but also perhaps an important time to be recording thoughts and observations. Fathoming the unravelling repercussions and predicaments triggers a knee-jerk reaction into the foetal position, and the over-load of analytical elements and angles factored in diffuse any potential succinct message, but broadly amount to The Mess Age. It is not unique of course, and like other times and places, transformations will result and continue. As I’ve not posthumously written here about the wonderful Monochromatic Minds: Line of Revelation exhibition that took place not long before everything changed, I’ll include some reflections in this instalment. I will also touch on other bits and bobs. Onwards..

 

Monochromatic Minds – Jennifer Lauren Gallery – Candid Arts Centre, London, UK. 25th Feb – 4th March, 2020

As anticipated, this celebration of black and white art works within the field of Outsider/Self Taught/Neuve Invention/Visionary art did not disappoint. The majority of artists’ names who’s work was included, alone, made for a very exciting cumulative concoction. The actual works aligned well to that aura. The space was also very well suited. The majority of works in the show could easily command your attention for an indefinite amount of time individually. Imagine a room full of that. The show was on for a mere week or so but felt alive while it was on the entire time with a variety of events taking place within the programme. There were art workshops and artist talks delivered by artists from around the globe. Below are some photos that should help contextualise things if you couldn’t be there and care to absorb an attempt at documenting my experience. 

There’s Jennie, the star of the show!

 

Vibrant (even in black and white) works by Liz Parkinson, myself alongside, being observed carefully (I think).

 

A wall of Ted Gordon, Liz Parkinson, myself, Harald Stoffers, and Dan Miller work among others..

 

Nick Blinko‘s corner

 

Chris Neate on the left, a mesmerising piece by Cathy Ward centrepiece, two fascinating works by Evelyne Postic above and below a commanding work by Margot.

 

Beautiful works by Rashidi on the left, and Gerard Sendrey top right.

 

 

A haunting Agatha Wojciechowsky piece cut off at the left side, and a magnificent Judith McNicol.

 

Poignant works by Albert.

 

I spotted the octopus in the room, in this joyful Leslie Thompson piece (detail).

 

Jennifer Lauren Gallery commissioned several artists in the show to draw/paint on chairs acquired from second hand shops, which also function as actual chairs that people could sit in during the exhibition if they need a rest. Though I don’t think I saw anyone sit in any. This one is by Kate Bradbury.

 

People at the opening watching the short documentary film. The film highlights 5 of the 61 artists in the show, including myself (on screen), Cathy Ward, Terence Wilde, Valerie Potter, and Jan Arden.

 

Liz Parkinson was in town speaking on the bush fires in Australia, her drawings, authoritarian neighbours, and having her works purchased by Jean Dubuffet.. from the series of artist talks.

 

A somewhat absurd image capturing me doing my artist talk whilst I’m also on screen in the documentary playing on a loop behind, facing the same direction. My drawings are documentation, the documentary documents me documenting, the photo documents the documenting of the documenting, and so on. Could it get more meta? Photo by Andrew Hood.

If you’d like to check out the short documentary I mentioned above, you can do so here.

 

Diary drawing and Deviations…

I’m working on the first A4 size diary drawing since 2016. There are several reasons why the format changed and I haven’t returned to A4, though was intending to. Anyhow, the time arrived. After I’d finished drawing in it a few days ago, I realised that I could see that day in the drawing. The reason being, I changed both the nib on the pen and its ink at the same time before starting that day. Usually these occurrences don’t coincide. The result being a distinction that is visible on the page. I took a photo so as to see what a day of drawing looks like when it’s not at the very beginning (as that is the other time/place where it is easily discernible, on day one). There are other contrasts on the page where the text takes on different shades and textures, for other reasons, but this one highlights a single day of drawing at this stage. Of course, after working on it again the following day, it won’t be visible anymore. Hence the significance of photographing it when I did. You might assume the lockdown is driving me to such pedantic measures. I’ll let you assume!

The current diary page, with one day’s entry visible.

Last month, I had an email exchange with the the good people over at Deviation Street and they included some of that in their lockdown series of posts. You can find that post here.

 

I feel like there was something else I wanted to include, but if it was significant I’ll get it in next time. I’ve incrementally been returning to this post for weeks now, so who knows anymore. Stay smart, and until the next time…

Carlo.

Geneva, Lausanne, London…

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Greetings,

In recent days (weeks??), I flew out to Switzerland for the opening of Scrivere Disegnando: When Language Seeks Its Other at the Centre d’Art Contemporain Geneve. Co-curated by Andrea Bellini (Centre d’Art Contemporain, Director) and Sarah Lombardi (Collection de l’Art Brut Lausanne, Director), it was very interesting. Works by ‘contemporary artists’ and ‘Art Brut artists’ were curated together, without biographies in sight. In some ways, three floors of diverse work focussed on language, writing, drawing, communication, coding, decipherability, secrecy, ambiguity and ambivalence through various media takes one on a journey through something which as a result is quite intangible. In some ways this is confusing and can raise questions about the curation, but on the other hand feels very much like an achievement in creatively exploring the very theme the show is relentlessly tackling head on. There is also a poetry to the moving through all these documents, rendering text in one way or another to express or describe or do something different to the previous or next thing which approaches from and to elsewhere. All these morphing forms of writing, recorded and reflecting or problem-solving, or foreseeing. There is an unknown geography to it. Certainly worth the trip! The experience of course also meant I can see where or how I fit in to all this, with three of my drawings included. If you think you’ll make it to the show, below are some photographs I’ve taken and perhaps you don’t want to spoil any surprises, but if you know you won’t make it, take a look… (and look out for the 300+ page accompanying book to be published soon)

 

After the initial introductory passage into the show, you are greeted by some wonderfully lit Adolf Wolfli works.

 

Three works per artist along this wall.. You can see a couple of Nick Blinko drawings on one end and my three drawings at the other…

People observing my efforts..

 

This Henri Michaux drawing had a poignancy to it, a highlight for me.

 

I loved these Laure Pigeon works. They need to be seen/felt in person, my documentation cannot communicate their essence.

 

Interesting Aloise Corbaz books containing text/drawings I can’t say I’ve seen before in her oeuvre..

 

An unexpected opportunity to see a room full of Luigi Serafini‘s original drawings/pages from the Codex Seraphinianus!

 

Walking from the Centre d’Art Contemporain to the restaurant, I spotted this attractive tentacle in the window of a games workshop type of spot.

 

I encountered the mythical Luigi Serafini himself at the restaurant.

 

Needless to say, the images I have included here are just a few snapshots barely skimming the surface of this delicious soup. The show has all the potential for a vastly immersive experience, requiring a chunk of your day to absorb to threshold. I was delighted to see pages from Serafini’s Codex Seraphinianus and that they had a room to themselves. I came across the Codex perhaps six or seven years ago and my curiosity was piqued by its surreal and absurdist nature. Speaking to Serafini, I learned of his upcoming exhibition of sculptures in London in May.

Scrivere Disegnando (‘Writing By Drawing’): When Language Seeks Its Other is on until May 3rd at the Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva Switzerland.

 

The following day I went from Geneva to Lausanne to see the Carlo Zinelli exhibition at the Collection L’Art Brut, and to potter around. I dragged Philippe Eternod around several record shops. I had visited a couple in Geneva also. I came away with just one record, the duet between Karl Berger and Ed Blackwell ‘Just Play’ which I’d been after for a few years. Its price was not dissimilar to that of the few copies attainable online, but I save on shipping. See’s To Exist show (a two hour Jazz radio show), which I’ve been running for seven years, is currently on hiatus. Hopefully I can get back to it towards the end of the year. If interested, you can check out the special I did a few years ago on Sweet Earth Records, at a time when there was virtually no information about this short lived 1970s record label available online. Since then at least two of the records originally released on the label have been reissued, the Sun Ra record getting its reissue after the Sun Ra Estate got in touch with me to acquire contact details for someone involved with Sweet Earth Records. Anyhow, in the show, I speak with trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah about and uncover what would have been Ed Blackwell’s first LP as leader, which never saw the light of day. A point of interest for some. I digress, Eternod kindly took me to a great cheese shop and schooled me on various aspects of the cheesemaking processes. He was enthusiastic and knowledgeable. As well as the Zinelli exhibition, I saw the Theatre exhibition at the Collection l’Art Brut, which was also great. I have some reservations about how some of the work is sensationalised, but at the same time, some of the work is sensational. In any case, the museum is incredible. Undeniable quality at every turn. The Zinelli exhibition was fantastic. I’ve never seen so many of his double sided drawings side by side in one space, and the show was enhanced by images of Zinelli working and in his daily life, as well as a great documentary film I sadly just got to see 15-20 minutes of, as I had a schedule to keep. Had I known, I would have made time to see the entire thing. It had strong production values, with wonderfully shot panning across details of his work, and interviews with his friends and family. I’d love to get ahold of this film.

As part of the Theatre exhibition, some lovely Aloise Corbaz works in her books..

Great Madge Gill works and dresses she made were on display as part of the Theatre exhibition, as well as this large print of a colourful image featuring Madge Gill wearing one such dress

 

A curious Adolf Wolfli work with centralised photographic portrait of Wolfli worked into the piece, in the Theatre exhibition.

 

The actual headwear Eugene Von Bruenchenhein‘s wife, Marie, is seen wearing in some of his photographs of her, in the Theatre exhibition.

 

The guises of Vahan Poladian, in the Theatre exhibition. I like the inclusion of a saxophone. Something of this man’s demeanour reminds me of my grandfather who wasn’t far off the same age.

 

What looks like a glorious (baritone?) saxophone (or pipe), depicted in this painting from the Carlo Zinelli exhibition.

 

Carlo Zinelli foreseeing rock stars?

Carlo Zinelli also made these heads.

 

A table containing beautiful Raphael Lonne works, displayed in the permanent collection.

 

Leaving Lausanne via train for Geneva airport to return home..

 

Monochromatic Minds: Lines Of Revelation – Jennifer Lauren Gallery /// February 25th- March 4th. Candid Arts Centre. London, UK

In my previous blog post, I gave details regarding this groundbreaking exhibition about to take place in London. All the information about the exhibition and information about the artists can be found here. The opening is on Tuesday the 25th. On Wednesday the 26th, there are some artist talks that I’m very much looking forward to, with Liz Parkinson visiting from Australia and Julia Sisi journeying from France, among others. Further talks will take place on Sunday March 1st. I hope to make it along then as well. I think Cathy Ward will be speaking then. A few days ago I was visited by film makers at my studio, so as to include me speaking a bit about my work for a short documentary highlighting five of the artists in this exhibition, along with Cathy Ward, Valerie Potter (who currently has another exhibition on at The Gallery of Everything in London), Jan Arden and Terence Wilde. I think Terence Wilde will be running a workshop as part of the programme also. Talks and workshops need to be booked, so see website for details. The exhibition boasts a highly potent roster of artists which should be a joy to experience contextualised together. Other artists in the show include Albert, Aradne, Nick Blinko, Kate Bradbury, Madge Gill, Daniel Goncalves, Ted Gordon, Nigel Kingsbury, Margot, Malcolm McKesson, Dan Miller, Michel Nedjar, Evelyne Postic, Mehrdad Rashidi, Ody Saban, Harald Stoffers, George Widener, Ben Wilson and Agatha Wojciechowsky and more!

My process involves at least two layers of filtration and documentation, and here’s another layer…

 

My next entry will manifest sometime after the exhibition opens. See you on the other side. Take care,

Carlo

As we enter 2020, part II: New York, Manchester, Geneva, London

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Greetings. Here it is, part 2. Part 1 had me tying up last year’s loose ends. Part 2 looks at the near future and which walls you’ll find my work on. As usual, everything happens at once. I’m in exhibitions at the Portico Library in Manchester (UK), the Centre d’Art Contemporain in Geneva (Switzerland), and with Jennifer Lauren Gallery at the Candid Arts Center in London (UK) as well as at the Outsider Art Fair in New York (USA).

 

Outsider Art Fair – Jennifer Lauren Gallery /// January 16-19th. Metropolitan Pavilion. New York, USA

I’m not sure exactly what happened during the fabrefaction of my July 31st – November 28th, 2019 diary drawing, but the result is 12,627 words in my bubble text on A5 card. This is almost 2,000 more words than were recorded on the previous page and by now more than have been recorded on any of the ten A4 size diary drawings. If you want to go see the combobulation for yourself, find yourself at the Jennifer Lauren Gallery booth for their third year at the fair. Jennifer Lauren will also be showing work by Shinichi SawadaAkio Kontani, Margaret Mousseau, Leonhard Fink, Chris Neate, Norimistsu Kokubo and more.

For further info on the fair, opening hours, special events etc.. see here.

Outsider Art Fair, NYC 2020

Diary, July 31st – November 28th, 2019

 

Talking Sense: The Changing Vocabulary of Mind and Brain. /// January 17th-April 13th. The Portico Library. Manchester, UK 

James Moss curates the works and minds of 50 artists in this playfully conceptual exhibition fitting to the ethos of the Portico Library, a 200+ year old subscription library in Manchester’s city center. The exhibition “explores the idea of “mind/brain-then/now” – combining 18th and 19th century literature with new artworks to create a space for conversations around the vocabulary of neurodiversity, mental health and psychology”. Sugar Glider vs. Octopus, a painting I did in 2009 will be included along with works by the homies Darren Adcock and Dolly Sen. Quite pleasantly, we are accompanied by 47 artists I can’t say I am aware of by name. I look forward to discovering their work and how all this might fit together in the context! The public preview is from 6-8pm on Thursday 16th January.

Talking Sense: The changing vocabulary of mind and brain

Sugar Glider vs. Octopus, 2009

 

Scrivere Disegnando (‘Writing By Drawing’): When Language Seeks Its Other /// January 29th- May 3rd. Centre d’Art Contemporain. Geneva, Switzerland

I’m thrilled to have several diary drawings included in this near-exhaustive exploration of writing as drawing and how this leaves the communicative aspect in ambivalence and/or ambiguity, focussing on work from the early 19th century to the present day. At least that’s my reading of it so far. I impatiently await experiencing the exhibition for myself at the opening on Tuesday, January 28th. I understand the exhibition will be accompanied by an elaborately produced book of 300+ pages. I will report back with details regarding that as I learn them. Co-curated by Andrea Bellini (Centre d’Art Contemporain, Director) and Sarah Lombardi (Collection de l’Art Brut Lausanne, Director), it will be interesting to see works by artists associated with Art Brut side by side with contemporary artists, brought together through the context of this theme. On those walls I’ll be in the very good company of Nick Blinko, Gaston Chaissac, Aloise Corbaz, Jean Dubbuffet, Susan Hiller, Henri Michaux, Laure Pigeon, Luigi Serafini (Codex Seraphinianus!), J.B. Murray, August Walla, Melvin Way and Adolf Wolfli among others.. In my previous blog entry I spoke on the writer Michel Thevoz and the artist Carlo Zinelli. Thevoz is contributing text to the book published in conjunction with this exhibition, and there is a big Zinelli exhibition at the Collection l’Art Brut in Lausanne, so I’ll also be able to experience that, which should be wonderful. I’ll report back upon returning.

 

Monochromatic Minds: Lines Of Revelation – Jennifer Lauren Gallery /// February 25th- March 4th. Candid Arts Centre. London, UK

I can’t help but feel this will be a historic exhibition relentlessly championing works in black and white, through a roster of 62 artists, most of which I admire immensely, and some I’d not heard of or seen but am thus far impressed with based on images revealed here. Jennifer Lauren has taken on quite a task and brought together an extremely impressive group of artists, which I’m overwhelmingly excited to see curated together in one space. On these walls I am joined by my PPP crew (Posca Pen Pals) Liz Parkinson and Julia Sisi, the highly potent Albert who I’ve met through the Bethlem, Madge Gill who needs no introduction, the great Aradne, it’s an endless list and I’d love to think of specific words to describe each artist but I must go and do my tax returns. It’s very tempting though.. Ody Saban who’s work I’ve admired over the last fifteen years, Cathy Ward whom I’ve crossed paths with since encountering her work at The Horse Hospital (which is in grave danger of being shut down after over 25 years, spread the word to your powerful and caring friends please!) around the time they offered to show my work for the first time in 2007/8, Nick Blinko who I’ve written about quite a lot over the years (here are a couple of bits: 2011, 2016), Rashidi, Margot, Harald Stoffers, George Widener, Ben Wilson, Malcolm McKesson, Dan Miller, Kate Bradbury, Nigel Kingsbury, Daniel Goncalves, Michel Nedjar, Evelyne Postic, Agatha Wojciechowsky, Ted Gordon, and the list goes on! I just wish brother Phil was here. Right,.. I feel like I’m about to malfunction. For full details check this  and I’ll reiterate all this in a more succinct and informative manner within the next blog entry in a few weeks, with updated specifics regarding the series of events surrounding the exhibition including presentations by some of the artists and more. 

 

Roger Cardinal (1940-2019)

It was saddening to hear that Roger Cardinal, the man who first used the controversial term ‘Outsider Art’ with having his book titled as such (published in 1972), has transcended the Earth at the end of last year. The forthcoming issue (104) of Raw Vision magazine will be a special tribute edition. I was privileged to meet him several times. My first encounter with him was interesting, I had been writing in my diary drawing for a couple of hours, alone at a table and he walks into the room and asks if I mind him sitting beside me. He then asked if I minded him taking some notes as we conversed. We went from there into another smaller room where a video interview with Jean Dubuffet was showing and we sat there for a short time before he nodded off for a while in an armchair. We crossed paths a handful of times or so after that and began a somewhat intense email exchange, which began with him actually saying he would be “honoured” to write about my drawings (too much!). He could also be quite playful in his approach. Referring back to that email, he wrote: I would be honoured to write something about your work, which is definitely on my personal list of a site of “outstanding natural beauty” (that’s a quotation from the Kent County Council road sign that you’ll find at the entrance to our local villages!). I regret not having resolved the unusual and perplexing tone of our last emails. Irrespective of that, Roger Cardinal will forever be gargantuan. 

 

Time is the whirlwind (part III: Short film, exhibition, publication)

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Is it sooner than you thought?

I’m following up my previous post with one containing actual things relating more to my output, considering the last entry reads more like a sort of travel log with a sprinkle of educational Jazz referencing.

 

New York, New York – Timmy Miller Has a Heavy Head at the SR Socially Relevant Film Festival NY

The subheading for my previous newsletter/blog post was ‘New York, New York’. Initially that was because I was going to write about my trip to New York and showing my drawings at the Outsider Art Fair in January, and also mention that, to my bewilderment, my short film Timmy Miller Has a Heavy Head has been selected to screen at the SR Socially Relevant Film Festival, also in New York, this March. There was plenty of New York in the previous post, so ‘New York, New York’ was still fitting, in my mind. But anyhow. For New York part II, should you be in the vicinity and interested, my short film (18 mins) will be showing with a couple of other short films as part of a programme considered under the theme ‘Freedom’. I only found out a couple of weeks ago and have since had to quickly put together a poster and a trailer..

note: click on images to enlarge

 

It will be an undeniably rare ‘opportunity’ to see this film in a real cinema, so if you can and are into it, please do, I wish I could! Having just come back from NYC, and needing to renew my passport right now, kind of puts the nail in the coffin for me. If you do go and have a further moment to spare, do let me know how it was?! Attendance, sound quality, etc.. photographic evidence would also be invaluable.

Now that it will be out in the world, perhaps I should demystify it somewhat. I have worked on this on and off for a few years physically.. The seed was planted in my mind about a decade and a half ago and very slowly grew from there, finding its form. A bit like my drawings, in a way. In fact, the name Timmy Miller Has a Heavy Head comes from a ‘doodle’ I did in a sort of visual diary I was keeping in the mid to late ’90s. I mostly kept photographs and concert tickets in there, with associated stories written beside the documents. I also included terrible ‘poetry’ and some unconscious ‘doodling’. That’s where the title for this film was born. I had to rack my brain trying to recall it and thought for a long time that it was on some old schoolwork of mine but eventually found it in this book in January, 2018. In fact it reads ‘Tim Miller’ and not ‘Timmy’. I remembered it wrong for all those years. Not sure why I remembered it in the first place. I did start using it in a different context in the early 2000s and so it has lived on from there more so. Conveniently, there is a date at the top of the page, so I can see that it was drawn on Wednesday 1st of March, 1995. Just about 24 years ago by now. It was good to reconnect with the original drawing. I suppose at the time it was unconsciously referencing all the kids at my school, jacked up on Ritalin. Anyway, enough about me, where were YOU on Wednesday 1st of March, 1995?

 

I know none of that explains much about the contents of the film. I would prefer to leave all that a bit ambiguous at this point. This is the trailer though:

 

The screening takes place on Tuesday 19th of March at 5pm as detailed here. Various options available in regards to purchasing tickets but probably the best deal will be to get the early sales discount here. This is happening at one of the oldest continuously operated art cinemas in New York, Cinema Village. Well, I think that about covers it for now. I’ll be posting any updates on my Facebook artist page.

 

Fly Paws group exhibition in Lausanne, Switzerland

A couple of my small drawings are being shown in an exhibition with a title which translates as ‘Fly Paws’, referring to the insect rather than incorporating slang for ‘fly’ and ‘paws’, though I think the latter is more appealing. Both are amusing. In any case, this is currently on as of the 13th of February and will remain so until the 13th of April, 2019. The place to be is the Galerie du Marché and these are the coordinates.

 

Drawing/Writing/Drawing by David Maclagan

Recently, an academic journal found its way through my letter plate. The reason for this was that an article about the relationship between drawing and writing, written by David Maclagan, is included and my diary drawings get a mention in there, as well as a full page illustration. The article references a lot of artists and cross references various mark making disciplines, as practiced by artists and non-artists alike. If you’re a fiend for this kind of thing, there is a physical version (as was posted through my door) and an electronic version which I found here. The physical copy is pricey (as seems the way with these types of publications) but I can attest to the quality of my reproduced image. Maclagan’s article is interesting to consider and ponder on, and I would say an enjoyable read also. I haven’t gotten round to trying to read any of the other writings though but am curious..

 

25 years of Horse Hospital

I managed to get up to The Horse Hospital in its last days of exhibiting a show celebrating 25 years of its own existence, which is no small feat. I will forever be honoured to say that the first exhibition of my work was in a three person show at The Horse Hospital in 2008. I went along to see this current show thinking I’d be in there for twenty minutes or so but came out of there over an hour after entering. It was visually minimal in its presentation but the timeline of events they had printed out and plastered to the walls had me transfixed and I almost read the entire thing. If those walls could speak, eh? In my previous post I spoke of Joe Coleman‘s work and included some I’d photographed at the Outsider Art Fair in New York in January. One of the paintings contains a portrait dedication to visionary artist Norbert Kox who had passed away just weeks before. Both of these artists have shown at the Horse Hospital also. I forgot to mention in the previous post, that I first saw and learned of Norbert Kox’s work here, in an exhibition of his work and Cathy Ward‘s, whom I also hadn’t encountered before. Norb was present and did some speaking at a special event. I fondly recall his stories of escaping death when having to squeeze through suffocatingly tight passages in caves after water had risen and almost drowned him. He was there with his son. I think this was leading up to the exhibition I was in. So, at the celebratory exhibition, they projected images from all the shows they’d put on and I got to see my works on the walls, which by now feels like some time ago, partly due to seeing which works they were and how they were hung. That whole process of hanging large paintings, it’s been a while by now.. What really sealed the deal was a video compilation of footage from exhibitions that took place, on a screen with headphones for sound. There was a great video of Joe Coleman explaining the details in his paintings, in some detail, in the late ’90s. Fantastic. Such a special and unique place. Certainly singular.

video of Joe Coleman at his Horse Hospital exhibition, speaking about his work

 

Still image projection of my painting The Void II hung beside the door (when the gallery used to be upstairs) with painting The Void and a couple of smaller works in view on other wall behind. The Void II has been packed away for a while now. Would be good to get it out for some air soon..

 

Beginning of the Horse Hospital timeline

 

STUMP: Art From The Obsessive Mind exhibition from October 11th – November 1st (2008). Maurice Burns, Carlo Keshishian, Joe Wilson

 

The Horse Hospital timeline continues…

 

Flyers

 

That’s all for now folk dem. Most probably I won’t write another one of these for a while. Not much happens usually, I am mostly in a room drawing continuously and occasionally taking a break to put a radio show together. Hence my intense whirlwind-related trilogy of posts. The weather is likely to change for now.. Let the wind be my direction.. yadda yadda.. but give me a shout if you feel so inclined and in the meantime,

Peace,

C.

ps. For the sake of realtime chronology, I’m putting this here and not in the above section about Timmy Miller Has a Heavy Head. On my way to work today, to my bafflement, it appears I have been honed in on and retweeted on the topic of the Timmy Miller film by none other than co-creator of Troma EntertainmentThe Toxic Avenger, Class of Nuke’Em High and hundreds of other inventive comedic horror films that send a message (to paraphrase Marvel Comics creator, Stan Lee). That I very rarely use Twitter and barely understand how to use it, only begins to explain how confused I am by this strange occurrence! Shout out to the master of subversion Lloyd Kaufman!

Time is the whirlwind (part II: New York, New York)

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Needless to say life since the previous newsletter/blog entry has been a whirlwind and thus this ‘part II’ is justified. A lot to touch on in this post, including very recent unexpected and exciting developments…

Get your coffee, this may take a while…

Outsider Art Fair New York, January 2019

Bar the near-infuriating process of getting out of Newark airport (which is considerably less infuriating than that of JFK airport), my journey was quite smooth. I do love arriving to New York, post-airport. Feeling the cold air on my face. Getting the train. Usually something happens that reminds me where I am. On this occasion, after leaving my things at the apartment where I’m staying, I went on my way to Raw Vision magazine’s party celebrating its 100th issue. On my way there, it was perfect, I entered the subway and heard the music that was used to open and close the film After Hours. A classical piece, I forget who wrote it and what it’s called but I very much enjoy it. Most likely through the association with the film. It is perfectly fitting in the film, which is Manhattan atmosphere-focussed and from the lens of an ‘outsider’s’ view of the downtown art scene of the early-mid 1980s (near enough when the film was made also). It was great and surprising to hear this piece on the subway upon arriving to New York. As if I was being welcomed by a specially curated subway journey. It was a violinist or cellist playing. It was quite a last minute decision and possibility to come, so I was very glad to be embarking on this odyssey. It is the first time my work is being shown at the OAF in New York. Thanks Jennifer Lauren Gallery!


Carlo beside himself


Queue for Carlo


Nice image nabbed off of Instagram via kirstycnyc 

 

A couple of my small drawings (The Disadvantages of Time part IV: Time Lapse, The Disadvantages of Time part V: To What End?) were shown and both sold, covering my trip with a bit of extra change. Nice. The Raw Vision party was cool. It was a night of short films submitted to Raw Vision, which made for some interesting viewing. The jetlag wasn’t too intrusive to my wakefulness but the atmosphere was somewhat surreal. I suppose sitting in an environment like an airplane for a good part of the day and then finding yourself walking around New York City in itself would do that. I had a complimentary beer. That was nice. I saw a few familiar beings. Jennie who was showing my drawings. Cathy Ward and Eric Wright. Fresh off the press: Raw Vision will be hosting a similar event in London (UK) mid-March.

The OAF opening was busy and buzzing. I saw friend Julia Sisi there, working at the Raw Vision stand with the great John Maizels. It was cool to see them. A man came up to me to express his admiration for my drawings. We talked about the different pens I use. He said something about the level of detail “you and Nick Blinko“. Wow. The most pleasing work at the fair for me to experience were three paintings by Joe Coleman, who has finally been un-banned from having work shown there, and his works were incidentally shown at the Andrew Edlin Gallery stand, Andrew Edlin being owner of the fair also. Coleman was banned under previous ownership though. Edlin’s stand for me is generally a highlight in what they show. I was awestruck by another monumental Marcel Storr work there again. The most impressive of Joe Coleman’s works must have been finished just days or at most a couple of weeks before the fair opened, evidenced by a section in the work being dedicated to the late Norbert Kox who had very recently transcended the Earth.


Joe Coleman ‘Adam Parfrey: A Feral Man in a Feral Land’, 2018-2019

 


detail of Norbert Kox

 

Also of note, as is usually the case, to my eye anyway, were the selections displayed by the Cavin-Morris and Henry Boxer galleries. Apparently the exhibition Cavin-Morris had on at their actual gallery in New York was considered by some to be the best show they have ever put together. I was adamant that I’d reach and see it while I was there but sadly the stars didn’t align that way. They currently have a solo exhibition of Christine Sefolosha‘s work on show, which must be fantastic. Sefolosha is a force to be reckoned with. It has now been a month since the fair, and a lot else has been happening so I’ll move ever onward..

Whilst in NYC, I did manage to see the Hilma af Klimt exhibition at the Guggenheim. I was not aware of her and had missed a recent exhibition of her work at The Serpentine in London. The Guggenheim show was interesting to see. I think it could have been curated better but it was fascinating to see her work and learn about it. I can’t say I like all of it, but some of it was pretty special and considering it in various contexts was quite enlightening, notably when the work was created and how overlooked it was within art history.


Hilma af Klimt works at the Guggenheim, NYC

 

The New York trip continues with a party at the American Folk Art Museum where I saw the Paa Joe and John Dunkley exhibitions. Both interesting in different ways. I walked around the John Dunkley exhibition sensing something very familiar about the work and eventually saw this painting which immediately took me back to the museum in Kingston, Jamaica where I had seen this very painting a few years ago when I was there. I believe it was the only John Dunkley painting I saw when I was there, or it was the only one that struck me, but clearly it stayed with me somewhere in the brain files.


John Dunkley ‘Banana Plantation’, c.1945

 

Lastly, it was Saturday, I had been running around town since Wednesday and against my urge to reach everywhere I wanted to reach, felt I did need some rest. My calculations of timing had begun to be off, and it was clear I needed to make some adjustments. I passed on the Ricco/Maresca party dedicated to the recently passed Phyllis Kind, which I’d really have liked to experience. (note: I’d only met Phyllis Kind once, over a decade ago in the last year or two of her New York gallery being open. The exhibition was fantastic and I also got to see a Nick Blinko drawing up close for the first time, which was brought out from the stock room after we’d got talking about his work.) I laid low for an hour and then walked through the rain to Zinc Bar. It was imperative to check out some music, after all. I’d been in touch with trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah whom I’d interviewed for my radio shows over the years (the Sweet Earth Records special, and the Arthur Blythe special) and he said he would be performing there with a group called AfroHORN and that Bob Stewart (note: Bob Stewart’s solo on Arthur Blythe’s Lennox Avenue Breakdown from the late ’70s is potentially the most significant tuba solo in Jazz history) would be guesting also. This show was from 8-10pm and there was another show over in Brooklyn that I’d initially planned to go see from 10pm onwards. I was toying with the idea of doing both somehow. The other show was a collective improvisation featuring the legendary drummer/percussionist Warren Smith, saxophonist Salim Washington who I was interested in seeing from having listened to him on a record by QPSM Unit, and Ras Moshe Burnett whom I was intrigued to see also. I never made it to that event. Partly because, to my surprise, Salim Washington was on stage at the AfroHORN gig! I’d mentioned to Ahmed Abdullah via email, the other show, and he responded delighted to hear Salim Washington was in town and that they had known each other for a couple of decades and had been neighbours and worked together but that he had moved to South Africa. I could be wrong, but there is a possibility that Salim Washington was on that stage in Manhattan in part due to me having mentioned him in an email to Ahmed Abdullah!? Potential evidence in support of an alternate explanation is that the bassist on that QPSM Unit record was also on stage in Manhattan that night and that could have been his in. (In some sort of way, this reminds me of the time Wayne Kramer of the MC5 was performing in London on the day GG Allin died, give or take a couple of decades, and as we were in correspondence at the time, I’d mentioned it to him the day before. The first words he said before starting to play referenced GG’s death and the newspaper reviews the following day made a point to highlight this. Kind of silly, but it’s funny how and where things ricochet). In any case, I was so glad I had come to hear this. It truly lifted my spirit and rejuvenated my everything. I was fulfilled and didn’t need to rush off to any next thing. I was soaking it in and reflecting on it for some time after. Salim Washington’s partner and baby were in attendance, all seemingly leaving for the other gig ten minutes before the set ends. Also not in the listing was that the incredible Donald Smith was on piano that night. Blissful. They did a great rendition of Sun Ra’s ‘Love in Outer Space’ (standout version being from Sun Ra’s ‘Night of the Purple Moon‘ LP from 1970. Note: both Ahmed Abdullah and ArfoHORN leader Francisco Mora Catlett played with Sun Ra’s Arkestra in the 1970s and beyond. I first heard Ahmed Abdullah on one of the first records that got me into Sun Ra, ‘Cosmos‘ from 1976) and a wonderful version of Reggie Fields’s ‘Reminiscing’. I sacrificed the moment to capture some on my phone, which you can check out if you scroll down to the bottom of all this.


with Ahmed Abdullah

 

As if I don’t have more significant things to include in this already overstretched newsletter/blog post, here is an inflated rat I saw in New York, and a couple of octopus sightings..



 

You know what? This was all stuff from my New York trip and I have a lot of other things to write still, but there is enough here. To keep it neat and for those of you that have read this to the end, I’ll let you return to your lives for now.. The subheading for this post was ‘New York, New York’ because the second dose of New York will be happening in March already. Those very recent and exciting developments alluded to in the opening sentences of this post will have to wait. I’ll save that information for the next entry, which I will follow this one up with sooner than you think.. I hope.

AfroHORN – ‘Reminiscing’ live @ the Zinc Bar, NYC, January 2019

Winter updates

Outsider Art Fair Paris 2016

Greetings. As the last update was left on the ponderous note of anticipation for what was to come in the form of the Outsider Art Fair Paris, I shall provide you with the outcome.. firstly, I have written at length about it here for Outside In. Having just revisited this writing now, I don’t think I need to add much more here. The New York edition of the fair celebrated its 25th year earlier this month and it seems the momentum has really picked up in the last few years with more attendance, media coverage and general awareness seemingly bringing the field noticeably within view from in the shadows.

A sophisticated magnifying glass with built-in light, being used to look at a detailed Carlo Keshishian diary drawing. Works by Aloise and Wolfli visible in background

 

ABDC Collection

Following on from the Paris fair, I’m pleased to announce some of my recordings have found a home in the unparalleled ABCD collection. See here.

 

Radio Shows, Itch FM, NTS and Mixcloud: See’s To Exist Show / Who Cares? And Unknowns

For those that have been following my See’s To Exist Show Jazz based radio shows in the last few years, a metamorphosis is currently taking place. For various reasons, I’ve had to call it a day in regards to providing a weekly show at Itch FM, which has been a great experience and I will forever rep the Itch family. I wasn’t sure what form, if any, See’s To Exist Show will continue to exist as, and started to put in place the creation process of a new podcast which would not be restricted by genre or time in terms of how frequently new editions would come into being, or how much time they would each run for. This show is called Who Cares? And Unknowns, of which the first instalment has now been uploaded in two parts (clocking in altogether at somewhere around the 5 hour mark). This first instalment is focussed on Joe Dub, one of the West Coast’s best kept secrets in terms of underground Hip Hop (of the Americas). I first came across his music in the form of a cassette that was given to me in 1997-98, containing material by his then group San Francisco Street Music, that I would years later find out is titled ‘The Pride’. A cassette intrinsic to the development of my own approach to a lot of things, to this day. In a previous blog entry, I highlight some record adapters I designed for Joe’s current project, and we have had an interesting exchange since the turn of the last century. He has recorded with the who’s who of mythical underground West Coast artists such as Deeskee, 2Mex, Abstract Rude, Doc Lewd, Awol One, Circus, Liferexall, Neila, Dave Dub, Ellay Khule, and a near endless list of others. In these shows I provide a generous quantity of his recordings, more or less chronologically, including collaborations with Devin The Dude, Topic, Factor, Alex 75 and many more.. You can check part 1 and part 2 out now. Enjoy.

I am proud to announce that See’s To Exist Show will continue, keeping more or less the same format, but will now be a monthly show courtesy of NTS. The new show will be live on Sundays, 3-5pm, the first of which can be streamed on March 12th. Tune in for more of the same unparalleled magical Jazz gems from the dusty depths of our world’s near forgotten treasure crevices.

 

Toilet Diary

The current diary drawing I am working on has unexpectedly taken a different path. Firstly, it’s is more than four times the size than the previous sequence which were all A4. Secondly, in theory the idea was to draw just one hour each day of the year, so as to contain the entire year in a measured manner. I’ve allocated a premeditated dimensional area divided 365 times within the page. I began drawing it a few weeks before another little collaborative creation I’m involved in, in the form of a little human, was born into being in our world. A spanner in the works of course presented itself just a few days into drawing, and with my back significantly compromised, causing me to be bed-bound for almost two weeks, I have quite some catching up to do with drawing and recollecting my thoughts, channeling the fresh impulses, etc.. I’m sure it will be an interesting challenge to the end. Other interesting new diaries being kept involve monitoring toilet activity. Who’d have thunk it. Anyhow, here is a photograph of my new diary drawing in progress, with new little human catching some z’s alongside..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short Film

I won’t give much about this away at the moment because I’m still not sure exactly what I will do with it, but I have been working on a short film for some time now and it is near completion. I’ve been working on it, on and off, for the last couple of years or so in terms of filming and editing. The ideas for it, however, have slowly been simmering for over a decade and it somehow found its way into being created, which initially I hadn’t intended on seeing through. More on this in the next blog entry (probably/possibly?!)..

 

Uncooked Culture ‘Spring Showcase’

The mastermind behind the Uncooked Culture initiative and Circus Terminal touring exhibitions,The Bag Lady Nok has put in place another exhibition showcasing works by artists associated with the movement. On this occasion, you can find works by somewhere around a hundred artists. Other than myself, these include Ian Pyper, Cathy Ward, Pier Makanda, Liz Parkinson, Brian Robert Gibson and many many more. Nok’s acquiring of the Bag Lady title relates to the near mythical process that has been her method in carrying hundreds of art works in one suitcase and putting exhibitions on in France, Spain, Solvenia, Holland, Suriname, Thailand, New Zealand and the U.S.A. This time around, she has set up just around the corner at The Walmer Castle pub in Notting Hill (London, UK). The address is 58 Ledbury Road, W11 2AJ. I’m not exactly sure how long the works will be up but I do know there will be a three day celebration in the upstairs bar area on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd of March, so if you are interested in seeing some performances, hearing speeches, and mysterious improvisational happenstance intrinsic to the nature of the project, find yourself there within that window of time. On the evening of Wednesday the 1st of March, I will be DJing so if you are around and care to experience the exhibition with a soundtrack of rare spiritual Jazz potentially among other things, it’s a good time to peruse. I’ll leave it at that.

 

Until later..

Carlo

Whirlwinds and Portals

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‘Line Let Loose’ by David Maclagan

It has happened again. Things Have accumulated and I have not blogged them. I will try to keep it concise!  Firstly, as I mentioned earlier in the year, a book called ‘Line Let Loose‘ featuring some of my creations on the cover and pages within, exists and is pretty exciting for me. It was meant to come out quite a few months back but there were some delays. As you can see in the photo below though, it actually exists now. I have this advance copy, and the rest should be out in November. I have finished reading it and while it is relentlessly on topic, exploring all sorts of angles, I like that and it certainly makes for an interesting account in regards to the history of scribbling, doodling, mediumistic/automatic-drawing, and examines crossovers and various aspects of these forms of expression. target=”_blank”>David Maclagan has written a fair bit over the decades, as well as being an artist in his own right, having given lectures and is also a retired art therapist. It’s an honour to have my drawing on the wraparound cover of this book!

Carlo with Line Let Loose

 

Parisian Whirlwind

I’m in Beirut right now, counting the hours until the opening of my solo exhibition ‘Portals‘. More about that later. On my way to Beirut, I came through Paris and stayed there for four nights so that I could check out the first ever edition of the Outsider Art Fair to be hosted in Paris (after something like 20 years of it taking place in New York). I had a great time and while I don’t really ever speak to anyone during these things, or if I do it tends to be in somewhat of a subdued manner, but this time even just being myself and acting natural, there was a fluidity at times which was really pleasant. I met some interesting people and had an altogether different experience. There was still strange stuff in the air, sure, but that’s to be expected. But anyhow, I arrived on the Eurostar (£34 ticket!) at 6pm and then had just an hour to go drop off my luggage and find my way to a 2 hour conference on Art Brut from America.. It was a great way to start the trip, going head on into re-configuring my mindset to listening and trying to understand French. I got at least half of it. Having a French eduction until the age of 9 or so, my vocabulary is limited but I do ok.     I spotted two people in the audience that my eye returned to a few times. One I was quite sure is Ody Saban, an artist I have admired for many years and have had a little correspondence with over the years. The other, I felt was Christine Sefolosha, though I’d only seen a couple of photos of her before and so couldn’t be sure, but she did glance over at me a couple of times, and we had also corresponded a little bit. I love Christine’s work also. Magical stuff. It felt funny to start the trip in the presence of two such ‘heroines’, neither of which I’d never met before. I chatted with Christine a bit and we took the train.. The following day was the opening of the fair, which interestingly took place at a hotel that had been hired in its entirety. Each guest room was used by a different gallery, with art works propped up in bathtubs and folders of drawings spread out on beds, stuff hung on the walls, etc.. Some of the gallerists even slept in the beds (at night)! I liked it in theory, but it wasn’t very practical at the opening with the narrow corridors etc.. Naturally some great works were on show. I was particularly pleased to see this small Raphael Lonne drawing kind of hidden at the bottom of a wall.. I showed John Maizels from Raw Vision magazine the advance copy of David Maclagan’s Line Let Loose that I had with me, and he agreed that it was beautifully printed and proceeded to show it to a few people in the surrounding area. I also showed it to Ody as she had an image in the book also, and of course hadn’t seen it yet. I went from there with my friend Julia Elmore to another gallery where a group exhibition was taking place, featuring works by Christine Sefolosha and it was an absolute joy to have Christine give us a tour of the show and to talk about her work. It meant a lot to me that Christine liked my work when I showed some of it to her. To get a genuine positive reaction from someone you look up to, there’s nothing quite like it. Both Christine and Ody were very friendly and supportive. I had a nice time chatting with Ody over a coffee the following day and then we went for some lunch with Laurent Danchin, which was very pleasant indeed. We spoke on various topics and it was a rather insightful experience. The following night my friend Anne-Cecile and I checked out the  party at the Halle st.Pierre celebrating the Raw Vision exhibition which was spectacular (and will be on until next August I believe!), and then on my last night I went to the party at the Christian Berst gallery and caught up with artist Cathy Ward and Jennie from Outside In while the Eugene von Burenchenhein photography show was in effect. I’ve got to send a special shout out to Rebecca Hoffman for making this great trip possible! Here’s a photo of Ody Saban and I.. and one I took of her with Laurent Danchin..

 

DSCN4071

 

Portals

My solo exhibition at The Running Horse in Beirut. I’ve been working on spiral-based paintings for this show since last year, and I’ve been painting spirals for long enough to forget when that all began. I’ve been jotting down a lot of reflections on how this show came to be, what making spirals means to me, various observations about the spiral in nature, life, ‘art’, and in history in general. So, I really don’t feel like writing more about it right now! I could copy my notes into here.. it might make for excruciating reading. I will spare you for now I think. So the show opens very soon, what I’ll do is, I’ll write a next post all about it then..

Cashew soon..

Carlo.

 

 
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