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) + ( = aO _ mawson-raffalt + faulder-mawson “as artists and cultural diplomats and above all as human beings,we have a solemn duty to nurture the creative forces that are given as a sacred responsibility to all life”

An Encouraging Article Critical of the sorry state of the Art World:

Here is the latest in a series of articles from well placed voices about the sad state of the Arts “Scene”……………….

This Article appeared in the Observer and was written by
Edward Helmore and Paul Gallagher

One of America’s foremost art critics has launched a fierce attack on the contemporary art world, saying anyone who has “read a Batman comic” would qualify for a career in the industry.

Dave Hickey, a curator, professor and author known for a passionate defence of beauty in his collection of essays The Invisible Dragon and his wide-ranging cultural criticism, is walking away from a world he says is calcified, self-reverential and a hostage to rich collectors who have no respect for what they are doing.
“They’re in the hedge fund business, so they drop their windfall profits into art. It’s just not serious,” he told the Observer. “Art editors and critics – people like me – have become a courtier class. All we do is wander around the palace and advise very rich people. It’s not worth my time.”

Hickey says the art world has acquired the mentality of a tourist. “If I go to London, everyone wants to talk about Damien Hirst. I’m just not interested in him. Never have been. But I’m interested in Gary Hume and written about him quite a few times.”

If it’s a matter of buying long and selling short, then the artists he would sell now include Jenny Holzer, Richard Prince and Maurizio Cattelan. “It’s time to start shorting some of this shit,” he added.

Hickey’s outburst comes as a number of contemporary art curators at world famous museums and galleries have complained that works by artists such as Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley and Marc Quinn are the result of “too much fame, too much success and too little critical sifting” and are “greatly overrated”.
Speaking on condition of anonymity to Will Gompertz, the BBC’s arts editor, one curator described Emin’s work as “empty”, adding that because of the huge sums of money involved “one always has to defend it”.

Gompertz, who recently wrote What Are You Looking At? 150 Years of Modern Art, sympathised with Hickey’s frustration.
“Money and celebrity has cast a shadow over the art world which is prohibiting ideas and debate from coming to the fore,” he said yesterday, adding that the current system of collectors, galleries, museums and art dealers colluding to maintain the value and status of artists quashed open debate on art.
“I hope this is the start of something that breaks the system. At the moment it feels like the Paris salon of the 19th century, where bureaucrats and conservatives combined to stifle the field of work. It was the Impressionists who forced a new system, led by the artists themselves. It created modern art and a whole new way of looking at things.
“Lord knows we need that now more than anything. We need artists to work outside the establishment and start looking at the world in a different way – to start challenging preconceptions instead of reinforcing them.”

Gompertz said Hickey was not a man who ever regretted a decision but that he did not agree with the American that the whole contemporary art world was moribund. “There are important artists like Ai Weiwei and Peter Doig, who produces beautiful and haunting paintings in similar ways to Edward Hopper,” he said.

As a former dealer, Hickey is not above considering art in terms of relative valuation. But his objections stem from his belief that the art world has become too large, too unfriendly and lacks discretion. “Is that elitist? Yes. Winners win, losers lose. Shoot the wounded, save yourself. Those are the rules,” Hickey said.
His comments come ahead of the autumn art auctions. With Europe in recession and a slowdown in the Chinese and Latin American economies, vendors are hoping American collectors, buoyed by a 2% growth in the US economy, andnew collectors, such as those coming to the market from oil-rich Azerbaijan, will boost sales.

At 71, Hickey has long been regarded as the enfant terrible of art criticism, respected for his intellectual range as well as his lucidity and style. He once said: “The art world is divided into those people who look at Raphael as if it’s graffiti, and those who look at graffiti as if it’s Raphael, and I prefer the latter.”

Hickey, who also rates British artist Bridget Riley, says he did not realise when he came to the art world in the 1960s that making art was a “bourgeois” activity.
“I used to sell hippy art to collectors and these artists now live like the collectors I used to sell to. They have a house, a place in the country and a BMW.”
Hickey says he came into art because of sex, drugs and artists like Robert Smithson, Richard Serra and Roy Lichtenstein who were “ferocious” about their work. “I don’t think you get that anymore. When I asked students at Yale what they planned to do, they all say move to Brooklyn – not make the greatest art ever.”
He also believes art consultants have reduced the need for collectors to form opinions. “It used to be that if you stood in front of a painting you didn’t understand, you’d have some obligation to guess. Now you don’t,” he says. “If you stood in front of a Bridget Riley you have to look at it and it would start to do interesting things. Now you wouldn’t look at it. You ask a consultant.”

Hickey says his change of heart came when he was asked to sign a 10-page contract before he could sit on a panel discussion at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Laura Cumming, the Observer’s art critic, said it would be a real loss if Hickey stopped writing commentary. “The palace Hickey’s describing, with its lackeys and viziers, its dealers and advisers, is more of an American phenomenon. It’s true that we too have wilfully bad art made for hedge fund managers, but the British art scene is not yet so thick with subservient museum directors and preening philanthropists that nothing is freely done and we can’t see the best contemporary art in our public museums because it doesn’t suit the dealers.And that will be true, I hope, until we run out of integrity and public money.”

Hickey’s retirement may only be partial. He plans to complete a book, Pagan America — “a long commentary of the pagan roots of America and snarky diatribe on Christianity” — and a second book of essays titled “Pirates and Framers.”

It is the job of a cultural commentator to make waves but Hickey is adamant he wants out of the business. “What can I tell you? It’s nasty and it’s stupid. I’m an intellectual and I don’t care if I’m not invited to the party. I quit.”

 

Quote extracted from Simon Schama’s Documentary on Mark Rothko:
Just seen Simon Schama’s documentary on Rothko! _ to all those others out there who are sad about what rank commercialism and the celebrity culture have done to the arts, this programme would be a shot in the arm equal to that given by “The Mona Lisa Curse” from Robert Hughes.

It is encouraging to see support from establishment figures in our stand against the superficiality that is the inevitable outcome when the arts are ruled by commercial interests ……… here are the final words from the film:

“…………….they (Rothko’s works) are a gateway to the place where only art can take us, far away from the buzzing static of the moment and towards the music of the spheres………………”

“can anything be less cool than this room in the heart of Tate Modern? ……..further away from the razzle dazzle of contemporary art, the frantic hustle of now ?

This is not about now. This is about forever!

This is a place where you come to sit in the low light and feel the aeons rolling by; to be taken towards the gates that open onto the threshold of eternity; to feel the poignancy of our comings and goings, our entrances and exits, our births and our deaths………

womb – tomb and everything between!

Can Art ever be more complete, more powerful?………I don’t think so!”

Simon Schama from the Mark Rothko part of the series “The Power of Art”

 

From a spectator’s armchair _ Vlad Escu on “Triptych : It’s time that prints on wax”
A spectacle that reborn senses in the manner of re-feel, re-compose axis mundi.

Risen from water pass through different mediums to send a silent message to the spectator (who becomes a contemplator, a wheel of an engine which travels the atmosphere)

The air is heavy, the word has another chance to add to it’s meaning : skin of motion powered by constant emotion played mostly by ) uM_R.

Their work is more than a play, it is a process that overwhelms our minds after seeing & hearing this visual story that combines poetical gestures with light design and sounds of nature.Body and voice are held inside a ceremony that involves much concentration and intensity, non-verbal ways to express a ritual, a prayer in the face of nature.

White – Infinity, Red – Deep passion, Green – Life of questions, Blue – Faith in doubt, Black – the Negative.

A biological spectrum. Five colors which form and perfume our life. So……..
White – Color of explosion, divided objects, eruption, an intimate relationship between body,line and shape, spiritual extension inside an intense traffic of thoughts and circularity of hopes.
And Red – Color of tragic existence, life seen as death and vice versa, a time when death invades life
Green – Fundamental quesions, the sense of colors, chromatic dialogue, water healing, thirsty for colour, death of sounds, memory of land, curse of doing, dice of “what is done”
And Blue – Vitality, metamorphosis, flame of doubt & faith determine peel of genesis to be broken and creative impulse is evoking the spirit of the ancients in a sphere that has no temporality, just vibration, all disappearing
Black – measure Vain, describes immobility, freezing, coldness, nothingness, boundaries of sounds, nonplus, locked feelings, night of being, blackened souls, impossibility, duplicity, obssesive loneliness, knowledge versus no answers, contemplative stare, cosmic life, aspiration but a communal destiny, reading what is written in the clouds, ontology area, dynamic game of never – ever, possibility of total negation, alternating spaces.

In the end of the poem a flower cycle closes the play’s door & lets us alone with ourselves, in silent enigma.

These are lyrical shades that show MEMORYSEAL (composed by Ursula Mawson-Raffalt & highlighted by Anthony J.Faulder – Mawson)

thankyou and have a prolific time !

Vlad Dumitrescu-Petrica
Theatre Critic for the Official Sibiu International Festival Magazine

Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Sibiu Review
FITS 2009

by: Cristina Rusiecki 10. june 2009.

A few days ago, the 16th edition of the grandiose International Sibiu Theatre Festival came to an end. For ten days ISTF focused, as always, the interest of the community upon the arts of performance, theatre, theatre-dance, lecture-performances, workshops, expositions, book releases, conferences, street and music performances, at a dizzying pace. I shall depict only two, for the sake of the time-old technique of point-counterpoint: Mongered and Triptych: it is time that prints on wax ………………………………..

 

………………………………………………………
In the world woven in aggression and noise, in the sonar pollution (of the jackhammer placed outside my balcony over the past ten days, for example) that ruffles up the being in successive layers, the Irishmen (sic) Ursula Mawson-Raffalt and Anthony J. Faulder-Mawson seek out peace for one hour and twenty minutes: “Triptych: it is Time that prints on Wax”
Their interdisciplinary experiment is a result of a collaboration almost two decades in the making. Better said, of a simplification of sixteen years.
Nothing exterior except the video projector in the back with clear water trickling steadily and washing rocks. At intervals, in the middle of the screen a coloured square is centred. In fact, the only colour in the ambiance.

The three performers are dressed (by Elena Scelzi) in colours of a perfect neutrality (black or grey), each with an element that reminds one of The Matrix . The veil from which the costume of Ursula Mawson-Raffalt is made is also grey, without nuances.

Below, either a black triangle within a circle, or a white square define the beams that “set” the flux of consciousness.

The space is made up like an empty zone, without stress, without syncope. A land where discontinuity has not penetrated. Only occasional whispers, a profound breath, a listing of numbers, then a text that sounds as if emerging from the last barricade of modernism.

The assistance is slowly submerged into the core of the interior life. The flow of consciousness is rarely paying attention to itself. A murmur here, a movement there, a discrete crack, but every time surprising, provoked by the two choir singers of silence, they break the rhythm in order to bring the throbbings of the interior life and of the memory that is re-taken over and over.

Beside that, a mechanical flow of sounds with silence, indecipherable chutes, breathing and movements that are repeated over and over.

The choreographer’s wrist wriggles with the grace of a ritual Indian dance. The finesse, the distinction, the delicacy, the concentration, all her gestures, from an aesthete of movement, seem to be remains leaked
out from the mythical inheritance of the great dancers of the past century.

Steadily, the sensation of silence invades all the layers of the being. Defalcated from the collision with the exterior, she descends in the marrow of the lack of asperities. The silence makes permeable the interior layers, dilutes the crusts of the analytical into the spectator. With the same repeated words, with circle turnings of thoughts, with fetish-numbers, with whispers, with foretold breathings, “Triptych: it is time that prints on wax” it penetrates the concentric circles of the interior flow in order to reach, at one point, the warm core of which the inspiration and the poetry drips. “My function, as artist, is simply to inspire the individual rather than to entertain the masses!” – this is the statement of the creators.The pale powers of the description cannot reproduce the syntax of silence.

The multimedia language from “Triptych: it is time that prints on wax”, is one of the most moving and melodious performances that I have ever seen, it therapeutically accesses each sense of the spectators. The result is to be cast in a cool and calming background.

Oliver Dowling Essay On:
Anthony J. Faulder-Mawson and Ursula Mawson-Raffalt

To experience the work of Anthony J. Faulder-Mawson and Ursula Mawson-Raffalt is to be part of a world that includes paint, words, numbers, dance, move­ment, music, sound, light, performance, exhibition, theatre. The word artist is too narrow to describe either of them as he is an artist/inventor/craftsman of paint systems and she is a dancer/inventor of text and movement. Separately they create each in his and her own world while sharing a common bond of creating places and situations where the work is mesmeric and spiritual.

They have many common bonds which were in place before they ever met. These now come together to create beautiful and tough work that deserves attention and time.

The work of Anthony Faulder-Mawson is simple to look at and minimal in ap­proach. Or appears to be simple and minimal but comes out of a complex and well studied series of systems and chance. Apparent contradiction. His early work references were Juan Gris and Jackson Pollock. Then he discovered Mark Rothko and Piet Mondrian among others. His respect for these artists continues to be present. And added to them were writers and composers of music and sound including Samuel Beckett , John Cage and Morton Feldman. He started life as an artist through the now considered conventional path of the art college. Being a non-conformist he soon set off on his own journey and discovered for himself the magic and mysteries of the visual world. He sees and is especially affected by what he sees and what he hears. And he also has to get behind what he sees and hears.

Ursula Mawson-Raffalt is a wordsmith and creator of movement. She started her dance life through the conventional path of a dance school in Vienna. She too felt restricted by convention and set off on her own path of discovery by exploring and creating works that push boundaries. In performance her classical training as a dancer is evident and she introduces words and a system of movement that responds to her words. It is at this moment that the creative impetus of both comes together. Anthony’s sequence of paintings and light works inhabit the space in their own right while Ursula’s movement and dance are separate and yet it is one whole.

Working independently they are rigid disciplinarians. His paintings come out of a well researched system of mathematics and binary systems and he has a detailed recipe for each work. Each time a painting is made according to his system it should come out the same and often will look the same but the layering and application of paint will be dependent on forces outside his control and there will always be subtle differ­ences. And this is ok by him as he is too aware of the creative process not to allow for chance. Her words and dance come out of her exploration of a world that is based on a quintessential essence shared by both.

Like all art the work of Anthony and Ursula comes out of art. They are passionate in their art references. They write very insightfully of their own work. Having attended performances of theirs in the past, I see that they are curious and not easily definable artists who create work of great beauty allied with tension and ease.

Oliver Dowling

April 2009