REPORTING ON ART AND FOOD from Troubled Places

Warning : This is a modern-primitive writing website, of impressionist rather than informative character.

Second Version of Study for Bullfight No.1, Francis Bacon, fragment

Of Man and Beast

Don't call them 'the fittest'. Those, who survive are the destructors of others. Or at least that was my revelation when seeing Francis Bacon: Man and Beast exhibition.

Another revelation was that Bacon is probably The Painter of the 20th Century. Or at least now, when under the impression of this dramatic exhibition, this is what I think. He certainly isn't my favourite artist, but he might well be the best painter of the last hundred years.

I was expecting many things but was caught by surprise by Bacon’s mastery of colour and its plasticity. Baffled my mind runs between Renoir and Rothko, but doesn't find anyone getting even close to Bacon. And certainly none is more multi-layered than Bacon. Often has been said that Bacon avoided narrative painting like in “From the 1960s the large-scale triptych became increasingly important to bacon, enabling complex compositions with multiple figures that could address major themes, whilst avoiding a narrative scene that would fall into the trap of ‘illustration’”. Yet, Bacon’s paintings are narrative, it’s only that his narration is not linear. From the Crucifixion to The Bullfight all is narration. Wonderfully complex narration.

Bacon’s uniqueness is in that: while the viewer's brain is paralysed by a narrative cynic to cruelty; the viewer's heart is enchanted by the lust for life pouring from Bacon's bright, sparkling colours straight into the viewer's itchy eyes. Even the Mastiff’s canvas is glittered, like sparkled with golden sand.

"Bacon was convinced that there is an area of the nervous system to which the texture of paint communicates more violently than anything else".

Indeed. Indeed. This vibrant white line on an abys-deep blue background, next to the grey-brown, penetrating through my eyes, sets my heart in such ecstatic joy that my split brain half-watching Lacy’s coiled figure on a white pillow and half-observing my singing, joyous heart doesn't know whether this is a sad or happy painting and whether to laugh or to cry. I haven't seen anything like it. The gloss, the shininess of the colour, the form, the movement, the story...

The product is such that I immediately forgive Bacon for the two devoured lovers*

*Specie - Bacon's Lover. Life expectancy : 10 years.

Just as I have long forgiven Eric Gill his trespasses. Only Picasso remains to keep Rodin company in my gallery: Your sins outweigh your merits. Is he forgiven because his victims were male? Possibly, but not certainly.

Francis Bacon : Huge. Gigantic. Colossal. At the Royal Academy until 17 April

Ladies don't forget your sticks or long umbrellas when heading the Man and Beast exhibition; for you'll see a massive amount of men standing straight in the middle of the paintings and so close as if expecting to receive personal instructions from the toothful mouths, so that you'll have to pocket them to move aside.

This exhibition is so big that only lunch at the Ritz can go with it.

25 January

PS. 24 hours later I can conclude: Francis Bacon is not my favourite painter, he is simply the Renoir of my 50s, just like Celine is the Proust of my 30s. Or something of the sort.

Study of Portrait of P.L.No1, Francis Bacon, fragment

Kehinde Wiley, The Prelude otherwise know as the Unexpectedly Good Combination is at the National Gallery. 'The project is a provocation, a look at what's possible ' - Until 18 April. Thomas Gainsborough ‘s Blue Boy is also there now; in a room near by together with some youth by Van-Dyke.

 'Avanti Bellicose Amazon at Red Lion, Parliament Street ' or Chapter Three of 'On the Foodsteps of Robert Peston's Gil Peck or The Whistle-Blower's Augmented Reality ' is under books here 

So Close, So Far, New Rival, Kawz New Fiction, Serpentine Gallery - Until 27 February

Canteen Questions

I understand many of the things that were done in hospitals under COVID pretext. For example : I understand the occupy strategy - when all the patients are in their rooms and can't mingle ; and when all the relatives are away and can't visit - we occupy all this freed space. The play rooms, the activity rooms, the relatives rooms, the waiting rooms - all of this now is hospital's staff's space. To keep clothes in, to have working stations, to have rooms to rest, to have rooms to drink coffee and tea. And yes, it is absolutely unfair towards everybody else and especially patients and relatives. Just as unfair, as it was before towards hospital staff. Pre-Covid in the very best and most renowned hospitals, private and NHS, staff had only rat-halls, if at all, to dress and undress, to keep their belongings, to rest, eat and drink. The staff of an otherwise remarkable hospital were keeping all their belongings in the staff's toilet. Yes, all the jackets, coats, cardigans, handbags, backpacks, shoes and boots, socks and hats. Just every every every thing there for you to contemplate - half of it laying on the floor - when you go for a pass or a sh*t. Just unforgettably horrible. Therefore, now I understand, the staff has taken over all all the spaces: play rooms, meeting rooms, visitors rooms. On one of the hospitals they've even kicked out all the admin staff that was stationed at the medical building to neighbouring buildings* so that medical professionals who have never ever had working stations before - a pure crime if you ask me - can have them now. Can have a place to put their handbag, to hang their coat and hat, and if, if they have 5 free minutes to just tell themselves "I am going back to my workstation to do some admin".

I can promise you that most "visitors'" space will never be reclaimed back and the situation will continue to be as unfair towards patients and relatives as it was unfair towards medical staff prior Covid.

The same thing concerns the numbers of seen patients. As it is now unfair for medical professionals to see/care for ...say - and this is obviously a random number just to illustrate the text - ... 5 patients a day, thus it was unfair for the same medical professional to have lists of 50 patients per day prior Covid. Now it is as unjust as it was before but the otherway round.

And there are many other of the kind. And I understand all... A disbalanced system will perpetually create disbalances. It might be that disbalance is a mere symptom of life. Or health for the matter. What I don't understand though is: WHERE IS THE SALAD? For God's sake what did the good, fresh vegetables did wrong do? What is the profound Covid pretext under which salads were cancelled from all hospitals', private and NHS, menues? Do you really think that all things should be heat-treated in order to he viral-free? If so, inventors should quickly invent some clever virus-vacuming machines that will cancel the salad cancellation from hospital canteens.

* This text doesn't deal with the major reason for and consequences of the evacuation of relatives, friends and admin from medical buildings : the total absences of witnessing, advocacy and control.

Note: By salad I don't mean pasta salad, Russian salad - also known as American Salad in Turkey - roast vegetable salad, three beans salad or any other salad that consist of heat-treated vegetables served cold. I simply mean: letuce, papers, tomatoes, radishes, spinach, endives, cucumber, cabbage and many others just chopped and served with a bit of olive oil, salt and lemon, if dressing is too difficult to make. Mind you, if it wasn't for the SALAD, I wouldn't have bothered to write all this..GIVE ME BACK THE SALAD.

Stacy Kranitz, Smith ville, Tennessee. America in Crisis Exhibition, Saatchi Gallery

A Day in the USA

Here is your Static-Travel Itinerary:

A. America in Crisis exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery. Less than I was expecting but still curious to see.

B. Big& Easy American lobster 🦞 and shrimp-burger . Less than I was expecting but still pleasant to eat - certainly with the nice Sicilian house wine.

C. In Cold Blood, Truman's Capote classic has many advantages such as: quality guaranteed and it's a proper journey taken at one's own pase.

The American Dream? Not much more than the English one. As I said to my father on the phone the other day: If one is so fine and so well of at home, why would one run conquer the whole world and even populate America for the matter?

This, of course, in response to my father's question : If it is so bad there, why don't they migrate?

Actually "they" did and they do. It's only that "they" called it all sorts of names - "The Quest for the Holly Land', 'The East Indian company', "Desert Storm", "Shock and Awe"... you name it - but not what it was and still is : economic migration and poverty exportation. Export a bare sorry ass riding a metal elephant and then import him back with £60 million and knight him. A millennium has passed sans changement.

Curiously enough, apparently the notion of an "American Dream" came amidst 30s recession in the USA - that's a fact speaking, for you, unlike the current fake news.


For 'The Coming Storm' - BBC Radio 4: QAnon and the plot to break reality. Reporter and presenter Gabriel Gatehouse takes a journey into the dark undergrowth of modern America. - Head to BBC Radio App or click here

PS. Please dad, never forget : "They" are these genuinely bad-mannerred, bad-tempered people, who would always project badness and negativity into others; whilst talking themselves to sleep with stories of their own good greatness.

20 February 

The Ordures Order

Phony Warfare sorry Tony Blair a Knight?

Despite having signed the petition and "chipped" £10 so that 400 more people may see it... I think it is only logical and rational for Phony Warfare to be knighted having in mind that the leads in the crusades where knights and Francis Drake was knighted also. I can imagine that all sorts of other ordures, were knighted too, not only pirates and warmongers.

The bloodthirsty nation is more crossed with people having illegal parties than with people going into illegal wars. Which is exactly why England is a spooky, scary place. See the text bellow.

We petition the Prime Minister to petition Her Majesty to have this honour removed

17 January 

Ich Und Die Stadt, Public Service Broadcasting

"Adam , who produces us, writes: The album brings listeners to Europe's heart and de facto capital, the cultural and political metropolis that is the haubstadt of the Federal Republic of Germany, Berlin. He asks: You were there in the middle - late seventies, when it was very much a divided city; does it surprise you that it still has this important pull for people and creative arts?Well, a lot of things went on there. Einstein was working there.. Robert Musel, Freud... If you look at the map ... it's just a hub and a skip to the pond...Romania not so far to Bulgaria, all lot of the border countries and the energy from these places has always been present there. And it is a beautifully, fantastically layd out city for livability, and art-ability if you will. Not very hard to get large spaces with generous proportions and very reasonable transport; graceful large bulevards; and more canals than Venice, Italy. Yes, a beautiful canal system which expands upon the river Spree. And you know, you can put up a wall; you can put up a barrier; you can have some soldiers.. you can't divide a vibe. And the vibe wasn't and isn't really all that different between the people in the American, English and French sectors of the city, most of them and the people who where living in the other part not easily by choice and I met quite a few of those people; there were people in the West sectors who have managed to slide over. AndThe ones that were raised in the old DDR, the Deutsche Democratic Republic tended to be very well educated and to have a shocking amount of ideals. Ideals to a point that we don't have anymore, in our easier lives... People who had an emotional and intellectual integrity that was kind of scary, almost eerie, but very impressive to me. So there is just a lot of great energy around that place ... and it is welcoming to people. You know, there is an old saying that I learned when I  lived there "If you say A, you must say B" . That's kind of how they are, and still are. " Iggy Pop in BBC's Iggy Confidential '54-58' from 09 January 2022

Apart of the fact that Iggy's Confidential is one of my favorite shows ever, with this little description of Berlin, Iggy helped me a lot to summarize what I find wrong in "the Western World in general and England in particular" and it goes like this: "The mass public is very poorly educated and has a shocking lack of ideals; people with such an absence of emotional and intellectual integrity that is positively scary and blood-curdling. I don't mean Boris here, but 90% of everybody else. Which also explains why lately I don't feel like writing in English - after all a spine-chilling company doesn't exactly predisposes to conversation.

Giovanni di Paolo, ‘The young saint John the Baptist leaving the city’. Sainsbury’s Wing, National Gallery.

New on Wednesday 12 January is Chapter Two of 'On the Foodsteps of Gil Peck or The Whistle-Blower's Augmented Reality' - 'Harry's bar and Enter Pisanello/Exit Musk’ under Books here 

Despite Arsenal's Loss Last Sunday 9 January Night

 "A good clean honest whack over the head with a brick is one thing. There is something British about that. But knives no... knives are not right".

Blackmail magazine, 1929 as seen on Reuel Golden's 'London'  photo album, Taschen

Yayoi Kusama's 'Infinity Mirror Rooms' at Tate Modern

The Japanese January Start

"Kusama's mirror rooms, called 'Chandelier of Grief', suggest that we can experience beauty and sadness at the same time".

Yayoi Kusama or Bridget Riley? Now this is the question. Or at least this is the question for the lucky few who managed to book themselves into Tate's 'Infinity Mirror Rooms' exhibition fully sold until 31st March. Forgotten on the spot, or on the dot if you’d rather prefer, Seurat is out of this equation.

The two mirror rooms are beautiful, and yes, sad. Because it is the sort of beauty that presupposes loneliness. In this sense "Yayoi Kusama" is my answer to the question Yayoi Kusama or Bridget Riley?. Because of Yayoi's quest for freedom - being her art's moving force. While I lately perceive all things English as a strive for control - over others rather than over oneself - unfortunately, and probably unreservedly, Bridget Riley included.

After The Mirrors I google "Japanese restaurant near me" and am taken to Koya in a rather depressing Bloomers Arcade. This part of the City is semi-deserted with many buildings undergoing reconstruction works. Only monsters like All Bar One and Candlemaker are lit and open. At Koya it’s the changing of the shifts: three customers dine alongside about fifteen staff members. Of all colours the young people are relaxed and easy as if being at home; half of them eat while the other half continues to somewhat nonchallantly work, then the other way round, creating a nice homey atmosphere. I eat homemade pickles and glazed pork-belly* - the portion is of a size aiming to prove Marx's favourite maxima ``Quantity accumulation leads to quality transformations' ' but falling short, because of the too much sugar, I guess. Or rather the otherway round the accumulation of too much sweet meat has the effect of a sugar bomb on me. Haven’t had this amount of sugar since… probably my first divorce. Actually proving Marx right - with toasted rice tea wondering what Yayoi was eating in 60s New York... was having good Japanese food then and there easier or more difficult than in nowadays London?

The next day, not having had enough Japanese art on my diet, I head towards the British Museum, where I see a six-sushi-roll-pieces micro "Contemporary Women Artists of Japan" exhibition. It’s delightful, featuring six contemporary female artists with one work each - my favourite being calligrapher Shinoda Toko, with what I would call “abstract expressionist calligraphy”, but what do I know? - and teases me to want visit the 'Hokusai: The Great Picture Book of Everything' exhibition. Now, this too turns out to be a smashing must-see exhibition. Despite not having my spectacles with me and despite the dim light and rather miniature scale of the 103 prints, I manage to marvel at fantastic drawings representing fantastic deities, animals in their natural habitat and people in all sorts of real-life or mythological contexts. There are also three prints of the Wave and I am hit by the realisation that under that ‘Wave’, the most renowned piece of Japanese art, there are a couple of boats, which I have failed to notice in my previous encounters with it.

Googling "Japanese restaurant near me" this time takes me to Fushan, Coptic/New Oxford Street. Big mistake that was. Such a big mistake that I even end up having racist thoughts on the subject of why shouldn't Chinese people run Japanese restaurants. I give myself the promise next time to go after £££ and not ££ marks in the search. Even thogh here, leading was the closeness of the place, not the price symbol. In defence of the “closeness to the Museum '' rationale I can also say that Savoir Faire on the other corner of Coptic/New Oxford Street is not even half that bad.

Anyhow, After having encountered bad maki, even worse nigiri and inedible sashimi - with colours reminiscent of river pebbles longtime taken off the water - I console myself with the idea of going back quickly to the Museum to rinse my eyes, if not the taste buds, with the Mitsubishi Corporation Japanese Galleries, only to find out that at 4pm the British Museum is no longer accessible.

"I surely would be able to visit the Mitsubishi Corporation Japanese Galleries tomorrow", I am thinking, but the idea to have yet, for a third day in a row, another "Japanese" cuisine a l'anglaise or a la chinoise experience doesn't seem appealing at the moment... The situation can briskly change if the Mitsubishi Corporation took over Fushan and turned it into a proper Japanese restaurant. Just for balance with the exhibition and for fair measure.

My London Japanese art and food experience of the last two days proves and even expanded Yayoi Kusama’s observation: Yes, Yayoi, we can experience beauty and sadness not merely at the same time, but even at places a stone-throw away from each other.

*No Veganuary for me, I live with a pescaterian, which means that 90%of the food is steamed veg with a bit of smeared butter on the top.

6 January

Contemporary Women Artists of Japan, British Museum - immediately on your right when you pass the entry. Otherwise you'd ask at least four BMpeopl before finding one who knows where Room 3 is. This is not a hint that the British Museum didn't give its staff proper orientation training. I just marvel at the lack of curiosity of some people. Imagine working at the British Museum and not knowing which Room 3 is! I am telling you this couldn't happen to me!