VISIBLE CITIES – INVISIBLE CITIES
AT HOME IN THE CITY
HARRY PYE’s POSTCARD FROM LONDON
Tarvo Hanno Varres
ROCK-MUSIC FROM BUDAPEST
AMSTERDAM IS A CITY
PERM. WHERE IS THIS PLACE? WHAT IS THIS PLACE?
A HAPPY MORNING
VILEN KÜNNAPU’s SHORT
INTERVIEW WITH THE POET
SCENES OF PAIDE
Jan Ping aka Brüggemeier
HARRY PYE’s POSTCARD FROM LONDON
Jasper’s dancing abilities were on a par with his pool skills but he looked so happy that it made me happy.
London, dizzy London. Hope of the brash outrageous and free. Everyone in London knows that into each life some rain must fall. The rain it rains and the sun it shines. Someone you love leaves you, or dies. One door closes, another door appears to open but when you try to go through, it closes and you bang your head. You soldier on feeling scared to admit that something is wrong. You go and see a film that isn’t as good as you’d thought it would be but then you bump into someone you haven’t seen for ages or make a new friend. You go to their house for a bit and then you leave. After a while you think you took the wrong turning and that you’re lost but then discover a new shortcut home. Life’s like that, isn’t it? Well, it’s a bit like that.
I was in a bar with Jasper Joffe. It was a rainy afternoon, five maybe six months ago. I told him about an idea for a very ambitious project I had and then he told me about an idea for a very ambitious project that he had. We talked about recent projects that we’d both undertook and we talked about how dead and how flat we felt when the projects were over.
Guy Allott. Wooden Painting # 2.
Jasper Joffe. Gray Painting.
“Do you think that the only real reason you’re doing this new project is to take your mind of the old project and how bad it made you feel?” I asked Jasper.
“Of course,” replied Jasper as if I’d just asked him if the Pope wears a silly hat. We both laughed and then Jasper said some more things that made me laugh. I was about to ask if he fancied staying for another pint when suddenly we looked up at the same time and our eyes met.
“I really fancy having sex now,” said Jasper. I was slightly shocked and felt uneasy. Jasper must have read my mind as he quickly added angrily, “Not with you, you idiot! With my girlfriend!” I immediately felt better.We left the pub, which was in Bethnal Green road and went to another pub in Vyner street. The new pub had a pool table. I’m not very good at playing pool and I discovered that Jasper isn’t either. When I beat him with a series of flukes he demanded we had another game. Jasper gave me 1 pound to put some songs on the jukebox. My first choice was “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen.
Jasper didn’t seem to pick up on how the song related to my enjoyment of victory. I told Jasper how members of the band Queen were all unlikely superstars. “Imagine telling your mum you were forming a band with someone called Brian who wore clogs and a buck toothed South African called Freddie?” Jasper didn’t say anything, he wasn’t interested.
Suddenly the next song came on and Jasper was very interested.
“What is this?!?” demanded Joffe, “It’s amazing”.
“It’s “Billie Jean”.”
“Wow, it’s great. It’s really making me want to dance. None of my records make me do this.” Said Jasper as he began to dance around the pool table.
“Who is this by?” asked Jasper smiling like a fool.
“Michael Jackson,” I said. “I can’t believe you’ve never heard it before. It’s one of the biggest selling singles of all time.”
“It’s amazing,” said Jasper. “Michael Jackson did this? It’s incredible.”
Jasper’s dancing abilities were on a par with his pool skills but he looked so happy that it made me happy. A connection was made.
|The next time I was happy in Vyner street and made any sort of connection was at the opening of a big group show curated by Caroline List. Highlights of the exhibition included a sculpture by Peter Lamb. Truly Lamb is an artist who throws everything into his work. A writer’s best friend is his rubbish bin but it’s a different story for artists. As Francis Bacon once observed, “From chaos comes genius.” I’m not saying Peter is a genius but I believe his skilfully arranged slagheaps of tat are the work of a true artist. And I’m smugly confident that his work will leave you wincing with pleasure. I’ve never met Rochelle Fry but I’d be happy to do so. What’s not to like about a woman who makes a perfumed tower of skulls? I want to experience her work in person. And I want her to dance for me like Jasper did. Yes ok, regular gallery goers like me often think of a sculpture as being that thing you nearly trip over when you step back to take a proper look at a painting. But the 3-D work of Rochelle Fry I’ve seen in e-mail attachments is genuinely intriguing, it could actually be really good. Peter Lamb told me he first met Joffe at the private view of Jasper’s “The Bold & The Beautiful” show about three years ago... “There was this ridiculous person with big hair standing there greeting people and it turned out to be Jasper”. But Peter saw links between his work and Jasper’s work.
Peter Lamb. Toxic Scramble.
Last Summer the two of them put on a well received show at The Three Colts Gallery, but Peter wanted more. A few years back Lamb had made contact with Guy Allott after seeing his work at a Royal College show. Lamb had previously curated a show called, “The Physical World” featuring Rochelle Fry at the APT Gallery and he could see links between the work of Guy and Fry.
“Everything she does has a pillar formation like a totem pole. Her work is always very fragile and quite tough which reflects her personality. There’s definitely a little relationship between what she does and what Guy does. They seem to share the same pagan symbols, the same motifs and imagery.”
Guy Allot has a mild Yorkshire accent and looks a bit like Paul Gauguin. Whilst at the Royal College he only had a table to work on so he spent his days, sat at his desk, drawing. He started painting about two years ago. He tends to paint on wood rather than canvas. The works are often predominately brown with all the other colours toned down. Sometimes his paintings are piled high on bright red walls so that they look like an installation. He recently sold one of the first paintings he ever did at the Zoo art fair. He told me the painting broke into two halves, believing that the painting was trying to commit suicide because it didn’t want to be sold. Guy rushed round to pick it up in a taxi and told the would-be-buyer that the work was no longer for sale. Guy’s been looking at his work in his studio for long enough now and now he wants to see it in another context. Peter gets excited talking about the show. He’s keen to see how his recent paintings will respond to the architecture of the space but what really floats his boat is witnessing the ongoing dialogue between the different artist’s work. He’s excited about furthering the relationship between the artists he’s brought together. His enthusiasm is infectious. I listen to him talking and I think how Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” should be playing in the background again.
A Belgian artist you’ve never heard of called Robert Filliou once said something along the lines of, “Art is making life more interesting than art.” Next Month I’m going to the opening of “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor” – an exhibition featuring work by Peter, Jasper, Guy and Rochelle. The reason I’m going is that I believe in a thing called art. On occasion art has had the power to transform or transcend my life to another level. If this show doesn’t do that, at least there will be some free drinks, and while we drink we can plan another show.
Harry Pye is a writer, curator and artist who lives and works in London. In preparation is his travelbook “Night on Earth” (different people write about their nighttime adventures in different cities).