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EDITORIAL

EPIFANIO RECOMMENDS

SOME FILM LISTS

CHANGING HEADS
Marco Casagrande

THE DIAGONAL PATH
Sukhdev Kaur

THE STAGE IS IN YOUR MIND
Eve Apro
Ina Stockem

TO CHECK THE SURFACE WITH BAREFEET, ABOUT THE SERIES OF "WALKING IN THE JUNGLE"
Kanako Sasaki

HARRY PYE'S POSTCARD FROM LONDON
Harry Pye

LIVE AGAIN IN PEACE
Mehis heinsaar

FLEETING, FAMILIAR
Lauri Sommer

FORMAT VICTIMS
Andri Luup

SPEECH TO THE INVESTORS AT THE FOUNDING MEETING OF THE ANTI-ENVIRONMENTALIST PARTY
Nato Lumi

Marco Casagrande

TEAM

Harry Pye’s Postcard from London

“The Last couple of months have been quite busy for me. The highlight has been that I had my first ever solo show. All the paintings in the show featured me in one guise or another so I decided to call the exhibition, “Me, Me, Me”. It took place at The Sartorial Gallery in Notting Hill. The director of the gallery is Gretta Sartfaty Marchant. I know Gretta through my friend Jasper Joffe, and it was Jasper, who was most enthusiastic that I put on a show of just my work and no one else’s. The show went well. It felt like a success from the moment we put it up. It was such a treat to see all the work together for the first time. Most of the paintings sold, which is amazing, many works were sold to people overseas via the internet.

Gretta and her husband are both very supportive and full of encouragement. I also had a lot of support from friends who collaborated on the paintings, in particular, Rowland Smith and Marcus Cope. I was lucky to get very good press and reviews so the show’s run has been extended. While the show has been up, I’ve been trying to get work ready for a show in Northampton, called, “It Takes Two”.

Harry Pye. Where’s the Party? Acrylic on canvas, 2007.

There’s a famous saying, “It takes two to tango”, which you say to someone when they are complaining about their ex-partner or someone they’ve just fallen out with. The saying basically means, you can’t blame everything on someone else and you have to accept some responsibility when things go wrong. The show features new work from me and new work from James Jessop. James is also represented by The Sartorial Gallery. James has made fresh stuff in collaboration with various grafitti artists, as well as Will Tuck, Stella Vine, and Jasper Joffe. Whilst I’ve made collaborative paintings with various characters including Mat Humphrey, Billy Childish, Sarah Sparkes, and Frank Sidebottom.

Me and James have made a few drawings together in his studio recently. It’s kind of funny painting on his paintings, because my work sells for just over £1,000 whereas James has sold a painting for £9,000. James is quite shy and sensitive. It used to be that I’d start the painting off and then he’d work after I’d gone home. One of the things I like about James is he’s always too happy to acknowledge how much Gretta and Jasper have helped him. He described Jasper as a Christ-like figure and added that when they were at the Royal College together, Jasper was the only person who’d compliment him and ask him to participate in group shows.

Years ago, I remember seeing a show called ‘The Bold & The Beautiful’. It featured work by several artists including James and Jasper’s sister Chantal. Chantal is now one of Britain’s most admired painters. She is represented by the Victoria Miro Gallery, where she has had sell-out solo-shows, and last year, she was the main focus of the Royal Academy Summer show. Last August, I went to interview her in her studio.

Harry Pye. Maybe You Should See Someone?
Acrylic on canvas, 2007.

   

Harry Pye. To Know All is to Forgive All.
Acrylic on canvas, 2007.

 

 

 

Chantal Joffe.
Mother and Child II.
Oil on board, 2005. Courtesy Victoria Miro Gallery, London.

Annoyingly, I picked the hottest day of the year. The heat made my brain melt and so the conversation drifted away from art and onto other subjects that might not interest you (such as the power of the Greater London Council during the 1980’s and the rise and fall of the London Mayor Ken Livingstone). But here is a bit of our interview:

-- I’ve never met a Chantal before. It’s funny because Jasper is seen as quite a posh name and Chantal isn’t. Do you like being called Chantal?

Chantal: (Laughs) “I used to really like it. I still like it, but where it used to be very unusual, it now seems a bit naff. Throughout my childhood I never met any other Chantals but now there seem to be hundreds of Chantals - all under the age of 20.”

-- Is it an English name?

“No, it’s French. It’s a long boring story. I was born in a hospital near Montreal. It wasn’t actually in Canada, it was American, but the hospital was run by French nuns. My parents had run out of names because they’d had two daughters whom they’d given three names each. Chantal is a French saint’s name. My Dad claimed that my aunty Amelia in Johannesburg had sent that name in a list of possibilities, but I find it unlikely that my mother would have been influenced by that. So maybe my Dad just made it up.

-- I met your Dad recently. I really liked him. He made us all laugh.

“Really? You must have caught him on a good day.”

   

-- Jasper has told me so many various stories about you and your family over the years so I feel like I know you. And now you have a family of your own.

“I always feel guilty about how much I love coming here and how completely my own it is. I love being with my daughter, but this studio has been such a huge part of my life for so long. . . I can’t change. Sometimes I really need to be with my daughter and sometimes I feel a terrible guilt, but I’m happy because I know she’s with my sister. And I’m happy knowing she’s happy.”

A few years back Jasper, Chantal and their mother all contributed to a show I put together, called, “100 Mothers”. The idea was to make the most straight-forward exhibition of the year. I asked 50 male and 50 female artists if they’d paint their mom and put the show on during the Mother’s Day. Chantal painted a nice image of her mother holding her when she was a child; whilst Jasper painted his mother as she is now, but he painted a vagina where the face should be. Their mum prefered Chantal’s painting and most people did too. But there was one woman, Melissa, who I know via her husband Adam Dant, that thought Jasper’s painting was the best in the whole show and gushed with praise when she saw it.

Last year, Jasper had a novel published called, “Water”. The book is about an artist Nathanial Water, who is not unlike Jasper. Water has an older sister, who is a successfull actress, and he gets involved in various relationships and scrapes. Jasper has a great turn of phrase and the book is very readable and made me laugh several times. I think his sister and mum both prefer the book to his vagina paintings, but I can’t see Jasper becoming a writer and stopping painting, as he always says it’s the greatest thing in his life. Jasper is an interesting chap. He has two children with different women and he’s tried to support them both by going on daytime TV game shows, such as “The Weakest Link” and “15 to 1” and of course painting vaginas. As people in the north of England often say, “there’s nowt queer as folk.”

Tomorrow morning I am going to the Royal College to give a talk about my work. It seems so strange that I suddenly get asked to do talks, get interviewed by newspapers and actually get paid for things after working away for so long. The private view of my “Me, Me, Me” show was strange too, as normally everyone’s attention isn’t focused on me.

Chantal Joffe.
Mother and Child 4. Oil on board,
2006. Courtesy Victoria Miro Gallery, London.

Chantal Joffe. Natasha & Vita.
Oil on board, 2006. Courtesy Victoria Miro Gallery, London.

Normally, I’m the curator and I’m getting everyone to look at other people’s work. I was glad my collaborators like Marcus Cope, Rowland Smith and Simcha Elias were there. Marcus hung most of the show for me. It only took one evening to do. But it was very rewarding to see all the work together for the first time. Even though it was just me and Marcus there, that first moment of seeing all the work for the first time was actually really exciting. I looked around and thought, “I like this, this is a good show.”

Jasper Joffe’s studio, London. Foto / Photo: Noah Da Costa

 

Harry Pye

Harry Pye is a writer, curator and artist who lives and works in London. See also his stories about the art scenery of East London, South London, “Night on Earth” show, different publications and cockroaches (Epifanio 1/2005, 2/2005, 3/2006, 4/2006, 5/2006).