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ARTS

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Arts Diary Our regular Arts Diary column shows you all the important events going on in Exeter...

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Exeposé Arts turns to Damien Hirst’s Verity and the Rothko scandal to discuss the state of modern art

Devon Open Studios @ Northcott until 31 October

Comedy Chris Ramsey @ Phoenix: 1 November Piff The Magic Dragon @ Northcott 17 November

Drama Shakespeare School’s Festival @ Phoenix 16-20 October Normal @ M & D Rooms 9 & 10 November

Dance Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty @ Plymouth Royal Theatre: 5-10 November Banxy Dance Workshop @ Northcott: 31 October

WITH Halloween approaching we thought we’d go for some quintessential fearful fun from Tim Burton! We’re looking at Untitled (Creature Series) from 1992. Does his playful horror epitomise what Halloween is about? And do you think this work generates any sense of creepy fear or is it just a bit weird? Any and all thoughts are always appreciated!

Exeposé

Pushing Art Over the Edge

Art

Art Attack

29 OCTOBER 2012 |

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EMILY LUNN: I think it’s kind of disturbing because it doesn’t have a mouth, but I really love the vivid colours! KRISSI HILL: The liquid nature of the colourful background in contrast to the deep matte blackness of the figure seems to me to imply a central black hole, as the swirls draw you in to the deep unknown and emotionless black. The solid black staring eyes and absence of any other features also make the figure quite scary,

ILFRACOMBE’S shorefront has recently been graced by a new attraction, the latest artwork from bespectacled Damien Hirst, Verity. The piece looks at truth and justice through the traditional symbols of the scale, unbalanced and concealing behind her, with the sword lifted up high, no longer representing justice but sheer power! But what’s got others hot under the collar is not this allegory, it’s the statue itself. The bearer of the symbols is a reworking of Hirst’s, Virgin Mother, a naked vivisected pregnant women. Although perhaps not as gory as it sounds, one does wonder what aesthetical appeal at least could come from a woman, as one local described it, “with her foetus hanging out”. Standing at 20m, half the height of Exeter Cathedral, it’s not easy to miss either. The reactions of some may not deal with the meaning but are concerned primarily by the fact that they have to live with it being there for the next 20

years. One resident protested “pregnant women wear clothes most of the time”, while one exasperated onlooker cried “what did Ilfracombe do to deserve this?” The horror is understandable, it does not exactly look ‘pretty’, and thinking of some people’s opinions on public decency, why exactly did she have to be stripped and diced? Hirst’s own reflections on Virgin Mother, effectively the same statue without the allegorical symbols of justice, is that “it is kind of naughty” because the statue looks too young to be pregnant. Behind it all, I think there’s an element of controversy for its own sake which underlies his work and that of other modern artists. Indeed, the inspiration for both statues, Edgar Degas’ Little Dancer, was also controversial in its day when in the 1880s dancers would often become prostitutes and the statue itself seemed to exhibit outward qualities that were at the time associated with criminal tendencies. It’s that

element of controversy with society which titillates so many modern artists. So in that case, perhaps the council is right when it says Verity will bring visitors to the seaside town. Controversy always attracts a crowd. But so do car crashes, and one always has to remember that while the council may be helping out local traders, those that simply live there have to look at this thing day in and day out. And if they find it unpleasant, distasteful and even an affront to public decency, then is that to be considered less important than some allegorical statue that isn’t even there for its artistic value? Art is art in the end, and it’s all subjective, but something like this shouldn’t be on the shores of a tiny town but somewhere more metropolitan, where those that want to see it can choose to see it.

THE attack on Rothko’s Black on Maroon painting has left the art world in shock. Vladimir Umanets, scribed the words “12 a potential piece of yellowism” along with his name on the infamous painting donated by the artist himself. Umanets claims this act of vandalism will increase the value of the painting, but if nothing else it has brought the issues of security into the spotlight. The problem is with the lack of respect for not only the artist but the work itself, the Tate Modern and art lovers alike. It strikes at the very heart of common decency. We cannot compare him to the likes of the legendary street artist Banksy. Umanets is not an artist, although some would argue he has made Black on Maroon more interesting. The tag appears a lot like a caption or description, and the suggestive connotation

of the “12” is unnerving. Is this piece one of many set to be destroyed in a numerical pattern? Or is it simply another part of the gimmick the criminal foolishly thought would increase its value? The question burning on many tongues is why did he do it, and what does it mean? Well, it was all in the name of ‘Yellowism’. According to the very confusing “Manifesto of Yellowism” “examples of yellowism can look like works of art but are not works of art”, whatever that means. Essentially all he has achieved is to draw our attention to this ridiculous concept - his actions would not have had any significance on a medium that was not potentially worth millions. The Tate Modern has an unspoken mutual respect with its visitors and security measures are relatively relaxed to allow the public to freely enjoy the art,

which is the way it should be. But this case raises the issue as to whether the dignity and protection of the art should be given more importance. It has long been assumed that acts of vandalism like this would be prevented simply by the presence of others, but unfortunately this act happened too quickly to be stopped before the dreadful damage was done. Nevertheless, art behind glass offends the art lover, it assumes they are the criminal – contemporary art simply would not have the same effect in an oppressive atmosphere. A balance needs to be found between the need for protection and the right to enjoyment, as this cannot be allowed to reoccur. There is, however, some solace in the fact that the canvas will be easier to fix than the comically botched Spanish fresco ‘restoration’. NATALIE CLARK

I find his pointy chin threatening as well. The redness of the background in contrast to the black implies an idea of blood and evil in my mind, but I’m easily scared and generally am a bit creeped out by Burton’s work!

MEGAN

LOUIS DORÉ: It looks like Slenderman - not surprising coming from Tim Burton. It is channeling Juan Miro a little bit.

FURBOROUGH: The creature looks friendly but almost shy, with hands tucked behind his back, and the tilt of his head makes it seem like he’s looking up at someone. I love the bright colours in contrast to the black and white of the creature - it really sums up Burton’s whole aesthetic as none of his film creatures are straightforwardly, good bad, friendly or scary!

JAMES CROUCH FEATURES EDITOR

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2012/13 Week 6 Issue 599  

Students are struck by a spate of attacks in Exeter, and we launch our Save Our Sreetlights campaign. Screen review the new Bond film, while...

2012/13 Week 6 Issue 599  

Students are struck by a spate of attacks in Exeter, and we launch our Save Our Sreetlights campaign. Screen review the new Bond film, while...

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