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Hello and welcome to the Culture Show. Tonne the art of 2012, our
highlights from an extraordinary year complete with Re with
renaissance masters, all brought to you from the David Nash Exhibition.
Florence Welch revels in the renaissance. Michael Smith
experiences the speed of light. And the Southbank opens its academy,
sort of! But we begin with a cliffhanger,
this summer the town of bex hill on sea stage add tribute to one end of
a movie ending. Mark Kermode went The The tate The Italian Job,
complete with Minis in Union Jack formation, a cast of home-grown
greats, and a raft of killer one liners.
You are only supposed to blow the bloody doors off.
Plot resolves around a small time crook played by Michael Caine who
tries to nick �4 million of it taleion gold -- Italian gold.
But it is perhaps best known for having one of the most memorable
final sequences in film history. Disaster strikes just when our boys
think they are home and dry with the stolen gold and our hero
announces the film's final cliff hanging line.
Hang on a minute, lads. I got a great idea.
Farce forward 43 years to 2012 and the artist Richard Wilson has come
up with the idea of replicating the film moments of that film by
hanging a replica bus here in Bexhill-on-Sea.
Richard, we have a coach on the edge of the Delaware Pavilion.
Where did the great idea come from? It came from many, many different
notions. As you say, it is on the edge, it is half on something solid.
It is half on open space. We are on the water's edge. We are on land,
but we have got the sea. The sea runs out to the edge and we have
got sky. We are dealing with the edge of the building. It is lots of
things that come together to build a cliffhanger. We need to draw
people's attention to the building. What can I do that's iconic? That's
a cliffhanger. I started to think about that moment of the coach in
that wonderful film The Italian Job, what can I do like that? It was so
obvious. Do it. Don't find something like that, reenacthat
cinematic moment on this icon building.
I've played with facades and I now want to play with an edge.
For over 20 years, Richard Wilson has been cre creating epic sight
intal lations. He chose to play with our perceptions of surface, by
spinning a section of a blag's facade. He flooded a room with oil
with a waist-high walkway. In 2000, he displayed a 15% cross
section of a ship. His next project will reveal the
solid embodiment of the void left by a spinning stunt plane. In these
works, Wilson is asking us to look again at the world we take for
granted. I'm taking imaginary which is
current and it is understood. If I'm working with a vocabulary of
forms that I've invented like a couple of my colleagues, where it
comes from the imagination, but doesn't have a reference point,
you're struggling a bit. If I take objects that exist in the real
world, people know those and and they are having a relationship with
them. What do you think is about The
Italian Job that captures the imagination after all these
generations? It is a caper, it is an action adventure, it is a
comedy? Key stone cops meet the lavender Hill mob. Getting the gold
and bringing it back. I could eat a horse.
To spend that time and effort and money to go and do something like
that and to botch it at the end, it is like watching England play
football! There are two things people are sniffy about, comedy and
action. If something makes somebody laugh, it will be spectacular. Do
you find the same thing is true in the sculpture world? If it is
spectacular, if it makes you laugh, it can be looked down on? I have
been fortunate in my career. There has always been an element of
humour. If you for example, take the piece up in Liverpool. You're
doing something with architecture that it doesn't do. Architecture
doesn't move. So people go, "Oh my god." You don't need to be versed
in art art grammar to get it. I like the considered that there is
so much information and imagery pouring into us now, I want to get
that snapshot look on things and by doing that, I have got to do that
little moment which is the structural daring. You can stay and
contemplate or you can move on. It is a great piece.
Congratulations. Next, Yayoi Kusama is one of the
most intriguing artists of our time. At 83 she lives in a psychiatric
psychiatric institution, but producing art that dazzles or stuns.
Alistair went to see an exhibition of her work at Tait Modern.
-- Tate Modernpm Princess of poke co dots produced a range of work
over her 60 year career. Abstract paintings and and sculptures,
happenings and films, fashion, and poetry. All very colourful, playful
and seemingly joyful works. But appearances can be deceptive. Like
Alice In Wonderland, her work is rooted in darker stuff. Imagine
being a child, looking at a patterned tablecloth covered with
large, red flowers and looking up at the walls and the ceiling and
seeing that pattern repeated there, quite weird, maybe an optical
illusion, perhaps tired eyes playing tricks on you, until you
look at your own body and you see that same pattern endlessly
repeated there too. As a ten-year- old, that must be terrifying.
But it was these terrifying what lution nations -- hallucinations
that saw the flowering of her extraordinary work. Yayoi Kusama
has always been clear about what her art means to her. If it were
not for art, I would have killed myself a long time ago she has
written. Yayoi Kusama has suffered from
severe mental illness all her life. She lives voluntarily in a
psychiatric hospital in Japan and for her, re-creating the
hallucinations is a way of controlling her anxieties and fears.
I'm now determined to create a Yayoi Kusama world she once wrote
so here goes. Time to enter Yayoi Kusama's world.
Entering the first room in the exhibition, her early work is
surprisingly muted, but joining me on what promises to be a sensory
trip are three women of Yayoi Kusama's generation who haven't let
age restrict their horizons. What do you think? It is
overwhelming. I think it is very Japanese.
It is macho. This doesn't necessarily feel macho to me.
What do you think? Well, I mean, it is said, you know,
some are an ejaculation over the canvas.
I am glad you said that. It is certainly enveloping.
So here a piece, it is called Aggregation.
It looks like pro tuitions and one little shoepm. She was anxious
about the male sex organ she says. She is confronting her inner most
fears definitely. Yes.
What you see here is one of the earliest installations, it is a
holely immerse -- wholly immersive environment. What can we see?
Repetition. Repetition. Andy Warhol.
Well, he saw this and a few years later, three years later, he made
some wallpaper of his own. She is way ahead of Warhol. In here, we
see something different again. It is a film Yayoi Kusama made in the
late 60s. It is hard to make out what it is, but we start to see
these happenings where she gets people to take their clothes off,
partly because she is tapping into the counter culture, she became the
high priestess of the whole hippie movie. Patricia, you said you were
living in New York at the time. Do you remember the flower children?
do, yes. They were fabulous and they were against the Vietnam War,
make love, not war, oh, yes. That appeals to me a lot.
What is going on there? Well, it is ang orgy -- an orgy.
It is not really somebody who is afraid of the fal lis anymore.
That's what she says. Wow.
This is a piece she made specialically for -- specially for
this show. This is one made for the Tate. There is water there so you
have the reflections of these glowing bulbs on every side. It is
amazing. It is like a great, big city scape.
So, do you think there is any sense that you've kind of stumbled into
her head? Here is the polka dot vision? Certainly infinity.
And beyond. I feel she has resolved something
and at 82, I hope she has. Yes, I hope she... There is more
calm in this. Yes. Yes. It is an embracing of infinity,
2012 has been packed with wonderful exhibitions, but let's not forget
that here in Britain, we are blessed with some of the greatest
permanent collections of art in the world.
Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine is enthralled to the pain
and the pleasure and the transcendance of the renaissance
masters at the National Gallery. Together, we went to take a look.
There aren't many pop stars to be found walking the corridors of the
National Gallery in the dead of night.
But Florence Welch is the kind of pop star we haven't seen for a
while. Her music brings the great themes
of the renaissance into the 21st century. Love, death, sex and of
course, God. It is high church indie-rock, lush
with organs blasting and a big dose of drama.
I have come to meet Florence in the Renaissance Galleries to find out
more about the art that inspires her.
Is going to galleries something you do? Is it a respite from the
madness of being on tour? It is something we try and do almost
every city we go to. I think just the sense of being outside yourself.
I have always liked the atmosphere of galleries.
I suppose some people might think it is an unusual preoccupation for
for someone in the music business could be interested in renaissance
considerate. All these pictures are about love, passion, the desire to
fly. In a sense, some of your songs are about those things, aren't
they? There is a lot of drama going on in this room and amazing
wallpaper as well. What kind of things do you look for when you
look at a painting? What did you gravitate towards? I like this one
a lot. She looks very serene in a lot of the Renaissance paintings of
martyrs, they do because it is about that sense of tran senance of
leaving the pain in your body and the the spirit going somewhere
better. I like the physicality of this one. I deaf fitly pulled --
definitely pulled that pose in a few photo shoots. I have seen that
one! I imagine this might be a picture
that I would have thought might appeal to you because it is doing a
lot of things in a way that your music does? At first, it is very,
very beautiful, but the more you look, the more disturbing it is.
It is quite disturbing. I saw it as a canvas for love.
Well, it is jealousy, but we now think that syphilis might be
intended. He has the rotting teeth. Then this creature, it is a strange
sort of half - she seems to be holding a cake.
She is actually holding a honeycomb and she looks like, no, she is
pleasure and she looks like an innocent and sweet little girl, but
she has a sting in the tail. If you go the route of pleasure as Cupid
and his mother doing and syphilis maybe the consequence.
I am always attracted to the big things because I feel that they
last and sex, time, death, violence. So what we have done trasendance.
Do you think we should find other great themes? It is time for death.
A morbid picture we have decided to end on. There is a bit of lust as
well because the hunter surprised Diana when she was bathing and she
took revenge by turning him into a stag and he is killed by his own
hounds. It feels to me like a very personal
picture. Do you think he was rebuffed? I don't know. I mean I
think it is a tishan painting... Knocking him down? Well, as ap
memory or he -- a memory or he knows that he is on his way out. It
is a picture about encroaching death. It is a picture that feels
like autumn. It is so unlike the other pictures we looked at. There
is no glowing flesh and the colours are rusty and yet autumnal and
there is no bright blues and the folds of the fabric seem to be
merging together. He still wants her even though she
is killing him. Maybe you should write a song about it!
And those paintings are on display seven days a week free of charge.
Now, it is to this year's Edinburgh international festival where one
highlight entitled speed of light fused public art, performance and a
lot of huffing and puffing. Michael Smith took a hike.
Edinburgh must be one of the most Burns settings to experience art in
Britain. A rich poem set in stone. But Speed of Light commissioned for
this year's international festival, jolt us out of this familiar
context and plunges us into a stranger, more profound place.
Every night the extinct volcano that looms over Edinburgh is
brought to life by a spectacular theatre of light.
200 runners kitted out in specially made LED light suits weave their
way across Salisbury Crags leaving beautiful abstractions in their
wake. It is a participatory event. Each
audience member carries their own portable light source and becomes
part of the artwork. As the dusk draws into darkness, we
walk in single file like some florescent caterpillar from the sea
bed. Like wondrous, medieval, angelic creatures, slighty scary as
they rush head-long towards us. It is a very minimal piece this one.
Stripped back to a meditation on one of our most basic every day
activities, running, walking, moving through the spaces we
inhabit, but it reimagines them as something magicical, and sublime.
It has been a long time coming this piece, why was it so important that
you got it done? I had been a running for 13 years and I got more
and more passionate about running. So I think when the Olympics came
round and when you know the chance came to make maybe a generational
work, you know, you only get to make these works once every 10 or 0
years, I want -- 20 years, I wanted to do it about the thing I was
really passionate about. Being a public work and the
audience form a really important part of the work, what reaction
have you had from the audience? some people it is hard for them to
get that sense of peace and stillness to watch the work. Other
people come off and it can be a life changing experience. You get
the full mixture. What's the inspiration, perspiration ratio of
this piece? It is 98% perspiration and 2% inspiration!
I will have that. That's all right, yeah.
Good, honest graft. Is this a piece of art or a piece
of sport or a piece of science? am not quite sure what it is. It is
made by the effort of the runners and it is also completed by the
effort of the walkers and their movement of the lights to the top
of the hill. It is a piece of work that's subtle. It is durational. It
is like a slow moving human sculpture.
The steep climb brings a whole new perspective. Not only do we get a
bird's eye view of space, but a bird's eye view of time. The birth
of constellation, the drift of tectonic plates. The experience of
speed of light crescendos at the peak of Arthur's Seat. All human
endeavour reduced to to dots of light in the night maim. The
runners are a metaphor for the real city down there, for all our cities
and civilisations, but all human adventures over the generations,
like the coral fossil of Edinburgh, Next, they called it an experiment
in public learning and the wide open school that was in operation
at London's South Bank Centre this summer was nothing, if not boundary
boundary breaking, rather ten tatively, I went along.
The wide open school is a unique experiment in public learning. For
one month, you can come and attend classes, lectures and workshops run
by over 100 artists covering a predictably unpredictable range of
subjects. Today's first lecture is is by one man with two names - Bob
and Roberto Smith. All schools must be art schools.
Make your own art. Do not expect Michel Le Bon to do it -- don't
expect me to do it. This is a public lecture. This a
public lecture. It is good if you anunsiate more. Imagine you are
Michael Caine or Arthur Smith. I will do that.
This is a public lecture. This is a public lecture.
That's very good. Next up Michael Landy's course in
destruction. He is famous for his work, Breakdown in which he
destroyed each and everyone of his possessions, including his books
which happened to be in his library. Landy has asked each of them to
bring an object of personal personal significance, that will be
discussed and then destroyed. brought my digital radio.
This is a VHS tape by is a documentary about the power of art.
I brought my teacher's planner from last year.
Highly the workshop on destruction does what it says on the tin, not
all the classes are quite so easy to understand.
I am a little bit nervous about this workshop, it is run by an
Have you ever had had the feeling that you are not entirely welcome?
Get out. Get out? Yes, please. Thank you.
Goodbye. I have been thrown out. I think I
did something wrong. I don't know what!
Whoops. Someone who knows about teaching con accept actual art is
Michael Craig Martin, artist and professor of fine art at at
Goldsmith's. I went to a workshop and they through me out? Well, it
is not the easiest thing to step into without giving yourself to it.
The whole idea of being an observer of it, when I was teaching I would
never let any camera ever come near what I was doing.
Do you think that despite, the obviously deliberate kind of an
arcic atmosphere of a lot of these workshops, do you think that
despite that, actually what comes through for many people attending
will be worthwhile? The idea of being foolish of doing things that
you don't really know what you're doing, things that are a little
crazy, doing things like that, there is something you learn from
the experience of allowing your mind to go there.
Maybe that's why he chucked me out. He knew I was just watching. Maybe
if you go through the process, you learn something in a different way?
As you clearly don't intend to that, you will never know!
How do you know? I might. It is the end of another door at
the Wide Open School and the school have finished their des strect
destructive lecture. What's the point? It is to do with
kind of trying to go beyond sculpture. To make it dematerial.
That's what I think. Get on with it then!
LAUGHTER That's not very good.
We're going to have to pull some bits off.
Can we film this all over again? Can we start all over again? This
is my career, we're talking about. I'm going to watch the rest from
indoors. Well, it is in the nature of
experiments that they don't always go to plan, but in this case, the
art isn't perhaps the point as the old cliche goes, it is the taking
part that counts. Well, that's just about it. Don't
miss next week's show when when Mark Kermode will reveal his movie
highlights of the year and if you need a culture fix between now and
then, go to the space.org. Before we go, 2012 saw the coming together
of the Cultural Olympiad with over 16 million people getting involved
since 2008. The Southbank South Bank Centre