Episode 22 The Culture Show

Episode 22

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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


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