Another passing…

Carroll

I only just learnt of the death of Lawrence Carroll, some two weeks after the event.  Following on from Thomas Nozkowski, whose fame in the world of art was greater I suppose, its very sad.  Carroll I first came across back in 1992 on a visit to Documenta 9.  In a single room I saw my first ‘ribbon’ Marden‘s in the flesh, ditto my first Jonathan Lasker‘s and my first sighting at all of Olav Christopher Jenssen.  It was for any painter quite a sight and I was there for a long while.

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Admiring the Carroll’s with Jenssen’s Lack Of Memory series as backdrop

Documenta 9 was quite heavily criticised at the time.  Belgian curator Jan Hoet was a bit of an outsider, very pugnacious and quite opinionated it seems.  I imagine he didn’t take prisoners.  Besides which he used the opportunity to promote fellow countrymen (and most of those he selected from wherever were men) including now well-known Luc Tuymans, Thierry De Cordier, Raoul De Keyser and Jan Fabre as well as others less so, Michel Francois, for example.  As an aside I’ve no problem with this – Hoet had an opportunity to showcase talent from Belgium on the wider stage and grasped it, putting someone like De Keyser into an arena one suspects he’d otherwise never have been recognised in.

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Lawrence Carroll

He also had a ‘thing’ for the obdurate, insistent, gestalt object.  Besides Carroll’s lumbering wall objects several other painters and sculptors could be grouped together.  Michael Biberstein‘s canvas, Helmut Dorner‘s groupings of paintings and Anish Kapoor‘s Descent Into Limbo were just some of the pieces that made up a strong showing for ‘blank’ perhaps best exemplified by the inclusion of the grey paintings of Gerhard Richter.

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My friend, the sculptor Paul Mason, admiring a Richter…

But the Carroll’s have lived with me for many years now and although I have moved far from the idea of the ‘gestalt’ in my work I recall them fondly.  His obituary by David Carrier tells of his life in Italy and also of his continuing career, mostly across Europe, rather than here or in the States. Sad to see him gone.

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me explaining Kapoor to bemused German’s!

 

 

 

A missive from the antipodes to the seventies…

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Paul mails me from Australia to say “have you got a picture of Ron Haselden‘s paper roll machine from his exhibition at the Ikon Gallery in the late 70’s” and of course I have!  In fact I’ve four of these…though sadly I’ve none of the drawings that accompanied it – and that were rather beautiful.  Ron’s idea – like many good ones – was rather simple…could he make a machine that would make a paper cone (similar to something you might roll by hand) and how far might the scaled up roll project?  Of course scaling up isn’t so easy – it’s the paper thickness thats the problem.  We used newsprint first and that just didn’t cut the mustard.  A heavier cartridge worked better…but still not that well though we had the excitement of the moment of collapse as it faltered and toppled.  So then the idea was arrived at to coat the paper as it rolled out with a varnish…  In all honesty the enterprise was rather a noble failure (it did project but never in the way you can make a small cone do so in your hand – you can see there was quite a bit of spare gallery space going!). But it was great fun and the image shot down the roll is – to my mind – exceptionally beautiful.

Oddly enough I was reminded of this project only a couple days ago when I saw an article about Anish Kapoor installing a huge show of his in Berlin.  It included a new machine that shoots his now trademark red wax across the gallery…a machine that reminded me of Ron’s…

Ron now lives and works in France…and mostly seems to show there.  He’s one of our unsung heroes of UK contemporary art in my view…much more worthy of a major celebration at Tate than some of the YBA’s or the latest ‘sensation’ from abroad culled in a lazy stroll around the Venice Biennale or some such!