Schlagwort-Archiv: Art

The story of Robert Crumb

26.12.2013 um 21.55 – Maria Kai

Well enough said about Christmas, so let me tell you a story about something completely different. One evening when I was a kid, the telly showed a cartoon of a head cracking open and turning itself inside out, so that out through the brain emerged another head – sort of as in a ring of infinity. It was placed on a table, up close and with some sort of red curtain backdrop. At least that is how I remember it… In my mind, strong visions like that are imprinted, from night and day dreams, from split second situations of my childhood, apparitions and frozen moments from travels far away. They never fade, but probably alter as time goes by.

Ever since watching that cartoon head, with mixed feelings of amazement and disgust, I have wanted to find the answer to the million dollar question: which hand drew that cartoon head? Who was (or is) the twisted mind behind? It is hard to find girls that knows  about cartoons whether on print or film, somehow that is the boys department. So although I have a strong affinity for cartoons, I don’t nerd about it like boys do (pardon the generalization), but honestly they don’t take you serious unless you remember the name of the author, names and details of the main characters, date and country of first publishing etc. But when striking up a conversation trying to see, if one of these guys can help me figure out, who the (wo)man is behind the rather crude style of drawing I once saw, they all more or less unanimously suggests Robert Crumb (b. 1943). So I started digging into the works and world of Crumb, never finding my cartoon, because Crumb never made any animation, but finding myself becoming a fan. Here I have to confess: A fan in the less academic way, because as much as I am a fan of his work, I am utterly fascinated by his completely incomprehensible person – or should I say family.
His work is for adults only, politically incorrect and a lot about himself, but simultaneously about how social norms can lead to oppression of human sexuality and the, in this case, dire consequences and taboos that lies therein.  

My suggestion is that you spend the last bit of your Christmas holiday watching one of my top ten favorite documentaries Crumb (1994) directed by Terry Zwigoff (presented by David Lynch), which much like the documentary Grey Gardens (1975) by Albert and David Maysles, holds such an intensity and is full of surprises and unforgettable eccentrics – you simply cannot believe that these people existed and lived just like that.
And if you got hooked on Crumb and need some more after that, follow-up with its predecessor, the 55 min. BBC documentary The Confessions of Robert Crumb (1987), where Crumb presents himself, but in a far more plain and uneventful way.
(I have no knowledge as to whether this site is legal or not, but Crumb can be watched on the link above)

The BBC documentary from 1987:


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Think the reason why I am so intrigued by Crumb and his person is that, he inhibits the space
between fiction and reality, I find nothing more interesting – he himself is a cartoon caracter.

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A current in contemporary art (55th Venice Biennale)

09.12.2013 um 16.55 – Maria Kai

As mentioned in the ‚#2 · Dear Santa‘ post, I will now elaborate on; ..the associations to other things that I have noticed lately, as current themes of our present/post crisis times. – in confluence with the ‚Alberi‘, by Michelangelo Frammartino‘ post – here is a last nerdy note on art, before getting down with the wishful thinking again.

The title of this year 55th Venice Biennale, was ‘The Encyclopedic Palace of the World’. One might have anticipated to find intricate, technological hologram pieces or other sci-fi like art. Or at least a vast representation of computerized, laser-beaming wonders, that points towards the horizon of our ever brighter-shining expectations, for the digitalized future. But on the contrary the festival was influenced by turn-of-century art, or pieces made to look as such. Classic object-orientated art with the individual and the soul at center, relating to the former art periods of Jugend or Sezession. Several big nature-like installations, and classic paitings (water colors), such as Swedish Hilma af Klint’s (1862-1944) symbolic and mystical images (recently exhibited at Hamburger Bahnhof). To some extend the artwork exhibited mirrored the spirit of the fin-de-siècle movement, that revolted against materialism, rationalism and positivism, and instead supported subjectivism, emotionalism and vitalism. In other words there seem to be a strong longing away from the digital and back to the graspable – as if asking what value does the soul have in the digital age?
As a response to this renewed spiritual seeking, the arts becomes physically anchored in the body and the tactile, evolving around nature and the rootedness it invokes in us. Here one might add, that several of the participating artists (like Hilma af Klint) no longer lives, but are being exhibited posthumous. No less than 1/3 of all exhibited artists at the Venice Biennale 2013 are no longer among us, thus bringing about discretely the themes of impermanence and death.
The years following the Great Depression and World War II, was the time when Existentialism grew big and had a strong influence on art, and many other disciplines besides philosophy. As a reaction to our fast paced and neurotically wi-fi needing, online lives – and the present/post global recession – emphasis on the ingenious birth-given, and simplest tool of all, is in immediate focus again – our hands. And what we can do with them.   

3ea1bbb4-e209-495f-94ea-ee44aaf4647e--00000--Berlinde De Bruyckere_Kreupelhout-Cripplewood, 2012-2013©MirjamDevriendt5
A personal favorite is Berlinde de Bruyckere’s ‚Cripplewood‘, an enormous 1:1 wax installation of a fallen tree. The tree as a fallen body, broken and in bandages – again a connection between the tree and human. Leads ones thoughts to Norse Mythology and the big Ash tree ‚Yggdrasil‘, that stand at center of Norse cosmology. Here the balance is off and the tree (man) lies like a fallen soldier.

Another free spun association is to Francis Bacon’s meaty, raw and potent oil paintings.


‚Venetians 2013‘ by Pawel Althamer – each character depicts a different action, emotion, and idea.

Hilma af Klint

Xoo-ang Choi, ‚Wing‘

Visitors looks at Ai Wei Wei's installation Bang at the German pavilion  ‚Bang‘, by Ai Weiwei for the German Pavilion

Ara Almarcegui for the Spanish Pavilion

‚Alison Lapper Pregnant‘ by British artist Marc Quinn

ROMITO_PARTICOLAREStill photo of the hand of the ‚Romiti‘ from Michelangelo Frammartino’s ‚Alberi‘ (not exhibited at the Biennale)

Pictures from various pages:




Bild des Tages: Camouflage Body von Cecilia Paredes – getarnt und versteckt

27.01.2012 um 17.28 – Allgemein Inspiration Kunst
 © Cecilia Paredes

Steht uns nicht allen dann und wann der Sinn danach, sich chamäleonartig anzupassen und nicht aus der Reihe zu fallen? Nur hin und wieder lieber Versteck unter der dicken Decke zu suchen statt aufzufallen und in den Vordergrund zu treten. Dann und wann ist zumindest uns so und vielleicht lieben wir gerade deswegen die „Camouflage Body“ Inszenierungen von Cecilia Paredes, die sich wahrlich als hübsche Kunstwerke herausstellen. Bei dem ein oder anderen Werk müssen wir nämlich schon ordentlich genau hinschauen, um überhaupt einen Frauenkörper zu entdecken.

Die Damen verschmilzen perfekt mit dem geblümtem Hintergrund und wir sind ganz hingerissen von solch einem optischen Augenschmaus – und das nicht zuletzt, weil großflächige Blumenmuster uns eh den Kopf verdreht haben, sondern sicherlich auch, weil sie ein Stück Sommer und Sonne transportieren! weiterlesen