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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: January 30, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

    Culture Shots: Edible art, a roomful of city and some astonishing books

    Laurence Mackin

    There is an intriguing interview with artist Jeremy Deller over on the Guardian website. The man is deep in the bowels of a Texas cave filmng the millions of bats that live there, as the 3D climax to his new show at the Hayward Gallery, called The Joy of People.

    Apart from the fact that he’s a fascinating artist, Deller has the habit of saying blatantly unartistic things (or to be precise, things you would not expect an artist to say). He has a pop at established Brits such as Tracey Emin (he has previous in this regard), and laughs about how the “crap under his bed” from when he was a kid is now considered a work of art. But perhaps the best part is his take on how artists aren’t special, and anyone has the potential to be an artist, in the same way that anyone could be an accoutant, say, if they took the notion.

    “Everyone has the potential to be creative. It’s just having the time and the space. I don’t think artists are special. A lot of people do. That’s the great product of marketing artists – ‘they are different and special’. I don’t believe that. You see as much creativity outside the art world as inside it. I mean, all children are creative.”

    Jeremy Deller is living proof of this.

    One of the people Deller namechecks in his interview is Chris Burden, who once had himself shot in the arm to make a film about it. I’ve mentioned his most recent project before, but it’s worth bringing up again – Metropolis II is a gigiantic model inspired by the city of Los Angeles that uses 1,200 cars and a lot of magnets to bring a teeming city into a warehouse. Burden has finished the sculpture after four years work and his team spent several months breaking it down so it could be transported to LACMA. It is now installed and open for business.

    Closer to home, the Science Gallery is also in the mood for small, perfectly formed items. As parts of its forthcoming show Edible, it wants your ideas for original and innovative recipes – one-bite wonders only please. Click here for details on where to send your perfect mouthfuls – the winner gets their dish served up, 20 VIP invites to the show, and a course at Cooks Academy. Mmmmm. Science.

    Meanwhile in London, the Photographers’ Gallery will reopen in May after a £8.9 million overhaul. Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky has been scouring the globe for his series on the oil industry, and will open the gallery with what promises to be a spectacular show. Irish angle alert: the new building was designed by O’Donnell + Tuomey architects. The company is also responsible for the Lyric Theatre in Belfast, and Temple Bar’s own Gallery of Photography.

    And for something completely different: may we present The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. Everyone’s raving about how The Artist is reviving interest in silent film, and Martin Scorsese could well win best film for Hugo, his paean to the first film-makers. This silent film, though, blends the old and new, with stop motion, computer and traditional hand-drawn animation. It’s the first short by animation studio Moonbot and is up for Best Animated Short. Two of the other nominated films, Wild Life and Sunday, are well worth a look and you can see them both here. For the moment though, here is Mr Lessmore in all his bookish glory.

    • John O'Driscoll says:

      That model city is fabulous in its complexity and colour and movement. Reminds me somewhat of an old Hornby trainset I’d had as a kid. Obviously mine was a childish amateur thing compared to that model city in your video. Mine did have one thing that Mr Burden’s infinitely superior model city doesn’t seem to have though: people. Loads of little figures of people. And animals. Suppose with a futuristic city such as that depicted they’d all be inside their buildings and cars talking to each other and meeting each other etc. via social networking and holograms or something. Really cool though. I’d love to see that if it ever comes to IReland.

    • John O'Driscoll says:

      Ah so that’s where all the city people went! Off to appear in the Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore (and if ever a short film deserved to be said of it: ‘Less is more’ this is one)! That was so lovely. The way his books brought him away to mysterious lands where he learned that life doesn’t have to make sense as long as it’s enjoyable and brought colour via his beloved books to other lives greyed out and featureless. Such gorgeous modelling music action storyline and themes. Loved the way Morris was able to restore the old book and bring it back to life in that surgery/anatomy theatre scene simply by reading it, which is all books need us to do to bring them back to life.


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