Rebel poem by Laurence Fuller

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Rebel artist, rebel against the father, rebel with the river, rebel bending time, bending lines bending all that’s mine, he makes what’s his and gives it back to the great unending shimmer. I’ll give to you if I freely choose, I’ll walk my limping gate, my rebel friend, I’ll be there in the end, rebel makes his own chewed up calamity in time, rebel’s wish they had more than just their solitude to offer, a sorry piece of meat wrapped flimsy round his wrist, he hides the true prize made valor, mist and sin.

A back scratched up with passion flares, the rebel sits wanting simple things like love and fortune to turn the clock forward a day or two when all will be different and the world a cloister for his Romanticism.

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The Minotaur - Poem by Laurence Fuller

 Laurence Fuller by Olivia Leona

Laurence Fuller by Olivia Leona

 Minotaur by George Frederic Watts

Minotaur by George Frederic Watts

Volcanoe woman erupt in the night, red glowing matter, born again energy of our universe like stars drip their solar tears, embers slide engulfing trees in the new.

Progeny bursts out black and charred but with the will and reason to be, lava colored flesh pushing off the surface, shaking clean the molten crust, fiercely flipping of face chest and arms reaching to the sky, the land, the vast uncertain future, beckoning the right to what’s theirs, progression of this new world born of chaos, limbs of salt and flame, chewed up.

Don’t you miss me?

I’m here now, the small and fragile past tremble, cowering under old branches shading patches of soft grass they sit til petals grow from their skin, fluttering flowers pattering like butterfly wings against dried out old bones.

Sex, money, power discomforts their sleeping state. The status quo of perfect order grinding out its slow conclusion. 

 The Minotaur by Pablo Picasso

The Minotaur by Pablo Picasso

 Picasso

Picasso


Lava breathes over, soil bubbles. The birth of the Minotaur has come. Its hoof steemed and pressed into the mud, worms and roots snapped and shuddered under beast. Strapped harnessed, unchained body brushes it’s own will to the point of its desire, snout puffed, eyes bleeding flames of desire. Horns flexed their polished and pointed threat to the rumbling skies under which he was born thirty two wretched years prior the earth summoned his greater purpose unfulfilled in the greatness of his strength. 


When will the Viking call through his hollow horns, bellowing echoes to the mountains for, marching pelts to fill the hills and gather from man their plunder? When will he be hungry enough to shed his resting fur and ride the Minotaur to lava’s edge?

 Minotaur by Maggie Hambling

Minotaur by Maggie Hambling

Patrick Heron at TATE St Ives - Essay by Peter Fuller 1981 by Laurence Fuller

Patrick Heron is having a major retrospective exhibition at TATE St Ives until September 30th 2018, in support of one of Britain's most accomplished painters I wanted to post my father Peter Fuller's essay discussing his work, their relationship and foreshadowing his longevity from 1981.

PATRICK HERON

By Peter Fuller 1981

 Long Cadmium with Ceruleum in Violet, Patrick Heron 1977

Long Cadmium with Ceruleum in Violet, Patrick Heron 1977

Long Cadmium with Ceruleum in Violet (Boycott): July- Novemher 1977 is the largest of a series of canvases Heron made for an exhibition at the University of Texas where he was Doty Lecturer in Fine Art for 1978; and it is, in fact, very large: 13 by 6'/2 feet, to be precise. Boycott comes into it, apparently, because just as Heron—radio playing in his studio—was about to begin a nine-hour stint of laying down the red background in oils, the batsman was walking up to the wicket to open the innings against Australia. All very English, and quite right, too. 

Long Cadmium is a rather lovely work. On the bottom left- hand side, there is an irregular circle of lighter red; above it, top-left, a flash of yellow. Towards the upper right-hand corner there is a cluster of large, cut-out-style shapes, often over-lapping each other, in blue, purple, red, green and brown. But all these forms float against a vast ocean of red. As might be expected from Heron, Long Cadmium offers a lot of intelligent, tightly-packed, ‘painterly’ incident if you push your nose up close against its surface, and a great humming sea of vibrating and receding colour as soon as you step away from it. But Long Cadmium is not just pleasant to look at. It also, as it were, delivers all that Heron promises in his writing about what he takes to be good painting. (His three E. William Doty lectures, published by the University of Texas as The Colour of Colour, give a resume of his past and present thinking.)

 Still Life, Patrick Heron

Still Life, Patrick Heron

And just what Heron takes to be good painting, let it be said, is a contentious matter. For, back in the 1950s, when he was also a practising art critic, Heron was locked into a heated polemic against John Berger. Heron was essentially arguing for ‘The Autonomy of Art’, which he tended to associate with the pursuit of abstraction, the work of certain St Ives painters, and (at that time) with a defence of the new work coming out of America. Berger then advocated a modified socialist realism; he emphasized ‘social relevance’ and subject matter, and reacted negatively to most abstract painting—especially that coming from America. Heron thus told his Texas audience that, in 1955, he considered ‘J°lm Berger’s Marxist criticism . . . the main threat to major painting in my country’.

And what did Heron himself think major painting should be like? Well, it seems, rather like Long Cadmium. For example, in 1953 Heron wrote that ‘the secret of good painting . . . lies in its adjustment of an inescapable dualism’—that between the illusion of depth, and the physical reality of the flat picture- surface. ‘Good painting’, he claimed, ‘creates an experience which contains both. It creates a sensation of voluminous spatial reality which is so intimately bound up with the flatnesses of the design at the surface that it may be said to exist only in terms of such pictorial flatness’. Long Cadmium is, of course, rooted in this dualism: it also clearly draws its strengths from that response and commitment to colour which led Heron to declare, in 1962: ‘It is obvious that colour is now the only direction in which painting can travel. Painting has still a continent left to explore, in the direction of colour (and in no other direction)’.

Does the fact that Long Cadmium is an enjoyable painting mean that, in those debates, Heron was right and Berger wrong? I do not think so. Today—with the advantage of hindsight—I don’t agree with what either of them was saying then. John Ruskin used to draw a distinction between what he called ‘aesthesis’ (or the response to sensuous pleasure) and ‘theoria’ (or the response to beauty of one’s whole moral being). It must be emphasized that, for Ruskin, ‘morals’ meant much more than narrowly ethical considerations: the word for him embraced all that we would now identify under such categories as human emotions, ‘structures of feeling’, and the whole rich terrain of symbolic thought. Now Ruskin has been much derided for this distinction: but unless one is prepared to argue that the response we have to a beautiful red silk scarf, is in every significant respect equatable with our response to, say, the Sistine Chapel, then it must be admitted not just that Ruskin had a point, but that it was a very good one indeed.

 Interior with Garden Window, Patrick Heron

Interior with Garden Window, Patrick Heron

Now it seems to me that painting like Patrick Heron’s is in pursuit of pure ‘aesthesis’. Indeed, that, I take it, is what Heron is trying to say when he writes such things as, ‘concepts and also symbols, are the enemy of painting, which has as its unique domain the realm of pure visual sensation. Painting should start in that multi-coloured, and at first amorphous, texture of coloured light which is what fills your vision, from eyelid to eyelid, when you open your eyes. The finished painting should also end in pure sensation of colour—having passed into the realm of the conceptual in the process, and come out again at the other side . . And so forth.

Ruskin himself took a dim view of pure ‘aesthesis’ (hence his quarrel with Whistler). He said something about taking no notice of the feelings of the beautiful which we share with spiders and flies. But I cannot see that there is anything morally, politically, or aesthetically wrong with a quest for an art which gives pleasure through visual sensation alone. Indeed, at a time when, culturally, we lack the sort of shared symbolic order which religion once provided, good decorative surfaces (which are as rare as they are desirable) are very often of this kind. Heron is a good decorative painter—as the successful application of his designs to wall hangings, and carpets for the Cavendish hotel, bears witness.

But—whatever Heron says—this is not the ‘only direction’ for painting; indeed, that language of pure form, enjoyable for its own sake, is peculiarly difficult (and perhaps impossible) to arrive at on the canvas surface. Because we are not spiders and flies, all our sensations and experiences tend to be subject to imaginative and symbolic transformations. The greatest art of the past and the present has always recognized and made full use of this fact.

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Heron may think that I am thereby seeking to minimize the importance of those ‘abstract’ elements in all painting on which he places such emphasis. Not so. I firmly believe that the greatest painting is always rooted in a mastery of ‘aesthesis’: in other words, Giotto’s blues were unrivalled in his time, but he offers us rather more than an unrivalled sense of blue. Indeed, his blues appear as good as they do, not just because of the physical sensations to which they give rise, but as a result of the affective (or symbolic) resonances which such blue has within the context of his painting.

More than once in the course of his Doty lectures, Heron reminded his Texan listeners that he was friendly with the late Herbert Read. He failed, however, to point out that it was Herbert Read who first suggested that the formal values which Clive Bell and Roger Fry (and it would seem Heron himself) expressly dissociate from symbolism—through such concepts as ‘Significant Form’—might themselves be symbolic. And this of course explains why by no means all abstract painting need be as closely linked to ‘aesthesis’ to the exclusion of ‘theoria’ as Patrick Heron wants his to be. Rothko said that those who saw only the formal relationships and colour harmonies in his work were missing the point; he referred to a spiritual intention which many can confirm having experienced in front of the works themselves. But plenty of abstract artists have demanded of their viewers responses which were not limited to visual sensation alone, but which involved what Ruskin would have described as ‘their whole moral being’. Even Heron (whatever he says) clearly rises above decorative sensation through the emotive power of works like Long Cadmium. It may be that he himself, however unwittingly, sometimes draws upon such a symbolism of form. And it is for this reason that, just as the social realist critics were wrong to over-emphasize manifest content and subject matter, so, too, Heron was wrong to insist that criticism should be solely formal, technical, and ‘as descriptive of the visual facts as we can make it.’ After all, Herbert Read’s criticism was never like that.

1981

Paul T Murray obituary - Paint It Red by Laurence Fuller

In rare moments in Los Angeles you come across a Paul T Murray, a man who in the back alley of North Hollywood hangs the sign over the door Celtic Films. A room dedicated to a simple task to make films, there is a large TV in the corner and a writing desk with a computer. I sat in a creaking wooden chair, with an open beer can in front of me, I look at the place mat surrounded byfour leafclovers, and 'The Claddagh Ring'.


"Love, Loyalty and Friendship"

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On the walls hang posters of his films, I know the faces that peer out, but not the titles, all but for one What Doesn't Kill You with Mark Ruffalo and Ethan Hawke. The gritty Boston street drama based on a true story of one of the harshest places in America, with its brutal tribal men, who culturally remain as they were when they stepped off the boats onto the American shores, tough, Irish, families, fleeing the famine in home country and seeking opportunity away from poverty in the new world. Their warmth radiates to those close to them, and loyal to those they can touch, though this loyalty always comes in the form of danger.


I feel at home in Paul's violence, not as something I relate to, but I feel there's an honesty to it and a commitment to communicating both his darkest parts and his most optimistic. As we sat looking at eachother, I felt hugged and punched at the same time. I trust that feeling, those I don't trust are the ones who are too quick to look away.


I first met Paul on set of Road To The Well, he had a boyish excitement about the whole thing, he was chain smoking and telling me stories about the favorite gangster films that he had made,


He had a sort of reluctant excitement about Road To The Well, he knew how great it was something special and different, he was just pissed off he didn’t write it. Though for his character he definitely got in some great lines, that were not in the script, hurling all sorts of strange creative insults no-one had heard before, as if from the deep down roots of his Boston outcast upbringing, at one point he called me a “flicky dicker boy”.


When I called the director Jon Cvack to tell him the news Paul had passed he said Paul had texted him a few weeks earlier to ask him quite suggestively what was his favorite line from the film. Jon reluctantly responded Paul it was yours “you can’t smoke a cigarette in school but you can smoke a cock”. He later told me that Jon had contacted him up just to tell him that he wanted to contact the AFI to officially enter it as one of the best lines in cinema history. Oh the net you weaved Paul.

  “You had what amounted to a Redneck, homophobic and almost chilling tour-de-force(on the Redneck scale) from Paul T. Murray as Bill. His cameo appearance looked like it was straight out of a Trump campaign rally. The lead stars were magnificent, but the actors playing the minor roles went a long way to making this film as great as it was.” - Ruthless Reviews 9.5/10

 “You had what amounted to a Redneck, homophobic and almost chilling tour-de-force(on the Redneck scale) from Paul T. Murray as Bill. His cameo appearance looked like it was straight out of a Trump campaign rally. The lead stars were magnificent, but the actors playing the minor roles went a long way to making this film as great as it was.” - Ruthless Reviews 9.5/10

Paul knew, as I had done with Road To The Well, that I would be putting this down on paper at some point. He showed me his jumper which read "Careful or you'll end up in my novel". We shared a knowing laugh, more than the prediction of these words, the script itself had been taken from real relationships in Paul's life.


Cigarette in hand Paul looked over at me with that same intensity that weighted our connection, only this time it was without a director to balance it all out, this time he was the director.


A number of years ago, he’d written this script based on himself and two friends, all struggling to be artists in Los Angeles in their respective fields and all competing for various degrees of validation from eachother and ultimately trying to win. Paul was known amongst them as the most uncompromising. Perhaps because of his solitary occupation as a writer, pre-determined this self generating nature.


When it came to the acting, he continually referred to 'that method shit', and would imitate the lines and actions of the characters for the actors to copy, but he did so with a self awareness, he knew it was counterintuitive to the actors process to work so externally, so he never fully said the lines or was too precise about the movements. He wanted the actors to interpret his ghost like impressions of the characters. But even then he rarely if ever once did this to me, on several occasions he came up to me and said 'I know you hate it when I do that, I can tell you hate it'.


Running beneath Paul's direction was the subconscious father figure of David Mamet. Though Mamet, may have had a very positive influence on the structure of the story, which moves at a rapid pace, when it comes to the acting what often overshadows Mamet's early work in line with Stanislavsky, is his later polemic against the actor True & False, a number of essays misrepresenting Stanislavsky’s ideas, calling into question the validity of Method Acting, or as Paul would call it “That Method shit”. However with Paul, as with Mamet deep down, there was a man beneath who had faith in the deeper calling of an actor's work, but who on the surface had been beaten into the idea, by both his social groups and his profession as a screenwriter to limits of stand on your mark, say the line and don't bump into the furniture. This sense of honest confrontation, masculine intensity and the striving to create all fed into the performance, they were all simply pieces of a much larger picture. It was to do with loyalty.


I knew Paul cared too much to actually mean any of it, and from his direction which seemed as Mamet’s to be loosely inspired by a method-esuqe approach anyway, sparing the imitation stuff. And with the wisdom of a man who has been in Los Angeles working in the gritty, raw, molten energy of the indie film world for thirty five years, he knew that as long as I respected his script, and I did, he would respect my acting. It was an unspoken deal. 

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The only time that line was crossed was with a mishap on the painting itself and what would ultimately become Paul’s favorite shot of the movie. The paint wasn’t flicking off the brush, because it was too gloopy, Paul interpreted my hesitation as having something to do with Method Theory getting in the way, so he burst out of the directors chair with a red faced impassioned feeling of being right, having uncovered that flaw to this theory he so objected to, waving beer can in the air declaring “you see this fucking Method shit, it’s just a movie, flick the paint like this” then grabbing the brush from my hand he struck it across the canvas. After several minutes of ranting about the limitations of The Method getting in the way of the scene which came out more like “fucking method shit, just flick the fucking paint”. At which point even the crew started to calm him down and say “Paul the paint is just too dry, it needs to be more watery for him to flick, it’s got nothing to do with Method acting”. Perhaps it was all a roose to get me to write down this very anecdote about this great shot at this very moment of his passing.


Leaving Paul’s office that day, I had one last question for him, does Cairan have a faith? Paul said ‘He’s a half assed Catholic’, he then took a golden cross which was hanging on his bookshelf and fastened it around my neck 'wear this’. It was to be the cross I wear in the film. From then on any concept of a search was not discussed, but for a look in his eye and a matching cross around his neck…”

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 … I wrote the above story, a year ago, long before any of us had any inkling what would happen. Though there’s a definite retrospect to it, that was a retrospective way that he would talk to me, like he knew I would be someone to record his story and tell tales of what it was like to make films with him after he was gone. It’s hard to imagine him not being there now for the release of this film. He saw this last movie to its end and to getting it picked up for release by Gravitas Ventures end of Summer, he stuck around to finish it.


He said to me a few months ago after we had finished recording ADR for the film “Paint It Red”, that he thought ‘it was over for him’, something the doctor told him about his health.


It’s no secret I’ve gravitated to strong male role models in my life, father figures to fill that shadow left by my own Dad, Paul was certainly one of those figures, he nurtured and manifested a performance out of me in this film I’ll always look back on, if not for the incredible journey that brought us all together, for the symbol of what it means to give everything to your art, which Paul has now immortalized for us all.


That night before we started shooting “Paint It Red” I had wanted to rehearse the scenes to our film, but Paul very forcibly sat his three lead actors down Tommy, Chad and I to watch his favorite movie, which was the first thing he’d written “Very Mean Men”, it was the start of this whole journey for him. I questioned why we weren’t reading the scenes in stead of watching some seemingly irrelevant movie instead, for him it was all a linear narrative, that film bled into this and the next and the next and finally to this one and this moment, he was weaving his frantic and violently beautiful biography this entire time.


On set he was like a furnace of intensity, his eyes were a flame and that flamed lashed my performance, I felt Cairan was Paul’s artistic integrity, his heart, and I took on that projection of all that he was protecting within himself.Even in his violence he wanted to protect me. He wanted to protect me from all the mess that inevitably comes with filmmaking, because he saw me like a son, or like some pure version of his younger self, if only this or that had gone another way, that part of himself that was pure, that part of himself that was an artist.

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He would say to me “You’re a true artist… BUT SO AM I!” he was often almost affronted by that artistry, he respected it deeply and reluctantly. Fighting it in every form outside of himself, and yet cherishing it as the core of his being. I think he saw me like a kind actor angel that was sent to watch over this last film of his and honor his passing. It makes sense now why he was so ferocious when I expressed we take another look at the cut, I was suppose to honor it unequivocally under law of the Claddagh Ring. I had no idea on that smokey, grimy, dusty encounter that day on set of a completely different film that I would be picked to do that. Maybe it was because most people were afraid of him, but I saw through his violence to some strange artistic expression.


At one point he threatened to stab me because I had suggested some rewrites to his script. He called me the night he found out this had happened, “You don’t rewrite Paul T Murray came booming down the phone”. I told him to calm down, I could smell the beer on his breathe from down the other end of the line, “I will stab you and leave lying in the back of an alley”, “see you tomorrow” I said as I hung up the phone. The next day I showed up unannounced at his doorstep, he saw me walking up from his window and heard yelling from inside the house, “oh no you didn’t do that!”. But once I got inside we stay down both with boyish grins on our faces and over a manly beer declared our respect and love for each other, as I still tried to convince him of some rewrites and he with an impossibly immovable conviction denied even the smallest alteration to his writing.


Among the suggested rewrites I’d put in a story about the artists’ journey, just to piss him off I want to publish it here. Mostly because I’d written it for him and everything he’d been through.

 The painting used in the film by Laurence Fuller

The painting used in the film by Laurence Fuller

 “A peasant woodcarver is having a terrible year, can’t sell a single carving, his dream of one day making the King’s throne is slipping away. His neighbor is a stone mason who is finishing a statue for the King’s castle. He was the most sort after stone mason in the country. So the peasant carver asks for his advice, "what’s you’re trick he asks?"


The stone mason says “There are no tricks, land each chisel as truly as you can, in time your fate will find you."


The peasant says "that’s nonsense, everyone’s got tricks”. The next morning he looks in the stone mason’s window to see what he’s really doing in there. All he sees is the mason chiseling carefully and deliberately. As he’s peering in, a giant plum falls off a wagon on the road nearby driven by huge dark horses owned by mercenaries. The plum is huge, he’s never seen anything like it, it’s three times his size. If he can cultivate this plum, grow it and sell it, it will make him rich and he can buy his way to court. He begins to push it home.


The peasant tries to push the plum across the field to his home, but the plum is so large his muscles become swollen and tired. He tries everything to push the plum more effectively, gets inside of it, climbs on top, pushes from his hands and knees. Nothing shifts the plum...


Suddenly, slightly, after weeks of pushing, the plum starts to move, the peasant pushes steadily all evening until the plum bumps into a naked girl lying in the field. She says "you look tired, lie down here on my breast, in the morning you will get there faster". He slides across her skin grasps her naked body and falls asleep. In the middle of the night, he wakes up hearing a splashing sound, she is eating into the plum, she has eaten so much the plum is down to two thirds its size and she is about to explode. He is so tired at that point, he could let her take the rest, but something deeper compels him to take it back from her. Fate had left this plum in his hands for a reason, he just didn't know what yet. The girl is now so fat, she cannot stop him, she falls backwards and cannot get up.


He pushes further until he comes across several cranes foraging in the grass. A man with a net comes forward

“Are you looking to hoist that plum?” asks the man

“Yes” says the peasant


My birds can carry it. He ties the plum to the birds feet and orders them to fly. The cranes lift the plum off the ground and begin to fly in the other direction.

“That’s not the direction of my house, I told you it was towards the west”

The crane farmer shrugs at the peasant and says

“This is Capitalism”


Suddenly the birds get caught in a tree. The peasant runs over and starts climbing the tree. The further he climbs the more he can see of the field and his home. He is arrested halfway in awe of what he sees, the stone mason has finished his sculpture and it is the most beautiful thing he has ever seen. He climbs to the top of the tree and whispers in the birds ear.


"Fly back to the stone mason" for no truer chisel had ever been landed, and in that moment he gave up his tricks.”

 

There was blood and guts in Paul’s work, it was almost like he was challenging the audience, questioning “What you thought creation was possible without spilling your veins, cutting your bones against the keys, the camera, the vile in your stomach, you think all these broken decaying parts of you get preserved and we all come out of this alive? This is it, this is all there is, I am an artist and that’s all I am”.

Paint It Red is released this August through distributor Gravitas Ventures

Trailer - https://vimeo.com/241068148

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Fight For It - Poem by Laurence Fuller

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Fight For It: Take me back to that place wrought with tense, push pull biting sticks, ripped up, flipped over with beauty breeze. Uncovered my unconscious friends all mumbling down there my deep desires, pushing fighting kicking against spiritual discomforts, angered by friendly giants, shattered shards of being he said. I spike those shards through shadow enemies.

 

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She lingers too long, I covert no-one. Mick Jagger saves and disrupts the passage of time. Blister feet twist moral issues into gravel, then we’ll get to the bottom of it, fuck it I’ll shoot a movie, she’ll travel to Steppenwolf.

 

 

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I’ll put all that mad gun energy into Hollywood legends and bitter filmmakers, 35mm flick through lenses as brothers brood and piss in each others coke cups. Macho ripples of blood rushing, clashing bucks, man a solitary creature instigated by the wild winds of other people, get the girl, fight the beast. To get to Elysium, you have to put in the work, there’s still dark shadows to travel. 

 

 

 

David Hockney striking poses, hiding behind strange images, bullshit images, images that lie, lying postures, but it’s a generational thing, respect for your elders and betters they say, as they line crimson walls speaking their quiet truths of accomplishment. I know these people, they have no use for the young, we washed the shores of their mistaken growth, we on our own terms have the future gripped and poised to move in our direction, our law, our provenance, give us your stories elders and leave us to carve and govern this youth that’s all we have. When that runs out we’ll be just like you, you think. Tell that to the void, it’s the only certainty you have.

 

 

 

 Sketch by Olivia Leona

Sketch by Olivia Leona


Take me back there, dream drifters we fly. I’ll fight for gold to drape your neck, I’ll wage wars to get you back, launching a thousand ships is like bashed up kindle to the worlds I will make for us.  

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Open Letters To Marcelle Hanselaar II by Laurence Fuller

LAURENCE

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Dear M, 

Today I miss you deeply. Trying to gather my thoughts and myself. So much is happening, I’m hoping to rise again from the safety of a shell that I enclose myself within to finish my screenplay. At least that is what I tell myself and what has happened. It’s done now and all stripping back is happening in rewrites. I’m in the stage of reshaping the muddy mold of the first impression, knocking the rusty edges off and finding form beneath with finer rivets. Hope and faith guiding me further to some inevitable conclusion I'm not yet aware of.

I recently emerged from a dark night's sleep. I wrote a poem about it:

 

     

 

 

Concepts like moths in the sea of night, pass us by with the promise of faith in the wind. Our subjectivity allowing for all possibilities to be true and the truth waves its fragile flag above our circumstance, our desires stand in place of a mast. We catch wind of the future by standing strong for the morning light to come and carry us to adventure. Night you tremor in darkness with creaking planks hitting against shore, rock, whale or wasp. The presence of divine keeps us safe in the order of things and being lights up the imminent shadows of man.

 

I’ve learnt for one, not to loose that side of myself that feels to loose. To not loose loss and to gloss with fleeting moments. To stay connected to that quiet voice in myself even in the face of so much noise coming from the outside. To stay swimming in the stream of myself. Not like Narcissus standing on its banks watching reflections, but like a bear wading through that river hungrily on the hunt for a salmon catch.

That story I told you about provocative women, about loosing my virginity. I’ve realized now, how much of my life and relationships with women were defined by this and led me through all the same fires of that first lost love. My hope is that this latest flame licked me hard enough to put the taste for fire away in the recesses of myself, wash it back with great gulps of water. I want water now, water to restore me.

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I threw myself into Martial Arts, in particular back into Muay Thai to practice the ancient ways of the warrior to restore my inner strength, discipline and sense of self.

Howling at the night, beckoning the wild, ravaged by dogs, cherished by wolves, I found an old master in the reeds and rubble of the crumbled bricks and iron bars, he told me; Warriors are a different breed tied to infinity they look for guidance from the courage of their heart and the dust off their knuckles as they push off the floor.

How are you? I miss you?

Love

Lxoxo

 

MARCELLE

Dear Laurence,

I printed your email out as it feels different somehow to read it holding it in my hand.

The struggle you describe, the rising from that imaginary safety shell wherein you create, to the stepping outside to critically assess what you actually have done is a hard one and naturally there is the longing to stay hidden because life can be too frazzling.


The irony of course is that in order to create you need to have thin skin, a constant intense empathy in which there is a freeflow, without obstruction,between the outside and inside,  but at the same time the medium you create in; painting, writing, acting is about  definition, bounderies and form.This contradiction feels quite isolating and from this a lot of other existential shit comes up as well. Feels like the dark night but it isn’t. This is what we are when all else is silenced.

I am really looking forward to see what you have written, I remember some of your storyboards like This Choir of Angels, you have great rythm of words.

I have been quite restless for awhile, I am struggling against not having a voice or the will to paint yet at the same time feeling that without it I will drown.


Have many questions about what I am doing and if like you say, isn’t it that we tell ourselves stories why we do or don’t things at that in reality we just try to avoid looking at that gaping hole? And then, I spend time with friends, other artists, my sister and I laugh and love and feel warm and connected and all those thoughts and feelings evaporate.

Re your provocative women story; all of our relationships are shaped by early erotic experiences and from that certain patterns, limitations, repeats are inevitable. And however exciting it is to return again and again to that wound it doesn’t do you any good. Round and round we go till the centrifrugal energy throws us out of that orbit.

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Recently I was very attracted to someone and was tempted to let it develop till I saw I was doing exactly the same as I had done several times before and I walked away, felt very strong and victorious that I counteracted my default pattern even though it cost me the a very pleasurable affair.

We are each in are own way warriors, sometimes unnoticable and non dramatic. We are all tied to infinity as you say, but sometimes I prefer things on a smaller scale, like the feeling that we are all tied to each other, breathing out.

Wish you were here, right now.
Take care of yourself and keep the lines open
Love M

The Poet & The Actor by Laurence Fuller

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The poet fights the ardor of his recompense, asking forgiveness for his follies in constant battle with the universe of the mind. Poetry’s unlimited potential reaches out across the universe of the mind its unlimited potential reaches out across the multitude of time, filtering only back to the passing minutes and seconds of reacting soundbites when limited consciousness is distracted by the comings and goings of it all.

Pointless at this point to the keeping brisk pushing to the tipping point. It’s all dipped in ink anyway, seduced and misguided.

The actor walks the other side of that divide. Drifting for a story, hunting artists like a javelin strapped warrior catching scent of something beautiful. Treasure hunter, digging through rusted rubble, scaffold concrete blocks that populate the artistic wasteland of bleached out pages. ‪Until some strange structure builds madly put of the ground, bricks and vines stretching across loose & under nourished civilizations‬. Paradise petals blooming their naturalness towards a new sun that bounces off gold plated rooftop, Elysium beyond that scrap heap. A story to tell.

The palace of the mind, polished, furnished, hung, carved and remodeled. It stretches out to its brittle peaks seeking infinity. 

Photograph by Samson Kohanski

"THE METHOD" LEGACY: Foundations; Phantom Day-Lewis & BOVTS - Part I by Laurence Fuller

Last Sunday after the ceremony, sitting in the Roosevelt after party sipping a gin cocktail after the show, where the first Oscars were held, I contemplated on the proceedings and the history of acting in film which has led us here. It seemed inappropriate to write or publish this in anticipation of the Oscars, because I didn't think he would win this year, he didn't think he would win this year "it's been great just to sit back and watch Gary collect his dues", I felt as many did it would be Gary for Darkest Hour. So this piece is something of a reflection of what we have lost, and the mantle now left to young leading men, like Timothée Chalamet, or those unknowns challenging the guard with independent films as Day-Lewis once did with My Beautiful Launderette or My Left Foot.

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ELYSIUM VERTO by Laurence Fuller

The epochal and transforming convulsions in the shape of our world is causing ruptures in civilization. The ice flows are breaking up, the earths plates are shifting and clutching together to form something new. But what is happening to us? History is being re-written.

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Marcelle Hanselaar Open Letter by Laurence Fuller

I feel about your work, that you are engaged in a healthy relationship with your demons, you control them and they bend to your will as the puppet master of the whole affair.
 
Do you feel connected to your unconscious? Not in the Freudian sense but in the emotional sense, do you feel these pictures come from inside you, beyond just your imagination or picture making. I don't just mean the quirky dark stuff but the portraits, the silence of your subjects when they are alone in thought, I feel there are speaking a lot in their silence, perhaps in the Lucian Freudian sense.

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David Hockney: All the World’s a Stage by Laurence Fuller

In honor of David Hockney's 80th birthday I wanted to share this article All The World's A Stage by my father Peter Fuller, it's one of the last pieces he wrote on Hockney, though they were lifelong friends and he wrote about Hockney's work since the late Sixties. In true Peter Fuller fashion it starts out talking about Hockney's art direction for various theatre productions and spirals into a retrospective of his life and career and the strangeness of subjectivity which always seemed to permeate their discussions. 

ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE

by Peter Fuller

 David Hockney's art direction for  Magic Flute

David Hockney's art direction for Magic Flute

'Well, I'm not that interested in the theatre itself,' David Hockney said in 1970. 'I did one play. I designed Ubu Roi. When I was doing that, I suddenly realised that a theatrical device in painting is quite different to a theatrical device in theatre.' He added, 'I'm really not interested in theatre design or anything.'

Four years later, John Cox, a producer, invited Hockney to design a new production of Stravinsky's opera, The Rake's Progress, for Glyndebourne. Predictably, Hockney had profound misgivings, but he loved opera and he was experiencing a deep crisis of confidence about his own painting. The idea of working in a new medium appealed to him. So, too, did the subject matter. Hockney himself had made a 'modern life' version of Hogarth's famous series of prints in the early 1960s. He accepted Cox's offer, and the resulting designs were shown in the exhibition, Hockney Paints the Stage, at the Hayward Gallery in August 1985.

Hockney insisted that the opera should be set in the eighteenth century - as reinterpreted from a twentieth-century viewpoint. Even though the relationship between Igor Stravinsky's work and Hogarth's is tenuous, Hockney decided to make persistent reference not just to the subject matter but also to the pictorial techniques of Hogarth's prints. He made use of dramatic perspectival foreshortenings - especially in the Bedlam scene; and, improbably, turned even cross-hatching into a theatrical device. Intersecting lines covered not only the back-drops, but even the furniture and the costumes, creating the illusion that everything has been 'engraved' in three dimensions. The result proved so original and effective that Hockney was immediately invited to design a Magic Flute which was staged at Glyndebourne in 1978.

During the year he spent working on Mozart's opera, Hockney produced no paintings at all. Again, his sumptuous sets captured the audiences' imagination. In 1981, he went on to complete two triple bills for New York's Metropolitan Opera House. The first of these included Satie's Parade, Poulenc's Les Mamelles de Tiresias, and Ravel's L'Enfant et les Sortileges; the second, three works by Stravinsky.

Soon after, Martin Friedman, director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, invited Hockney to make the exhibition, Hockney Paints the Stage. Friedman was concerned about the best way of displaying the sets in an art gallery. Sarastro's marvellous utopian kingdom in The Magic Flute, peopled with strangely costumed beasts, was one thing on an opera house stage, but it might be killed stone dead if it was presented simply as a stuffed menagerie against a static back-drop.

For a long time, Hockney appeared indifferent to these difficulties. He was deeply, even obsessively, immersed in his experiments with photography. He argued that the conventional photograph lacked time and therefore life. To overcome this, he started collaging together whole series of exposures and re-integrating them into single images which, he insisted, evaded the fatal photographic flaw.

At the eleventh hour, he managed to tear himself away from his Polaroids and decided to re-create seven stage sets especially for the Minneapolis exhibition. Working at extraordinary speed, on a gigantic scale, he produced what were, in effect, seven autonomous new works. He not only re-painted the props and back-drops himself, but fabricated his first sculptures to represent various characters from the operas and ballets. His esoteric researches into the photographic image exerted a powerful influence on what he produced. Tamino, the flute player in the Mozart opera, became, in Friedman's words, 'a picaresque abstraction of multi-coloured planes'. Hockney himself explained, 'a walking lizard might have twenty feet, leaving a trail behind him to tell us where he has been'. He added that the lizard could have 'three heads in different positions and, as in the photographs, you believe it's one'.

Despite originally denying any interest in theatre design, Hockney's mastery of the medium was hardly surprising. Even when he worked in only two dimensions his principal means of expression had been the playful manipulation of depictive surface and spatial illusion. Behind all the wit and whimsy lay pressing psychological and aesthetic preoccupations.

As every art student knows, David Hockney was born in Bradford in 1937. At his local College of Art he learned to draw, and to paint after the manner of Sickert. He went to the Royal College of Art in 1959 and felt uncertain about what to do there. At first, he spent a lot of time making two painstaking drawings of a skeleton. From this time on, in times of doubt or confusion, he has often fallen back on the apparent certainties of naturalism.

  We Two Boys Clinging Together , David Hockney

We Two Boys Clinging Together, David Hockney

Those were heady days in the College. Hockney's art soon reflected his espousal of homosexuality, pacifism, Cliff Richard and vegetarianism. His manner of painting now recalled the self-conscious infantilism of Dubuffet, or, closer to home, Roger Hilton. But there was always a sense of deliberate distancing in Hockney. Even at his most 'painterly' - as in We Two Boys Together Clinging - Hockney always held back, like a knowing child, and offered a kind of painted parody of his experience, replete with jokes and ironic references.

Although a gulf divided their sensibilities, Hockney also greatly admired Francis Bacon. Yet where Bacon seemed almost murderously intent upon exposing the post-operative entrails of his subjects, Hockney preferred to dress them up. Many of his early paintings, especially A Grand Procession of Dignitaries in the Semi-Egyptian Style, reveal his interest in the paradoxes of stagey space, performances, tassels and role-playing.

Hockney left the Royal College in 1962 with a gold medal and a ready-made success. He had his first one-man show at Kasmin's the following year. During the 1960s the nature of his concerns became increasingly clear. He showed little interest in the expressive manipulation of his materials, nor did he want to use colour as a means of conveying intense emotion. Although he worked constantly with the male figure, he rarely showed much inclination to reveal character through attention to physiognomy or anatomical gesture. He showed no signs of wanting to involve himself with, say, the way in which natural light fell upon objects, nuanced and revealed them. For a while, at least, artifice was all.

   Play Within A Play , David Hockney

 Play Within A Play, David Hockney

At this time he became fascinated by a picture in the National Gallery by Domenichino, Apollo Killing Cyclops, in which the action is depicted through a painting of a tapestry made from a painting. The edge of the tapestry is carefully rendered; in the bottom right-hand corner it is folded back, revealing a 'real' painted dwarf. This picture inspired Hockney's painting, Play Within a Play, which shows his dealer, John Kasmin, with his nose pressed against a real sheet of glass laid across the picture surface. Kasmin stands in a shallow pictorial space behind which hangs the painted version of an illusionistic tapestry.

Soon after making this picture Hockney spent much of his time in California, where he was drawn to the imagery of showers, pools and jets of water. Curtains appear again and again in his work. 'They are always about to hide something or reveal something,' he said. There are also references to the reflective paradoxes the painter encounters when he seeks to represent water. These years, the early 1960s, were a period of high and confident conceit, when Hockney seemed content to remain trapped within a painted world in which illusion opened out onto illusion, revealing no ultimate reality.

  Portrait Surrounded by Artistic Devices, David Hockney

Portrait Surrounded by Artistic Devices, David Hockney

The first hints of change came about in an awkward attempt to do a 'naturalistic' drawing of his father, associated with the painting, Portrait Surrounded by Artistic Devices. Here, a 'realistic' painted father sits beside a stuck-on heap of cubistic cylinders. Two years later, when working on The Room, Tarzana - a portrait of his boy-friend, Peter Schlesinger, laid out like Boucher's pink-bottomed Mademoiselle O'Murphy - Hockney suddenly realised, 'This is the first time I'm taking any notice of shadows and light.'

 

He then plunged into a series of portraits and set-pieces, including the well-known double portraits of couples failing to relate, which showed a new reliance on the sort of appearances revealed by photography. Indeed, photography was coming to play an increasing part in Hockney's working methods. But this naturalism, too, he soon found cloying. In the early 1970s, he made a number of landscapes, effectively transcribed from photographs which had the dead and unappealing appearance of works by the American Photo-Realist school.

  A Bigger Splash,  David Hockney

A Bigger Splash, David Hockney

Neither the elaborate devices of Post-Cubism, nor an apparently straightforward naturalism, seemed sufficient to carry Hockney beyond that shimmering pool of narcissistic illusion and self-reflection in which he had imprisoned himself. Following the break-up of his relationship with Schlesinger, Hockney's picture- making entered a period of profound crisis, captured superficially in Jack Hazan's film, A Bigger Splash. He developed a new interest in Van Gogh, whom he regarded as an artist who had been able to deal directly with experience without being either aesthetically innovative or conventionally naturalistic. But Hockney could find no equivalent for Van Gogh's solution in his own painting. Perhaps he came closest to what he was looking for in the fine drawings he made of Celia, his only close woman friend. These possess an intimacy and a sense of otherness, conspicuously absent from so many of his male images.

The invitation to produce the designs for A Rake's Progress came in the middle of this crisis in his picturing. It provided him with an immediate solution: the chance to construct his artifices in real space, to make three-dimensional pictures which had an undeniable existence in a world beyond himself. The culmination of The Rake's Progress work was a painting based on an image by Hogarth, which Hockney called Kerby [see jacket of book]. In this piece, all the devices which should lead to a naturalistic image are reversed or inverted, and yet the picture remains legible.

  A Rake's Progress,  David Hockney

A Rake's Progress, David Hockney

Hockney tried to combine these discoveries with a replenished naturalism in the portraits of his parents that he produced in the mid-1970s. I remember visiting him at this time in his London studio. He told me, 'When you paint your parents, you paint an idea of them as well. They exist in your mind, even though they are not in front of you. And the problem is, is that part of reality?'

One cannot escape the observation that Mrs Hockney has the face of an ageing Celia, and Celia the look of a young Mrs Hockney. Perhaps he was no nearer an escape from narcissism? In any event, despite going through two versions, the double portrait of his parents was not a success. Hockney abandoned it and subsumed himself in the designs for The Magic Flute.

In the early 1980s he plunged into his critique of the photographic image. Though the 'cameraworks' are not, in themselves, an aesthetic success, they represent another stage in his struggle against being imprisoned within mere illusions of appearances. Once again, Hockney found it easiest to find his 'solutions' by transferring the problem into the third dimension - by making the exuberant, colourful and convincing set-pieces for Hockney Paints the Stage.

With Hockne), the shifting of levels is incessant and compulsive. Many years ago, when he had finished his complex picture of Kasmin trapped behind a sheet of glass, he added irony to irony by having a tapestry made of the image. Then a painter friend visited him and, to Hockney's delight, offered to make a painting from the tapestry.

 Peter Fuller & David Hockney

Peter Fuller & David Hockney

At the same time as Hockney Paints the Stage, he also held an exhibition of pictures at Kasmin's Knoedler Gallery in Cork Street, called Wider Perspectives are Needed Now. In this show Hockney re-incorporated lessons he learned from his theatre work into enormous paintings which were like depicted images of those fanciful illusions which he had previously found he cou’d only create in three dimensions on the stage.

There are those for whom all of Hockney's work will amount to no more than a kind of illustrational game-playing. Douglas Cooper was not alone in his view that Hockney was an overrated minor artist. But this is to ignore both his manifest skills and his consistent capacity to entertain. I do not intend this word in any derogatory sense. Most art produced today lacks such a capacity to suspend our disbelief, to hold and engage us. At the very least, Hockney's achievement is comparable to John Fowles's in literature, or Hitchcock's in the cinema. He beguiles his viewers into a world of uncertainty and delightful paradox, but behind the fagade, one senses the most serious intent.

Like his erstwhile hero, Francis Bacon, Hockney sees men and women as somehow trapped within their subjectivity. Perhaps this is where the vicissitudes of the homosexual imagination can appeal to a more general existential condition. For Hockney, as for Bacon, we are like caged animals: the jungle we see is just an illusion, painted on the concrete wall of our enclosure. Bacon's perception of this situation led him to claw his way through the skin into the splayed intestine. Hockney invites us to break through the wall - to confront another illusion, another depicted jungle, on the boundary beyond.

In some ways, Hockney may be a lesser artist than Bacon, and yet I have every sympathy with those who prefer the consolations of Hockney's mirroring artifices, his plays within plays within plays, to Bacon's dubious 'realism'. Bacon can only offer the ultimate presence of death, while Hockney invites us to celebrate the illusion of life.

1985

HOWARD HODGKIN & Robert Natkin by Peter Fuller by Laurence Fuller

Howard Hodgkin died earlier this year, he was perhaps the most prominent abstract artist to come out of Britain. The American painter Robert Natkin, a lesser known abstract expressionist and the one American painter my father Peter Fuller chose to champion. Studying Abstract Expressionism at the moment for the development of a new film project, though I never naturally gravitated to abstraction in my own aesthetic. I find it strange Natkin is often left out of the dialogue as his paintings are so beautiful. This article, first published in Modern Painters in 1988, remains a tribute to all three men. At this time Peter was exploring spiritual and transcendental ideas, establishing a new religious order out of art. Abstraction usually pushed reimagining of the natural world too far out even for Peter's line of thinking, but he accepted the challenge when it came to these two men, Natkin in particular.

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ADRIAN BERG BY PETER FULLER by Laurence Fuller

"That day we met at the front door of the house and he said, 'I'm writing art criticism for a magazine', and I replied, 'You can write on me. I've a show'. Although he was living in a room on the floor below my studio looking out on the same view so that he would be familiar with the subject, I could not have expected anything to come of it. He was just down from Cambridge. The year was 1968. When I had a retrospective in Rochdale, he took the trouble to see it, and to get that organ of the new puritanism Art Monthly eventually to publish his review. I have been able to attribute the opposition of all other critics to his support. While I was a first of sorts for him, he was a one and only." - Adrian Berg

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Omens II by Laurence Fuller

The search for beauty is so often underpinned by a rugged brutality, stringent, uncompromising quest to prevail, exclusivity, a climb, a struggle, a ruthless clawing at the flimsy veins of the existence which pretend and shelter. One begins to claw, because of a feeling of not knowing, or of knowledge that there must be more. 

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Omens I by Laurence Fuller

In many ways this story begins last September, at the San Diego International Film Festival where the rag tag bunch of renegades that are the Road To The Well crew, scrambled through the streets of San Diego from our screenings of obscure indie dramas to the Oscar hopefuls in Lion,  and a special preview of Hidden Figures. It was a handful of studio backed mega dramas versus the new wave of young penniless independent filmmakers trying to complete against the majors with empty pockets, David & Goliath.

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The Journey - My Father In His Own Words by Laurence Fuller

As it happens, I agree with Gilbert, one of the contributors to Oscar Wilde's famous dialogue, The Critic as Artist, who argues that higher criticism is 'the record of one's own soul'. He goes on to describe it as 'the only civilized form of autobiography, as it deals not with the events, but with the thoughts of one's life; not with life's physical accidents of deed or circumstance, but with the spiritual moods and imaginative passions of the mind'.

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The Spiritual In Our Time & The Ruskin Lecture by Laurence Fuller

It seems we are faced with increasing divisions in the West, that in one sense allow for greater individuality then ever before and yet what we give up is any sense of unity. In researching a film about my father this last two years, I looked back at the revolutionary 60s and how far away from that united utopia they envisioned we now find ourselves. It could be said that this idea of connectedness is just an illusion and what politicians are all fighting for is a feeling that rests beneath all their rhetoric.

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