Holy Shit! Visions of the Walworth Jumpers

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Cesars Awards "Revelations" - translation

This is the translation for the French Cesar awards "revelations" video. It is not perfect, I am not a professional translator, but I am french and that helps! Enjoy (bar one or two mistakes or misses!)

"Body and Soul"
Look at me at this very instant naked,
free in body and spirit,
blaming only myself for the pressure I put myself under,
I surrender body and soul,
untainted again, I am whole,
I go back to chaos,
my DNA scattered for ever, I enter the dance,
escaping from myself,
my art will be to act,
In your dreams I will become flesh
I will make words subtly resound, 
Like fruits under my tongue,
I give you my skin,
Torn apart, incensed, content with tears and laughter,
You would be breathless with cries, light, with the crowd…
I want to be brunk
Your “impossible”, your “unrevealed”
Come cold or stage freight, uncertain times,
I will remain deaf to the sellers of puff,
I have faith, I dive in,
at this very instant naked, free in body and soul
I surrender body and soul,
Look at me, look at me,
The road is free

Laurent de Bartillat

Monday, 9 January 2012

John Martin's Apocalypse at Tate Britain

John Martin , The Great Day of His Wrath 1851-3

Will we survive the Apocalypse? In a day and age where stories of doom assault us from every corner of the media spectrum we look at, one would be forgiven to think that the end is near indeed. Would it be easier on you if I told you that we’re not the first ones to have despaired in times of chaos? In its last week of showing at Tate Britain, John Martin’ s Apocalypse is a spectacular show rewarding us with an insight into the world of a printmaking genius and by extension into his Romantics contemporaries’.

John Martin , Plate from 'Illustrations to the Bible': The Covenant  published 1832, Intaglio print on paper ©Tate Britain

The mezzotints are this artist’s most famous achievement and it was indeed for me a revelation. I am currently continuing working on my graphic novel “Written byMen, Blame it on God”and I found ‘The Paradise Lost’ and 'Illustrations to the Bible' series most inspiring. Needless to say, this was the perfect exhibition for me to start the year with- I now have a renewed sense of urgency as to my bible illustrations!

John Martin , Plate from 'Illustrations to the Bible': The Destruction of the Pharoah's Host published 1833, Mezzotint on paper, ©Tate Britain

My work is about denouncing and subverting the bible’s lithurgy and the traditional way the holy message is conveyed in popular art. I mow see how using printmaking and the old bookbinding methods along with the old illuminations format will have the desired effect I am searching for.

John Martin , Satan Presiding at the Infernal Council© Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK

So far, I investigated William Blake who along with John Martin made a brave but eventually ruinous attempt at independent publishing. Here are two contemporary yet highly personal and inspired visions of the scriptures that couldn’t be more poles apart from one another. I bought, read and studied Jake and Dinos Chapman’sUnholy Libel. Six Feet Under” and seeen a number of shows by artists investigating the day of reckoning from a religious (or not) point of view. I am going throught the long process of rereading the bible.

John Martin, Sadak in Search of the Waters of Oblivion 1812 © Saint Louis Art Museum, Friends Fund

Let me dear reader ask you this: is Judgement day upon us then? From my personal experience growing up in Guadeloupe hasn’t the apocalypse always been there? There is something about growing up on a picture perfect/ postcard island that outsiders would call paradise…but is it? “The mind is its own place, and in itself Can make a heav'n of hell, a hell of heav'n.” (1:254-255) or again "the more I see / Pleasures about me, so much more I feel / Torment within me...". (PL 9:119-121) (All excerpts from Paradise Lost) Heaven is not not always what it looks like!