Monday, February 25, 2008


--Jeremy Richey on Robbe-Grillet

--Mike Dekalb on Robbe-Grillet

--Mike Dekalb on SLOW SLIDINGS OF PLEASURE (1974, Alain Robbe-Grillet)

One of the films I would like to see very much is SLOW SLIDINGS OF PLEASURE. I found a review of this film in the magazine LITERATURE/FILM QUARTERLY, 1995, No.1. The article is written by Roch C. Smith.

These are some quotes from the magazine:

“Not surprisingly, perhaps, given Robbe-Grillet’s source, he makes use of various images of blood and flames to incorporate the motifs of the vampire and the sorceress. Such images are associated with a red kneeler, a shoe, a broken bottle—sometimes filled with red liquid—the sea, a metal bed and other objects of “punctuation,” as Robbe-Grillet calls them. All these images become part of a narrative contest between the young female protagonist—called Alice in the cine-roman, but never named in the film itself—and a cast of authority figures: the magistrate, the lawyer, the nun, and the priest. For the forces of authority and order, these images and objects become pieces of evidence that would establish Alice’s guilt.”

”The magistrate, the priest and the nun seek to impose a coherent story, one that would account for the disparate elements, by establishing that there was a crime and Alice was guilty of it. They seek to reestablish the reassuring and conventional world of traditional narrative. The character of Alice is scandalous to these figures of traditional authority, as it might be to like-minded spectators. Through her rebelliously playful responses, Alice subverts all efforts to impose a closed narrative by multiplying the possible meanings. Hers is the scandal of the open work.”

--There is a very interesting scene in SLOW SLIDINGS OF PLEASURE, in which nude Alice covers the front of her body with the red paint and presses herself against the white wall in four different spots, leaving imprints of her body on the wall.

This scene is clearly an homage to Yves Klein’ “Anthropometrie de l’epoque bleu (ANT 82)” (1960). Coincidentally, the Alliance Francaise in Bangkok just showed a short TV documentary about this artwork in January. The TV documentary is called SUIVEZ L’ARTISTE, in each episode of which a famous person got to choose his/her favorite artwork. In the episode I saw, it is Agnes Varda who chose Anthropometrie de l’epoque bleu (ANT 82).

In that red painting scene in SLOW SLIDINGS OF PLEASURE, there is also an interesting conversation between Sister Julia, who is the nun in charge of the convent, and Alice. I quoted this dialogue from LITERATURE/FILM QUARTERLY:

SISTER JULIA: You asked for paint and brushes to do that?

ALICE: Yes, Sister. You don’t find that pretty? Maybe you don’t like modern art?

SISTER JULIA: Don’t touch me, you disgusting, shameless girl, you criminal! Anyone can tell by looking at you that you’re the assassin.

ALICE: I don’t see the connection Sister. Jesus was innocent. He was condemned to death because he had the gift of exaggeration. I’ll speak to my lawyer about your libelous statements…Here Sister, here’s Veronica’s veil. [Alice holds up a red cloth which virtually fills the screen.]

--For more information on VERONICA’S VEIL, please read:

--Yves Klein’s artwork and that scene in SLOW SLIDINGS OF PLEASURE make me feel interested in works which use human bodies as paintbrush. I found that Ana Mendieta also created some artworks by the imprints of her body, and Nicolas Guagnini also had an exhibition called “77 TESTICULAR IMPRINTS”, in which he used his testicles as paintbrush.

This is the description of 77 TESTICULAR IMPRINTS:

“The paintings were produced with oil paint applied directly to the artist’s testicles and imprinted on various bound and ephemeral printed matter including: mainstream magazines such as Time and Life; art market staples such as Artforum, Art in America and Art News; exhibition and auction catalogues; rare magazines and artist’s books; personal letters; and lastly, on an assortment of original artworks, poems and studio notes by Vito Acconci, Simon Bedwell, Alejandro Cesarco and Dan Graham.”


Mat said...

Painting with the body was an early aspect of the 'body art' movement of the 1960s, which would later develop into more extreme performances and actions.

Nam June Paik painted with his head in 1962, as did Paul McCarthy in 1972 and Janine Antoni in 1992. Also, McCarthy apparently painted with his penis in a 1974 video, and Cheryl Donegan painted with her buttocks in 1993.

Rachel Lachowicz organised a feminist response to Klein in 1992, by smearing male models with red lipstick all over their bodies and then pressing their bodies against white paper.

The excellent book The Artist's Body has more about all of these artists.

celinejulie said...

Mat, thank you very much for your information. I wonder if there will be a feminist response to “77 TESTICULAR IMPRINTS”. But I like Rachel Lachowicz’s response to Yves Klein very much. Hahaha.

Nam Jun Paik is a very interesting artist. I first saw his work last year when Thammasat University Library showed his video called GOOD MORNING, MR. ORWELL (1984, A+). This video is a little bit funny and seems to show some interesting aspects about television broadcasting. Many great artists appear in this video, including Laurie Anderson, John Cage and Oingo Boingo.

I just went to see the exhibition ARTSPACE GERMANY at Silpakorn University last weekend. The exhibition includes two works by Nam Jun Paik: “Internet dwellers: jswg.dreizehn.xulf” (1997, video sculpture, A+) and CANDLE TV (1975, object installation, A+). I love CANDLE TV very much. It seems like a sacred object. As for INTERNET DWELLERS, I think the 7-minute video is not very interesting now, but it might be very interesting back in 1997. However, I like the sculpture very much. said...

I agree about Lachowitz ;-)

Paik is one of my favourite artists, basically because he arguably invented video art, and because his TV/video sculptures are so fascinating. My favourite is TV Buddha, but the ones at Artspace Germany are great, too.

At Artspace Germany, I also really liked the Joseph Kosuth semiotic tripyich - it was good to see one of these in a gallery, after seeing them photographed in books for years.

celinejulie said...

I didn’t understand ONE AND THREE PANS (1965, Joseph Kosuth) when I saw it in ARTSPACE GERMANY. Fortunately, someone wrote about it and her writing makes me appreciate this work much more than before.

This is what Monnita wrote:

“His work of 'One and Three Pans' appears to echo his other work of "One and Three Chairs" made in the same year. Here, he displayed a photograph of a pan, an actual pan, and a dictionary of the word "pan". The piece distinguishes between the three aspects involved in the perception of a work of art: the visual representation of a thing (the photograph of the pan), its real referent (the actual pan), and its intellectual concept (the dictionary definition). Reality, image, and concept: the three "sides" of a perceived thing. ”

--I haven’t seen anything like ONE AND THREE PANS before—the juxtaposition between “the real thing”, “its representation” and “its concept”. However, the juxtaposition between the real thing and its representation reminds me of many things I like, including:

1.RE-PRESENTATION (2007, Chai Chaiyachit + Chisanucha Kongwailap, A+)

This short film is about a man gaining some knowledge on arts and Thai politics. Since I have no knowledge in these two areas, the film introduces me to some ideas which I find very interesting. This film makes me wonder if “Thai democracy” is the representation of “something essentially undemocratic”.

2.DESIRE (2001, Fred Kelemen, A+)

This is a stage play directed by Fred Kelemen. The videotape of this stage play was shown at Thammasat University Library last year. One interesting thing in this stage play is the difference between “the real thing” and “its projection” (I don’t know if I use the right English word or not.) In this play, Eben hates Abbie whenever Abbie appears as a real person in front of him. But sometimes Abbie appears on some giant screens hanging on the stage. Whenever Abbie appears on the screen and talks to Eben, Eben seems to like her. In conclusion, it seems as if Eben hates Abbie as a real person, but he loves her projection and desires her projection.


There’s one scene I love in this film. It is the scene in which three woman carry a giant photo of a part of the Berlin Wall and place this giant photo next to that exact part of the Berlin Wall. We see two doubling images at the same time, side by side—the real Berlin Wall and its photo. I don’t understand what this scene means, but I love it.

--Talking about Joseph Kosuth reminds me that I have no knowledge at all about conceptual art. As for some concepts or ideas found in films, I think I like some ideas or concepts in the films of Tulapop Saenjaroen. I think you saw one of his films last year—WHEN THE MOVIE LISTENS (2007, A+). The idea of this film is to let each viewer talk anything he/she wants to talk to the film, and the film will listen to us. I just saw his new film several weeks ago. It is called 2008, and lasts about 3 minute. In this film, we saw nothing except some strange sentences in “the ending credit”. At first I misunderstood that this film is the ending credit of another short film shown before it, but after the film ends, I got to understand that “the ending credit” is actually “the film”.

--Talking about some concepts in art, I like the concept of an artwork by Rirkrit Tiravanija very much. I saw a videotape recording of his artwork last year. In this video, he presented “rice” at an art exhibition and treated the rice as if the rice was a very precious diamond. said...

The scene in The All-Around Reduced Personality sounds very interesting. Monnita's description of Kosuth is quite accurate - the installation is based on the principles of semiotics. I'm really into conceptual art, probably even more than traditional painting/sculpture.

Yes, I saw When The Movie Listens, and found it fascinating. No-one in the audience said anything - surely the director was disappointed!