Archives for the day of: November 17, 2012

I have written previously about Keith Vaughan, and the theme of Art and Melancholy (June 20, 2012), having then seen an exhibiton of his work at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester.

Today, I visited the Osborne Samuel Gallery in London (, where a generous exhibition of his work, more than 80 pieces, some of which have not been seen in public for many years, again pays tribute to the artist’s centenary.

I was struck by many things, which is unsurprising given that, although known for his Bathers series particularly, Vaughan’s works are wonderfully varied, especially in terms of theme and mood.

I will mention a few of the works on display. The Raft II (Variation on a Theme by Gericault) I had not seen before, and was immediately struck by its intensity and intimacy. Inevitably, I attach the term ‘melancholy’ to much of Vaughan’s work, and for me, this mood is almost tangible from his canvas.

Also melancholic are the portraits of lone figures, as in Seated Nude, as well as those pieces that suggest both a togetherness and a simultaneous apartness, for example Pear Tree Bathers and The Wall at Ashford Gifford III.

Most of the portraits appear anonymous to the observer, in the sense that the bodies are headless (Green Landscape with Figures) or facial features are left either deliberately blank (Two Figures), or vaguely generic (The Start of a New Day).

I was utterly moved by the tenderness of Lie You Sleeping HeadMy Love and Lovers, and equally moved by the despair of Methods of Destruction III (Spring), Voyage a Cythere II, and my own most memorable of Vaughan’s works, Man in Cave.


I have seen all of Michael Haneke’s films to date, and so, unsurprisingly, I very much looked forward to his latest creation, Amour, which I saw tonight.

I am not sure I fully understand my fascination with Haneke’s work. It probably results from a combination of factors, from its ability to simultaneously surprise, seduce, shock, distress, and disturb.

Amour has been much hyped, particularly since its Palme D’Or accolade at Cannes in May. There have been many reviews, and 5-star ratings, and a further, albeit much more pedestrian, review would be superfluous. What I can share, is how the film made me feel. Or, I should qualify, how it made me feel during the screening and immediately afterwards. I suspect that over the next days, much more will evolve personally from my experience of seeing Amour.

I found it extraordinary. But in a different way to his other work. I found it extraordinary in how it moved me, and also in the extent to which it disturbed me, much more than Benny’s video or The Seventh Continent. I suspect this results from the fact that the subject matter for Amour is so ‘ordinary’ and real and human, that this, perhaps perversely makes the work feel so important, and critical. Essentially, it is the potential story of you or me, and our frailties and vulnerabilities. Perhaps life doesn’t get more scary than that.

I wondered whether, having seen the film in a pretty packed cinema on a Friday night, such a topic would have been so welcome in mainstream cinema 10, even 5 years ago…

Progress, of sorts.

Go see.