Tag Archives: Germany

Artists were used as or used for propaganda

After and during World War II  art and artists were used as propaganda – they worked for or against Hitler, Stalin, Churchill etc.

The horrors of this global war were well documented in film, photography and words – the horror of the death camps, the executions and the spitting hatred that came out of the wartime leaders mouths…

Propaganda – only the winner is right

After Stalingrad, the Nazis had to reposition themselves – defeat was not a real option but they were beaten in a war of attrition, the blitzkrieg tactics had finally failed, defeated by a long drawn out siege.  After this Germany set themselves up as the sole defender of what they called “Western European Culture” against the “Bolshevist Hordes”, hoping the alliance would deflect their aggression towards Russia. The introduction of the V-1 and V-2 “vengeance weapons” was to further emphasize, to try and convince Briton and their allies that the  defeat of Germany was hopeless.

The expectations of success were raised too high and further explanation was required to explain this lack of swift success. Blunders and failures caused mistrust and were quickly hushed up. The increasing hardship of the war for the German people moved the propaganda emphasis to one of claiming that the war had been forced on the German people by the refusal of foreign powers to accept their strength and independence. Goebbels called for propaganda to toughen up the German people and not make victory look easy.

Artist using propaganda as source material (maybe?):

The powerful contemporary images in newspapers, magazines,  the cinema and on the radio were bound to filter into a creative mind. The apocalyptic nature of war would seep into your pores – you wouldn’t be an artist if these catastrophic events didn’t influence your creativity.

I wasn’t around during the Second World War but images from this period haunt me – the little Jewish girl waiting, behind barbed wire, to be marched to the death camp from the train, the dead old lady in the gutter of Stalingrad, people walking around her frozen body…

Francis Bacon and Nazi Propaganda – the book

There are books that bring new perspectives to painting and the lives / methodologies of artists. Unfortunately Francis Bacon and Nazi Propaganda brings nothing new to the party.

What is source material?

The work and times of Francis Bacon are well documented. The use and origins of Bacon’s source material are well-known, some of which are even preserved. This book is a shortcut, a narrow, tunnel visioned, easy access pass to the imagery that helped to inspire his art – a snapshot and lightweight introduction from a contemporary point of view.

This over emphasis on Nazi imagery is an attempt by the author to shock and imply a tenuous connection between Bacon and the Nazi regime. This book clouds the issue of how artists draw inspiration from the sources around them. These images of Nazi propaganda were (probably) simply metaphors for violence, death and persecution – had Hitler conquered Britain Bacon’s legacy would not exist. They still are powerful photographic and graphic images that send a shudder down your spine but they were only a part of Bacon’s bigger picture.

Does one methodology fit all? – painting is more complicated than that.

It would make more sense to see some of the imagery for yourself. BOZAR fine arts museum in Brussels has an exhibition of Bacon bits. The contents from his studio are part of a show running until May 2013. “Changing States: Contemporary Irish Art & Francis Bacon’s Studio”includes photographs of friends and lovers, medical books, wildlife and sport are jumbled together with classical references and artists monographs as well as unfinished paintings.


The Gilded Gutter Life of Francis Bacon

The paintings of Francis Bacon have always stood out in the crowded museums and galleries that are stuffed full of mediocre British paintings. Daniel Farson gives a personal view of his (if only in his own mind) ‘friend’s’ chaotic debauched life.

In 1962, Farson made a documentary for Associated-Rediffusion about pub entertainment in the East End of London where he lived, called Time Gentlemen Please (this led directly to the company’s later series Stars and Garters, with which Farson was not personally involved). Soon after this he bought a pub, The Waterman’s Arms, in the East End with the explicit intent of reviving old-time music hall, but this failed. By the end of 1964 he had resigned from Associated-Rediffusion (by then renamed Rediffusion London) keeping a lower public profile for the rest of his life. He moved from London to live in his parents’ house in Devon, but continued to visit the pubs and drinking clubs of London’s Soho on a regular basis… Continue reading 

IUOMA – music and art

Mail-Artist since:
1986
My Website:
http://www.thiswindow.org
Why I am involved in Mail-Art:

Was involved in the cassette / music side of mailart in the 1980′s /90′s. The whole idea of a network of artists connected by the postal system appealed to me and was an antidote to the stranglehold the ‘Art / Music’ establishment had over my creativity.

I have always considered mailart to be one of the major unsung heroes of Art History and every effort should be made to raise its profile.

Here are a few network related things I have done this millennium. http://www.thiswindow.org/Mail_Art/?cat=3

From profile page on: International Union of Mail-Artists – IUOMA

There is a brief retrospective interview looking back at the early days and the origins of ‘This Window’ in the November 2009 issue of ‘The Living Archive of Underground Music’.

“I think my first exposure to Peter Bright’s This Window project came with this tape on the IRRE label from Germany. Peppered with experimentalism and a sense of wander and wonder” Don Campau – Read more…

The early experiences of the audio mail art scene by Peter Bright (artist, This Window)

Published on: ‘The Living Archive of Underground Music

If you sat me down and asked me what were the main reasons for getting involved in this emotionally draining and sometimes very unrewarding ARTFORM called ‘home taping’, then I would say two things:

  • In the early 1970’s when I was about 13 or 14 years old I loved ‘Motown’ and ‘Led Zeppelin’ (my music tastes were very eclectic). In the UK there was a TV show called ‘Top of the Pops’, which shaped the adolescent pop culture. The stars appeared on a Thursday night and lip-synched to their hits. Then one night (1972) a band called ‘Roxy Music’ appeared and turned the whole thing on its head. I can still see the performance in my mind’s eye. I had suddenly been exposed to ‘Art School Rock’. They were remarkably radical, different musically and visually.
  • Around the same time (1973) an album was released on ‘Virgin Records’ called ‘The Faust Tapes’. This was a marketing experiment which had a retail price of 49 pence (UK) – so lots of people bought it and a lot of people threw it into the trash. The German band Faust were without a record deal and their producer Uwe Nettlebeck gave these tapes to Virgin for free. These apparently thrown together bits of tape noises, sounds, songs etc. were all mangled together – well, that is what most people thought. In reality it was an exceptionally well crafted piece of work and was the inspiration for my EEtapes release ‘Extraction’ in 1989.

These two things combined with going to Art School eventually got me involved in experimenting with recorded sound. The first machines I used were a Phillips reel to reel and a budget priced cassette recorder.

Read More…

 

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Article written for Technorati.com

The inability of Germany and France to actually make a definitive decision, to resolve our inertia, continues to have lasting repercussions on European (small) businesses. Yet more talks are to be embarked on this week… What is their problem? Self interest and power struggles between the major players are not funny, these egotistical, purse snatchers are behaving like a bunch of adolescents. The European economy is not a new business start up it is a massive machine that supports millions of people. This petulance is something we can’t afford and is something that the small businessman fully understands – he knows that if he doesn’t leave his ego at home (when he goes into the office) the day will be difficult and non productive, if not totally disastrous. The small businessman also knows they will be the only people who will pull Europe out of this mess, they have to create new businesses and find new markets.

The ability to grow an idea into a business need not be such a difficult task. Entrepreneurs sometimes become blind to the obvious, convinced that their vision is the only possible route towards success. The entrepreneur’s inability to seek help and let go of their creation is sometimes the reason why they fail, avoiding or dismissing processes which offer better methods and practices. In other words they do not seek advice or they do not take advice – which may provided them the tools and techniques that could noticeably improve efficiency or growth, which in turn can lead to faster return on investment and increased profits.

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Read more: http://technorati.com/business/small-business/article/is-the-eurozone-a-small-business/

Cassette Culture an art network

Cassette Culture was an offshoot of the mail art movement of the 1970s and 1980s, it emerged from the DIY ethic of punk. In the UK cassette culture was born during the post-punk period, 1978–1984, extending through the late ’80s and into the ’90s. It was a postal-based network identical to the mail art scene.

The packaging and designing of the insert sleeve of cassette releases was an important part of the movement, a high degree of creativity and originality was visable in the execution of the overall appearence of the prioduct. Most of the  packaging relied on traditional plastic shells with a photocopied “J-card” insert but some artists broke away from the restrictive dimensions of the audio cassette format, either in a slick graphic  way or by  taking an anti-art stand point  – using a conceptual, DADA methodology .

BWCD released a cassette by Japanese noise artist Aube that came tied to a blue plastic ashtray shaped like a fish. EEtapes of Belgium release of This Window  “Extraction 2” was packaged with an X-ray of a broken limb in 1995. The Barry Douglas Lamb album “Ludi Funebres” had the cassette box buried in some earth contained in a larger outer tin and covered in leaves.

The European scene was very active during this period with exceptional ‘labels’ appearing in Germany and Belgium.

IRRE Tapes (Germany) run by Matthias Lang evolved out of the IRRE Fanzine which he published regularly during the early 1980′s covering New Wave, Post Punk and the German Underground. This European cassette label helped to spread the word around the world, supporting the independent, self financed artist, releasing material by the likes of Brume, Maeror Tri, City Of Worms and This Window. His eclectic taste covered the whole range of the DIY, Independent Underground music scene from Experimental Electronica to Guitar Pop.

Below is an extract from an interview on The Living Archive Of Underground Music, which is an archive dedicated to Cassette culture, home taping, tape trading and mail art from the 1980s to the present. The Living Archive Of Underground Music is written and edited by Don Campau. Read more…

Wie hattest Du das Label bekannt gemacht? Durch Magazine, andere Labels, Radio?

How did you spread the word of the tape label? Magazines, other labels, radio?

Tja ob IRRE Tapes je bekannt war? Wenn dann eher durch das unabhängige Netzwerk in der ganzen Welt, damals konnte man auch noch kostengünstig Tapes in andere Länder schicken… die Mehrzahl der Tapes wurde mit Gleichgesinnten in der ganzen Welt getauscht, so richtig kommerziell verkauft wurden die wenigsten – dafür hab ich heute aber auch noch unzählige Kisten alter Tapes die ich im Tausch damals bekommen hatte. Es gab zwar auch kommerziellere Vertriebe, die aber nie wirklich lange z.B. der tolle 235 Laden ich glaube in Bad Honnef. Die hatten auch mit tolle Mailorder-Kataloge, geniale Ideen z.B. gab es da das Tape des Monats das man per Dauerauftrag bekommen konnte……

Well, if IRRE-tapes were really that popular? If so, the independent network all around the world helped to make the label popular…at that time postage for tapes to be sent to other countries was quite cheap…the majority of tapes was swapped with artists all around the world and only a very few were really commercially sold. I still have many boxes full of old tapes that I received by trade. There were also more commercial distributors that never existed so long, like the 235-shop in Bad Honnef. They had great mailorder-catalogues and it was even possible to get there the „tape of the month“ by periodical payment order.

The Insanely Happy EP – Insane from Belgium

Alain Neffe is probably one of the most influential ‘cassette underground’ people around, his Belgian label Insane released many of the 1980?s heroes of the home taping and mail art scenes. Here is an opportunity to get a collectors edition … Continue reading ?