Where’s Will Gompertz these days? As there is no Turner Prize in 2020, we might assume he’s been furloughed - but no, he’s around - he reported on the 9th May on the 2020 BP Portrait Award.
I must admit I missed it - it never made the BBC News website Home page:
Reading between the lines of his report, Will’s not happy. There’s no political angle to Jiab Prachakul’s portrait. It’s conventional. It tells the story of a couple during a moment of closeness. Unlike so much current portraiture, it isn’t derived from a photograph.
The subject doesn’t resonate with any of Will’s favourite hobbyhorses. The sitters appear to be a straight couple in a conventional setting, and there’s no BLM, anti Western, anti Thatcher, anti Capitalist or Islamophobic angle. Q. How can Will cover this ‘non-story?’
A. By comparing the work to several of the Greats from history including Monet, Degas and Rembrandt:
‘It's good…. But I'm not sure if it is great. … Maybe it would be different when seen hanging on a wall, but Night Talk doesn't appear to have the palpable psychological charge that makes a memorable picture, it lacks the atmosphere that gives life to a work by Degas or Hockney.'
Surprisingly, so far as I can see Will hasn’t commented on the above mentioned Banksy Refugee paintings. These are charged with political activism and emotion of the sort Will likes, designed to pull at the heartstrings of the average elite charity-backed SJW - who else would spend that sort of money? It simply doesn’t wash with me. The narrative is false:
The seascape is quite well depicted - but nothing other than a corny stereotyped manufactured image - of what exactly?
Shipwreck off the Cornish coast?
Life jackets washed ashore bereft of bodies they were designed to save - The refugees didn’t make it, but their lifejackets did?
Discarded lifejackets washed out to sea by tide - refugees made it, but the boat didn’t?
This is a sentimental image worthy of any romanticised 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle.
If WG was to review the work, would he compare it to the Greats of seascape painting, JMW Turner, The Wreck of the Minotaur, for example?
Update 2, right on cue.
As if to order, we are treated to this piece from the BBC News website. It is from an unnamed source at the BBC:
How’s that for tacky - with a cherry on top, literally! It might be fun, but with its shallow political message, the BBC just loves to tell us all about it. Here are some extracts from the BBC article:
- ‘A "beguiling" sculpture depicting a whirl of cream topped with parasites has been unveiled in Trafalgar Square.'
- 'The End, by British artist Heather Phillipson, will stay in place until spring 2022'.
- 'It replaces artist Michael Rakowitz's recreation of a protective deity destroyed by Islamic State in Iraq.'
- "I came up with the idea in 2016 which was already, for me, quite a tricky political moment", she said, because of the "Brexit (vote) and the rumblings of Trump's imminent election" in the US'
- 'The Fourth Plinth commissions have seen many works over the years, including Marc Quinn's sculpture of pregnant Alison Lapper and Yinka Shonibare's scaled-down replica of HMS Victory, contained in a glass bottle.’
We know of Marc Quinn from last month when he produced in a matter of days a 3D printed likeness of Jen Reid to replace the ‘fallen Colston Statue’ - as the BBC would describe the vandalism.
The last paragraph is especially interesting because it fails to include the first Fourth Plinth exhibit - Ecce Homo, Behold the Man - a depiction of Christ wearing the crown of thorns, by Turner Prize winning artist Mark Wallinger. Ecce Homo was a work of 1999. This work is a life-sized statue of a Christ figure, naked apart from a loin cloth, and with his hands bound behind his back. He wears a crown of barbed wire. Any Christian religious work is strictly off-limits to the BBC.
However, Wallinger’s 2007 prize-winning piece was more up the BBC’s street, one would think. It is a meticulous recreation of a 40 metre long display which had originally been situated around peace campaigner Brian Haw’s protest outside the Houses of Parliament against policies towards Iraq.
An anti Blair foreign policy statement cannot be seen to outweigh Wallinger’s earlier Christian message, so unlike Quinn he is no longer flavour of the month - mine’s a 99, please.