Brief updates and follow-ups on recent favourites: Ithell Colquhoun, Surrealist exhibitions, and badass pulp fiction.
The Great Colquhoun Wynd-Up
One of my recent posts on Ithell Colquhoun mentioned the ongoing exhibition of her work at the Viktor Wynd Museum in London. I paid the show a visit a couple of weeks or so ago. This is what I found.
First up, the show is small. Really small – around 20 or so works in total.
Admission to see them is free because they’re on the walls of the museum’s cocktail bar. This means that they are poorly lit, they are accompanied by muzak, and you may have to clamber over cocktail drinkers to get near them. Hardly ideal conditions for the contemplation of esoteric or meditative works.
What’s more, none of the works are labelled. In fact, no information about them is provided at all – no dates, no titles. If you want to know what you’re looking at, you are supposed to buy the exhibition catalogue. It costs £5, although a very disgruntled and unscrupulous person might be able to shoplift a copy from the bar on the way out.
This “catalogue” is actually the usual guidebook/marketing copy for the museum in general, with a 30-page section about Colquhoun added in. To put that in perspective, the book is 192 pages, and the Colquhoun section is roughly the same length as the section on the cocktail bar. A lot of the rest of it is about what a fucking great guy Viktor Wynd is.
The 30 pages on Colquhoun comprise two essays. One is by Alyce Mahon, and is about Colquhoun in general; the other is by Richard Shillitoe, and is about this exhibition in particular. Both are interesting.
I need hardly say that the works themselves are stunningly beautiful. But I can’t recommend the experience of seeing them here. Pop in if you’re in the neighbourhood, but don’t make a special trip.
And yes, it really was the hipster hell I predicted. Don’t even think about trying to buy a drink for under a fiver. When I asked for a coffee, the bartender drawled “There’s no coffee here,” and looked at me as if I’d asked him for a cauldron of menstrual blood. Which, on reflection, I wish I had.
Hale And Hearty
In the same blog post I also mentioned Amy Hale’s forthcoming biography of Colquhoun. It’s still not listed on the Strange Attractor website, but other booksellers are now offering it for pre-order, with a publication date of January 2020. I’m excited.
Polymorphs On The Move
It was the Surrealist event of the year. It’s also proof of Nietzsche’s theory of eternal return, because it’s back.
Yes, after its glorious stint in Atlanta, the Polymorph Bodyshop Game & Exhibition is moving to Birmingham, Alabama, from 7 to 28 December.
There will be games, screenings and other events, including special Surrealist activities on the opening and closing nights.
It’s all happening at East Village Arts of Birmingham, 7611 1st Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35206, USA.
Drawers In A Twist
Another show has also been on the move: Surrealist Drawing In 2019 is now at the Maison André Breton until 18 November. Place du Carol, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, France, open 11am to 6pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays.
More Surrealist Pulp Fiction
If you’re a regular reader, you know I have a bee in my Dubonnet about Surrealist pulp fiction. That’s why I’m so thrilled that Planetoid Sassafras by Stephanie Klein is out now from Montag Press.
I have to declare an interest here, because the author sent me an advance copy and asked me to write an endorsement to go inside the front cover. But even if that were not the case, I would still be recommending it to you, because it’s a big bouncy ball of Surrealist filthy fun.
From the back jacket blurb:
A raw, unexpurgated look at the most depraved planet in the universe… Never before has an account been published on this explosive interstellar subject.Welcome to Planetoid Sassafrass, where time is measured After Marx, moons lust after each other in the sky, and human diseases are just another fashion statement. On this cosmic fleshpot you will find a red-hot series of scintillating vignettes dripping over with mucus and cellulo-erotic effluent. Why not join Zjracnim, Belly Mundus, and Lusty ol’ Moon 13 on the wildest ride this side of Arcturus? Antennas out, space cadet—here in the throbbing coccoon room pleasure is just the beginning.
Come on, don’t tell me you don’t want to read that.
Images: Book cover images reproduced under fair use. Polymorph Bodyshop flier from Peculiar Mormyrid.
Take a peek behind the veil.