Pablo Picasso, there’s only one way around him and that’s straight ahead. Take this folio, handed randomly to a visiting Australian last July by a great-niece. Was he bonkers? A superlative drawing starts as simple outlines one side, turns into ornate effusions of roofing and foliage the other: Como House. Washes of varying quality approximate Blue Dandenongs. Human figures are always close to hand with Picasso. Lithographs of sporty Greeks become more disjointed as afternoon wears on. Sometimes they throw off their clothes or turn into a bull. Spain boycotted the Melbourne Olympics, which dates this folio to within days.
Tuesday, 28 July 2015
Hayao Miyazaki piloted a film set in interwar Melbourne and to that end sourced any available images from the period. The T&G Building is white as ice-cream. Every facet of Manchester Unity picks up a glint of sunlight. Impeccably drawn hooded cars carry mystery passengers. All that survives are a few dozen short scenes and hundreds of sketches. (NGV St. Kilda Road. Starts July 28) Storyline: ten year-old savant Sue-Sue sees magical happenings. Submarines in the bay come and go undetected. Mushrooms burst into flame and cloud. Gallery-goers may listen to the proposed soundtrack, Glockenspiel Mozart, through earplugs in situ.
Barnett Newman separated the picture plane as neatly as the winter horizon, its decisive line of crimson from south to north, separates sky from the darkened world of homes viewed intermittently from the divided windows of a peak-hour train between Bentleigh and Caulfield. Is any horizon a perfect line? Or is it given to human imperfections of rule, no matter how steady the artist’s hand and eye? There the comparison ends, for by Armadale or Hawksburn the July sky has turned a dreamy black paled by city lights and flecked by distinct dabs that could be stars, helicopters, or eye-motes.