David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

25 May 2011


In this morning's AGE, art critic Robert Nelson has reviewed
Casts and copies: ancient and classical reproductions. (It's at Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne University, until 16 October.)

The headline is
Cast in a critical dilemma:
a trove of rarefied copies reveals we are the fakes

bLOGOS/HA HA appreciates the art of the headline, in all its forms. Including this one, albeit wrought and mangled to within an inch of itself itself itself

It presents to this reader like some archetypal Francis Bacon scene: spot-lit torture theatre, sketch-block(age) interior, figure in self-wrestling knot...

Francis Bacon
Study from the Human Body after Muybridge


Or, for that matter, like some of the early 1940s squirm subjects portrayed by Albert Tucker.

Albert Tucker
At the Tiv
collection: National Gallery of Australia

Bacon's breakthrough came in 1944 with Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion.

At the same time Albert Tucker in Australia rendered some very similar primal scream scenes.

It's a curious coincidence that Bacon was influenced by a book depicting diseases of the mouth, and Tucker by his war service experience, depicting the injuries of repatriated soldiers. If I recall right, he drew a soldier whose nose had been sliced away by shrapnel - a feature that soon (dis)figured regularly in his characters of that period.

At Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital he also observed the interior shell-shocked returnees.

Albert Tucker
No way out
collection: National Gallery of Australia

Tucker and Bacon, much in common.

Francis Bacon
Portrait of George Dyer talking

Apart from this AGE headline, this momentary dis/attraction, bLOGOS/HA HA is always interested in regard and labels and sTRUTH/HA HA.

Thus, with a chuckle, we note this review. It can be read in full here. Failing that, here is an extract... especially for YOU
You, as spectator, are cast into a critical dilemma, because you don't know how to react to an ersatz which is identical to the original, so close that you'd have been deceived if the label hadn't declared the truth. I warrant that all of the objects at the Ian Potter, with the exception of a chalky Hermes, would make you believe you were looking at the original if you encountered them in the NGV or the Louvre.

You're overcome with unease. You become aware of the power of the label and are reminded that so much of our aesthetic appreciation is based on the received reputation that the label enshrines. Even judging that an example in a vitrine is plaster and not bronze is hard to do; because you're probably not an archaeologist and, if you were, the museum won't let you poke around without the alarms going off.

You trust that the institution has got it right; but beyond this faith, the aesthetic relish in the original is somewhat arbitrary, because if the labels were swapped or rewritten, you might find that the marble originals would be scorned and the plaster copies would acquire the hallowed aura of genuine antiquities.

Robert Nelson
May 25, 2011


Observe our Label_None Genuine without our signature_sRGB_400w



A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/

someone looks at something ...