The Secret on the Reverse

Recent news in the art world involves the coming to auction of Picasso’s La Gommeuse created during the artist’s blue period.

Of course there is huge interest in this work and not simply because it is associated with a well-known period in the artist’s life, but because the reverse of the canvas features a secret painting which has never been publicly seen before.

I laughed at this. Not because I can never afford to buy the work, nor because of the articles in global media outlets about the secret work on the other side, but because it was another confirmation of the problem in trying to create an original work of art.

A Discussion about Money

A Discussion about Money

Found object

2012

Permanent collection – Norwich University of the Arts.

Whilst an undergraduate at Norwich University of the Arts, I became so frustrated at the seemingly never-ending futility of the task that my desperation resulted in the willful vandalism of works I purchased by other artists living or dead, known or unknown. These paintings are hung so the original work faces the wall like a naughty child. The reverse sometimes provides insights into the artist’s dedication and thoughts as well as the framer’s notes. The secret to my work, until purchased, involves no-one knows who painted the original (the signature often being on the front, which is now the reverse) and no-one can now ascertain the original works’ value.

The only thing visible to the audience is the sale price; clear, transparent and surgically removed via scalpel on the reverse of the original painting.

Gathering the Harvest

Gathering the Harvest

Found object

2012

Unknown.

A handful of people know what is on the other side of these works (that also include figurative styles), and maybe I have accidentally struck gold through irreversibly destroying a well-known piece of art. Of course some things appear, and are easily mistaken as, gold but only fools bother to seek their fortune through actively searching for it in the face of overwhelming odds.

To Love

To Love

Found object, oil on canvas

2014

Private collection.

I am one of those fools, but my search for gold continues and does so through the shameless self-promotion of attaching my work to important articles and artworks reported in the world’s press. It’s no good to me or my wife being successful when I’m dead. Cheers!

Self-portrait 1977 - 2012

Self-portrait 1977 – 2012

Found object

2012

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I think my name is Torbian

My name is Torbian

I work for you.

Before I forget the story I’m supposed to say, I’ll mention my credentials:

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

“They don’t quite fill the page”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Give me a wrench and I will twist your kiddy-widdy bedrooms,

Hang shitty-bitty paintings,

Rescind sex; agree with Conservative policies.

Fuck poetry, fuck fictional reality.

……………………………………………………..

I find this disgusting mess is a cliché; a tedious metaphor for aggressive politics constraining thinking without considering the gibberish stream of thoughts maintained on marble-topped tables.

A soggy-skinned voter lazily comprehends ice-cream headaches covered with stickers promoting nothing at all but nothing but hope.

You live in a home built on the foundations of thieves.

……………………………

You desperately try to protect your walls.

Your walls crumble.

Torbian says:

Your walls crumble.

Your walls crumble to dust.

You will become dust.

You are dust.

A Sunday newspaper validates incomprehension and sexual digression, Torbian says:

Unrepentant liar,

You will, blind pig!

…………………………………………………………………………………………..

Monday awoke on page 2

Screaming girls began to understand the desert.

We knew water was –

What were we looking for?

A greasy loud man staggered towards the girls screaming:

Understand the desert!

What are they looking for?

Three vultures descend upon the sand, wings shadow their prey,

Bones exchanged for tokens out and readmission again.

The claw descends on hopeful prizes to be given away,

The claw descends on prizes, give what away,

The claw retracts, rises,

And Prizes not won remain amongst the bones picked clean by the three vultures.

……………………………………………….

Bird

Prey

Pray

Fly

Away

Lazy today

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Dry landscape

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Not enough dots

……………………………………………………………………………………………

Thirst

Thursday

First

Friday.

Did I forget the dots?

….

Flesh torn from bones,

Saliva,

Blood,

Fat,

Chew,

Desperate swallows and gasps of life with head tilted back:

This is how it ends, John.

Swallow.

Reprieve.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

You failed again,

Trigger not pulled again,

And Again.

And again,

The chamber’s still full again:

Six

Five

Four

Maybe

Empty

This one shatters bone, blasting bits of brain and ego across the phone.

Hang up or listen for the truth, you horny witness.

Heads twist towards the sound of a new upload;

Fortune appears as biography rears the damned rectum of the damned affectum.

The dots appear

……………………………………………………………………………………

No-one knows what happens anymore. Opinions marry fact and fact matters no more.

Anyone remember declaring a more love more than a love more than any love.

………………

Robes caress the stones as the preacher, forever, reaches the unobtainable sale item.

We’re sold out.

You should have been here earlier.

Before the sales, the ocean wept.

_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_(

No-one can stake their life on anything anymore,

The sponsors won’t allow truth.

No-one can take their life anymore,

The sponsors own truth.

……

Saint Sebastian, double top.

Saint Sebastian, plague stop.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Are you sure, Torbian?

Letters and dresses and addresses and destinations address distress.

A POSTCODE LOTTERY AND NO-ONE KNOWS.

Torbian will tell you about the time,

When people thought about more than earning a dime and

Limes and syntax were adopted late,

While thumbed apes sucked the juice of grapes:

.

One dot

..

Three dots

If this were 8 or infinity I’d be late forever but halving the chance means a life lived never.

..

Two bats feast on the ankle in the night,

Blood-letting vampires stole my god given right

To write anything tonight.

More dots appear and

Black fear

Tears my bullet-fuelled eyes sweating tears.

You write alright?

Do you write, right?

Right?

…….

The most important thing is the construction of puzzles in the brain that allow anything to flow.

NEVER REFRAIN.

Simple choices infer nothing of merit.

You write the same and never refrain from

Simple choices that infer nothing of merit.

More dots

And yet more dots

…………………………..

A beast staggers into the arena,

Spitting death the crowd rejoices.

A shield reflects golden light

Pushing up from torn tendons the warrior might

Declare his unfortunate plight.

None of this existed except when it existed and none of it mattered except when it mattered.

No more dots.

My name is Torbian.

Automatic Capitalist Transmissions during Rush Hour

Enticed

X-rays

Impact

Trustful

.

Decisions

Obstructing

Obvious

Reactions.

.

Empathy

Not

Theological

Exclamations

Refine

.

Caricature

Arrested

Reformations.

……….

Jewelled

Utopia,

Nobody

Connects

Tomorrow,

Instead

Origins

Neglect

.

Turns

Reaching,

Accepting,

Forever

Father,

I

Cradle:

.

Love.

Instead

Golden

Hubristic

Torment

Sears.

.

Brave

Radiations

Ignite

Dilligence;

Great

Excitement.

.

Degraded

Explosions

Slow

Temptation.

Instead,

Now,

Altogether,

These

Immoral

Objects

Narrow:

.

Boastful

Results;

Aggresive

Knowledge

Excludes:

!

Confidence,

Rage,

Altruism,

Smashing

Hearts.

…………………….

#Ism

For a long time it’s been clear it will be difficult to suppose another “ism” in art that is universally acknowledged. I guess it’s simply because the world and everything happening in it can be accessed as quickly as it is forgotten.

There’s a dating website where people flick through possible suitors as if they’re on a supermarket shelf. I mean, that’s really not cool. Why anyone would willingly reduce themselves to a product…if your labels or branding don’t catch the eye, to the bargain bin you go!

That’s one of the problems of contemporary life; we forget substance and it’s too often abused and never used.

I guess one of my problems is that I’m an observer as well as a participant and I find it difficult to sift through the muck. Lots of people are media-savvy, which is good, but this also blurs the understanding in how time is necessary to create something meaningful.

I thought I’d die, willingly, at 27. Join that club, you know? And then 27 came quicker than I ever did, and I’m now 38. I’m middle aged. I’ll definitely be middle-aged on 1st February 2016 if the tattoo on my neck and my year of birth has anything to do with it: 77.

Now I hope I live until at least my 70s without being affected by some form of illness that renders me incapable of thought and loving action (ahem). If I am, I’ll find whatever I need to see it out with a huge fucking smile on my face, but I’ve always said I’ll do that anyway.

Contrary to what many people say, Life is a party and you’re the fucking host. Welcome the guests and make sure they have a good time too.

If that ain’t an ism, it fucking should be.

Satisfaction

You don’t fucking know what I sifted through. I held someone’s insides and knew they belonged to me. I knew nothing until that particular fucking point. I still don’t. You confuse me. You are so certain; a sliver of doubt never slices your eyes but I wonder how you’d feel if it did.

You know everything Armchair Commandant.

Buy, like, view this thing I’m not paid to promote…