Friday, 11 December 2009

Pop Will Eat Itself.


It's a nice(ish) place to visit, but I wouldn't wanna live there.

So every few months I take the train down to spend time with my beautiful friends Kat (we've been bezzies since we bonded over being the angstiest girls in our class, aged 12), and Flora (my perfect housewife, if I were a man or a lesbian).

A mad Saturday night involved Northern Soul, sweat-drenched dancing, almost coming to blows (you can't take us anywhere!), too much spilt cider, and an early hours fancy-dress-box and Singstar party, at which, by the way, I rule! I thrashed Flo at Gwen Stefani's 'What You Waiting For?'. Very apt, given the Japanese pop-culture theme of this post.

For months I've been banging on about needing to visit 'Pop Life' -the big autumn/winter show at Tate Modern, focussing on art and commerce, and artisits who have become a brand within them selves, be it through opening a shop like Keith Haring or Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas, shameless advertising, or sex, because as they say, it sells.

I am moved by the beautiful honesty of Emin's work, intrigued and slightly grossed out with Damien Hirst's pieces that feature dead butterflies, but was most star struck by Takashi Murakami -touted by some as the Japanese Andy Warhol.

I've been a fan since my uni days, and covetted the Marc Jacobs/Louis Vuitton handbags like you won't believe.

Murakami collaborated with McG (The OC anyone?!) for the short film 'Akihabara Majokko Princess', starring the could-she-get-any-cooler Kirsten Dunst (if you've seen her as Lux Lisbon in 'The Virgin Suicides' you'll know what I mean) -to repackage Japanese subculture for Western consumption.

Flo and I agreed that we now need blue hair. With the sound track of a reworked version of The Vapors 'Turning Japanese' -"because it has long been considered a song about masturbation", we were spellbound.

My recent forays back into the world of painting,

(see sketch book scribbles)

and a 'Japanime' pop aesthetic now seem even more exciting. I simply must get some daylight bulbs so I can paint through this winter gloom.

And on that note of gloom and darkness, if you aren't already rushing down to Bankside, also worth a look is the latest Turbine Hall exhibit -'How It Is' by Polish artisit Miroslaw Balka. A gigantic steel structure like a vast container, beckons you to step inside it's bleak interior, plunging one into darkness. Cautiously we crept along, fearful of what the darkness might conceal, and the ghostly figures of the other visitors inside. It was a really weird experience, and as we reached the end with a gasp of relief, we turned back to look at the entrance, and see it wasn't really as dark as we'd imagined. The installation was described as a metaphor for journeys through life and the different paths we take, never really knowing where we are going or what awaits us.

Kat and I were excited and exhilarated. Flo was terrified! And when I think of life in that way, sometimes I am too.

A stark contrast to the glossy pop-life we so love to surround ourselves with -and will proudly continue to do so! Singstar anyone...?

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