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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Eva Hesse Studiowork: Camden Arts Centre

Die-hard Eva Hesse fan Louisa Lee reports from an arts centre on a hill

Written by Louisa lee

Man Like Me illustration by Jenny Robbins
Man Like Me illustration by Jenny Robbins

Man Like Me headlined a Mean Fiddler gig at the Garage in Highbury Islington on Thursday last week. (I’m sorry but I can’t bring myself to call this venue by it’s new spangly sponsored name…. R. R. R. no I can’t. Sorry. It’s a grim energy drink, prostate that’s all I’m gonna say.) I like Man Like Me – hence their appearance in issue 09 of Amelia’s Magazine, and their contribution to my Positive Futures USB compilation – so I went along to check them out.

Johnny Langer, singer
Johnny Langer, singer

Arriving fresh from singing Schubert with my hands over my ears at my weekly singing lesson (apparently I have a very musical ear which means I am constantly overanalysing and adjusting the tone of my voice, fact fans) I immediately ran into someone I knew at the head of the long line snaking out of the club – I’d totally forgotten that my friend Dan is now part of Man Like Me, so some friends had come down to check him out. I’d sort of arranged to chat with singer Johnny Langer before the gig but this proved fairly impossible in the cramped dressing room which I’d say is designed for four people at a push. Man Like Me are now a ten strong live band. Go figure. Glamourous new female singer Jessie recognised me instantly, remembering that she met me through a mutual friend. Blimey it’s a small world. Looking very fabulous in a short sequinned dress, she was debating what size flower she should wear in her hair. Large, we all agreed. Large suits Man Like Me.

Jessie, singer with Man Like Me
Jessie, singer with Man Like Me

Man-Like-Me-2010001
Man-Like-Me-2010002
Man-Like-Me-2010046

It’s been awhile since I hung out backstage and I had quite forgotten the mania of a young band before a large gig. Amid the vodka tonic jollity they posed against the beautifully beige walls, Johnny musing over how much he enjoyed creating the tune, Oi John What’s Going On, which appeared on my Positive Futures compilation; a song that wasn’t fixated on love or getting twatted, as most of his creations tend to be. One new recruit to the band is Johnny’s dad, himself a record producer. I asked how long he’s been playing with his son. “I’ve been playing with him since he was a baby!” We chortled at how wrong this could very easily sound.

Man-Like-Me-2010018
Dan, I like your glasses

My friend Dan joined the Man Like Me circus last year, bringing along his three piece brass section the JJ Horns, and embarking immediately on a seminal trip to Corsica, playground of rich Parisians. From there the next gig they went to was in glamourous Hitchin in Hertfordshire, something of which Dan is particularly proud. Donning suits and dark glasses the JJ Horns are a dapper foil to Johnny’s charity shop aesthetic.

Dan and the JJ Horns
Dan and the JJ Horns

With the band fully psyched to go I headed out into an audience of particularly young looking creatures, whereupon my friend Anna introduced me to her 14 year old nephew (she has 8 nieces and nephews, I am SO JEALOUS. I am not even an auntie yet!) It turns out that this was officially an underage gig and popping back to the bar I chuckled at the changing demographic. Youth, looking suspiciously drunk on sneaked in booze, getting sweaty up front; oldies (music industry and proud parents) loitering with clutched beers near the back.

Bulked up with layer upon layer of clothing, Johnny arrived on stage hidden behind a clutch of Lidls bags before heading straight into a typically lively Man Like Me set. To the delight of the female fans he proceeded to strip off slowly, from trenchcoat to silly jumper to t-shirt saying Deaf School to bare naked slim chest – leaving a pair of boxers and large deerstalker hat for last, stood astride a ladder, proclaiming to the audience. Such was the excitement that within seconds some irritating wench had clambered onto a pair of shoulders and was blocking our view of Johnny. Perhaps unsurprisingly this same lass was then responsible for a stage invasion of one during the final song. What a yawnsome cliche this has become.

Man-Like-Me-2010108

Johnny has a delicate feral beauty that can easily command the attention of a large crowd. As a seer of contemporary life he sings of what he knows best: London Town, being a Single Dad (he really is, with a daughter just 3 years old), of Gucci and doughnuts, falafel and crap TV. Things we can surely all relate to (or hope to escape, if you’re a young lad and don’t quite fancy being a father yet) all imparted with a good dose of humour (just check out their videos for a good sense of where they’re at) and a jaunty sing-along tune. The presence of the JJ Horns has brought a fatter dimension to their sound, with Dan happily bouncing along to the choreographed dance moves “I learnt them in a night” and Jessie provides an admirable foil to Johnny’s bouncy stage persona.

I last saw Man Like Me at Secret Garden Party a few years ago and I had forgotten how much fun they are live, with a good cache of tunes that move along at a cracking speed. The sweaty audience was clearly in agreement, and it seems they have a sturdy fanbase who are looking forward to the release of a new album. As am I.

Man Like Me illustration by Jenny Robbins
Man Like Me illustration by Jenny Robbins

Man Like Me headlined a Mean Fiddler gig at the Garage in Highbury Islington on Thursday last week. (I’m sorry but I can’t bring myself to call this venue by it’s new spangly sponsored name…. R. R. R. no I can’t. Sorry. It’s a grim energy drink, medical that’s all I’m gonna say.) I like Man Like Me – hence their appearance in issue 09 of Amelia’s Magazine, dosage and their contribution to my Positive Futures USB compilation – so I went along to check them out.

Johnny Langer, singer
Johnny Langer, singer

Arriving fresh from singing Schubert with my hands over my ears at my weekly singing lesson (apparently I have a very musical ear which means I am constantly overanalysing and adjusting the tone of my voice, fact fans) I immediately ran into someone I knew at the head of the long line snaking out of the club – I’d totally forgotten that my friend Dan is now part of Man Like Me, so some friends had come down to check him out. I’d sort of arranged to chat with singer Johnny Langer before the gig but this proved fairly impossible in the cramped dressing room which I’d say is designed for four people at a push. Man Like Me are now a ten strong live band. Go figure. Glamourous new female singer Jessie recognised me instantly, remembering that she met me through a mutual friend. Blimey it’s a small world. Looking very fabulous in a short sequinned dress, she was debating what size flower she should wear in her hair. Large, we all agreed. Large suits Man Like Me.

Jessie, singer with Man Like Me
Jessie, singer with Man Like Me

Man-Like-Me-2010001
Man-Like-Me-2010002
Man-Like-Me-2010046

It’s been awhile since I hung out backstage and I had quite forgotten the mania of a young band before a large gig. Amid the vodka tonic jollity they posed against the beautifully beige walls, Johnny musing over how much he enjoyed creating the tune, Oi John What’s Going On, which appeared on my Positive Futures compilation; a song that wasn’t fixated on love or getting twatted, as most of his creations tend to be. One new recruit to the band is Johnny’s dad, himself a record producer. I asked how long he’s been playing with his son. “I’ve been playing with him since he was a baby!” We chortled at how wrong this could very easily sound.

Man-Like-Me-2010018
Dan, I like your glasses

My friend Dan joined the Man Like Me circus last year, bringing along his three piece brass section the JJ Horns, and embarking immediately on a seminal trip to Corsica, playground of rich Parisians. From there the next gig they went to was in glamourous Hitchin in Hertfordshire, something of which Dan is particularly proud. Donning suits and dark glasses the JJ Horns are a dapper foil to Johnny’s charity shop aesthetic.

Dan and the JJ Horns
Dan and the JJ Horns

With the band fully psyched to go I headed out into an audience of particularly young looking creatures, whereupon my friend Anna introduced me to her 14 year old nephew (she has 8 nieces and nephews, I am SO JEALOUS. I am not even an auntie yet!) It turns out that this was officially an underage gig and popping back to the bar I chuckled at the changing demographic. Youth, looking suspiciously drunk on sneaked in booze, getting sweaty up front; oldies (music industry and proud parents) loitering with clutched beers near the back.

Bulked up with layer upon layer of clothing, Johnny arrived on stage hidden behind a clutch of Lidls bags before heading straight into a typically lively Man Like Me set. To the delight of the female fans he proceeded to strip off slowly, from trenchcoat to silly jumper to t-shirt saying Deaf School to bare naked slim chest – leaving a pair of boxers and large deerstalker hat for last, stood astride a ladder, proclaiming to the audience. Such was the excitement that within seconds some irritating wench had clambered onto a pair of shoulders and was blocking our view of Johnny. Perhaps unsurprisingly this same lass was then responsible for a stage invasion of one during the final song. What a yawnsome cliche this has become.

Man-Like-Me-2010108

Johnny has a delicate feral beauty that can easily command the attention of a large crowd. As a seer of contemporary life he sings of what he knows best: London Town, being a Single Dad (he really is, with a daughter just 3 years old), of Gucci and doughnuts, falafel and crap TV. Things we can surely all relate to (or hope to escape, if you’re a young lad and don’t quite fancy being a father yet) all imparted with a good dose of humour (just check out their videos for a sense of where they’re at) and a jaunty sing-along tune. The presence of the JJ Horns has brought a fatter dimension to their sound, with Dan happily bouncing along to the choreographed dance moves “I learnt them in a night” and Jessie providing an admirable foil to Johnny’s bouncy stage persona.

I last saw Man Like Me at Secret Garden Party a few years ago and I had forgotten how much fun they are live, with a good cache of tunes that move along at a cracking speed. The sweaty audience was clearly in agreement; they obviously have a sturdy fanbase who are looking forward to the release of a new album as much as I am.

Man Like Me illustration by Jenny Robbins
Man Like Me illustration by Jenny Robbins

Man Like Me headlined a Mean Fiddler gig at the Garage in Highbury Islington on Thursday last week. (I’m sorry but I can’t bring myself to call this venue by it’s new spangly sponsored name…. R. R. R. no I can’t. Sorry. It’s a grim energy drink, price that’s all I’m gonna say.) I like Man Like Me – hence their appearance in issue 09 of Amelia’s Magazine, and their contribution to my Positive Futures USB compilation – so I went along to check them out.

Johnny Langer, singer
Johnny Langer, singer

Arriving fresh from singing Schubert with my hands over my ears at my weekly singing lesson (apparently I have a very musical ear which means I am constantly overanalysing and adjusting the tone of my voice, fact fans) I immediately ran into someone I knew at the head of the long line snaking out of the club – I’d totally forgotten that my friend Dan is now part of Man Like Me, so some friends had come down to check him out. I’d sort of arranged to chat with singer Johnny Langer before the gig but this proved fairly impossible in the cramped dressing room which I’d say is designed for four people at a push. Man Like Me are now a ten strong live band. Go figure. Glamourous new female singer Jessie recognised me instantly, remembering that she met me through a mutual friend. Blimey it’s a small world. Looking very fabulous in a short sequinned dress, she was debating what size flower she should wear in her hair. Large, we all agreed. Large suits Man Like Me.

Jessie, singer with Man Like Me
Jessie, singer with Man Like Me

Man-Like-Me-2010001
Man-Like-Me-2010002
Man-Like-Me-2010046

It’s been awhile since I hung out backstage and I had quite forgotten the mania of a young band before a large gig. Amid the vodka tonic jollity they posed against the beautifully beige walls, Johnny musing over how much he enjoyed creating the tune, Oi John What’s Going On, which appeared on my Positive Futures compilation; a song that wasn’t fixated on love or getting twatted, as most of his creations tend to be. One new recruit to the band is Johnny’s dad, himself a record producer. I asked how long he’s been playing with his son. “I’ve been playing with him since he was a baby!” We chortled at how wrong this could very easily sound.

Man-Like-Me-2010018
Dan, I like your glasses

My friend Dan joined the Man Like Me circus last year, bringing along his three piece brass section the JJ Horns, and embarking immediately on a seminal trip to Corsica, playground of rich Parisians. From there the next gig they went to was in glamourous Hitchin in Hertfordshire, something of which Dan is particularly proud. Donning suits and dark glasses the JJ Horns are a dapper foil to Johnny’s charity shop aesthetic.

Dan and the JJ Horns
Dan and the JJ Horns

With the band fully psyched to go I headed out into an audience of particularly young looking creatures, whereupon my friend Anna introduced me to her 14 year old nephew (she has 8 nieces and nephews, I am SO JEALOUS. I am not even an auntie yet!) It turns out that this was officially an underage gig and popping back to the bar I chuckled at the changing demographic. Youth, looking suspiciously drunk on sneaked in booze, getting sweaty up front; oldies (music industry and proud parents) loitering with clutched beers near the back.

Bulked up with layer upon layer of clothing, Johnny arrived on stage hidden behind a clutch of Lidls bags before heading straight into a typically lively Man Like Me set. To the delight of the female fans he proceeded to strip off slowly, from trenchcoat to silly jumper to t-shirt saying Deaf School to bare naked slim chest – leaving a pair of boxers and large deerstalker hat for last, stood astride a ladder, proclaiming to the audience. Such was the excitement that within seconds some irritating wench had clambered onto a pair of shoulders and was blocking our view of Johnny. Perhaps unsurprisingly this same lass was then responsible for a stage invasion of one during the final song. What a yawnsome cliche this has become.

Man-Like-Me-2010108

Johnny has a delicate feral beauty that can easily command the attention of a large crowd. As a seer of contemporary life he sings of what he knows best: London Town, being a Single Dad (he really is, with a daughter just 3 years old), of Gucci and doughnuts, falafel and crap TV. Things we can surely all relate to (or hope to escape, if you’re a young lad and don’t quite fancy being a father yet) all imparted with a good dose of humour (just check out their videos for a sense of where they’re at) and a jaunty sing-along tune. The presence of the JJ Horns has brought a fatter dimension to their sound, with Dan happily bouncing along to the choreographed dance moves “I learnt them in a night” and Jessie providing an admirable foil to Johnny’s bouncy stage persona.

I last saw Man Like Me at Secret Garden Party a few years ago and I had forgotten how much fun they are live, with a good cache of tunes that move along at a cracking speed. The sweaty audience was clearly in agreement; they obviously have a sturdy fanbase who are looking forward to the release of a new album as much as I am.

Man Like Me illustration by Jenny Robbins
Man Like Me illustration by Jenny Robbins

Man Like Me headlined a Mean Fiddler gig at the Garage in Highbury Islington on Thursday last week. (I’m sorry but I can’t bring myself to call this venue by it’s new spangly sponsored name…. R. R. R. no I can’t. Sorry. It’s a grim energy drink, treatment that’s all I’m gonna say.) I like Man Like Me – hence their appearance in issue 09 of Amelia’s Magazine, visit this site and their contribution to my Positive Futures USB compilation – so I went along to check them out.

Johnny Langer, <a href=abortion singer ” title=”Man-Like-Me-2010034″ width=”480″ height=”360″ class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-11454″ />
Johnny Langer, singer

Arriving fresh from singing Schubert with my hands over my ears at my weekly singing lesson (apparently I have a very musical ear which means I am constantly overanalysing and adjusting the tone of my voice, fact fans) I immediately ran into someone I knew at the head of the long line snaking out of the club – I’d totally forgotten that my friend Dan is now part of Man Like Me, so some friends had come down to check him out. I’d sort of arranged to chat with singer Johnny Langer before the gig but this proved fairly impossible in the cramped dressing room which I’d say is designed for four people at a push. Man Like Me are now a ten strong live band. Go figure. Glamourous new female singer Jessie recognised me instantly, remembering that she met me through a mutual friend. Blimey it’s a small world. Looking very fabulous in a short sequinned dress, she was debating what size flower she should wear in her hair. Large, we all agreed. Large suits Man Like Me.

Jessie, singer with Man Like Me
Jessie, singer with Man Like Me

Man-Like-Me-2010001
Man-Like-Me-2010002
Man-Like-Me-2010046

It’s been awhile since I hung out backstage and I had quite forgotten the mania of a young band before a large gig. Amid the vodka tonic jollity they posed against the beautifully beige walls, Johnny musing over how much he enjoyed creating the tune, Oi John What’s Going On, which appeared on my Positive Futures compilation; a song that wasn’t fixated on love or getting twatted, as most of his creations tend to be. One new recruit to the band is Johnny’s dad, himself a record producer. I asked how long he’s been playing with his son. “I’ve been playing with him since he was a baby!” We chortled at how wrong this could very easily sound.

Man-Like-Me-2010018
Dan, I like your glasses

My friend Dan joined the Man Like Me circus last year, bringing along his three piece brass section the JJ Horns, and embarking immediately on a seminal trip to Corsica, playground of rich Parisians. From there the next gig they went to was in glamourous Hitchin in Hertfordshire, something of which Dan is particularly proud. Donning suits and dark glasses the JJ Horns are a dapper foil to Johnny’s charity shop aesthetic.

Dan and the JJ Horns
Dan and the JJ Horns

With the band fully psyched to go I headed out into an audience of particularly young looking creatures, whereupon my friend Anna introduced me to her 14 year old nephew (she has 8 nieces and nephews, I am SO JEALOUS. I am not even an auntie yet!) It turns out that this was officially an underage gig and popping back to the bar I chuckled at the changing demographic. Youth, looking suspiciously drunk on sneaked in booze, getting sweaty up front; oldies (music industry and proud parents) loitering with clutched beers near the back.

Bulked up with layer upon layer of clothing, Johnny arrived on stage hidden behind a clutch of Lidls bags before heading straight into a typically lively Man Like Me set. To the delight of the female fans he proceeded to strip off slowly, from trenchcoat to silly jumper to t-shirt saying Deaf School to bare naked slim chest – leaving a pair of boxers and large deerstalker hat for last, stood astride a ladder, proclaiming to the audience. Such was the excitement that within seconds some irritating wench had clambered onto a pair of shoulders and was blocking our view of Johnny. Perhaps unsurprisingly this same lass was then responsible for a stage invasion of one during the final song. What a yawnsome cliche this has become.

Man-Like-Me-2010108

Johnny has a delicate feral beauty that can easily command the attention of a large crowd. As a seer of contemporary life he sings of what he knows best: London Town, being a Single Dad (he really is, with a daughter just 3 years old), of Gucci and doughnuts, falafel and crap TV. Things we can surely all relate to (or hope to escape, if you’re a young lad and don’t quite fancy being a father yet) all imparted with a good dose of humour (just check out their videos for a sense of where they’re at) and a jaunty sing-along tune. The presence of the JJ Horns has brought a fatter dimension to their sound, with Dan happily bouncing along to the choreographed dance moves “I learnt them in a night” and Jessie providing an admirable foil to Johnny’s bouncy stage persona.

I last saw Man Like Me at Secret Garden Party a few years ago and I had forgotten how much fun they are live, with a good cache of tunes that move along at a cracking speed. The sweaty audience was clearly in agreement; they obviously have a sturdy fanbase who are looking forward to the release of a new album as much as I am.

Eva-HesseContingent, mind courtesy of Eva Hesse, 1969

What makes a work unfinished? And, if a work is ‘unfinished’, what makes a work ‘finished’ and how should an incomplete work be viewed? Elliott Smiths last album, ‘From a Basement on a Hill’ was famously not finished because Smith died early, at 34. Other singers like Johnny Cash made sure that they controlled their legacy down to the very last minute. When Cash realised he was dying he recorded the vocals for sixty more songs, some of which were recorded after his death. One of these, ‘Hurt’, is widely considered as his epitaph and will bring a tear to the most hardened soul.

Eva-Hesse2

Eva Hesse, courtesy of Eva Hesse estate

A work can also be ‘unfinished’ because it was never intended to be ‘finished’ in the first place. This is the category I feel that Eva Hesse’s ‘Studioworks’ fall into. Last weekend I went along to the much acclaimed exhibition of at the Camden Arts Centre. These works were meant to be experimental, test-pieces not intended as ‘gallery’ works. They were essentially ‘unfinished’.

Eva-Hesse5

Installation Views, Photo courtesy of Andy Keate, Courtesy Camden Arts Centre

Eva Hesse creates frail, delicate works. They look ready to melt, break or drop into oblivion. Their materials: latex, fibreglass, plastics, are famously difficult to preserve, explaining the dimly lit rooms and careful display. At the Arts Centre they are encased under museum plastic boxes. Empty cavernous shells of aged, peeling objects sit side by side, labelled like the mummified remnants of a human body. It is like we’ve been invited into some medical museum, the viscerous skin-like quality of her work both beautiful and slightly unnerving.

Eva-Hesse4

Eva Hesse’s collection of wobbly bits and bobs, curated by Briony Fer, might leave those unfamiliar with Hesses’ creations a little underwhelmed and wondering what all the fuss is about. For a die-hard Hesse fan like me, they are one more clue to this mysterious, minimalistic artist who lived a tragic life and died too young; Hesses’s mother committed suicide when she was 10 and Hesse herself died from a brain tumour at 34. Looking at photos of her in her studio, she has a very attractive James Dean quality about her- a popular comparison made at the time and often dismissed by her friends and critics.

Eva-Hesse3Eva Hesse, courtesy of Eva Hesse estate

However, it’s all too easy to get carried away with the myth of the artist. What you need to keep in mind is the absurd quality of her work. Hesse’s delicacy came about naturally but what she aimed for was a play with objects, materials and ideas.

Eva-Hesse-IngeminateIngeminate, courtesy of Hauser and Wirth

‘Ingeminate’ (a work not included in the exhibition), has an air of futility about it. These two cord-wrapped balloons are joined by rubber tubing, leading nowhere and resulting in nothing despite the sexual connotations of both the appearance and name of the work. Her ‘Studioworks’ repeat the same ideas and shapes over and over in different materials; she is testing them out, looking for the best way to express these absurdities.

Eva-Hesse1

Hesse’s little unfinished experimentations do not need to be seen as the frustrations or fragilities of a tormented artistic soul. Her repetitions, reproductions and latex lumps suggest an originality and comical outlook. They may look unfinished but what does that mean anyway?

Eva-Hesse6

Eva Hesse’s Studiowork exhibition runs until the 7th of March 2010.

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