The exhibition Otto Dix: The Evil Eye, on display at the Tate, Liverpool, is a collection of portraits taken in Germany between 1919 and 1933. The photographer’s philosophy was that the subliminal messages received from people’s facial expressions, clothing and surroundings are able to describe the conditions of the society in which they were living. I am not sure whether I agree entirely but I admire the use of photography to document the lives of ordinary people.
Dix took portraits of a wide range of people of the time – artisans, children, musicians, actors, vagrants, aristocrats, businessmen, gypsies, Politicians, soldiers and the Hitler Youth. The photos are displayed against a backdrop of a textual history of the period. More information here.
The Roy Lichtenstein exhibition was, as always, a bright and joyful display of his well known Pop Art, commonplace now but highly original and shockingly new when first released. Here are some of my favourites.
A large scale, block mounted, ‘Athena’ version of ‘Wham!’ hung over our fireplace at our student flat at 2 Market Place, Faversham in 1972/73.
I was in Liverpool for a couple of days visiting old friends, Jan and Gary Martin, and my brothers and sisters in law, Tommy and Terri and John and Mary. No trip to my home town is complete without a rant about the mindless vandalism caused to the historic waterfront by the steel and black glass offices and apartments constructed on Mann Island. The iconic architecture of the city’s ‘Three Graces’, particularly the view from Albert Dock, have been blighted forever by these illiterate structures, promoted no doubt as redolent of the prow of Ocean Liners.
On a happier note, the Albert Dock Warehouses, the first fireproof bonded warehouses in the world, are now complemented by tall ships docked alongside. The warehouses were constructed on cast iron columns and floors and designed by Jesse Hartley and Philip Hardwick in 1846.
Lastly, a trip to Southport with Gary. The first time I have been there in over 40 years. I used to cycle out there from Kirkby with some of my mates from school. Nothing much has changed: the sea is still nowhere to be seen. The town faintly visible on the horizon is Blackpool. Ken Dodd used to say: “I know a man who knows where the sea is”.