Saturday, 13 July 2019

Dance Diagonal at the Towner Art Gallery …




I went to hear the talk by Lothar Goetz, the artist-designer of the Dance Diagonal mural, on his artistic journey … where I felt slightly out of my depth (understatement) – but the brain ticks over and will continue to do so.


Lothar as the mural started off ..
c/o Eva Eastman Towner Gallery
Lothar took us on the path from his childhood artistic talent to his approach to the Towner’s commission.  How his Eastern European upbringing really frustrated his creative talent … which was classified as degenerative art …


Map of Iron Curtain area


… once the “Iron Curtain” came down he was able to explore artistic boundaries in western Europe, eventually settling in England.






Bauhaus emblem
… his interests spread across many disciplines … theatre /dance / architecture / interiors /gardens / different styles … he already had a special interest in the German art school: Bauhaus …




Stairway Scene 1932
by Oskar Schlemmer


He mentions in the article (interview link below) that he preferred abstract art but was deeply affected by the turbulent history of the Bauhaus …


… mentioning the influence of Oskar Schlemmer (1888 – 1943) – the German painter, sculptor, designer and choreographer … who had been hired as Master of Form at the Bauhaus theatre workshop …


Costumes from Schlemmer's
Triadic Ballet

… Schlemmer’s most famous work is the Triadic Ballet – which saw costumed actors transformed into geometrical representations of the human body in what Oskar described as a “part of form and colour”.



I started to learn so much as Lothar explained to us, that though he was an artist, he also needed to respond to ‘physical space’ – hence his interest in ‘wall painting’ … which enhanced his love of abstract art …


Towner before its transformation

Back to the Towner … they are celebrating ten years in the new purpose built gallery … so decided to take the bold step of commissioning a mural for its outside façade.  



They elected to recruit a mural company and separately appoint an artist … so the two creatives would need to work together, yet separately …


During its artistic progression
The Towner commission is the largest sculpture design Lothar has done … and he was delighted that they chose the more radical of his two entries … and we are too – it is so striking …




In his talk, with lots of slides, he had taken us through the reasons why he decided to concentrate on abstract rather than figurative work … he loves to draw, has always painted – but felt the need to respond to something …

Dance Diagonal



… the Towner’s architects (Rick Mather Associates) had been influenced by its setting … site, sea and waves, chalk cliffs, … hence the architect’s use of curves, balcony havens/niches, fenestration …







Lothar realised too that the optical effects of being near the sea, the Downs, with the English weather – blue skies, sometimes wispy or pluffy clouds, grey rainy days – would all influence the mural …


… it was important that his work complement the building’s design … 


Wrap around art at the reverse side of the Towner
... and the wrap-around artwork (3 sides including the nooks and crannies of its architecture) would need to be sympathetic … as the visually transformed pure (white painted) Gallery would change the energy of the building … and boy has it done so!



Isn’t it amazing how much the 'skin change' has affected the look of the building … from ‘pure white’ to Dance Diagonal’s specifically chosen colour palette …


The Birley Centre - a new building as part of
Eastbourne College ... opposite Dance Diagonal -
see other photos!

He was asked about his colour selections … and advised that he spent a lot of time considering the tones to be used … referencing the coastal light …






The NCS colour system is based on the
three pairs of elementary colours

… while by necessity being limited to the Weather Shield range of colours offered under the National Colour System through Brewers  Decorator Centres, who had sponsored the project.  (This selection has 1,933 colours.)



The top panel, which I call mulberry … reminding me of an English dessert: berried fool - summer fruits and cream … Lothar called purple – interesting isn’t it – how we all see colours differently.



Nooks, crannies and fenestration - along
with the mulberry curve
He doesn’t design using a computer – it’s all free drawn and hand coloured … he doesn’t fixate over a building with as many irregularities as the Towner has … the niches, balconies, the curve et al …



Back and side of the Towner

The Gallery had sent various drawings, images and plans of the exterior which would become the mural … 




... and every time Lothar looked – he saw another ‘anomaly’ to the building … particularly when he considered the back of the building facing the tennis courts …


Not the best ... but a view looking east along the
Grand Parade, past the turquoise tiled bandstand over to the
pier then beyond across to Pevensey Bay and Hastings

He talked to the space … to get its response – he spent quite a lot of time in the town checking it out, seeing the Gallery in its setting – near the Grand Parade, which runs along the sea-front.





Poster of Eastbourne seafront with Red Arrows
Once he’d been given the commission he was then able to concentrate on tying down the diagonals around the architecture to finalise the mural.




When the painting began he was there to supervise the actual design of each segment  … and then see some of the early decorating … 

Dancing Diagonals


... later he noted that as kids walked by the green, pink and yellow diagonals: they became animated jumping up and down – he said he was delighted to see their reaction …







So that is our Dance Diagonal mural at the Towner Art Gallery – it is a major talking point in the town and around … and I suspect will be one of Eastbourne’s best assets – it has certainly garnered a great deal of support …


Reflections in the
Birley Centre over the road
… Lothar talked about designing wall art works knowing that in a specific period of time they’ll be painted over – he says he accepts that fact … it’s only when the time frame is very limited he feels it more …


… we’re meant to have the mural for a year – but there’s already requests for that time frame to be extended … in my humble opinion ‘Dance Diagonal’ will be hard to beat …


I love it!!

A few links:  

… Studio International’s article about Lothar’s monumental mural for the Towner … they show his original sketch … more (professional) photos of the mural … and Lothar’s explanation as to his ‘raison d’être … so, so interesting …

Artnet News … Triadic Ballet Bauhaus …see the Surreal Costumes


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Meet Dez the Dalek, see more of Eastbourne, Tennis and that Mural …




Dez the Dalek is investigating whether Eastbourne is a good place for resting Daleks … 
Dez


... he needs his innards sorted (they’re lodging in Scorch Comic’s basement, pro-tem) …




c/o Scorch Comics

… yet I see he has plenty of reading material … and a pebbly beach nearby … I wonder if that was where he got his spots …




… Dez is good at introducing people … Geoff/Jeff came along and wanted to take a photo – so I suggested he went first … then of course we got chatting … no I didn’t have my photo taken with Dez …



Two sides of the wrap around mural

… Geoff/Jeff had just finished work and wanted to get some brain space before he went off back to the big city … so he wandered along to see the sea (I recommended he went past the mural, hope he did!) and I went to town.




My seat was high up in the south stand
It’s been a busy few weeks down here … I did get a ticket for Eastbourne centre court on the Friday and again on Saturday … which was wonderful …





One of the meet and greet areas ... Pimms bar
or craft beer, with stalls to tempt the pocket


… my cousin (she’s a line judge with the Lawn Tennis Association) was offered the tickets – of course I snapped them up … but it was HOT!  I met up/bumped into a few friends …




Eastbourne College playing MCC

… a couple were parking a large Jaguar car near the tennis and as I walked past said ‘you’re lucky’ to which they replied you’re so right … we’ve been going round and round in circles … I think all the parking tarmac was covered in cars!




The new score board facilities;
the tennis centre and Towner are beyond

On the Saturday I spotted Eastbourne College playing the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club – based at Lords: THE place for cricket – founded 1787 {about sixty years before Eastbourne’s development commenced!}) …


... and I just remembered something else that was on - Eastbourne College had their end of term celebrations, prize-giving, parents arriving ... for 620 pupils ... 




All Saints' Church and the new Church Hall
… there was a wedding – how anyone parked I’ve no idea – just glad I only had to walk about quarter of a mile via this church, where we have a lot of our U3A  group talks (University of the Third Age) to get home …




View over tennis centre and Towner (right) and on
over Pevensey Bay

Then after the summer sunshine we’ve been having – a view across the town over Pevensey Bay to Hastings in the far distance, then this was last night’s evening skyline from my flat …




Skyline July 5th 2019: block of flats, left, tiny dome of
Town Hall, and tree with Church tower, then the
College's central atrium

That’s it – yet of course … more blog post ideas have been generated … comics, the ‘how the Dance Diagonal mural was conceived’: I’m looking forward to the talk later on …




… enough wittering for one post: see you soon …

Scorch Comics website ... 

Eastbourne College - it has rather a nice website ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories