this, and the previous three watercolours are taken from a series which have come from a collaboration with alexandra baybutt. between us we have devised a performance piece to be shown – as a work in progress – on saturday 25th of february at greenwich dance. the piece is called succour.

the starting point was bits and pieces we were looking at related to alchemy.

babylon iii

ESTRAGON: You and your landscapes! Tell me about the worms!

‘Waiting For Godot’, Samuel Beckett.

anselm keifer has been keen to stress that nothing is allowed to decay in a museum or a collection. everything is held static. which is a fair analogy

& preservation is a powerful skill.

not that i want it all lost.



but some need to return to the ground.

babylon ii

the incongruity of the battered rotting nonsense piled up in antiseptic over lit warehouses

has some charm. though it smacks of a cynicism  that i feel neuters the more successful work.


there are people making money. hand over fist. & they make money from this. this form of economy (slave economy) benefits the people happy to pay for the building of macrocosms of the pyramids – of their palaces & estates, built to rot



“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”

Anatole France, The Red Lilly.


went to the keifer exhibition at the white cube for the second time.

when it works it works: a topography of rotting civilisations – empires and cities perhaps, bringing the plastic, the awe inspiring (plastic) to decay.

and here i find that the scale is effective. the white cube is played to its strengths. the degradation and the sterility do not cancel each other out. (with the exception of the sculpted pieces perhaps, they become a touch ridiculous).


But there’s a big difference between a photograph and a painting. For me, they’re completely different. A photograph takes just a moment. As you know, a snapshot is one five hundredth of a second – that’s the moment that is ‘on’ the photograph, but a painting is not ‘a moment’ it is real, it always has a history because it is deep, it has layers which enables you to go back in time and back in history. So a painting is always different.

Anselm Keifer talking to Marcus Harvey in Turps Banana #7:

i wonder.

it’s been mentioned to me that brancusi would psychically prime his sculpture.

rubbing his hands over them, polishing them. & he would ensure that no one could touch them by accident.



First up was Chief Inspector Ian Kibblewhite of Enfield police. He had just begun his speech when he suddenly broke off. “Is it funny?” he shouted, glaring at a couple of sneering gang members. “You may think you belong to a big gang, you may be 50 people, even 100, but we have 32,000 in our gang. It’s called the Metropolitan police.”

gang culture, see rest of article:

this world view – to see the world in terms of crime. where there is activity there is crime. each person is a potential criminal (reduced likelihood according to race / class – plus some crime (not crime?) is ‘necessary’: large nations engaged in violence against other nations on ideological grounds – not fitting an ideological / rationalist hobby horse (cynical invention?), speculators / bankers accruing profit in credit by destroying capital, etc.). the inevitable shift as violence equals out across nation state. as above; so below, as within; so without.

a thing (fantasy) has a perceived necessity (fictionalised), necessary for the completion of the system (fabricated). violence is the direct route to acquiring said precious thing. this version (perversion?) of a system can never be complete because it rejects all other systems around it & will nevertheless seek out necessities in order to affirm the existence of ‘this system’. following the logic of the policeman’s’ words (assuming he was reliably quoted but – even if he weren’t) look to gangster culture for the most effective small scale examples of how the uk ‘functions’.