Monday, 6 December 2010

TV Review: Adrian Chiles Salutes The Genius Of Fleydon

Art on the television is always a problematic exercise so your reviewer was intrigued at the possibilities of a populist Saturday morning show on ITV.  Current affairs guru Adrian Chiles had dropped in with an ITV film crew charged with the the difficult task of capturing the latest Fleydon exhibition as part of a new 'live' arts-based documentary. For Fleydon himself televisual exposure added the extra dimension of complexity to his work "I work on two dimesnional surfaces which flutter and play on the breeze in a three dimensional environment. To have them re-viewed and relayed in to the two dimensional world of television frankly confuses me."

These subtlties of nuance were obviously beyond the grasp of the presenter. No true critic himself - and with a literalist style of interpretation - Chiles was obviously seduced by some of the larger works and concentrated his attentions on these whilst quite missing the exquisite gems scattered between. Defective recording equipment prevents us showing the full clip, but these two portions give some idea of the reverential tones in which Chiles approached this cathederal of art, this Tempest of creativity...
The overall look of the Tempest gallery as seen on national television was deemed to be more than satisfactory and we can only hope that the viewers felt a shiver down their spines similar to that experienced by watching Brunowski's Ascent of Man or Clark's Civilization for the first time. Following the Reithian mission statement to Educate & Inform, ITV must also be congratulated on their achievement on this particular day, even if the BBC would have been perhaps a little more probing in their analysis
To clebrate the exhibition and to provide an entertaining 'fore-drop', a football match was arranged between Stevenage and a representative team from AFC Wimbledon to entertain the crowds between viewings. However this was found to be too tempting a distraction for some of the less artistically- inclined cameramen whose attention would stray from art onto the pitch, and we would suggest this arrangement be reviewed in future. Otherwise Art & Artist Review' found the programme a creditable if populist, introduction to a complex and enigmatic artist.

Viewer Rating   7/10

Friday, 26 November 2010

Yakkety-Yak - Yak Attack!

The Face, The Hoff, The Edge, The Stig... Seems like the good old days, when heroes were enigmatic and names were short, are well and truly back at AFC Wimbledon. The close season signing of ('Call me..') Ismail ('The Yak') Yakubu, the man with possibly the most confusing set of nicknames in non-league football, seems to have sent Fleydon ('The Flag') into something of a tail-spin. Formerly reluctant to the point of belligerence in his refusal to mention players on his flags, Fleydon has recently completed an amazing volte-face and now counts Antony Howard (1 flag), Sam Hatton (1 flag), Danny Kedwell (2 Flags) and Ismail Yakubu (1 flag) amongst those immortalised on canvas.

Intrigued at this recent development, The Art & Artist Review investigated further and with the assistance of Glen (Trigger) Mulcaire (TheTrig) managed to discover some startling information regarding the artistic direction taken by the artist known as The Fley
(nb This may, or may not, be a picture of the artist himself. More reclusive than Banksie, The Fley is a hard man to pin down...)

Fleydon's latest offering to the Tempest End Society of Art Critics appears slightly bewildering at first. However text and voicemail messages that have come into our possession between Fleydon and his agent Miranda 'Vampira' Campowski  which throws light on the shady underworld of Terrace Art.

Although ostensibly an homage  to the talents of Manchester City striker Shaun Goater and his biography 'Feed the Goat'  this particular flag is apparently nothing more than an attempt to appeal to the vanity (and the wallet) of player himself. Anticipating a return to League football Fleydon seems to have abandoned all claims of artistic integrity and now seems to be determined to flatter his 'subject' in the hope of a swift financial return, hoping no doubt, that the increased revenue flooding into the club from both the Magic Minute and the iDons franchises are fuelling the players wage packets beyond their wildest imaginings. In this respect he reminds us of erstwhile surrealist and money machine Salvador Dali. We can only hope that Fleydon sees the error of his ways and reverts to less commercial activities in future. And to Mr Ismail Yakubu we at The Art & Artist Review can only say "Keep your hand in your pocket. Flattery is worthless and it's not even a very good Yak. You can get better for less."

Friday, 22 October 2010

"Special K" - The Unveiling of Ked's Head

Sometimes a plan comes together. And don't you just love it when it does?

The Crawley game of 23rd September was just such an occasion for Fleydon as he made plans for a record breaking third consecutive flag focusing on a single individual. Of the two previous  flags "Just don't upset Danny" was indeed a true evocation of the spirit of Kedwell but the following effort, "Kiss the Badge"  had the unfortunate effect of indirectly implicating Danny in an international betting scam of biblical proportion. After keeping low and well out of sight for some weeks, Fleydon then emerged on the night of the Crawley game with what can only be construed as a 'peace offering' to the Dons Captain.

Special K - The Ked's Head is a simple design - an almost pointillistic rendering of the benign features of the special one gazing down on his chosen people. Stylistically not unlike the face of God, Boe , Big Brother or even Holly where in each case these individuals maintain a calm impassivity whilst all around them chaos reigns

For AFC Wimbledon the unveiling was marked by the presence of television cameras and a potential audience of millions. For Fleydon it was an unashamedly desperate piece of humble-pie eating. Would Kedwell accept the offering in the spirit it was offered? Would he provide some small sign of forgiveness? 
Ked's Head joins the Pantheon of Flags
Ked's Head was set up directly behind the goal in a high visibility position and soon attracted a crowd of potential acolyte's. Their apparent anxiety grew throughout the match as Kedwell seemed to spurn their entireties - to the extent of allowing the Crawlies to score in the very net they had hoped he would bless himself.
At this point things were looking bleak for the self-styled 'Kedwell-ites' and pleading cries of "Give us a sign!" were heard coming from the back of the stand. Half time arrived and the acolytes were left milling about in a state of obvious confusion
Confused supporters milling beneath the icon at half time

The second half was a revelation though. Having suffered their penance, Keds relieved the suffering of his followers by allowing the appropriately biblical Samuel Hatton to literally 'Cross the Jordan' to level the score from his accustomed position on the right-back hand-side of Keds.
To then prove his beneficence beyond all doubt the Lord Keds then rose above the 'red devils' to gently nestle the ball in the back of the net, beneath his icon, to seal a memorable victory and to send his followers into ecstatic raptures
No more need be said on this momentous night, although Fleydon - in a further gesture of contrition - has intimated that this most sacred of flags may well be used in the near future to raise funds for worthy Wimbledon causes. We await further details with barely trammelled excitement...
Tickle 'yer Keds with a Womble! A votive offering was discovered beneath the flag obviously placed in an effort to appease the deity.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Betting Scam Rocks Worlds of Art and Football

Caught on CCTV - The Offending Flag
Investigations are being conducted into a recent AFC Wimbledon match against Bath City in the Conference Premier, scene of a massive betting scam spread over four continents and involving millions of pounds.

Police and gambling associations around the world had their suspicions aroused when a number of large bets were laid predicting that Danny Kedwell, Wimbledon captain and crowd favourite, would kiss the club crest on his shirt. Such a gesture is usually viewed with suspicion and a degree of cynicism by Wimbledon supporters so the odds of Kedwell engaging in such an activity were considered remote and the odds were consequently long. The fact that he blatantly did so following his goal in the last few minutes of the game further alerted the authorities to the possibility that all was not as it should be and an immediate investigation was launched.

Attention soon focussed on a new piece of artwork hanging in the Tempest End. Highly visible throughout the ground, the confusing and enigmatic piece had caused much doubt and discussion amongst spectators who had been speculating as to the nature of the flag and the meaning of the central figure. Was it a ghost, monster or zombie? What did it have to do with the club at all? The artist Fleydon, controversial vexillologist and self proclaimed ‘bad-boy of the emulsion tester pot’', had evidently placed this new flag with no prior announcement. It was also swiftly removed at the final whistle before reporters from the Art & Artist Review had the opportunity to question him regarding meaning and content.

Gene Simmons - Unwitting Subliminal Trigger?
Investigators soon noticed that the central figure bore an uncanny resemblance to heavy-rock practitioner Gene Simmonds of the band KISS. However subtle alterations had been made to his usual stage makeup and investigators soon made out what they believed to be a coded message contained within the design itself. The more usual ‘Demon’ make up had been adjusted to resemble the AFC Wimbledon badge in what is now believed to be an explicit -albeit subliminal - instruction for Kedwell to “KISS – The Badge”

Licking Supporters. Not clever, not funny...
Although scientists studying the evidence were amused that the painting seemed to be licking a supporters head, they also emphasised that it was very wrong to encourage betting scams. They were anxious to emphasise that Danny Kedwell was apparently totally oblivious to the subliminal messages coming from the Tempest End and has subsequently been cleared of any wrong-doing.

Investigators are still seeking Fleydon and there are serious concerns that the success of his subliminal suggestions may encourage him to extreme measures during the upcoming home fixture against Crawley Town. Supporters are therefore advised not to look too closely at flags produced by Fleydon until they can be certified clear of all unconcious instruction.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

"Just DON'T Upset Danny"

 Set fair to ascend into the pantheon of AFC Wimbledon Gods (where he will surely sit at the right hand of Almighty Everard) Danny Kedwell has now joined another unique trio*, those of individuals honoured in the works of Fleydon. Previous beneficiaries of this honour were manager Dave Anderson in DA's Army and Sam Hatton in Sam's Missile

"Such tributes are rare for obviously pragmatic reasons" remarks Fleydon. "Players, even the most popular, have a habit of coming and going whereas what I celebrate is the spirit of the club, it's essence rather than the qualities of a particular individual. Other personal references have been sparked by specific circumstances - the DA reference was part of a pun and Sam's Missile part of a sponsorship birthday present - so you could argue that this particular flag is the first to truly celebrate the qualities of an individual player and as such marks a major concession to my artistic values. Tenacity, strength, the ability to transform a game and a 'never-say-die' attitude combined with that photograph of Danny that they always show in the NLP... well, apart from the green tinge, that's Danny all over isn't it?" 

We asked about the coded meanings and the playful conceits that litter his work, but were more than slightly surprised at the confession that these were entirely absent from this particular piece.
"No, nothing. It's just a bit of fun and an homage to someone who will undoubtedly be our player of the year this season. I don't think he'll mind the Hulk comparison either. I was stuck for paint to tell you the truth and really needed to use up the green so it was either going to be the Hulk or the Green Lantern and I don't think players are allowed to wear rings during a game, especially if they glow and confer almost unlimited power on the wearer. Although now I think about it the Green Goblin would use a lot of green as well and as coincidence has it the Hulk shared a front cover with him on his first appearance. But then Danny's definitely more Hulk than Goblin."
Having now been premièred "Just DON'T upset Danny!" will now be withdrawn form public view whilst Fleydon makes emergency adjustments  to the shirt. "Having had the opportunity to observe it in situ  I'm afraid the blue is a bit on the light side and looks just a litle bit sheer for a football shirt. As there's the possibility of a hint of nipple showing through I'm going to ensure it's thickened and darkened to make sure I'm not caught out by any late frosts."

"Just DON'T upset Danny!" will be back for the new season. Here's hoping that the real Danny Kedwell will be too.  
* 'Frankie' Howard was also honoured but that was a one-off leaving flag and not designed for repeat hangings.

Monday, 8 March 2010

2002 - A Dons Odyssey

PRESS RELEASE: Fleydon Artworks Inc. 06-02-2010
Major Artwork To Be Unveiled At Kingsmeadow

“We then walked round the corner to the junction of Plough Lane and Durnsford Road, where the sculpture – named “Landmark” -- was waiting for us, wrapped in a red cloth.” WISA article

Saturday’s game against Forest Green Rovers sees the unveiling of the latest Fleydon artwork and a companion piece to artist Sam Burford’s Plough Lane Landmark monolith (see Sam's site for pictures of the piece)

Although bitterly disappointed at being overlooked in the selection process for the Plough Lane commission and semingly forgotton when invitations were being assigned,  by sheer coincidence Fleydon happened to be in area during the unveiling. At the conclusion of the ceremony (and after all participants had left the scene) Fleydon emerged from the surrounding bushes, determined to retrieved the red material used to wrap the monolith which had been casually discarded in the rain.

Whilst crouched on the floor gathering the cloth, Fleydon looked up at the black monolith towering above him at the very moment when the rain clouds parted and the sun burst through, creating both a halo of light around the statue and an epiphany in the mind of the artist.
At that point Fleydon realised that with his crouching pose, the monolith and the burst of light that there were uncanny echoes of the film 2001: A Space Odyssey when an outside force prompts a huge evolutionary change within the minds of our primitive ape-like ancestors.

2001 might have been important in the film but 2002 is, of course, the year when AFC Wimbledon suddenly emerged from the broken carapace of its predecessor and when attitudes and beliefs evolved in new and exciting directions. Just as the ape-man shattered all his rivals with his new and potent 'club' so too did the motivated and highly intelligent new species of Wimbledon football supporter. In fact it was a time when a new ‘Dons Odyssey’ began as the club once again began it's long haul to 'reach for the stars'

Fleydon has captured this moment of enlightenment on his new banner, the material of which is the very red shroud mentioned in the WISA commentary and used to cover the Plough Lane statue. Likened by many to the Holy Shroud of Turin, this scared red rag helps ensure that, in some small way, a vital link is maintained with Wimbledon’s spiritual Plough Lane home.

Film buffs will also be aware that the motto “The Ultimate Trip” is not only a strap line on the original movie, but also echoes manager Terry Brown’s assertion that the journey is often more enjoyable than the destination. It is this small but vital attention to detail that keeps Fleydon on the top of his game
***End of Press Release***

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Appendix 10: Gettin' Awesome! Fleydon's 19th Nervous Breakdown

There has been confusion and no little controversy at recent low-key displays of a new Fleydon artwork over recent weeks. Rumours had been circulating that a curiously ephemeral work had been spotted at the Crawley FA Cup replay game, but the sighting had remained little more than a speculative until incontestable proof came from an unexpected quarter, namely the 'Real FA Cup Blog'

 Whilst the original appearance seemed to pass without comment, a second display at the Gateshead victory sparked no little controversy amongst keen aficionados. Yet the second viewing undoubtedly featured a flag of significantly different substance. Just what was going on here? Fleydon, usually so verbose and bellicose in his defence of a new work was strangely silent. Boast came there none, nor word nor speech nor declaration. The master was silent.

Always eager to pin down the elusive and enigmatic Fleydon reporters from the Art & Artist Review were forced to wait outside the Kingsmeadow stadium until the early hours before the artist finally emerged from the back bar in an obviously 'tired and emotional' state. Dishevelled and confused he was was clutching a blue IKEA bag to his chest bulging with the folded canvases of many of his greatest works. That one of the countries greatest living artists might find himself stumbling and mumbling inchoate phrases around the Cambridge Estate in possession of artwork valued in the millions beggared belief so for his own safety our reporters bundled him into a white transit van and took him to a secluded refuge before providing him with a cup of coffee, a sturdy chair and some bright lighting.
     The Crawley Awesome

What follows are excerpts of an interview held with the artist over the next few days. Often incomprehensible and frequently unintelligible Fleydon eventually provide answers to at least some of our questions.

Fleydon, your new work, 'Gettin Awesome' has appeared at two matches but in different forms. Are we looking at the same flag here or two different versions?
Look, whoever you are, I'm an artist. What I do... is me. It's what I am. I don't have to explain myself to you or anyone. Only to myself. Now **** off! (There was some off-the record discussion at this point after which Fleydon was 'persuaded' to continue with the interview) All right, all right it's just the one flag. Do you think I've got time to sit around doing copies or something? It just wasn't finished for Crawley that's all. It was a work in progress. I was still playing around with ideas and themes. The internal discourse - it was still in full flow. I just committed too early. I butted in on the mental badinage and hit the canvas before I should of. I tried to force the flow and ended up with a Premature Enflagulation.
Had this ever happened before?
No, never. I don't know what happened. I think I was a bit stressed or something. Anyway that's all it was. Nothing else at all. It happens and I'm over it.
Is it any coincidence that the night of the Crawley game was also the last opportunity for this years Turner Prize nominations?
Turner Prize??? Don't make me laugh... you only get that if you've slept with some husky voiced 'judge' or you do a natty line in abstract tat. Proper art never gets a look in. Do you think representational images like mine would penetrate the bourgeois sensibilities of the North London Art Mafia? No it wouldn't. Now **** off and stop shining that light in my eyes.

(Despite his protestations it would seem that the arrival of a half-finished flag at the Crawley game was indeed an attempt to draw attention to himself and his work in a last-ditch effort to win the only major art prize that has so far eluded him. His disappointment at his non-inclusion in the Turner Prize shortlist was apparent. The Art & Artist Review decided to probe deeper and took the decision to dispense with the traditional 'good critic, bad critic' approach and just stick with the more direct 'bad critic' in the hopes of drawing him out.)

'Gettin' Awesome'........What the **** is that all about? 
Gettin' Awesome is just what it says. What's so hard to understand? Flags are supposed to exalt and celebrate - what would you prefer on it  "AFC Wimbledon - Not bad, just lacking an attacking left back and an aggressive midfielder and then we might have a shot at the play offs" ? OK so I couldn't fit it all in but still....jeeesh!

That's a pretty random expression for a football flag. Is that what's supposed to be so good about it?
I'm sorry, I can't do you thinking for you... let me just remind you what I said on my wiki page on art "One of the central challenges of post-modern art, is that as the world becomes increasingly utilitarian, functional, and market-driven, the presence of the non-motivated arts, or art which is ritualistic or symbolic, becomes increasingly rare."  If you prefer your art packaged and neatly explained then you're looking in the wrong place. I don't do easy stuff...rituals and symbolism are my bread and butter. I can't open a closed mind... I can only enter when invited.

It's vacuous. It sticks out as a work where the artist has clearly run out of ideas. Isn't that really the case?
Run out of ideas?? RUN OUT OF IDEAS??? Look at the two pictures - can't you see how the work has evolved and developed? Do you think it does it on its own or something? 

OK, let me give you a few clues and pointers...AFC Wimbledon is a breath of fresh air right? A 'fresh wind blowing through football'...well the typography of Gettin' recalls the infamous 'balloon writing' of the '70s - a holding of the breath inflation and a sucking in that must be followed by the triumphal exhalation - usually (but not always) when a transcendent goal is scored. The resulting inevitable wind is leaving at such speed that not only is 'awesome' blown like a flapping ribbon in a storm, but the collective strength of the gale threatens to shake the very fabric of the club itself! The badge veritably bends and leans in the wind - but does not break! 

That the very flag itself was physically changed after that display against Crawley...well that proves the point I think. It came through that furnace of a game like a sword tempered in the blood of its enemies. It is stronger, clearer and more vibrant. Art can transform not only the spectator, but the work itself.

Vacuous? We'll leave that judgement to posterity ...

Now LET ME GO!!!

Postscript: On his release Fleydon seemed to suffer another of his 'breakdowns'' and retired to his country retreat in Morden. He has refused to communicate with the outside world although one of his female assistants was heard to mutter that he was having a 'massive hissy-fit' and wouldn't go near his paints. We all here at Art & Artist Review wish him a speedy recovery.