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.