Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sidney Nolan. Ned Kelly Series at IMMA Dublin 

Australian artist Sidney Nolan painted his Ned Kelly Series of paintings between 1946 and 1947. The paintings numbering 27 in total depict the life and times of the infamous Irish Australian outlaw Ned Kelly. Accompanied by his fellow gang members Ned Kelly is portrayed wearing a black suit of armour and accompanying distinctive helmet.
On first regarding the paintings they may seem almost cartoonish. The colour of Kelly’s armour is in contrast to the vivid depictions of the wild Australian bush. Be warned however humour was the furthest thing from the painters mind. For Nolan the outlaw Ned Kelly stands for the rugged individual striking out against the establishment. Kelly is the warrior chief going into combat against the occupiers.
The paintings each of which is highly stylised, contain vivid colours which makes them the perfect prism from which to view the Australian outback. Up to this artists had struggle to depict their native  countryside and had resorted to using formal European methods which in fact were considered inadequate. 
In time Nolan’s rendering of Ned Kelly dressed in a suit of metal, complete with helmet would catapult him onto the world stage. The image of Ned Kelly outlaw battling the dark forces of imperial oppression would become part of Australian national consciousness.
Sidney Nolan, Ned Kelly Series runs in the Irish Museum of Modern Art until 27th of January 2013.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Crime by Ferdinand Von Schirach 

"Jim Jarmusch once said he’d rather make a movie about a man walking his dog than about the Emperor of China. I feel the same way".
Crime is the first collection of short stories by German author Ferdinand Von Schirach. Being a defence lawer Schirach in each of his stories demonstrats that occasionally the law gets it wrong, the guily are not always punished and that it's not unusual for the innocent to bear the full weight of the law. The narrator in each of the stories is an un-named defence lawyer.

In the story "Fahner" a small town country doctor must endure decades long abuse from his over bearing wife. One evening he snaps and murders her in his allotment. He phones the police informing them of his crime, then calmly awaits their arrival.

"Self Defence" relates the murder in a Hamburg train station of two drunken neo-nazi's by a balding, non descript, middleaged man dressed in grey. When questioned the man is reluctant even to mention his name. After he has been released it emerges he may, or may not be an international hit man.

While "The Ethiopian" deals with the case of Michalka, an orphan and juvenile delinquent who in his later life finds happiness and a family in the Ethiopian countryside.

Each story in the collection is based on an actual case, with the background detailed without being boring or bogged down in legal jargon. It is to its credit that for a book which operates in courtrooms there is a distinct lack of legalese. Crime is th first collection of short stories by Ferdinand Von Schirach. Along with it compaion volume Guilt it is scheduled to be adapted soon for film.


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