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  • N.R.

POP Spectacle

1970-01-23 Pop Spectacle
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With Artists of the "Groupe 37" from Tours

  • Patrick Collandre

  • Roger Saint-Louis

  • Jacques Lemerre

  • Peter Valentiner

and the Pop'music Orchestra: "The Reflection

  • Larry Cook, bass player

  • Jean Daniel Kiles, singer

  • Jean-Philippe Moreau, organist

  • Joël Rickebourg, rhythm guitar

  • Christian Le Ber, drummer

  • Jean-Michel Cadenat, lead guitar

"FILLING THE GAP that separates art from life

Between 1950 and 1960, a great mutation took place, marked by the abandonment of transposition, which led plastic art into the cultural field where Artaud had placed himself. The most conscious minds abandoned the search for a natural order to create works that had their own reality and proposed an entirely artificial order.

Vasarely in the field of space, Yves Klein in that of colour, aim at direct efficiency. The work is not an analysis of the world, nor an awareness of it, but a totally present, active object, not referring to any cultural or sociological context. The painting is not an allusion to an external spectacle. It is a spectacle. At the same time a game, an artifice, a setting, an environment, a conditioning, the work remains in a dialectical relationship with what has gone before and around it, but it exists in itself, through its own action. Here we find Antonin Artaud and his concrete theatre acting physically on the audience. The manner disappears - as does the style, in Artaud's case - and all that remains is the materialist effectiveness of the proposal.

In America, Artaud's influence was more direct, thanks to John Cage, who often claimed to be his son. But this curiously gave rise to a more reflexive art than that of the Old Continent. Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, friends of Cage, abandoned transposition and made their paintings into spectacles that referred only to their own organisation. The linking of real elements - a photograph, a brushstroke, a chair, a tin can, a board - produces meaning through internal relationships. But unlike Europe, which in materialism seeks an artificial organisation of the environment, America questions the relationship between art and reality. To explain himself, Robert Rauschenberg says:

"I try to bridge the gap between art and life. Jasper Johns, Pop Art, Franck Stella, Primary Structures, are all part of the same problematic: how does the drawing of the number 8 become expression, how does a comic book image, an advertising poster, a cube, a cylinder, emerge from everyday life to become works?

In both cases, it is reality that is in question, not at the tactile or retinal level, but at the level of reflection? It is no longer painting, but the philosophy of painting. It goes beyond the corrections and improvements made to the technical discipline, to question, theoretically, its foundations, and its orientation. Thus, the art of this second half of the 20th century is not only a way of painting that is added to the others, but a way of ending the dreams of the Renaissance.

One might ask whether it is not a betrayal and a forcing of Artaud to link him to Vasarely, Yves Klein, Pop Art? But there is no question of demonstrating a direct filiation between him and the various trends in contemporary art. Rather, it is a question of identifying a convergence that fits into the general framework of overcoming ideology. This direction, which is one of the possibilities of the present age, dreams of abandoning the search for truth and replacing it with action. In philosophy, this desire is expressed in the confused and approximate attempts of Herbert Marcuse and Marshall Mac Luhan, who both envisage a mutation of civilisation. The former hopes that the automation of production will give man his chance to dominate work and choose the path of free pleasure, the latter believes that the evolution of the means of communication will bring civilisation into a new era. Both seek a way out of the rational system, which only locks man into his own deductions, his own logic.

By rejecting intelligence, the Spirit, as the only value leading the world, one does not avoid the confrontation with history, which takes place outside of man. Artaud emphasised this more than once. In "What I Came to Do in Mexico" he wrote: "If in Europe there are a hundred cultures, there is not, on the other hand, more than one civilisation".


"The only way to LEARN to FEEL MUSIC NOW?

Pierre Henry

"Living music par excellence", according to its adepts, its "fans", "alienating music, which addresses the lowest degree of sensitivity" according to its detractors...

Whatever one's opinion of this new musical expression, one truth stands out: "POP'MUSIC" is an important phenomenon, if only for its social significance.

It is in fact the music that has the greatest resonance among today's youth (although in France we are still far from the Anglo-Saxon enthusiasm): it is fundamentally the reflection of a revolt by youth against a certain society.

If it still owes a lot, from the point of view of sound, to contemporary music (since Varèse and Stravinsky), if it still remains largely dependent on black American music and particularly its popular form "rhythm and blues", Pop music is nonetheless a very specific musical expression.

More than the enormous volume of sound, more than the instrumental part (which borrows from various folklores, electronic music, etc.), what perhaps makes "Pop Music" truly original is the relationship it creates between those who play it and those who receive it.

First of all, there is the spectacular side of all Pop Music concerts: stroboscopic lights and other light shows, combined with a disproportionate volume of sound, contribute to creating a vertigo that is difficult to escape.

Secondly, and above all, whereas, with a few exceptions, jazzmen or contemporary musicians are concerned first and foremost and almost exclusively with the intrinsic value of what they play, leaving the technicians free to bring it to the public, the originality of pop musicians is to have reversed the proposition. In other words, it is important for them to assume the effectiveness of their communication. Better still, the very form of the latter is determined, to a large extent, by the evaluation of the audience's receptiveness.

No doubt this is what made the composer Pierre Henry say that "pop music is perhaps the only way to listen, to learn to feel music today".


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