Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Art in the movies

Ex Machina breaks movie conventions by using a replica Pollock instead of the familiar Rothko-like products we've been seeing as modern art stand-ins recently. The Pollock plays a central role in the film helping the lead character launch into a strange and, given Pollock's highly developed technique, meaningless monologue on what Pollock would have done had he known where his dripped paint would land. The theory being, nothing. The Ex Machina painting looks as though it’s based on Pollock's Number 5. That painting was first purchased from the Betty Parsons Gallery in 1948 by the artist Alfonso Ossorio and famously painted again, over the original, when Ossorio told Pollock it had been damaged in transit. Later, Number 5 went to publisher Samuel Irving Newhouse, Jr and then to Dreamworks' David Geffen who in turn sold it on to an anonymous buyer in 2006 reputedly for around $NZ200 million. Number 5 was one of Pollock’s rare portrait format drip paintings but that didn’t worry Ex Machina's art director who tipped it over into landscape so it would fit on the wall.

Images: Top, the replica of Pollock’s Number 5 landscaped in Ex Machina and bottom, Number 5 hanging in Alfonso Ossorio’s home (left of picture)