I watched Big Brother. I enjoy the kerrazy! antics of those two wee scallywags known as Jedward. The only reason I occassionally watch Big Brother is in order to get the full appreciation of the inevitable Charlie Brooker rants on the subject. One, or more, of those three sentences is a partial untruth. This morning I watched some of a documentary about world class art forgery – Fake or Fotune: Van Meegeren. It was presented by Fiona Bruce and her overall manner was so unbearable I'm not sure I can face watching the rest of it. She co-hosted with some unknown who appeared to know the subject. The transparent pretense of the show was that they were embarking on a mystery, solving it together as they went along. In actual fact they were just interviewing people, and one presenter would have sufficed. As it was they indulged in lots of pointless, obviously partially scripted conversations in the backs of taxis, during which Fionaa Bruce looked desperately as though she was trying to act – concerned, surprised, enlightened, bemused. It was bad and she looked like a dick. Shame because the actual subject seemed fascinating.
|Dirck van Baburen, The Procuress|
Han van Meegeren was the art forger of the 20th century, emulating exactly the styles of the Dutch masters to create fabulous newly discovered lost gems. His forgeries were only discovered when one of his Vermeer's was found in the private collection of Herman Goering after WWII. A paper trail of receipts led the sale of the Vermeer (still at that point thought to have been genuine) back to van Meegeren. Rather than being tried for treason and sentenced to death, he admitted to the forgery and several others. It is believed that some or many of his creations are still out there, being passed off as genuine, in the world's leading galleries and collections. The programme discusses a painting called The Procuress kept in the Courtauld Gallery, either painted by Dirck van Baburen in the 17th century or by van Meegeren. The gallery appears to be desiring a van Meegeren, the legendary 20th century forger, over a van Baburen, a largely forgotten Dutch master.
This is a genuinely interesting story, far exceeding the dribbling stream of Big Brother celebscrement, yet I am not sure I can plough further deeper than the fifteen minutes I have already squirmed through. Fiona Bruce really is unbearable; rephrase an interviewee's comments as if translating for a child, say something inane using random pauses to make unneccessary emphasis, gently snarl in place of a smile; pull down corners of mouth repeatedly to mean anything from 'oh, I'm learning something here,' to 'I think Goering was a bad man'; raise eyebrows, say something stupid, take up screen time... cut that's a rap. I think she is supposed to be playing us – me and you – the enthusiastic idiots in sofa-land who just want to learn something via the only way we know how, passive leeching through the telly box. What a fucking pointless conceit. Get her off my art documentary, and back to whatever she did previously; something I don't watch evidently. I'm going to try and watch the rest, but may not make it. Wish me luck.