Art of the Day: Some Bulls (Works by Emsley, Clergue, Koike)

  June 15th, 2011



       Lucien Clergue
       Toro, ca. 1960, Vintage Gelatin Silver Print



       Kazuma Koike
       Bull / Roots, 2006, Watercolor, ink on paper



       Paul Emsley
       Bull, 1994, chalk on paper

     A bit caught up in life things, sorry for the delayed posts y’all. Here are some bulls, three different takes. The first by great photographer Lucien Clergue, of whom Picasso was an admirer apparently. I like this sentence from Wikipedia: “He also worked on a series whose subject was carrion.” Tells you a bit about the guy, and puts his bull photo in context: What a savage piece. Conveys the pitch of fury bulls are brought to by toreadors. In that furious set of its teeth. Absence of eyes too: the creature’s become all angry teeth-gnash. Even in (apparent) death, the poor beast’s rage consumes it.
     The Koike presents a different bull: bull as tree, stout and proud and strong, no toreador spears out of this one’s back. Broad and implacable with a support structure anchored in the earth. Beast of the earth, not of burden; not yoked to plow, but tied in a different way, & to nothing that mankind has built.
     Finally there’s the Emsley. Bull here as apparition, emerging from the void with blurred & eerie luminescence. Sleepy eyed and with a seeming plume of cold air spouting from its nostrils. This is the bull to fear. Neither earth watcher nor outraged victim. Spirit of vengeance, rebuking the harness & the twirling red cape. No, no, that’s wrong: this bull is beyond those instruments of its kind’s oppression. It’s not even a bull anymore. It’s been transformed to pure, unthinking, dispassionate retribution. No valuation, just simple action. The inevitable justice of avalanches, anthrax.

Check out more of Clergue’s photography at Monroe Gallery.

Check out more of Emsley’s work at

Check out more of Koike’s art at


[posted by C Way at 1:23 AM]


[file under: ART OF THE DAY ||| photography ]

Comments (2) To “Art of the Day: Some Bulls (Works by Emsley, Clergue, Koike)”

  1. Dori said:

    Wow. That first one is just nuts. I’d love to study that one in person. I wonder how big he made the print originally. Can you imagine that one wall-sized? It might actually lose some of its power that big. Seems it may be more affective smaller, to concentrate the fury. It’s incredible, really.

    An artist with a series whose subject is carrion – that’s a guy I’d like to have a drink with…. in a very public spot in the daytime.

    The other two bulls seem less bull-like to me. That last one looks like a big fluffy pillow, albeit one that might eat you in your sleep.

  2. C Way said:

    I hear you about the big fluffy pillowiness of the last. It struck me as sort of gauzy/ethereal at first glance. Something about those eyes go to me after awhile, & then the ethereality turned to evil ghost glow. Glad you liked the bulls tho! I seem to be on an animal kick lately.

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