Ken Russell has died. He was deep into his 80s so I suppose it was true that he had a good & long life.
He broke new ground. People, well some people – perhaps most people, I can’t remember were outraged by his work.
Art – generic art – sometimes breaks new ground. Picasso for example. Stravinsky is another, Alfred Jarry in his play Ubu Roi. Mostly this art is bright & innovative, strikes you, makes you feel better, more alive. Happy even. Innovative art doesn’t always stand the test of time. I don’t suppose Ken Russell’s films will. Apart from anything else, the technology, the quality of the pictures we see on the screen these days are so much better. What was groundbreaking then, doesn’t necessarily remain groundbreaking for long, certainly not indefinitely. Much interesting art & writing is done under the influence of drugs & alcohol. From Blake onwards to many modern artists & writers, musicians even. We the recipients somehow benefit from this. The main element of art is often surprise. Surprise & enlightenment. And making us think how things really are. Changing our consciousness.
I was part of the young generation when Ken Russell was in his heyday. Russell was intensely disliked by the older generation. The film The Devils was against religion & had nudity in it – nude nuns – lots of nudity.
Ken Russell, we will miss you. RIP.