From The Desk Of Gang Of Four: The Painting By Manet Called “Luncheon In The Studio”

Andy Gill has a relatively simple work ethic that’s guided him for years, ever since his legendary post-punk outfit Gang Of Four burst onto the staid scene with its jagged, jarring Entertainment! debut in 1979. “There are loads of bands that can chuck out the same album, year after year,” he says. “But that model is just not for me.” The group’s quantum leap forward to 1982’s more danceable third album, Songs Of The Free, might have clarified that tenet already. If not, the latest Gang Of Four record surely will—the aptly dubbed What Happens Next, Gill’s first after the departure of longtime vocalist Jon King. Gill will be guest editing all week. Read our new feature on the band.

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Gill: Manet is the man. This painting has always fascinated me, and in certain respects it helped me formulate some of the underpinning ideas that led to Gang Of Four. Manet “sampled” other artists’ work and deliberately drained them of the meaning those works had in their original contexts. What Manet does is quote from older Dutch and Spanish sources and then place them in a weird, flat world where they are devoid of their original meanings, transformed. Luncheon In The Studio might look like a picture of three people not doing much in a room. While it is mysterious and meditative, it is profoundly revolutionary. It says there are no hierarchies, that traditions are hollow, and that God does not exist.

Video after the jump.