Character Study: Warhol's Ondine

January 26, 2016

In No Work Finished Here, Liz Worth sets out to re-mix Andy Warhol's "novel" A. A is a word-for-word transcription of tapes recorded by Warhol and one of his superstars, Ondine, in 1965-67. No Work Finished Here was born out of the bits and pieces of A that spoke to Worth. Even though this is a "re-mix", the character of Ondine still comes through from Warhol's original work. Worth shares some insight about Ondine that she gained while eavesdropping her way through A.

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In No Work Finished Here, Liz Worth sets out to re-mix Andy Warhol's "novel" A. A is a word-for-word transcription of tapes recorded by Warhol and one of his superstars, Ondine, in 1965-67. It's a difficult read as it is filled with typos and errors, various things were left out by the different typists, and there are over one hundred voices present but not all are identified.

Fast forward to 2004 when Worth reads A for the first time. It inspires her but after taking notes she puts it away for nine years. By 2013 she was lacking inspiration and remembers A. No Work Finished Here was born out of the bits and pieces of A that spoke to Worth: "I started to wonder what Warhol’s “novel” would have been like had it actually been edited, had he actually tried to transform it into a work of fiction." Using the words found on each page of A, Worth remixed them into poetry; a poem for each page.

Even though this is a "re-mix", the character of Ondine still comes through from Warhol's original work. Worth shares some insight about Ondine that she gained while eavesdropping her way through A.

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Ondine in Afternoon, a film by Andy Warhol

 

Born Robert Olivo but preferring to take the name Ondine after Jean Giraudoux’s play by the same name, Ondine was one of Andy Warhol’s favourite male Superstars for a time.

Warhol was so fascinated with Ondine that he became the focus of a: A Novel, Warhol’s epic piece of literary pop art. The book was meant as a 24-hour recording in the life of Ondine, though it was actually created over four different taping sessions. Despite being held in such high regard by Warhol, Ondine was said to be an unpaid Superstar at the Factory.

In No Work Finished Here, it is impossible not to see Ondine’s story on every page. As though he was already feeling that his 15 minutes of fame were almost up, his contempt and mistrust toward Warhol becomes clearer throughout the book, as does his drug use. While the Warhol Factory is an important piece of modern history, it was also frenetic, hellish, and disappointing, and it’s no surprise that Ondine walked out on Warhol during the making of a and had to be persuaded to return to complete the recordings.

Want to get beneath the surface of the Warhol Factory’s glamour and experience its frantic energy as shared by Ondine and other Warhol Superstars? Check out No Work Finished Here.

 

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Thank you to Liz Worth and BookThug, especially Hazel Millar, for connecting us!

 


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