Tag Archives: arts

Not to be seen without it’s controversy.

In celebration of Piano Renzo‘s 75th birthday I’ll be reviewing probably one of the most controversial, shocking and modern statements in architecture. It was Piano Renzo who designed, gave birth – together with Richard Rogers – to the infamous Centre Pompidou. This building is undoubtedly a marvelous piece of architecture and is a timeless view upon, industrial architecture and industry in it’s whole. Therefore it is not surprising if I tell you that both of them were fascinated by modern (industrial) american architecture like oil rigs and car lots which has been a great inspiration to both of them.

But why is this building so controversial? Why had it to endure so many critique and curses? First of all there is the less obvious reason that the city of Paris was a city dominated by concrete (except for Gustave Eiffel’s Eiffel tower which had to endure the same critique 70 years earlier). This building on the other hand has no concrete which is exteriorly visible, the only concrete used is hidden 3 stories below the surface.

Centre Pompidou – Exterior.

The entire building is build by vertical beams who hold u vertical platforms. Post-lintel you could call it (as in Ancient greek architecture). Of course cross- and v-shaped beams had to be added to support the weight of the floors (6 in total), consisting of entirely open spaces. This is achieved by placing all the functional aspects of the building on the facade (that is to say; the exterior) instead of interior. Everything that was conventionally hidden is now ‘proudly’ and ‘playfully’ shown on the outside of the building. Each color seen on the exterior has it’s own ‘functional’ meaning: blue for air, green for water, red for elevators, yellow for electricity, gray for corridors and white for the building itself.

Nowadays the building definitely stands as a monument to Paris. Although it is most often seen as a monument to high-tech, it represents the opposite. Because in reality it’s a parody to high-tech, it was a space ship it would be one designed by Jules Verne, that is to say, it would never work.

Although this building had to endure loads of harsh critique I do believe this is truly a marvelous and wonderful building, which does not at all make the city of Paris ‘less’ beautiful. Not only because it’s a cultural beacon for the entire city (library, music, art, ..) but also because it’s a place where people meet. It’s a public building (which is highly emphasized by the open corridor which takes in 2/3 of the parcel). On top of that it’s the only place in Paris which has a ‘free’ panoramic view. Not to mention that everything seen on the outside (therefore public) is accessible by anyone for no costs.

Renzo Piano

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The least “pop” of all pop-artists.

Robert Indiana (Robert Clark)

Today we celebrate 84 years of love, the birthday of the least ‘pop’ among the pop-artists. Today we celebrate the anniversary of Robert Clark, better known as Robert Indiana. 

Well known for his bold, iconic and simple images, consisting of especially numbers and short words such as “LOVE”, he calls them sculptural poems. The iconography first appeared in a series of poems Indiana had written in 1985, where he stacked the letters LO and VE on top of each other as he would do in a similar way in his famous ‘Love’ series.

These sculptures can be found all around the world and are represented in many languages. They made stamps, musicians inspired their album covers upon it and so on. In this manner he “spreads” out love, all over the globe. He unites people by placing his (similar) work all over the globe (except for the translation).

Robert Indiana – LOVE

Robert Indiana – Ahava (אהבה “love” in Hebrew)

Rage against the machine (Album cover) – Renegades.

Robert Indiana – “Love” stamp

 

“Some people like to paint trees. I like to paint love. I find it more meaningful than painting trees.” – Robert Indiana

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The mystery of Art.

What is art to you, is it a mystery. Is it merely a creation of the human mind, can it be found in nature? Has art changed your life? Is it even possible to live without it? Therefor my dearest fellow bloggers, ladies and gentlemen. For once (maybe twice or more later on, who will say) I need your help; if you had to describe what art means to you in a few words (or more). How would you describe it? If you, as wonderful as you all are, would be so kind to tell me your opinion on art in the comment area I would feel like a kid opening his presents on Christmas Eve (maybe even happier, which depends on how many of you respond).

There’s also this little question I’d like to have your opinion on:

Thank you for reading!

Have a wonderful and hopefully artistic day!.
Remember to use your imagination.

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Art and the expression of Meaning (found in music?)

Munich, September 1910. Final rehearsal for the world premiere of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony, in the Neue Musik-Festhalle.

It is well known, that great art was many times inspired by great music. So did Mahler’s music inspire artists like Rodin, Kandinsky and most likely plenty others.   “En plus” it was on this day that for the last time in his lifetime a work of Mahler was premiered; his symphony n°8 (which has been used for the final scene of Faust).

But I’m drifting of, so as said above Kandinsky was inspired by his music. It is crucial to understand that modern art has usually been conceived as an art of creative expression. Therefor it is obvious to believe, to think of art as a reflection of the artist’s intentions. Kandinsky call’s for painting to move away from merely representation of objects toward works that arise from the “inner need”. It is the triumph of subjectivity and therefore a loss in objectivity.

“Kandinsky took music as the model how painting might free itself from objective limits and become more expressive” – This is his desire for a “music of painting”. But why? Well, for some centuries music has been the art which has devoted itself not to the reproduction of natural phenomena, but rather to the expression of the artist’s soul.

A painter who finds no satisfaction in mere representation, however artistic, in his longing to express his inner life, cannot but envy the ease with which music, the most non-material of the arts today, achieves this end. He naturally seeks to apply the methods of music to his own art. And from this results the modem desire for rhythm in painting, for mathematical, abstract construction, for repeated notes of color, for setting color in motion. – W. Kandinsky

W. Kandinsky – Composition 7

Auguste Rodin – Gustave Mahler

A totally different view on Mahler , but non the less interesting is his death mask, now obscured and well forgotten, subdued by photography. It’s the art (or rather was) of immortalizing the death

“A death mask is a wax or plaster cast made of a person’s face following death. Death masks may be mementos of the dead, or be used for creation of portraits. It is sometimes possible to identify portraits that have been painted from death masks, because of the characteristic slight distortions of the features caused by the weight of the plaster during the making of the mold. In other cultures a death mask may be a clay or other artifact placed on the face of the deceased before burial rites.  The best known of these are the masks used by ancient Egyptians as part of the mummification process, such as Tutankhamon’s burial mask.”

Gustave Mahler death mask

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He did not belong amongst them.

 

Ben Shahn – WWII

 

Another day, another birthday (what are the odds but it’s definitely worth trying: happy birthday to you if it’s yours as well). – Happy birthday Ben Shahn, you would have been 114 years old (if you do the math correctly you should find out he was born in 1898, unless I made a mistake). You probably can not see this, nor hear this but non the less here’s your gift (Yes I know, it’s a review).

Ben Shahn is most likely not well-known among you (at least not like you know Rothko, Klee..) but I do believe, although controversial, he made a big difference. You should know that his major works are to be situated in the first half of the 20th century. Which means; the era of the avant-garde (Dada, Surrealism, ..) and later on Abstract Expressionism (WWII) when the  major ‘artscape’ moved from Europe to America (because of the harsh regimes in Europe which suppressed all kinds of (artistic) freedom and therefore creativity). This is the time when a lot of painters, musicians, scientist, etc. had to move or rather flee to America or other non occupied regions. So did Ben Shahn.

“He identified himself as a communicative artist and employed pictorial realities instead of Abstract forms “to discover new truths about man and to reaffirm that his life is significant“. “

As my header might already have suggested, his themes and way of representing them were nothing like those used by the avant-garde, Abstract Expressionists. Whose paintings mostly were highly esoteric, abstract figures were used or/and color won over figure. So you won’t be surprised if I told you he challenged these ‘esoteric pretensions’ of art, which he believed disconnect artist’s and their work from the people, their public.

As an alternative Shahn tried to accomplish an intimate and mutually beneficial relationship between artist and public. He identified himself as a communicative artist and employed pictorial realities instead of Abstract forms “to discover new truths about man and to reaffirm that his life is significant“. But this didn’t mean he was a painter of the proletariat. As you can see on the painting below he did not only paint ‘social problems’ and ‘war-based iconography’. The painting ‘Still Music’ kind of reminds me of Miro, the playfulness of the lines and the rather ‘monotone background’. Whilst the second one -Farewell Luck Dragon- reminds of some landscapes Egon Schiele made or even a bit of Paul Klee.

Ben Shahn – Still Music

Jean Miro – Nocturne

Ben Shahn – Farewell Lucky Dragon

Egon Schiele – Landscape at Krumau

Non the less he also made some stark, dark and ‘bloody-shocking’ pictures:

Ben Shahn – Hunger

Or this one, which depicts on a harsh and bloody way the desolation and loneliness of war by showing a lonely, (most likely) dead soldier.

Ben Shahn – Death on the Beach

And my favorite:

Ben Shahn – Fourth of July

I could go on like this for pages, talking about the wonderful photographs, illustrations and murals he made. Narrating his life and so on. Although I believe that I made my point already telling you this painter had a statement of its own and did not follow any major group or stream as most artists in NYC did that time. He kept his own values and expressed humanity in a pictorial and ‘human’ way, although he wasn’t afraid of the color red, in contrary. It is worth saying that his art could be described as being introspective but non the less he often captured his figures engrossed in their own world.

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The rise of Modern Iconoclasm.

Search & Destroy – Mekhitar Garabedian

Invading their personal space, tresspassing the natural habitat. Some people feel the urge to destroy or damage certain artworks, sculptures. Simply beacause they don’t belong in their environment. The modern iconoclasm is what they call it. Although I don’t seem to find the name being very appropriate is it’s connotation is much more severe then what is happening now. Especially compared to the destruction of religious artwork and the fear for idolatry (without mentioning the the destruction of the Buddhas in Afghanistan, but i’m not touching that one.

Let’s keep it nearby; In Ghent there’s a contemporary art exhibit in town. It exists of multiple sculptures, installations situated all over town. Therefor it’s not remarkeble that some of these became the victim of ‘modern iconoclasm’. (The same thing happened at Beaufort – see below). As you can see on the picture above, the letter is ‘R’ (Search & Destroy) is missing. The piece has been removed from the installation and thrown into the water. Why they did this, isn’t surely known. One thing is for sure; they took the message a bit too serious.

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Work In progress (Ghent)

To give some information on the dimension of this project; 220cm x 100cm.  (86inch. x 39.4inch.)

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When I’ll know your soul I paint your eyes.

Jeanne Hebuterne

Let’s admit it. He had good taste, look at her, an astonishingly beautiful young lady, who would become the subject of it’s biggest masterpiece. His name was Amedeo Modigliani‘a crazy italian fuck.’. Whose bohemian life could’ve been seen as a result of many different aspects. First of all it was expected of artists of that time, secondly it was the time where radical philosophies arose, including those of Nietzsche. Eventually it got the man killed at the early age of 36. Even among other bohemians his behavior stood out; he would sometimes strip himself naked at social gatherings, making a scene. He became the epitome of a tragic artist, he became the new Vincent van Gogh.

“(hold sacred all) which can exalt and excite your intelligence… (and) … seek to provoke … and to perpetuate … these fertile stimuli, because they can push the intelligence to its maximum creative power.”

But instead, let’s not talk about the artist, I’d rather tell you about his mistress, goddess, lover and most important subject in Modigliani’s life. I present to you; Jeanne Hébuterne , she was a 19 year old art student when she first met Amedeo, unlike the artist she descended from a conservative bourgeois background. Although her family renounced her affaire with the drunken, poor artist, who had almost no income at all, she decided to move in with him. Their public scene’s became even more renowned than Modigliani’s individual drunken exhibitions.

“When I’ll know your soul, I’ll paint your eyes, and he eventually did. Take a look at these remarkable paintings and notice the eyes.

Amedeo Modigliani – 1918 – MET (NY) – Oil on Canvas. Portrait of Jeanne Hebuterne.

And then all of a sudden this happened.. He painted her eyes. He knew her soul. This touches me in every single way, the gesture by itself embodies beauty and passion. Passion for life, she gave birth to their first child, which she named Jeanne. She got pregnant a second time, but the child would never see daylight… Tragedy and Beauty seem to go hand in hand. The inevitable happened …

Amedeo Modigliani- Jeanne Hebuterne– 1919 – Oil on Canvas

…. on 24 january 1920 Modigliani died, totally distraught, she threw herself out of the fifth-floor apartment window the day after his death, killing herself together with her unborn child

“Devoted companion to the extreme sacrifice – epitath Hebuterne”

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This is Belgium. (Not chocolate)

Michaël Borremans  & Luc Tuymans. 

As i was going through my books this afternoon I couldn’t resist to show and  introduce you to Belgian art. Therefor I chose these two artists who are two of my favorite contemporary painters in Belgium. I love the misty colors, the hard themes, shocking maybe? The light that seems to burst out into the darkness. I also couldn’t stop noticing that there was a certain resemblance when watching both artist’s works. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

The Pendant – 2010 – Oil on canvas – Michaël Borremans 

 Der Diagnostische Blick VII – 1992 – 65,5 x 45,5 cm – oil on canvas – Luc Tuymans 


Luc Tuymans, Panel, 2010, oil on canvas, 92 1/4 x 71 1/2 inches, courtesy David Zwirner, New York.

Michaël Borremans, Trickland, 2002, courtesy Eeno X Gallery, Antwerpen

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Oh dear, I’m addicted.

To be honest, this is becoming an addiction, didn’t know that writing could be so interesting.. The self reflection, reaching people all over the world, wow this is AMAZING.

Anyway, I’m planning to do a review on this really brilliant contemporary artist Brett Amory, if i had a choice I would do it right now, as my fingers are tingling to begin. But … As I’m an art student I’m obliged to study. Which is fun as well.. learning about all these different artists and .. you know. I might believe that i’ve found my calling..

So stay tuned, I’ll be back very SOON.

thanks all for reading and liking my posts,
REALLY APPRECIATE  IT!.

Greetings Olivier.

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