Lapis lazuli found on a Medieval woman’s teeth smashes the preconception that illuminated manuscripts were solely the works of monks. Nuns may have been much more involved than is commonly believed, bringing women artists to the fore from much earlier on. A recently published artnet article talks of lapis lazuli and its residue on teeth being due to inhaling during pigment grinding or licking a paint brush during manuscript illumination. Such exciting art decoding in this great read. For me it also reopens the subject of materiality in art, a theme I spent much time researching in the context of my Oxford Art History Studies last year. For those of you interested in going a bit deeper, I am sharing excerpts here. Some forms of early medieval art gave much emphasis on corporeality – quite literally in the case of reliquaries where saintly body parts were enshrined in bejewelled cases of gold and silver. Yet when looking at divine figures in Byzantine icons such as the early Christ Pantocrators, what un-mistakingly signals the divine is less their corporeal representation than the striking materiality – the preciousness of materials used – covering Christ’s body with a mantle of gold and precious […]
Frédéric Amat is a Barcelona-based artist creating striking murals. It was a real treat to encounter them during my recent trip to Barcelona and I must admit they have been hard to shake off my visual memory. Thanks to my dear friend Natalia, I was able to set up a remote interview with Frédéric to shed more light on his inspiration, processes and projects. Reinventingrid: Let’s start with Mur d’Ulls (2011). You installed 1000 ceramic eyeballs onto the facade of Hotel Ohla and these eyeballs are all directed in many different directions. Is this about our society being under street surveillance and the fact that we are watched in many ways without realizing? Is this a theme you are preoccupied with and trying to fight it with art instead of real surveillance cameras? Frédéric Amat: Your commentary about surveillance is very clever, and it is one of the evocations present in this work but not the only one. Back in the days, this building was a department store, then a police station and today it has been converted, again, into a hotel at the junction of two of the busiest streets in Barcelona. My project was to resolve the skin […]
Seeing two Miró tapestries making the news for being restored in record time to make the opening of a focused exhibition in Venice after the Serenissima suffered one of its worst floods in years, reminded me of all the beautiful tapestries I have recently had the privilege to put my eyes on. Perhaps we too often think of tapestries as an antiquated art form, hovering on the walls of darkened galleries, so I am hoping to change your view just a little, after I share a few of my recent art adventures in pictures. But before we get to this beauty…
I flew half way around the world, from California to the French Riviera. Why?? You’d be very right to ask. The weather is just as great, the food a bit better but the same Le Grand Bleu experience awaits. If you must know, I went there because of…soccer! Along the way I explored many museums and countless foundations. One of them is Fondation Carmignac, on the island of Porquerolles. A corporate foundation created in 2000 by Edouard Carmignac, it boasts a colorful contemporary art collection and supports the Photojournalism Award which rewards an investigative reportage each year. Nested on the island of Porquerolles, the vistas are breathtaking. Enjoyed during an artful treasure hunt in the gardens where monumental site-specific sculpture installations are scattered, Mediterranean landscapes also come round from the gallery space, perfectly framed by ribbon windows à la Le Corbusier. I found it impossible to resist the azur of the Mediterranean sky set against the delicate greens of shrubs and pines. Porquerolles being an island, the water theme is omnipresent in both the architecture of the Fondation space and the artworks in the collection. The movie The Big Blue comes to mind often, particularly as the open skylight of […]
What is the difference between Temporary and Contemporary Art? For starter, there is this brilliant quote rightly pointing out that ⅔ of Contemporary is actually Temporary. Both types of art filled the largest part of my summer viewings in Europe while I spent the other part writing about the Art of the Renaissance for my Oxford studies. Quite a cerebral stretch, I tell you, but it got me thinking about the status of the artist in particular and what threat or opportunity Artificial Intelligence can represent for Art.
No wonder Junya Ishigami started with architecture firm SANAA. His architectural projects have a similar organic character you will probably recognized if you’ve read my previous blog post on Grace Farms, CT. Fondation Cartier pour l’ Art Contemporain currently offers an exquisite exhibition of Junya Ishigami’ s preparatory models, which are all works of art in their own right. If you are fascinated by new architecture or simply curious, rush to the exhibition to check it out. All models capture Junya Ishigami’s incessant quest to push back the limits of what is possible to build and how to build it. Yet what strikes me the most is how visually unique each architectural solution appears, as if Ishigami’s style was constantly reinventing itself, feeding off Nature’s infinite plurality of forms and shapes. Let me highlight a few projects to give you a flavor of what is displayed at the Cartier Foundation but if you can, go and check it out for yourself before September 9, 2018.
It’s hard to imagine a world where Claude Monet would need “rehabilitation”. His Impressionist masterpieces are ubiquitous around the world. Nevertheless, his art was somewhat neglected shortly after his death in 1926: the art world then riding a Modern Art wagon of Cubism, Futurism and Suprematism, where lines reigned supreme. Monet’s loose brushstrokes and impressionist blur was as rejected as the neoclassical style he himself fought against. Yet his last works (and the very last above) bear the seeds of another path: the Path to Abstraction, specifically Abstract Expressionism and the New York School. This is the object of a focused exhibition, currently showing at the Musée de l’Orangerie, on until August 20. Due his cataract affliction, Monet’s palette became much heightened in his late years. Dark vivid red and purple, acid yellows and greens, all overwhelmed his compositions, leaving us with a singularly different vision of his much loved Giverny, seen distorted by his cataract eyes. Yet what is also striking at the end of his life is the compositional change: a narrower focus on water reflections covers most of the expanse of any canvas, until the horizon line already raised up and up, fully disappears. I found the […]
His trench coat is thrown on a rudimentary bed surrounded by small shelves filled with plaster figurines; an unfinished bust seats in the central pedestal, looking in the distance. He could be back any moment. “He” is Alberto Giacometti, and the space I am taking you to is his atelier in Paris. It might get crowded when he comes back: the space is tiny (only 23m² / less than 250 square feet) but this was where Giacometti felt comfortable. He never moved to a larger space when success came. In a sense, this is no surprise as you look at his stretched thin sculptures. For maybe, from the small confine of his atelier, he stood a chance to recreate the essence of a person using his sculpture, but also countless drawings of the same repeated motifs, as well as paintings of incredible complexity of line. Searching for truth, Giacometti tirelessly fashioned the heads and bodies of his sculptures, constantly reworking, repeating, reusing the same models who sometimes posed on a kitchen chair (see below) for more than 100 hours in the case of Isaku Yanaihara. His permanent fear of failure made him remove – each time more and more of the […]