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 […]
Have you ever wondered how art can affect us all so much in spite of the strange paradox that you can’t touch itt? What seems fair enough for paintings and installations sometimes seems questionable for sculpture, especially bronze sculpture. A gentle touch of skin on bronze would do no harm and go a long way in elevating our perception of the sensuality of the body rendered by a Degas, Rodin or Maillol, amongst so many others. For me, the one sculptor where the “Do Not Touch” sign is irrelevant is Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957). Even though I know I can’t touch a Brancusi sculpture, it does the work for me, it touches ME. But why? and how?
Earlier this summer, I watched the movie Monet and I on the plane back from Europe. The following day, at a routine vision appointment, I was told I had typical California sun damage AND cataract on both eyes. The drama queen in me immediately thought about Monet and how cataract actually plagued his life, altered his perception of colors and pushed him slowly but surely towards the abstraction visible in his Grandes Décorations (1914-1926) at L’Orangerie. But let’s face it, cataract is no big deal nowadays. I won’t need the routine operation for another 10-15 years so what did I do? I got some cool glasses instead. Then I got a nasty inflammation on my sun damage areas and got to wear my cool frames a lot! This made me think about how much I rely on my eyes. And just like that, I was back thinking of Monet.
As a gemologist, I am never shy about my love of jewelry but lately I haven’t written about it as much. While in Paris this summer, the Médusa exhibition at Musée d’Art Moderne hit the spot on my grid, at the junction between art, jewelry and a 3rd dimension that made this visit a highlight of my summer! Ready to make the most of Médusa, I had signed up for a 3-hour conference which turned out to be…a Writing Workshop in French! The exhibition was not just your typical showcase of aesthetically beautiful jewels signed by the big names from the Place Vendôme. Although many of the glamorous suspects were spotted… Instead, Médusa aimed to rock preconceptions about jewelry.
Are you having a hot summer wherever you’re reading this? Then take a Big Splash with me, courtesy of David Hockney. While in Paris, one of my art stops had to be the Pompidou Centre. It had just received pretty much all of the Hockney retrospective held at the Tate in London I had written about back here. Yet with an artist as multi-faceted as David Hockney, Pompidou Centre built on the Tate exhibition to cover even more of the incredible palette of Hockney’s styles, giving me the opportunity to cover a few other “colours” from Hockney’s rainbow.
I see a lot of Art but this was something else – for my eyes and my brain. Civilization Iteration by Chinese artist Xu Zhen questions the extent of novelty in the world at large and the art world specifically. His work shows classical statuary from East and West joined where each singular head would have looked proud and tall as cultural representative of their civilization. Such a “head on / head off” collision is a striking comment on the circular nature of human creativity. Yet, in a world gone global, can civilizations fusing into each other lead to a potential loss of cultural meaning?