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 […]
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 […]
I am trying to vary the types of arts the kids and I see…It’s good for the eyes and it helps keeping it all real: too much of the sleek stuff and you get into a snobbish rut. Checking out a few artist communities in the Joshua Tree desert got our eyes on many different forms of assemblage sculptures. Along the way, we talked about recycling materials, living life as an artist, found objects and the loose definition of Art…
Picasso, the artist who changed so much about Art then to bring us the art we know now, may owe it all to seeing a few dusty African masks at the Musée d’Ethnographie du Trocadéro shortly after he arrived in Paris in 1900. I say “may” because in typical Picasso fashion, after declaring this visit showed him the path to painting, he fully rejected any African Art influence later on in his career. Today, Picasso would find it hard disputing the impact of Primitive Art on his oeuvre if he could witness the astonishing work Quai Branly Museum put in documenting their Picasso Primitif exhibition, on show in Paris until July 23rd, 2017. In 1907, Picasso saw African masks as a tool “to help people avoid coming under the influence of spirits…to help them become independent”. Exactly what he was looking for to “exorcise” himself from the artists who came before him. Picasso was about to explore a way to render expressions rather than impressions (been there…) or even pictorial accuracy (done that!).
How come I am about to praise the virtues of exercise, writing as a guest of Rancho La Puerta? I was the kind of girl in high school who would look for any excuse NOT to attend Sports (PE) class, especially when the dreaded 12-min long Cooper Test was on the agenda… So what exactly happened to that girl? Why is she writing a blog about completing her first marathon, age 41, in 4 hours…and 35 seconds? And why is she also checking out Running Retreats at Rancho La Puerta, voted Best Destination Spa in the world for many years running?
Over the last few weeks, it’s all been monumental scale with the works of Yayoi Kusama or Richard Deacon (still showing at SDMART until July 25, 2017 – click the link for more info). Today, let me shrink your world to the size of a netsuke 🙂 Netsuke are very small in size (1-1.5 inch / 2.5- 3.8cm, think smaller than your thumb) and yet they are probably more exquisite in details than anything I have ever seen. Even the world of jewels that I know so well can look static and stiff compared to the movement and life that netsuke convey. During my recent trip to Japan, I visited the Kyoto Seishu Netsuke Art Museum. With netsuke being so small, forget about grand scale architectural landmarks: the word “museum” takes on a very different connotation. I entered the only surviving samurai house in Kyoto, dating from 1820. I stepped back in time, or rather stooped.