Posts Tagged ‘art’
In Matisse’s work, I see Tahiti. The vibrant colours. The ferns, the corals. The hibiscus blooms. The tifaifais, the local patchworks.
This is what I expected from the new exhibition opening at the Tate, one of the largest ever dedicated to the artist. I discovered a different artist in the process. When his health problems stopped him from painting, he became a sculptor. Not of stone, but of paper, cutting straight into it, scissors becoming an extension of his soul as the brush had been before. He could reposition the shapes on the canvas, trying different angles. You read about it beforehand but it only really makes sense when you see it.
Henri Matisse, the cut-outs is like glancing though the looking glass. Step closer – you’ll notice how the shapes are collaged, the meandering charcoal lines, the experimentation. Experts, when analysing Acanthuses, have counted no less than one thousand pin holes… On others, you can imagine a spiral, a grid to better grasp the architecture he had in mind.
A few more things that I held dear… The stained windows he made for the Vence chapel, glass not being a material I associate with Matisse, how the idea consumed him for a while. Oceania, a piece that started randomly, simply by not willing to discard a shape, putting it on the wall to hide an annoying default. Being inspired, transforming the whole room by adding corals, leaves, birds. And of course, the absolute must-see, the four blue nudes, reunited for the very first time. These voluptuous female silhouettes have a Picasso side to me, a de-constructed geometry carefully reinvented.
If you are not familiar with the artist’s work, this is probably a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see 130 pieces at once, fully absorbing his art (which you really should follow by a visit to the Matisse museum in Nice to fully grasp the colours, so very different in the light of the south of France, where they originated). If you already admire him, you will learn so much more about this techniques, be touched by his slight hesitations, his repositioning… This makes him curiously more human.
Henri Matisse, the cut-outs
Until September 7th 2014
London SE1 9TG
So you thought the Victoria and Albert Museum, in London, to have the most admirable architecture, unique, even? I did. And yet the Rijksmuseum, in Amsterdam, exceeds all expectations. More grandeur, minute mosaics and murals, arches framing the masterpieces… The whole building was recently renovated, reopening to the public in April 2013, so you are seeing it as its best. You could call it a cathedral of arts, really – stained windows included.
The collections present 800 years of Dutch history. It could sound rather dull, especially if you are not so much into classical museums. It’s not. There is an endearing parallel between artefacts and historical paintings that make them come alive differently, mean something to you. You’ll find the greatest Flemish painters here too – Rembrandt, Vermeer… Such exceptional finesse, admirable. You do not need to know anything about their techniques or life to enjoy them either. It’s easy to get very absorbed looking at them, noticing the details.
The comparison will seem daring, I know but… remember the first Harry Potter movie? Hogwarts? How the characters in the paintings move from one to another? This is what I expected here. Vibrant. Such touching gazes too. I would not have been surprised in the least if one of them had started a conversation. And if you love fashion, oh, this is so rich! The lace on a dress or a sleeve, the spears on a shoe, the texture of a fabric… You can also see, at the moment, a more modern creation, the Lotus Dome, made of aluminium flowers, fragile petals reacting to visitors’ movements.
1071 XX Amsterdam
A tip: the Amsterdam Citycard offering free public transport (inclusing a canal boat tour!) and free or discounted entry to many museums… gives you 2.50€ off the entry fee. And this one is a must see!
Dale Chihuly, glass-whisperer, should I say. You already know this artist for his chandelier extraordinaire in the V&A entrance, sprawling, alive, mastering the cupola entirely. His work is designed to bloom in botanical gardens, Victorian style conservatories, unroll in landscapes, appear and reflect on mirror-like ponds, compete with the most exotic flowers. The Halcyon Gallery presents his latest masterpieces, Beyond the Object. On the ground floor are some of his signatures, bright petals, transparency playing curved reflections on the walls, intricate octopi, fierce glass flames.
But go down the stairs, and wow, what a different universe entirely, words swiped away. Between Lovecraftian jungles, complex water lilies, dangerous beauties, vibrant, tantalising, daring you to touch them, ready to absorb you into their world… and mysterious ocean flora, anemones, clams, corals, which you expect to start moving any second. They belong somewhere extraordinary. Others are deliciously erotic, female. Do take the time to appreciate the architecture of each creation, the waves, the multitude of patterns on a single piece… Such power embodied in a fragile material…
Dale Chihuly: Beyond the Object Until April 05, 2014 – free
144-146 New Bond Street
London W1S 2PF
For this exhibition, the Jardin des Plantes conservatories become a jewel case, framed with metal, glass, emerald flora. Shhh, don’t move, just observe, as if you were expecting a fabulous bird or butterfly. Let your gaze get used to the vibrant green, look out for white. Now step closer, see these amazing, almost iridescent liana? These are made from silicone lace and seem to curl and unroll here and there. They remind me of crystals, shells, corals, coconuts, sometimes all mixed at once. Marine, botanical, feminine, rain of diamond pearls - it will take several strolls to find them all, sometimes floating, hidden under a leaf, blooming silently. Gorgeous art work by Tzuri Gueta.
Noces Végétales - Until Feb 02, 2014
Grandes Serres du Jardin des Plantes
57 rue Cuvier
Dreamy rêverie – what a splendid way to descrive Chagall’s work. From a distance, his lines sometimes have a childish quality, but look a few seconds more and the vibrant hues will completely absorb you. Picasso used to say that once Matisse died, Chagall would be the only artist left to fully understand colours. He seemed to almost sculpt with these tints, give the drawings an improbable, though meticulously calculated geometry. If you are in Nice, do take the opportunity to see some of his pieces under the light that inspired him – it makes such a difference. The museum presents 250 paintings given by the genius himself, mostly on his biblical message. Don’t miss the Matisse museum either, only a 30 minute walk from there.
Musée Marc Chagall
Avenue Docteur Ménard
The heart of Turin might be flat but cross the river Pô and you’ll find a more hilly landscape. A pleasant walk up the slope will take you to one of the many palazzi of the region (we loved Palazzo Madama if you had to choose only one), the Villa della Regina. Originally a royal vineyard, in the 17th century Cardinal Maurice decided it would be ideal for a summer residence too, a lovely way to escape the heat of the centre. And so the Savoy family lived there, duchesses, princesses, even Queens until the 19th century. The palace was recently renovated and has reopened to the public. Such an appeasing silence in the gardens with splendid views on Turin. The rooms inside are lusciously decorated, rich painting, gorgeous optical illusions that really get you wondering, chinoiseries… Before you leave, do have a look at the vineyard coming back to life. It now produces a cheerful Freisa di chieri that will make you want to dance!
Villa della Regina
Strada S. Margherita, 79
Such a fascinating building right in the very heart of Turin. Two completely different façades: On one side an austere, defensive castle, its original vocation. On the other a palace, splendid, impressive, complex architecture from the very moment you step in. It’s only in the 17th century that the building will earn its actual name. Under the Savoy family (or shall I say empire?), Christine of France and Maria Giovanna Battista dedicate it to arts. Today, it shelters the Antiques Museum and traces the history and rich culture of the city.
Such an interesting walk through time, each floor its atmosphere. The basement still shows the Roman foundations as well as intricate medieval stone friezes, a room filled with china (more like a treasure chest of magical finds, including more than a hundred veilleuse, showing Turin’s love for coffee). From there, you can wander to the moats, turned into the most adorable garden. makes you feel, like the princesses back in the day, to sit there all afternoon with a book…
Ground floor – have a look at Middle Ages art. Rounder lines, draped robes, gazes that almost trace a story from a painting to another. First floor… Well I wish I could tell you about the collections but the truth is the baroque ceilings are so luxurious you walk from one room to another looking up, completely oblivious to the rest. So many illusions, decadent paintings, sculpture, gold, superposition! The second floor, pause on decorative arts with a special mention for the refined lace.
Bonus, go to the top of the tower to enjoy the skyline.
Did you know that the second most beautiful Egyptian collection in the world after Cairo is actually in Turin? Sorry Paris and the Louvre! Three floors to be explored, a walk through Ancient Egypt beautifully lit in sand-ivory shades. You will marvel at carefully wrapped mummies (including cats and dogs) and gilded sarcophagi, of course. Fascinating and rare variations of a single object, hieroglyphics even, highlighting the evolution of a line, a fashion, the influence of Roman and Greek culture on this civilisation and their deities. I was really touched by the curved faces, how paint could have travelled through centuries yet still vibrant and only slightly scaled, making the Kohl-line gazes so very intense. And that last room: All mirrored, ominous, giant gods of stone on each side looking down at you, imposing. You will naturally slow down your pace, try to walk as silently as possible, feeling as if you had indeed entered a temple… A lasting memory of everlasting memories.
Museo Egizio / Egyptian Museum
V. Accademia delle Scienze, 6
Pssst – get a Torino+Piemonte card to get free access to 160 sites, including the Egyptian Museum.
Ah, the luxury of stepping in to the V&A after hours, when the tourist crowd has faded away! Invited by Pond’s Institute, I could not resist stopping to enjoy their velvety, slightly rose-fragranced creams. A new one has just joined the family: Natural Beauty which uses green tea anti-oxidants to richly nurture the skin. A delight. Imagine the evening, the museum’s long hall, its white marble statues as if paused in movement and about to start conversing again, the perfect acoustics, the dance of champagne glasses with a few drops of Monin grenadine to create a marvellous palette of pink hues, the theatrical shadows all around…
Caroline Neville and Laura Whitmore were representing the brand and introduced the Pearls exhibition. Same timeless elegance shared by these fashion icons, you see. The passing through generations – whether a string of pearls or a beauty ritual like the cold cream one. And both bring a smile, make you absolutely radiant.
And so we all marvelled at how a pearl is born, a mere impurity, a grain of sand sometimes transformed by a shell into a treasure. White, ivory, grey, black, green, blue, pink, even golden. Smooth and round, imperfect, always novel, tiny like a mere sparkle or amazing in size. Sweetly held on a single string, wise and neat or married with malachite, sapphires, diamonds or why not embroidered on a watch, on a dress? A thousand ways to wear them, discreetly or extravagantly. In each, such character, a story of its own, a magic defying time.
Be warned, this exhibition will force you to stop at the best jeweller around. Harrods is nearby. Just saying. To be seen again and again though, such beauty in each jewel…
Until January 19, 2014
London SW7 2RL
Ceramic is often thought as flat, dull, linear. It just takes the magic of ARt Workshops to discover what a beautiful tactile feeling it can bring, the paste drying on the fingers, the skin a sculpture in itself, how soothing and therapeutic it can be. There is a whole world you had no idea about. How liquid clay will transform simple pods, seeds, doilies even into the most fascinating ivory flora. Once draped, they seem to have a life of their own, the weight modifying the structures, the drops freezing suddenly, angles sharpened, recreating itself entirely. And of course, part of the adventure is not knowing how it will end up, always the guarantee of being in awe of the final result. A subtile interaction between you and it. Looking at it when drying, the mind imagines a fabulous catch in a sea worthy of Jules Vernes…
Behind this sparkling experience is Adrienne, artist and muse. Her soft ballet around the room makes this working space as reassuring as a home. A few words, always the right ones, with a particular warmth to them, make you feel everything is possible, that yes, you have talent, that you can create the most unique piece, pushing the tools and colours your way, comforting you in any direction you want to take, adding her experience to it. You can’t get wrong: you can only be creative. She will, indeed, convince you that beauty is at your fingertips…