Posts Tagged ‘art’

USA Roadtrip – Canyon de Chelly

Like Grand Canyon West, Canyon de Chelly is an Indian reserve, Navajo in fact. Perched on the cliffs, the view over a striking heart of green will take you aback. Quite an oasis! Yet, Chelly witnessed violent massacres by the pioneers in the past. Tribes still live in the valley, cultivating crops in the summer. From atop, you will glimpse galloping horses, the whinnying echoing up to you… Take a little time to talk to the local artists to learn more about the symbols in the petroglyphs!

Canyon de Chelly

The rest of this USA roadtrip this way!

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Singapore – Art and Science Museum

A familiar silhouette on the modern skyline of the city, a spectacular bloom, also nicknamed the welcoming hand of Singapore. Created by Moshe Safdie, it shelters their museum of art and science, a peaceful haven, almost zen, where visitors instinctively walk softly and whisper. Each petal was conceived to filter the light from high, diffusing it in a soothing not blinding way, as if it were a surreal mist coming from the top window, rolling down the curved walls towards you.

But look closely at the structure, its core is hollow, the rain allowed to slide down, take speed and fall as a waterfall into the centre of a pond filled with sculptural lilies…

A superb retrospective of Annie Leibovitz’s work is shown until Oct 19th 2014. 150 pictures of a touching sincerity, inspiring.

ArtScience Museum
10 Bayfront Avenue
Singapore 018956

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Tate Modern – Henri Matisse, the cut-outs

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
Tate Modern
Bankside
London SE1 9TG

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Amsterdam – Rijksmuseum

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.

Rijksmuseum
Museumstraat 1
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!
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Dale Chihuly: Beyond the Object

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
Halcyon Gallery
144-146 New Bond Street
London W1S 2PF

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Paris – Noces Végétales by Tzuri Gueta at the Jardin des plantes

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
75005 Paris

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Nice – Chagall museum

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
06000 Nice

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Turin – Villa della Regina

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
Turin

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Turin – Palazzo Madama

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.

Palazzo Madama
Piazza Castello
10122 Torino

Pssst – get a Torino+Piemonte card to get free access to 160 sites, including Palazzo Madama and the Egyptian Museum.

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Turin – Egyptian museum

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
10123 Turin

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