The Binomial Tango

This little article is about the fact that between two artists you often choose the “obvious” one, but sometimes you come back to the choice and pick up the other one, because… Let’s see.

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When I was 30 I watched Fellini‘s movies in awe, with a smile, and a question mark above my head. He looked like a clever silly artist, full of exaggerations and weird images, cf Satyricon. And I also watched Antonioni‘s movies, like Eclisse. This guy seemed much more serious, full of clever questions about incommunicability in couples and deep thoughts about the sense of life.

More than 20 years later, I still adore Antonioni and I often watch his movies, but I prefer, by far, Fellini today. I explored his worlds, read a lot about his work, analysis, and interviews, and I realized the… richness of all of it. The baroque, the myths, the fragmented aspects of reality. It’s vast, clever, sensitive…

So, I see the “obvious” choice in many things, today. Because we change and we age, of course, we go deeper. We understand deeper the idea of efforts, which lead to extensive discoveries.

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I have another example with the double-headed Beatles, Paul McCartney and John Lennon. I read a lot about them, I listened and dismantle their music. And of course, I preferred Lennon! He’s stronger, takes more risk, he’s the fool who wrote the Walrus (while McCartney wrote Yesterday). Lennon is spicy, Macca is sweet. Voilà.

But the more you dig, you realize that McCartney is stronger, is a better musician. He wrote Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, which is a splendid masterpiece, very quietly though.

So I always loved Brahms, who is strong, heavy, very Taurus, with earthian symphonies and concertos, and I didn’t like Schubert, whose music is closer to Mozart. But today Schubert’s Great is unreachable. I eventually found out the nuggets, the colors, the subtleties in this…

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The structure here is simple:

We often have choices between similar things. One seems obvious, and we choose this one. But sometimes we reconsider things and we bend over the other one, to find out that its treasures were maybe hidden, too subtle, or complex/difficult. It’s a tango!

What are your examples?

Thanks for reading!

Treating the Fringe

When you work, there are often two parts :

  1. One part you have to deliver – and you’re paid for it. It’s the “main thing”, your job.
  2. There’s another part, where you treat yourself, or where you treat your audience…

 

“you offer them a treat” : what’s that word which is a noun and a verb? What’s that verb which sounds positive and lovely to me, and at the same time which need “well” at times : to treat well…

Question : does “to treat” contain “to treat well”, “to give pleasure”, or not?

 

It’s a two-parts-pattern all creative people know well.

If you’re a teacher and you have to teach a complicated maths lesson for 2 hours, if you’re a director and your job is to make a film to promote a train station, if you order books for a library, etc :

  1. you can do it the normal, proper way
  2. you can do it in a splendid inventive way
  3. you can play a cursor between both

 

This “3.” is interesting. How do you do it?

  1. Do you begin with pleasure and complexity aimed to an intelligent marginal group, THEN you add elements to help others to stay on the road?
  2. Or do you build the average normal job, then hide smart elements to be seen and guessed by the clever fringe?

 

If your fringe becomes too large, you’re elbowing them, good to you, but you lose the next one, who will look at you as a smart arse : not good, right?

On the other side, if you treat yourself with too much subtlety, it becomes a “private pleasure hidden, just for you”. And why not? :

Luxury is insular

 

Overthinking over it – two examples :

I talked with a friend who, in a way, complained that when you work and you add great and complicated elements on purpose, for the pleasure of resolving them (for example, a sequence-shot when you direct a movie), only a few percents of the audience will catch it (moreover : to find where to put the cursor is a mess).

Pablo Picasso explains that when he works on a complicated project for a cubist painting, he has to develop very subtle and complex balances, colors, masses, energies, frames, etc… This, as the core of his Art.
Then he adds little easy elements (like a necklace or a moustache) and then names the painting accordingly. This to… guide or please the unschooled, while the connoisseur will see the real purpose…

 

Thanks for reading! Have a great sunday!

JP

 

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Weird Street Photography : Wall & Lay

ONE

From sensitiveness to intellectual games

This is a movement I like to watch in Arts. And in a way it depends on you.

If you see a photography

  1. do you prefer to feel “Aaaaweeeee!”?
  2. or an eyebrow movement followed by happy inner questions like “Why did he do that, what does that mean, it makes me think about this, etc”?

TWO

In the domain of Street photography I wrote already two articles about Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Photographer & Jeff Wall : Photography for Thinkers, Part 1

“Near Documentary” : he elaborates pictures which “look like” natural but are NOT. He can spend weeks on a single photography.

His pictures seems banal, ordinary, but with a slight feeling of “something’s wrong”, or “maybe fake”, or staged. Is it something you SEE really, or is it because you know this about his work?

Of course, there’s here this old idea than this little weirdness in the only way to really tell something about “reality”.

And this modernity which is that “Art evolves with the movement of thinking about its own limits, frontiers, its own character”.

Therefore you have two camps : real photographers, who show what’s happening in the world (to be witnesses), and staged photographers, who think & invent their images (with artistic or intellectual purposes).

Here are 4 Jeff Wall pics :

THREE

On the other side, I just discovered a “real” street photographer : Géraldine Lay. Who chooses situations and light and places so… carefully, that you’re almost SURE that it’s staged. But it’s not.

Hopper like. A too good to be true meeting. Etc… You keep watching, smiling, wondering…

FOUR

Where, in other maps of your brain, do you like when two opposite ways of working result in the same “result for the audience”?

An interesting braid, right?

Thanks for reading!

Here are 4 Géraldine Lay pics :

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Surprising Reversibilities

– I owe you so much!
– No no no, it’s I who owe you…

 

  1. A therapist takes care of his patient.
  2. Stravinsky or Hindemith were influenced by Bach.
  3. Someone is watching and analyzing a painting.

All these three examples are simple and clear. You can draw the arrow, right?

We thinkers like to go deeper, though. To find nuances, subtleties :

  1. There are many ways of listening, of helping someone…
  2. What are the elements which makes us notice the influence?
  3. What do we seek – and find in Arts? An emotion? Links?

You can spend months on each, reading books. Refining concepts is a bliss, right? Good!

 

Today I study one thing : reversibility. It’s meeting a surprise “the other way around”, and it’s charged with intensity :

  1. A therapist suddenly talks about himself. Instead of listening, he tells his own story. The patient is suddenly captivated. This is a well known trick in this field! Psychotherapists say it gives a stronger link (therefore a power) on a patient. Adding humanity in the bond is a strange and powerful idea…
  2. Many specialists come to a point where they see where is Bach in Hindemith, but also that there is some Hindemith (1895-1963) in Bach (1665-1750). Two centuries before, OK, but you can study this the other way around – even if you think it’s “not OK”. It’s a game for spirits, to study how the now can be seen as an influence for the past.
  3. An Art lover studies a painting, a music, and he realizes it works in the other way : the piece of work moves him, changes him, teaches him, overwhelms him. You explore yourself through another person’s work. You are amazed by unconscious and historical forces at stake. Your skin (or your guts) are activated. Astonishment is a trigger for your brain. Then, maybe, you’re… slaked (and this can be in MANY ways), right?

 

A child comes from a mother, a father. But parents are also transformed by the coming. In the end, the person who is a child gives parents… motherhood and fatherhood.

Mhhh I like that. You feel that I touch something here, oui? Where, in what other examples can you imagine this reversibility process? Business? Couple? Creativity? Ads? Poetry? Where, when it’s obvious “things are going this way”, could you reverse something? Therefore what?

Thanks for reading!

 

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