Quasars, Fireflies & Seeds : Chronicle 22

“The power of quasars originates from supermassive black holes that are believed to exist at the core of all galaxies”. You don’t need to know more than this little Wikipedia extract. N. Bouvier writes about one quasar moment (in front of a wave passing under an almost frozen sea). I’d say :

You’re in a quiet time with yourself, contemplating nature – or a good idea. But suddenly you click on something in your head, your idea connects with another one, or with a memory, and here we are : you disappear into yourself. You don’t see, nor hear anything. You’re in your own deep space, hidden without even knowing you’re “not here” : your brain has cut the mooring line. Meandering or Dreamery, it is not – these follow what’s around, like when you traintravel – it’s an inner thing. Quasar. You disappear into yourself. When you “come back”, it’s a weird feeling to reconnect with your life and your duties.

 

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Yesterday I met a man in his sixties, he talked about a book named “The Survival of the Fireflies” (La Survivance des Lucioles). In a way, it’s a whole book extending the idea of “Light a candle, you can’t fight the night”. Fireflies are the humans who sparkle little things in the night. A smile, a picture, a little hoping seed, a way tu stay calm, a curiosity, a helping gesture, a painting, a poem, a silence…

“Disappearance of the fireflies” seems a fact, but I’m interested in Didi-Huberman’s book because he agrees but explores deeper : glow gleam glimmer – what kind of resistance is it? Fireflies disappear maybe because we don’t know how to see them anymore? Maybe there’s a way to “organize the retreat”? Can you become one firefly? When and how?

Google will help you. For example I found this :

The book ends with the violent glare of the police torches and helicopter beams sweeping through the fields of Sangatte, and unseen by them, a Kurdish boy dancing in the wind, “his blanket his only drapery: like an ornament of his dignity and somehow his joy despite everything.” – http://www.laurawaddington.com/article.php?article=48

The “joy despite everything” is like the smiling Sisyphus, right?

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Alice Miller studied the school books of this generation, in Germany, who became the Nazis. It’s now known as the Poisonous Pedagogy – “child-raising approaches that damage a child’s emotional development”. Other poisons has been studied ever since, like the King Baby (when you never say no to a child, he becomes a fool) syndrome :

A King Baby copes with life’s difficulties and trials by refusing to accept them and instead focuses on selfish needs and desires. He doesn’t take responsibility for his actions and is always looking for the next reason to laugh and have fun — no matter what the expense.

It is difficult for a King Baby to move out of this role given the fact that he perceives so many advantages to not needing to worry about life.

In China the “one child policy” lead to what they call “Little Emperor Syndrome“.

Today I do wonder what will become of these one year old kids using tablet computers instead of discovering the world. Some studies show that there shouldn’t be any screen from 0 to 3, a little TV from 3 to 6, and tablets at 6 and after. The main problem seems that some parents are pretty sure it’ll make their kid a genius. In fact, it will probably destroy their empathy and bust their future relationships. Thus : Nazis or Fat Potato Sheeps?

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As a bookseller, I ordered and go a biography of Edouard Manet, the French painter. I know for good that this man’s life and art is important. If you agree that Art’s progress is this question : “What is new here?” – Manet pushed many levers.

I opened it at a random page, and read about Lola de Valence, a painting who triggered a poet’s enthusiasm (Baudelaire) :

Here it is, and 3 possible translations :

Lola de Valence

Entre tant de beautés que partout on peut voir,
Je contemple bien, amis, que le désir balance;
Mais on voit scintiller en Lola de Valence
Le charme inattendu d’un bijou rose et noir.

— Charles Baudelaire

Lola of Valencia

Among such beauties as one can see everywhere
I understand, my friends, that desire hesitates;
But one sees sparkling in Lola of Valencia
The unexpected charm of a black and rose jewel.

On Manet’s Picture “Lola of Valencia”

Amongst the myriad flowers on beauty’s stem
It’s hard to choose. Such crowds there are of them
But Lola burns with unexpected fuel
The radiance of a black and rosy jewel.

Lola De Valence

Friends, though on every side of you you see
Such beauties that desire must hesitate,
In Lola de Valence there scintillate
Strange charms o’ a gem of rose and ebony.

The poem has been a scandal in itself (because of the “black and rosy jewel” sexual ambiguity, and was printed and showed next to the painting). This was a strange painting, like a picture taken in a backstage area of a bit dumpy dancer with strong calves. It was a disturbing sight at this time : the decor, the imperfections of the girl, and of the way he painted – with a kind of freedom, an air of casualness… The poem added enough to create a little scandal…

It’s a movement, to read about this in books and on the web, to try to understand what was new in this work, how Manet… Oh, there’s a good page in English in you want to see more : http://www.manet.org/

 

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Colors of Saul Leiter, #Photographer

Saul Leiter (1923 – 2013) was an American photographer. He worked for fashion magazines and remained unknown until late in his life.

He photographed the streets of New York in color, when everybody considered that black & white was the only serious way to be a photographer. He captures moments, empty quiet seconds, he likes to play with frames, complex reflections, blurry lights. Each photo is charged in mood : heat, melancholy, waiting, thinking, sudden snow magic, thinking, loneliness…

Google his name! Thanks for reading/watching.

 

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Alex Coxville, Canadian painter

Alex Coxville (1920-2013) was a Canadian painter. I like him because of the uncertain mood we often find in his work. It’s troubling but harmlessly. It’s quiet but strange. It’s daily, but like in a dream – notice his use on “there’s no shadow”. And I love his way to choose a funny point of view, hiding things we would like to see…

 

Here are 10 paintings :

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“Museums are dwellings that house only thoughts” – Proust on Rembrandt

“Museums are dwellings that house only thoughts”, wrote Proust in a little essay about Rembrandt, paintings and museums.

You’ll find the book if you need it. Here’s in brief what he says :

People go visit museums (ex : Rembrandt), they see paintings : horses, ladies, a necklace, a window, a light, a tree, etc… Like a list of elements, in line. Then they… notice some links between Rembrandt’s paintings. Textures, common elements, moods, colors he used…

But at one moment Proust says that a walk in a museum is interesting for a thinker only if suddenly he has an idea – which seems a rich one, and would likely engender richer other ones…

 

Tool : What do you think? Should Art be appreciated “as it is”, for pleasure? Or should it be analyzed, to maybe trigger you own ideas? Is it utilitarian? What would it be bad?

 

“…comme une promenade dans un musée n’aura d’intérêt véritable pour un penseur que quand en aura d’un coup jailli une de ces idées qui aussitôt lui paraissent riches et susceptibles d’en engendrer d’autres précieuses”.

Thanks for reading!

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The Last Paintings, Sibelius’ Piano & other Lateral Entrances

If you decide to explore a field, you can take the highway : choose the best selling hits & jewels and study them. Mona Lisa for Da Vinci, The Bolero for Ravel, Citizen Kane for Welles. La Recherche for Proust…

Main entrance…

This morning I read the interview of a pianist who recorded the works of Sibelius for piano – yet this composer is mainly known for his symphonic works.

This year, in France, there’s a new coffee-table book named Le Dernier Tableau (“The Last Painting”). As you can guess : it’s a surprising book. The last painting each painter did before death – is showed and described with interesting developments (Is it premonitory? Is there a new freedom? Do you see silly risks, or dejection?).

You see me coming, right?

An “other” way to study something is to find the lateral doors. Other fields, where the Master is weaker, or more casual. Minor works. Last sparkles (or awkward beginnings).

You could find :

  1. New perspectives on an artist you already know well
  2. A fresher way to enlighten a career you’d like to know more
  3. A preparation for a deeper study
  4. A seek of casualness and peace in front of an impressive artist

 

Who’s your next prey?

 

Have a nice day!

 

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Picture : Cocu Liu

Non Finito : Inchoateness in #Art

There’s a Wikipedia page about sculpture : Non Finito. We could begin with this.

Non finito is a sculpting technique meaning that the work is unfinished. Italian in origin, it literally means “not finished”. Non finito sculptures appear unfinished because the artist only sculpts part of the block, the figure sometimes appearing to be stuck within the block of material.

An unfinished piece of Art can be caused by the death of the artist, obviously, but now it’s also an esthetics purpose. You can imagine many ways of reading it :

  • Showing you a little of the act of creation
  • A failure, fatigue
  • No more money/no more inspiration
  • A refusal to decide it is “done”
  • A way to say it could be improved indefinitely
  • Impossibility to find perfection
  • Something finished or “too beautiful” is exhausting, disagreeable
  • It makes the audience think and wander within the “what could have happened”

 

In some fields, the “never finished” thing is constant : there are, for example, no finished Cathedrals in France. And I should explore it about Orson Welles, for example, who constantly seemed to be away and off with the idea of finishing and editing a movie.

Of course, there are problems with that concept. The “unfinished” thing can make the artist appear as a smart-ass doing is “non finito” thing. If it’s a trend to do this, what’s the point?

“This can be finished later” : some composers (or theater plays writers) constantly work on their stuff, and Proust, the French writer, is well known for his “quillings” : he added and added hundreds of little papers, adding fragments of texts to the existing text, and, as says Wikipedia : Proust died before he was able to complete his revision of the drafts and proofs of the final volumes.

In fact, it’s difficult for an artist to know, therefore to decide, when a piece of art is DONE. Some artists, like the painter Turner, decided to come back to work after a long time, and to put it further. Thus, you can finish is… many times.

Of course, this makes you think about the way it’s done. You can work back on a poem, even on a movie, but it’s harder to do it on an album – I read an interview of Peter Gabriel who was telling that he would love to redo some of his CDs. It can be remixed, remastered, but the record companies would unlikely allow him to change them really.

Mike Oldfield did it with Tubular Bells. He said in an hilarious interview that the original album was full of mistakes and flaws, so he redid it completely with a perfect sound and digital recording. Decades after the 1973 one, the new version was a success, but after a few months, the good old one was back on the shelves…

Tools & Dials :

What about YOUR art? How do you blog? How do you write? When do you know it’s over? Do you ask someone? Do you think about it if you paint?

Thanks for reading!

(So sorry for my bad English)

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Instagram : pleasesoft

 

 

 

 

 

Winslow Homer, American painter

Winslow Homer, American, 1836-1910, “best known for his marine subjects. He is considered one of the foremost painters in 19th-century America and a preeminent figure in American art.”

I saw a painting from Homer in le Musée d’Orsay, in Paris, a long time ago (it’s the first of the works I chose for you). The last one (the reader, at the bottom of this page) was my choice for my Journal, years and years ago…

I’m not a critic, I can’t talk about this guy. I just keep amazed by his… poise, his ease. It’s perfect, elegant, gorgeous, and sometimes even risky (see what he does with silhouettes, with the light, or weird angles…).

Is he well known? If you like him, you’ll find plenty more on Google Images.

In all these, I can… see the Wyeth family coming. The grand-father with his almost mythological America, the father with some dark moods, and the son : the sea, the sense of wind in the seashore… I’ll blog about them very soon.

Thanks for reading!

 

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