Wes Anderson, Edouard Manet and modernity

You remember, I wrote articles about Manet and modernity, here :

In brief : there was a period in Art when artists really stopped hiding it’s a painting. For example, they were not afraid to show the brushstrokes anymore.

Valéry says : some works of Art want you to dream, others want you to THINK.

Today I read an article about Wes Anderson‘s movie Isle of Dogs, which is an animated film.

The author says that there are two types of animated movies :

  1. One tries to mimic natural movements, tries to make us forget what we see is the result of photographies in a row, a “reality effect”.
  2. The other one shows characters as objects or puppets, it brings the audience to the reality of… making. A little cloud of smoke does not hide it’s a little bowl of cotton.

This second “way” (which is Anderson’s way, of course) is exactly the way Manet paints (and after him, the impressionists)… and then…

Another poetry comes from that, you can almost see the animator’s hand. Why do we prefer “this” poetry?

Thanks for reading!

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Many MTWs (Picasso)

Marie-Thérèse Walter was one of Pablo Picasso’s mistress. Today we see her as a Type (young, sweet, sunny, blond, athletic girl), which is incorrect but interesting, if you study Types along the life of the painter.

We all know the Picasso-esque messy faces, sideways-full-faces with eyes all around, with an ear on the forehead et voilà.

Today I chose three ways for MTW : photographies, paintings, and drawings. All of them are very different, though you quickly realize he managed to show something of her on each. Showing the person, her kindness and her curves, her half smile, her strength, her splendid profile and…

…well : see by yourself :

 

Seeds for the mind : what does a painter show? What do we see in Goya “official” royal family portrait? Reality, or what’s inside? Lines, or the painter’s feeling?

What could we do with these questions? In photography, poetry, storytelling.

What is hidden and shows something?

Have a great day!

Tissot, Pollock, Eno, Lovers : Sonic Places & Environments

ONE

It’s a bit strange these days in France : the weather’s like summer. I know it’s pretty common in California to wear tee-shirts in October, but NOT in the North of France. My scarf stays in her drawer, though : it’s hot here.

Yesterday I biked to work, and as it’s October, the sun is already low on the horizon. But the air was weirdly warm – like in August’s mornings.

So this sunday morning we did this : I took Isis the cat and put it outside of the bedroom (because she wants to explore gutters and the roof and we don’t want her to do that), I closed the door, opened the window and we stayed in bed bathing in the sun.

We could hear the outside warm autumnic world : a passing car, a quiet wind, a bird, church’s bells (strangely close, like happy sunny), a crying baby very far and… Isis putting her little cat snout meowing her dramadistress : “I wanna come in I wanna sun with youuu meaowwww”.

Delightful quiet sunny sonic place, all these at the same time : bell, wind, birds, cat, baby… and a little moaning (but it’s a secret where it came from).

 

TWO

For no reason, let’s watch this movement between figuration and abstract. It’s a whole thing to study, but today let’s do it in two paintings, Tissot and Pollock :

 

 

Picasso said that abstract art doesn’t even exist, because if you see green things on the canvas “then the subject is the color green” (which is true, right?).

If Tissot’s painting shows a thoughtful lady, Pollock’s a bit more complicated (it’s made of painting drippings). Nevertheless : you’ll watch Pollock work closer and your eyes will immediately look for something which “makes you think of this”, or “looks like that”.

Then, well, it’s called “Autumn Rhythm“, then your mind, guided by these two words, imagine leaves, or movements, I don’t know.

It’s abstraction BUT your brain wants a track, a clue. Or you watch color’s games. Or you ask yourself about the artist’s intentions

Our intelligence is made of analogies. We want to link what we see WITH what we already know.

Here’s a close-up :

 

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THREE

Musics has many forms, from Bach to MGMT, from Miles Davis to Brahms. But it’s always this :

Music is a combination of notes following time.

So : music progresses, moves forward, it goes. You follow, your brain follows. It’s linked to time. It’s like a line, right? Sing along…

Now here’s Brian Eno, who made normal music (and produced David Bowie and U2), but also what he called sonic places.

The idea is simple : to stop “following time”. So instead of having a path to walk your ears on, you have non-chronological sounds, coming and disappearing, like if you opened a door and were in a place where “sounds happen”.

Not a line anymore, but a place, an environment. Somewhere with “no time” (which is so good at times). There’s a good example with this album : Shutov Assembly :

 

In a way, the sounds of life doesn’t or rarely look like music. They look more like Eno’s music, “places” :

…a baby, the quiet wind, a cat, a bird in the distance, a passing car, the leaves of a tree in the breeze, et la respiration de l’amour…

What about Tissot and Pollock? What if this thinking lady was watching a pile of dead trees, her gaze blurred by souvenirs and melancholy, her gaze like Pollock’s Autumn, curved brown movements in the low angled light of the fall’s sun…

 

Have a nice day!

 

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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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The Art of Unfinished Art

If you explore books, quotes, articles about Art, you always meet the concept of “finished/unfinished“.

And this is what you find :

ONE

A whole lot of “simple” authors who seem to have common sense and think Art is like a normal part of society. They all say that a piece of Art must be finished :

  • “Never show unfinished work.” – R. Buckminster Fuller
  • “Behind unfinished art cries an unfinished artist.” – Terri Guillemets
  • “Finish the work, otherwise an unfinished work will finish you.” ― Amit Kalantri
  • “I know the sag of the unfinished poem. And I know the release of the poem that is finished.” – Mary Oliver

This sounds very good, right? It’s very satisfying. Everything must be finished, otherwise the world goes to chaos…

TWO

Another whole lot of artists, of course, say the contrary. Suddenly it becomes interesting :

  • “I always believed that my work should be unfinished in the sense that I encourage people to add their creativity to it, either conceptually or physically.” – Yoko Ono
  • “When I’m playing, I’m never through. It’s unfinished. I like to find a place to leave for someone else to finish it. That’s where the high comes in.” – Miles Davis
  • “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” – Leonardo da Vinci
  • Put your energy into ‘finishing’ – and you’re missing your next great painting. (J.R. Baldini)
  • In talking about the necessity to finish a thing, we said American painters finish a thing that looks unfinished, and the French, they finish it. I have seen Matisses that were more unfinished and yet more finished than any American painters. Matisse was obviously in a terrific emotion at the time and he was more unfinished than finished. (William Baziotes)
  • I don’t like finished things, because finished is over, dead. (Norbert Bisky)
  • To the impressionist, the work was finished, no matter how casual the execution, when the idea was completely realized on the canvas. (Richard J. Boyle)
  • How do you complete a painting, really? There are paintings by so many different artists that are interesting precisely because they haven’t really been completed. (Peter Doig)

 

Many masterpieces are unfinished : symphonies and cathedrals, Proust “La Recherche”, but most of modernity artists and thinkers know that finishing a work is killing it, it masks the work, the soul…

I found dozens more quotes. Each one could lead to an article…

What do you think?

 

Thanks for reading!

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Cf Non Finito : Inchoateness in Art

 

 

Picasso’s whirlwind

What is your exploration field, today? Japanese cinema, French classical music, British painters of 19th Century, US Civil War?

Picasso for me. There are constant exhibitions around the world, but there’s a big one in the Musée d’Orsay this fall in Paris. As a bookseller, I got the usual shower of new books. I opened one, and the summary stung me.

Mahler, Proust, Marx, I chose these three examples for this article : Jungle Syndrome. Something, in these, is “too much”. Too complex, too rich, too interesting, too big. You pick a leaf, then you have a tree, a forest, a universe. Gasp !

I also realized I had to find my own path : Feeling the air of Waterloo & other oblique explorations…

One explorer’s pleasure – when you want to explore a subject like this – is to gather weapons : documentaries, downloaded images or pdf, books. I ordered some, bought second handed others…

I’m reading the “first little guides”, one of Picasso’s wives biography, and many prefaces and introductions.

I ordered a huge biography, bought a second hand two volumes chronological illustrated book, found other things in my own shelves…

I already feel the fire, “this” fire you all know…

“Towering genius of the century”, “long and prolific career”, what I already know is this : nobody can explain or frame Picasso’s work. Every author talks about paradoxes or multifacets (like for every important artist or writer). Variety and never ending exploration, but with strong themes and structures under. Modern, but based on classics. Childish, but with strong work and maturity. Free, daring and casual, all driven by terrific invention. Revolutionary on many stairs.

So, yes, it’s whirlwindy, immense, impossible to cover. One of the good things is that Pablo Picasso talks and explains a lot about his work, about what he wants

This will be a lovely autumn, right?

Thanks for reading!

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Picasso’s Tools for bloggers!?

Picasso’s Tools for bloggers!?

Nah, not his cans and brushes : Tools for the mind!

Here’s what I did : I picked a great book about Picasso, from Philippe Dagen.

It’s a great book because it’s not about “Picasso’s life”, and it’s not a “catalog of paintings”. He looked for structures, patterns, tools for the mind, and showed how in many aspects Pablo Picasso is a great artist.

I took a pictures of these patterns he detected, and I’ll casually apply them into the blogging activity. You’re free, after this, to apply this toolbox to poetry, teaching, marketing, photography, baking, theater or music composition. Life’s cool, right?

  1. Discover the modern
  2. Express by the primitive
  3. Build until crumbling
  4. Invent some new codes
  5. Hold all styles in one’s hand
  6. Let loom the monsters
  7. Stare at inhumanity
  8. Pit against the present
  9. Never finish

 

These are terribly pleasant injunctions, right? It shows we can build our own roads, windows, tools and door. It shows we can dare, be casual, open, multiple. It shows we can play, have fun, plug things, juxtapose concepts, dance, be fast, and intelligent, and plugged to the now.

Have fun!