Category Archives: Lifestyle

The war is over…

Last week I was in Sarajevo and visited an exhibition opening in gallery Duplex 100m2. The exhibition was great, but I caught this corner in a side room, a painting and poster showing Radenko Milak‘s work, and another wall object. It says: “The war is over! Let’s go to Venice.” Somewhat blurry images, which made my thoughts sharp.


Well, is it? And if yes, what war? As Venice Biennale is indeed celebrating world’s differences and joint life ahead (its slogan being “All the world’s future”), I can’t help thinking about all wars that are currently taking place, world’s past and the future that seems more complicated and blurry as never.

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Light and Color!

I spent several days in December in Oslo. You may not believe but first thing that comes to my mind is – light! And then color! And then some more light!

The color was more indoors. Somewhat lazy and unwillingly I went to City Hall, only to discover that it was a real gem. One may say it is kitsch or another that it is too much of national and soc-realistic portrayals of the history and local population; I may say that is was, in today’s abundance of images and reincarnations of power and force – just fresh, unexpected and alive. What you say?

What you have seen here are details from ceilings, walls, doors and interior.

Not so far away another fascinating indoors, Oslo Opera House, designed by Snohetta – and again light:

Although mother nature did its magic and outside are predominantly monochrome colors, human touch did its magic and, as beauty is in the eye of beholder, some of you may appreciate a whole different angle on Scandinavian outdoors:

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Highlights of the Highlights

International art fair “Highlights” in Munich is klein aber fein. It is also very young: established only in 2009 as a joint initiative from several galleries, it still managed to position itself as an important meeting point for true experts in fine and contemporary art. Here one can find icons, ancient Japanese art, contemporary drawings, baroque furniture as well as fine calligraphy from high-end galleries in the region.

I am presenting you my highlights of this year’s Highlights.

Russian malachit vases, Czar workshops in St. Petersburg or Ekaterinenburg, around 1820

Emil Nolde: “Blumen”, around 1930-1935

Ogawa Machiko: “White Vessel with Blue Glass Glaze”, 2009

Corall diamond collier, France, around 1870

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Unexpected!

Art Institute of Chicago is one of these encyclopedic art museums of the world. You have permanent exhibitions that span continents and geographies, centuries and epochs, personalities and schools. I went there the other day expecting a regular museum visit for max. 2 hours or so (so long the concentration keeps, in my case) and left after half a day! I started with newly built part for contemporary art and ended with temporary exhibition on Roy Lichtenstein.

What struck me there were totally unexpected pieces as well as their arrangement. Here are some of personal favourites.

Pablo Picasso, “The Old Guitarist”

Here is an early work from his Blue Period. Not only the monochromatic tones are fascinating here, but also how much psychology and emotions you have in a painting. Picasso wouldn’t be himself if you don’t see another side of the image: what in this perspective seems to be a penniless old musician can also be, if the painting is seen horizontally, a man who is leisurely enjoying his music playing by laying on his side.

 

 

Piet Mondrian, “Farm near Duivendrecht”

Another atypical work: when one says Mondrian, you would think of his abstract and non-representational works. However, they are mainly based on his views on landscapes and when you see this one, representing his native Holland, you also understand why. Flat lines of horizons, vertical drawings for trees and architecture – in the end, not so far away from his cubist experiments.

 

 

Francis Picabia, “Tetes-paysage”

As unexpected as it gets! (Or, in other words, what do you see here?) This is another view of cubism, not the fragmented one, but rather the one that combines many sources of inspiration from classical traditions of Rome and Greece, Renaissance and Neoclassicism. Not only that it is surprising how the profiles and landscapes visually fit together, but there is something in the surrealistic air around it that brings so many interpretations to the painting.

 

 

Rene Magritte, “The Banquet”

Speaking of surrealists, I cannot then forget to bring my all-time-favourite Magritte. This representation is nothing unusual for him, but this image was rather unknown to me from Magritte. The red sun here is really blinding.

 

 

David Hockney, “American Collectors (Fred and Marcia Weisman)”

Also not atypical for Hockney, but I have to mention him here as one of most inventive contemporary artists. What is particularly interesting for this piece is reflection of both characters in totem pole to the right, the sculpture of Henry Moore that the couple possessed: his stiffness and her smile. The coldness between the couple is palpable and stands in direct contradiction with warm Californian light that is surrounding them. (The couple indeed split not so long after the painting has been made.)

 

 

Roberto Matta, “Untitled”

Couple of artists were rather new to me, as Roberto Matta, one of most famous Chilean artists, Wifredo Lam, Cuban painter, or Arshile Gorky, Armenian. To all of them it is common that they have experimented with modernism, surrealism and abstract expressionism, and were strongly influenced with strong art movement in New York.

 

 

Roy Lichtenstein, “Desk Calendar”

Control freak (and project manager) in me absolutely screamed of joy when I saw this one. Yes, very much unexpected and very much me – no unnecessary colors, no explicit messages, just straightforward. I couldn’t help but simply admire it.

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Sarajevo impressions: spikes, mothers and canned beef

I spent recently a beautiful week in Sarajevo. The city was pretty as always (or maybe even prettier): warm, sunny and full of good-mood people. Its artistic articulation took my attention in another area and I have seen rather the opposite.

I have seen the “Spiked” exhibition by young artist Daniel Premec, who is with his 12 aluminum spikes symbolically reflecting on difficulties in Bosnian everyday life but also artistic and cultural one; what all people have to go through in order to stay on the surface.

Daniel Premec, “Spiked”, 2012

I have not seen the photography exhibition “Majke” of two Polish artists, Monika Redzisz i Monika Berežecka, which focused on gender questions, sexual identity, gender equality and stereotypes, feminist ideas, transsexual and intersexual topics. I did see the poster and I found it to be just the right one.

Monika Redzisz i Monika Berežecka, “Matki / Majke”, 2012

… and now a ‘classic’: International Community monument, a over-dimensional canned beef by Nebojsa Seric Shoba, that fed the people of Sarajevo during the war-time. In the meantime, the ‘can’ became one of the favorite landmarks of locals. According to artist, this was a can with “never-confirmed content, expiration date, country of origin, (…) did not have anything better”.

“Monument to the International Community by the grateful citizens of Sarajevo”, 2007

“Monument to the International Community by the grateful citizens of Sarajevo”, 2007

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Cutting-edge

This event also happened few months ago, but as new one is coming up in autumn, I thought that it still worth of putting up some photos here. I am talking about Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei, once a cotton-spinning areal and today an artistic hotspot. More about its history and revival you may find here, but I will just mention that many of Berlin galleries have found its (second) presence here as well as some up-and-coming and already established artists, the most prominent being Neo Rauch. Not only that: British Guardian proclaimed its ‘cutting-edge arts’ as ‘the best of Germany’.

For this spring gallery tour, we were invited by Halle 14, a fantastic exhibition space, which charms with its raw architecture but avant-garde contents. One of its gems is group Famed, which love to play with light installations. Other shots that I made in different exhibition spaces there were the following ones:

Peter Krauskopf, “Landschaften”, 2006-2007

L.C. Armstrong, “Green Vase with Oranges and Skull”, 2005

Markus Uhr, “Marilyn”, 2009

Exhibition comparing Dutch classics of 17th century and contemporary artists, SOR Rusche Collection

One of the buildings in the areal

Areal

Grass rooftop and view over Leipzig

There are regular gallery tours every spring, autumn and winter. More information you may find on their website.

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John Smith

The other day I was in dilemma where to go – I made a choice and it was definitely the right one. I’ve been in a lecture / film screening of John Smith organized by Academy for Fine Arts (Akademie der bildenden Künste) in Munich. The john-smith-name may sound as common as possible, but this evening was it not. Not only that I had chance to see several of highly intriguing, intelligently made  stimulating films, with a slight dose of British humor, it was also  a very *friendly* talk, as with a good friend. You know those people who are always smiling when they are talking? (I am definitely not one of those and, I am afraid, artists are not famous for it either.) John Smith was one of those best persons and, as much as he can enrich you with his artistic expression, he can also inspire you with his personality.

Now about films: we’ve seen “The Girl Chewing Gum”, “The Black Tower”, “Worst Case Scenario”, “unusual Red cardigan”, just to name few. All of them fascinated me through its commonness and portrayals of every day life, but still surprising with unexpected constellations. Whether it is looking at an object from a different angle and seeing a completely different story or superimposing people to happen to be ‘at the same time at the same place’ and creating a ‘catastrophe’ through it, or even reducing the events only to sound and creating a completely different (dramatic?) inner encounter – John Smith is make you think about those banalities and question yourself how banal (or not?) those are in the end. Like with the black tower: where is this mystery tower and how come no one notices it? Moreover, many events and aspects might confuse you and make an impression of being ‘too much’ – but they are nothing but what is really out there, what we really do go through (consciously or not)  and what does remain, in one way or another, in our psyche.

Feel free to discover the rest on your own. For a little preview, just for you, I am appending “The Black Tower” here:

This one of the artists that are part of the exhibition “Image Counter Image” (“Bild gegen Bild”) that has been opened tonight in Haus der Kunst in Munich. The exhibition will be opened until September 16.

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