Category Archives: Poetry

German-Greek summer

A warm and sunny afternoon was well-spent in Glyptothek in company of Greek and Roman statues.

Roman copy of a Greek original, Apollon, 420 BC

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dOCUMENTA(13): constructively intelligent chaos! (part 2)

First day at dOCUMENTA(13) has been spent in visits to exhibition spaces in Fridericianum and Karlsaue. Second day has started off by visit to documenta-Halle. Built in 1992 by Jan Hoet and with its large walls and spacious halls, it has been a known challenge to most exhibition curators ever since. This year the critics were very positive about the visual fit of artworks in the exhibition space.

For example, we all loved four paintings of Julie Mehretu, an Ethiopian-born artist, famous for her large-scale architectural abstract paintings, where she and her team layer the drawings on several transparent media and combine them together to create a metaphoric story.

Julie Mehretu, “Mogamma (Part 1)”, 2012

An interesting story was waiting for us in another room: Yan Lei had painted intuitively 360 paintings for 360 days of Chinese calendar and all of these mass-media images were found in internet. Some of them were hanging on walls and from ceiling and some of them were racked in storage. During the 100 days of dOCUMENTA, the paintings are serially brought to a nearby car plant and painted over by a monochrome paint and then brought back to the exhibition space. In this way, Yan Lei creates a feeling of ‘finiteness’ in time, but also preserving them by sealing the paintings under the car paint itself.

Yan Lei, “Limited Art Project”, 2011-2012

Nalini Malani used an irregularly shaped storage room to show her video and light installation that reflects on human nature, evil in people and how and why it develops.

Nalini Malani, “Search of Vanished Blood”, 2012

We continued to Neue Gallerie, where we had chance to see an interesting 3D collage by Geoffrey Farmer, showing LIFE magazine cut-outs from 1935-1985. It represents a visual history reflecting American self-identity in past era. Its title is an homage to Walt Whitman famous poem.

Geoffrey Farmer, “Leaves of Grass”, 2012

One can truly appreciate the content and all energy and thoughts of dOCUMENTA only by paying a visit. I have ended mine by Kulturbahnhof and I am aware that many were left in the city of Kassel that I still need to see. Kulturbahnhof, a deserted building of a railway station, impressed me by the open and inviting space, truly amazing in its rawness – perfect place to exhibit contemporary art! William Kentridge was my last stop there: his 5-channel projection and a breathing machine was telling you a story of time, in a high-pitched voice, video and accompanying music. A show that could go on and on and that you could not stop watching – just like dOCUMENTA.

William Kentridge, “The Refusal of Time”, 2012

 

dOCUMENTA(13) will end 16.09.2012.

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dOCUMENTA(13): constructively intelligent chaos! (part 1)

Last weekend I was at dOCUMENTA(13), a large-scale exhibition that takes place every five years in Kassel. It all started in 1955, in order to bring Germany back from the cultural darkness from Nazi regime into the contemporary art evolution of the actual time. Therefore, dOCUMENTA differs from some more commercially popular biennale in the sense that it often works with a concrete theme that comes from the current societal needs and developments.

This time dOCUMENTA is connecting Kassel with Kabul, Alexandria-Cairo and Banff, and the main theme is “Collapse and Recovery”. The show has been curated by well-known Carolyne Christov-Bakargiev (CCB) and it lasts, as usual, for 100 days.

I was moved there with so many of artworks. What counts (in my humble opinion) is the artistic vision / goal / intension and subsequently personally experience and subconscious reaction.

Goshka Macuga, “Of what it is; of what it is not, that it is not”, 2012

This beautiful work is a tapestry, spread around in a semicircle in the rotunda and showing half-true half-fantasy: a destroyed Dar-ul Aman palace in Kabul with people attending banquet in honour of dOCUMENTA(13), superimposed in the image. Other, rather fantasy images, are combined throughout the tapestry.

Mariam Ghani, “A Brief History of Collapses”, 2011-2012

Mariam Ghani, “A Brief History of Collapses”, 2011-2012

Mariam Ghani shows a 2-channel video installation, in which in both of them a female figure goes through the empty spaces: ruined in Kabul and deserted in Kassel. Mariam narrates in the background about the conflicts and history and philosophical symbolism of both. You get the impression that you see and hear a poetry – very sad one.

Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri, “Untitled”, 2008

During her engagement for Sydney Biennale in 2008, CCB got in contact with these artists of aboriginal background. The paintings shown here go back to the traditional painting style of dotting and applying the colour in a special order so that this somewhat psychedelic impression is created.

Robin Khan & La Cooperative Unidad Nacional Mujeres Saharauis, “The Art of Sahrawi Cooking”, 2012

A lot of interesting  works could be seen outdoors, as here in park Karlsaue, but also in different streets and buildings in Kassel. This one is inviting the visitors to go inside the tent.

(to be continued)

dOCUMENTA will end at 16.09.2012.

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S*** on Your Hat

Few months ago I have visited Barcelona. It was a perfectly chaotic weekend with both good and not-so-good experiences, but with some great people (and that is what counts).

On a hot touristy Saturday I had no choice but to hit MACBA and I can’t say I regretted it. The building itself has been designed by Richard Meier and its design is an antidote to the city’s Gaudi/gothic architecture. It is very bright, open, minimalistic and urban and its huge triple-floor ramp-hall reminds me a bit of Centre Pompidue’s.

MACBA, inside out view

At that time, temporary exhibitions involved spanish photographs and contemporary art works, which I did not have much background about I must admit, aside from Antoni Tapies’ works. What I liked a lot were films from Aleksandr Sokurov, a Russian director, who has been awarded with several awards, one of them being Golden Lion in Venice International Film Festival in 2011. I found the monotony in life or Russian solders in “Confession: From the Commander’s Diary” and their confinement and limitness in their activities but also space very strong and thoughts-provoking. However, “Elegy of a Voyage” from 2001 is what really kept me siting there for long time. (Both may be found in e.g. YouTube.) This seems to be an infinite voyage, ‘told’ to us by a nameless narrator, which we can easily identify with and see it from his own eyes: no matter how much dreamlike it may seem and not related to reality, it ends with narrator finding its identity.

Other work, also as video art shown, was Samuel Beckett’s “Not I” from 1972, showing disembodied lips of a woman telling us about dramatic incidents in her life in high-pitched voice. It is very intense for audience, hinting a big trauma and detesting for self – which one does not feel comfortable listening to and seeing.

 

There was another interesting Bruce Naumann there, combining both video and installation, “Shit on Your Hat – Head on a Chair”, from 1990,

Bruce Nauman, “Shit on Your Hat – Head on a Chair”, 1990

as well as Pierre Bismuth’s “Postscript – The Passenger”, from 1996-2010.

Pierre Bismuth, “Postscript – The Passenger”, 1996-2010

Both are being somewhat humorous, tricky and also experimental in interpreting reality and suggesting (and controlling?) the course of events and our perception.

What is left for me to do next time when I am there would be Fundacio Antoni Tapies. This time I can also admire its outer look, work of  Lluís Domènech i Montaner.

Fundacio Antoni Tapies

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Your Hands

Cought up in my own thoughts, plans, to do’s and must do’s of the world, this poem incidentally crossed my way and I had courage to read it (several times), which finally made me to slow down for these few moments at least. I loved it instantly.

 Your Hands
by Pablo Neruda

When your hands go out,
love, toward mine,
what do they bring me flying?
Why did they stop
at my mouth, suddenly,
why do I recognize them
as if then, before,
I had touched them,
as if before they existed
they had passed over
my forehead, my waist?

Their softness came
flying over time,
over the sea, over the smoke,
over the spring,
and when you placed
your hands on my chest,
I recognized those golden
dove wings,
I recognized that clay
and that color of wheat.

All the years of my life
I walked around looking for them.
I went up the stairs,
I crossed the roads,
trains carried me,
waters brought me,
and in the skin of the grapes
I thought I touched you.
The wood suddenly
brought me your touch,
the almond announced to me
your secret softness,
until your hands
closed on my chest
and there like two wings
they ended their journey.

 

(Translation found here.)

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