Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Dior, I Can Sew!

Here is a message for the attention of the Maison Dior: I am very patient and I know how to sew. I do not mind hand sewing for hours for art's sake. Please hire me!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Capturing Light

Born in 1815, Julia Margaret Cameron had a fairly short artistic career (a total of 11 years) during which she undoubtedly succeeded in producing striking photographic portraits of celebrities or her time and of members of her household. Birth or adoptive mother of at least 11 children, her motherly sensibility shows in her work which includes more than 200 photographs of children. Inspired by themes and stories dear to Pre-raphaelites, she often presented her subjects in contexts referencing directly to literature.

Looking at her portraits is a reminder that photography is a matter of a capture of light, just as fleeting as is our appearance, our identity, our lives. In this citation, found here, she beautifully expresses her photographic ambitions :

"What is focus - & who has a right to say what focus is the legitimate focus - My Aspirations are to ennoble Photography and to secure for it the character and uses of High Art by combining the real and Ideal and sacrificing nothing of the Truth by all possible devotion to Poetry and beauty."
— Letter from Julia Margaret Cameron to John Herschel, December 31th 1864

Julia Margaret Cameron, 'Julia Jackson', albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative, 1867
(A little note about this first portrait: it is the one Cameron's niece, who later became mother of the famous writer Virginia Woolf...)
Julia Margaret Cameron, 'Mary Hillier, Elizabeth and Kate Kuhn', albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative, 1864.
Julia Margaret Cameron, 'Temperance', albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative, 1864
Julia Margaret Cameron, 'Florence Fisher', albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative, 1872
Julia Margaret Cameron, 'The Angel at the Sepulchre', albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative, 1866
Julia Margaret Cameron, 'Floss and Iolande', albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative, 1864
Julia Margaret Cameron, 'Maud', albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative, 1875.
Julia Margaret Cameron, 'Pomona', albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative, 1872.
Julia Margaret Cameron, 'Sir John Herschel', albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative, 1867.
Julia Margaret Cameron, 'The Kiss of Peace', albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative, 1869.
Julia Margaret Cameron, 'The Whisper of the Muse', albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative, 1865.

For a description of several photographs, I invite you to visit V&A

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Marvelous machines

Of all desserts, I love my mother's apple crumble (you can see my interpretation of this recipe here). If left alone with this divine dish, I may devour it completely in less time then it takes to peel all the apples. To me, taking some time to prepare the fruits is a mental process enhancing the anticipation and the tasting of the crumble, so until recently, I did not know there was a device such as an apple peeler. If I would not use a modern version, I must admit I love the looks of the vintage ones, with their intertwined gears and their beautiful ironwork... 

Apple peeler
Sinclair Scoot apple peeler

Goodell apple peeler

Saturday, 19 November 2011

A Mystery of Similarities and Contrasts

Searching for something absolutely different, I happened to find a 17th century painting called The Cholmondeley Ladies and since then, often do my eyes meet theirs, victim of a mysterious attraction. 















The Cholmondeley Ladies, circa 1600-10, Oil on wood, 886 x 1723 mm, 


I have been immediately enchanted by the composition, a play of similarities and contrasts: the repetition of the women, only identical at first glance, the reduced color pallet enhancing the contrasts and the abundance of details surrounding the faces of the models against the simple background. The ladies, presented not only in the same position, but in the same bed, were disturbing me, leaving me wondering who their were and why they were represented in this strange way. 

The little information I found about this painting made it even more disturbing. According to the Tate Collection, the anonymous painter left an inscription in the bottom left corner of the painting: "Two Ladies of the Cholmondeley Family, Who were born the same day, Married the same day, And Brought to bed (gave birth) the same day" 


Isn't it inspiring?



Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Clashing

In an abundance of clashing colors and patterns, Yinka Shonubare MBE's headless mannequins are screaming for attention, yelling tales about past and present cultural exchanges, whether they were wanted or not. Very strongly inspired by fashion and art's history, the installations successfully combine classicism and originality, violence and a humorous side (just notice the fans on the lady with pugs' dress...). And I just love how the titles complement his art pieces...











(If you are as curious as I am, you may wonder why there is an MBE after his name. On his website, I learnt that in 2004, he became a Member of the "Most Excellent Order of the British Empire", title he decided to add to his name)  

Souvenirs

I once read about the work of Karim Nader, a neurologist who said that every time we think about a memory, we modify it slightly according to context in which we remember it and the interpretation that is then done. This would imply that with time, memories are becoming less and less objective, but more linked with who we are. His work inspired, among others, the wonderful movie The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.


With this in mind, the work of Irina Werning in Back to the Future is particularly interesting. The photographer from Buenos Aires invited her models to recreate one of their childhood pictures, revisiting the memory and creating a new one out of it, one very strongly linked with who their were at the moment when their image has been recaptured...

Irina Werning, Back to the Future, Flor Male and Sil in 1983 & 2010


Irina Werning, Back to the Future, Cecile in 1987 & 2010


Irina Werning, Back to the Future, Flor in 1975 & 2010


Irina Werning, Back to the Future, Lali in 1978 & 2010


Irina Werning, Back to the Future, Nico in 1990 & 2010


Irina Werning, Back to the Future, Oscar in 1978 & 2010

Irina Werning, Back to the Future II, Carli in 1990 & 2010 

 
Irina Werning, Back to the Future II, Carol in 1960 & 2011


Irina Werning, Back to the Future II, Devoto brothers in 1990 & 2011


Irina Werning, Back to the Future, Maria Jose in 1983 & 2011

Irina Werning, Back to the Future II, Evan in 1957 & 2010

Irina Werning says that she discovered she had an obsessive side during the production of these picture: it paid off, since the results are very impressive. For more pictures, I invite you to visit her website.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Pain and inertia

First I fell in love with the song, then with the video. Adele's Rolling in the Deep as been playing in my studio for weeks now, and still I am not tired of hearing it, even less of seeing its visual version.

Surrounded by plastic sheets suggesting suffocation, in a vast but almost empty room, the singer is seated throughout the whole video, while the camera going forward and backward enhances the feeling of an emotional inertia. Embedded between these sequences are so many of evocations of a persistent pain: the endlessly broken porcelain, the propagation of tremors in thousands of glasses, the burning buildings...

And those who know me a little more will smile when I say, once more, how sensitive I am to a great use of white in a piece of art...


Rolling In The Deep-Adele on Vimeo.