Sei Shonagon: Things That Arouse a Fond Memory of the Past

4 Feb

Sei Shonagon (c. 966-1017/1025) was a Japanese court lady who wrote poems and lyrical observations on court life. Her most famous literary work is a collection of short texts and poems called “Pillowbook” which she wrote purely for her own amusement before going to sleep, hence the name “Pillowbook”. Perhaps she even kept it under her pillow, who knows. Some chapters, such as those discussing politics, were a bit tedious in my opinion, but others were brilliantly poetic and lyrical, often witty and a tad sarcastic as well. The book was written in 990s and there something so poignant to me in the fact that there was a lady, both witty and intelligent, often cynical, who thought it interesting to write about things happening at court, about the change of seasons, and document her views on many topics, from having a lover to travelling in carriages made of bamboo plants. And now, more than a thousand years later, I have a privilege to read a collection of texts you could rightfully call a diary. Some people even went so far as to say that Shonagon was the first blogger!

Her observations seemed so relatable, even though cultures and time periods divide her life from mine. The book really brings the spirit of the times and I like their way of life; visiting shrines, belief in reincarnation, writing haiku poems and sending elegant letters with tree twigs attached to it, contemplating in beautiful rock (later Zen) gardens, and admiring the moonlight and the stillness of the lakes and the gentle plum trees in spring. If I had ten lives, I wouldn’t mind spending one of them living like that. In today’s hectic and instant society such serenity seems unimaginable to me. Today I wanted to share a fragment of the book titled “Things That Arouse a Fond Memory of the Past”.

Sakai Hoitsu, Lilies and Hydrangeas; Hollyhocks, 1801

Things That Arouse a Fond Memory of the Past

Dried hollyhock. The objects used during the Display of Dolls. To find a piece of deep violet or grape-coloured material that has been pressed between the pages of a notebook.

It is a rainy day and one is feeling bored. To pass the time, one starts looking through some old papers. And then one comes across the letters of a man one used to love.

Last year’s paper fan. A night with a clear moon.

Anne Carson: To feel anything deranges you, To be seen feeling anything strips you naked

2 Feb

A poem by a Canadian poet and a classicist Anne Carson from her work “Red Doc” (2013); a collection of poetry, prose and drama which resumes the story of her novel “Autobiography of Red” from 1998.

Gustav Klimt, Two Studies of a Seated Nude with Long Hair, 1901-02, detail

To feel anything
deranges you. To be seen
feeling anything strips you
naked. In the grip of it
pleasure or pain doesn’t
matter. You think what
will they do what new
power will they acquire if
they see me naked like
this. If they see you
feeling. You have no idea
what. It’s not about them.
To be seen is the penalty.

Sei Shonagon: Things that make one’s heart beat faster…

2 Feb

Sei Shonagon (c. 966-1017/1025) was a Japanese court lady who wrote poems and lyrical observations on court life. Her most famous literary work is a collection of short texts and poems called “Pillowbook” which she wrote purely for her own amusement before going to sleep, hence the name “Pillowbook”. Perhaps she even kept it under her pillow, who knows. Some chapters, such as those discussing politics, were a bit tedious in my opinion, but others were brilliantly poetic and lyrical, often witty and a tad sarcastic as well. The book was written in 990s and there is something so poignant to me in the fact that there was a lady, both witty and intelligent, often cynical, who thought it interesting to write about things happening at court, about the change of seasons, and document her views on many topics, from having a lover to travelling in carriages made of bamboo. And now, more than a thousand years later, I have a privilege to read a collection of texts you could rightfully call a diary. Some people even went so far as to say that Shonagon was the first blogger!

Her observations seemed so relatable, even though cultures and time periods divide her life from mine. The book really brings the spirit of the times and I like their way of life; visiting shrines, belief in reincarnation, writing haiku poems and sending elegant letters with tree twigs attached to it, contemplating in beautiful rock (later Zen) gardens, and admiring the moonlight and the stillness of the lakes and the gentle plum trees in spring. If I had ten lives, I wouldn’t mind spending one of them living like that. In today’s hectic and instant society such serenity seems unimaginable to me. Today I wanted to share a fragment of the book titled “Things That Make One’s Heart Beat Faster”.

Shōson Ohara (Japan, 1877-1945), Sparrows and Plum Blossoms, 1925

Things That Make One’s Heart Beat Faster:
Sparrows feeding their young.
To pass a place where babies are playing.
To sleep in a room where some fine incense has been burnt. To notice that one’s elegant Chinese mirror has become a little cloudy. To see a gentleman stop his carriage before one’s gate and instruct his attendants to announce his arrival. To wash one’s hair, make one’s toilet, and put on scented robes; even if not a soul sees one, these preparations still produce an inner pleasure. It is night and one is expecting a visitor.
Suddenly one is startled by the sound of raindrops, which the wind blows against the shutters.

(Sei Shōnagon, The Pillow Book (枕草子, Makura no Sōshi), Translated by Ivan Morris)

My Inspiration for January 2023

30 Jan

This January dragged passed me so slowly and days fell on their knees, to paraphrase David Bowie’s song “Stay”. It truly seemed never-ending and how glad I am it is gone! Still, despite the cold weather outside, and the general grey and drab mood, this January has given me many sweet, warm and precious moments, many beautiful letters that awoke a smile on my face as bright as the candles burning continuously in my room these cold evenings. The ethereal, dreamy voice of the dreamy and mysterious Hope Sandoval and the neopsychedelic sound of Mazzy Star have kept me awake many a night in January, and I’ve also found myself enjoying Depeche Mode’s 1990 album Violator, in particular the song “World in My Eyes”; how hypnotic! Cactus and desert landscapes from Mazzy Star’s video for the song “Fade Into You” and Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ “Scar Tissue”, Georgia O’Keeffe’s watercolours of canna flower, green hills and starry nights, early 1990s fashion, in particular the floral baby doll dresses and platform shoes from the season four of Beverly Hills 90210, the purple swirls in Klimt’s painting “The Virgin” and the golden rainshower in “Danae”, Diego Rivera’s women weaving, selling flowers or fruit at the market, whimsical illustrations by Florence Harrison, vibrant and sensual art of Olga Costa, beauty and intricacy of William Morris’ prints… I look forward to February because it means that spring will be just around the corner. Oh spring, how my soul aches for you! Come please and shower me in flowers! I already have a vision of what the next month on the blog may be…

“I suppose I shall have to live now.”
(E.M. Forster, A Room with a View)

“I wanna stay inside all day
I want the world to go away
(…)
Yeah, I wish I’d been, I wish I’d been, a teen, teen idle
Wish I’d been a prom queen, fighting for the title
Instead of being sixteen and burning up a bible
Feeling super, super, super suicidal

The wasted years, the wasted youth
The pretty lies, the ugly truth
And the day has come where I have died
Only to find, I’ve come alive”

(Marina and the Diamonds, Teen Idle)

“I want to hold the hand inside you
I want to take the breath that’s true
I look to you, and I see nothing
I look to you to see the truth
You live your life, you go in shadows
You’ll come apart, and you’ll go black
Some kind of night into your darkness
Colors your eyes with what’s not there
Fade into you
Strange you never knew
Fade into you
I think it’s strange you never knew…”
(Mazzy Star, Fade Into You)

Pia Riverola

Hope Sandoval, photo by Andrew Catlin

Mazzy Star (1990), photo by Laura Levine.

Hope Sandoval, photo by Laura Levine.

Saguaro National Park photographed by Bella Nugen.

 

Glowing barrel cacti, Mojave National Preserve, California by Scott Gibson via Flickr https://flic.kr/p/beeUcH

Floral book cover ( Kashmir School, early 19th century), Lacquer painted on papier mâché.

Fireworks, Los Angeles – July 4th, 2020

Instagram: @matthewgrantanson

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Charles Burchfield – January Twilight

27 Jan

“South wind in January; cool and moist – the occasional soft roar of wind in the tree tops; sunlight streaming from out of the white southern horizon, running up the sides of the trees like polished Dutch metal, and lighting up brightly the fences of houses, yearning southward.”

Charles Burchfield, January Twilight, 1962, watercolour

I’m really sick of you – January, can you end already? Can you possibly have less days or even better, never come again? But whilst you are still here, I will use the opportunity to write about this lovely watercolour by Charles Burchfield called “January Twilight” painted in 1962, just five years before the artist’s death in 1967.

Watercolour “January Twilight” shows a motif which we’ve seen often throughout Burchfield’s career; street scene with gloomy Victorian houses, a few trees and perhaps an uninterested passerby. All these watercolours of streetscenes are similar in a way, and still unique and wonderful each in their own right. What differentiates these watercolours is the mood and the weather, in “January Twilight” the weather is wintery; freezing and cold January . The tall and bare tree branches are stretching up towards the sky like the spires of Gothic cathedrals. Burchfield really has a knack of capturing the mood of the moment, they are so many little things that make you truly feel the scene that you are gazing at; the smoke from the chimneys, the snow on the roofs, the bare trees, the color of the sky, everything is so evocative of a winter’s day. Painted nearly entirely in shades of grey and with a few touches of soft yellow, the watercolour is monochromatic yet lively at the same time. Burchfield perfectly captures the pale rays of winter sun suddenly coming from behind the drab houses and illuminating the bare tree branches, wet pavements and piles of snow. I love how Gothic-looking his wooden Victorian houses always appear, almost as if they were real persons, full of dark secrets and tales to tell. One can also notice how much more free, loose and playful his style had become in his later years, less attention is paid to precision and details, and more on capturing the mood. I love the snake-like curves drawn here and there in the snow and I love the touches of yellow, as subtle as they are. One can really get lost in all the details of Burchfield’s dream-likes scenes.

Burchfield’s watercolours, whether they were painted early in his career in the late 1910s or 1920s or near the end of his life in the 1960s, are all characterised by this sense of wonder for the world around him. Burchfield grew up in a small rural town of Salem, Ohio, which offered little diversities and amusement, and in such circumstances one really has to find the beauty in everyday things because a small town doesn’t offer an array of things to escape the boredom from in the way a big city does. In that aspect, a small town can be fruitful for one’s imagination, time passes slower and one pays attention to little things, one has time to stop and smell the roses. I really see this in Burchfield’s art.

Details

Sabina as an Artist (Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being)

25 Jan

“And that’s how I began my first cycle of paintings. I called it Behind the Scenes. Of course, I couldn’t show them to anybody. I’d have been kicked out of the Academy. On the surface, there was always an impeccably realistic world, but underneath, behind the backdrop’s cracked canvas, lurked something different, something mysterious or abstract. After pausing for a moment, she added, On the surface, an intelligible lie; underneath, the unintelligible truth.

Milan Kundera’s novel “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”, written in 1982 and published in 1984, is one of my favourite novels, as many of you probably know by now because I have written about it before. I love the simplicity with which this novel, and other Kundera’s novels, are written. Kundera never writes to fill the paper with words, he never wastes time on unnecessary descriptions and digressions, every sentence is carefully weighed, simple but philosophical and thought-pondering. He never bores the reader like some writers *cough* Balzac *cough* do. He gets to the point and I appreciate it.

The novel is set against the political events of 1968 and it revolves around the lives of four main characters; Tomáš, a surgeon, an intellectual and a womaniser; Tereza, a shy and gentle provincial girl who falls in love with Tomáš and comes to live with him in Prague and marries him, then Sabina; Tomáš’s lover and his best friend who is a painter and is in a self-declared war on kitsch, and Franz, an idealistic, kind yet weak professor from Geneva and Sabina’s lover. Kundera always uses his characters to explore ideas and philosophies so his characters are not just characters. I’ve always had a soft spot for Sabina because she is very free-spirited and because she is a painter, and she also represents the ‘unbearable’ lightness of being from the title, as opposed to Tereza’s view of life as ‘heavy’ burden. Tomáš and Sabina both represent the lightness of life because they take everything as it comes, they are like balloons in the air, flying freely wherever wind takes them, and Tereza is someone who pulls Tomáš down to reality with her heaviness. Tereza is initially jealous of Sabina, for obvious reasons, but eventually they befriend and on one ocassion Tomáš brings Tereza to Sabina’s studio and Sabina tells us something about her art.

As I mentioned above, the novel is set in the sixties and at the time when Sabina was a student the artistic and cultural climate was strict. We know this from real life examples, the life of the Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal, or from literary examples; Kundera’s first novel “The Joke”, published in 1967 but set in the 1950s, where we see how a simple joke against the regime can mean a life in prison or at least ostracism from society for the individual. If Sabina had painted as freely as she wanted perhaps she would have been expelled from university, but these restrictions only served to inspire her creatively and in her works, which of course we don’t see because it is a novel although I wonder what they might look like in Kundera’s mind, she finds ways to beat the system from within. The space in her paintings always shows two worlds, realism and magic meet and live alongside one another on Sabina’s cavases.

Jeanne Hebuterne, Self-Portrait, 1918

This dualism always reminds me of circus or theatre stage, at once vibrant and melancholy, and that is why I chose the picture of red curtains on the stage because they show this divison well; the red velvet curtains separate the real world of the audience from the magical, fanciful world of the stage. Here is what the novel says:

Sabina invited Tereza to her studio, and at last she saw the spacious room andits centerpiece: the large, square, platform-like bed.

I feel awful that you’ve never been here before, said Sabina, as she showed herthe pictures leaning against the wall. She even pulled out an old canvas, of asteelworks under construction, which she had done during her school days, aperiod when the strictest realism had been required of all students (art thatwas not realistic was said to sap the foundations of socialism). In the spiritof the wager of the times, she had tried to be stricter than her teachers andhad painted in a style concealing the brush strokes and closely resembling colorphotography.

Here is a painting I happened to drip red paint on. At first I was terribly upset, but then I started enjoying it. The trickle looked like a crack; it turned the building site into a battered old backdrop, a backdrop with abuilding site painted on it. I began playing with the crack, filling it out, wondering what might be visible behind it. And that’s how I began my first cycle of paintings. I called it Behind the Scenes. Of course, I couldn’t show them to anybody. I’d have been kicked out of the Academy. On the surface, there was always an impeccably realistic world, but underneath, behind the backdrop’s cracked canvas, lurked something different, something mysterious or abstract. After pausing for a moment, she added, On the surface, an intelligible lie; underneath, the unintelligible truth.

(Sabina and Tereza, two women in Tomáš’s life, stills from the film from 1988 which Kundera disliked intensely.)

Tereza listened to her with the remarkable concentration that few professors ever see on the face of a student and began to perceive that all Sabina’s paintings, past and present, did indeed treat the same idea, that they all featured the confluence of two themes, two worlds, that they were all double exposures, so to speak. A landscape showing an old-fashioned table lamp shiningthrough it. An idyllic still life of apples, nuts, and a tiny, candle-lit Christmas tree showing a hand ripping through the canvas.

She felt a rush of admiration for Sabina, and because Sabina treated her as afriend it was an admiration free of fear and suspicion and quickly turned into friendship. She nearly forgot she had come to take photographs. Sabina had to remind her. Tereza finally looked away from the paintings only to see the bed set in the middle of the room like a platform.

Inspiration: Circus, Harlequins, Carnival, Venice

19 Jan

Photo by jerryLYZon flickr.
Piotr Motyka – Editorial – London Issue 424 Showcase Sep 2013 magazine – Production Paradise.
Dreamer by Shiori Matsumoto

Daniel Merriam – Walking on Air

Unguided Tour, 1983, Susan Sontag

Picture found here.

Windows of the World Andre Vicente Goncalves – Venice

Picture found here.

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Syd Barrett’s Favourite Artists and Artworks

6 Jan

January is always a time of sobering up, the hangover after a wild party of colours, vibrancy and magic that is December. I hate that! I want the party to go on perpetually, I don’t want to ‘sober’ up… ever. I want to always be drunk on music, art, poetry, love and beauty. And so this drab, lonely and grey month always passes in a whimsical mood for me because I celebrate Syd Barrett’s birthday every year. Syd Barrett was born on the 6th January 1946. But the celebration doesn’t begin and end on the 6th, oh no, it lingers on and on. I devote myself these days to listening to Pink Floyd’s early work, then Syd’s solo albums, reading one of my ultimate favourites: Julian Palacios’s wonderful book “Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd: Dark Globe”. The book instantly transports me back in time, to some whimsical, groovy, fairy tale-like place which perhaps never even existed, or it did, but only for a moment, like a shooting star. This is a post I originally wrote six years ago to celebrate Syd’s birthday, but I thought I’d repost it today because it’s been six years, come on, and I know there are many new readers now who probably have not read it. Enjoy!

Syd Barrett with his painting, spring 1964

In this post we’ll discuss two of my favourite things in the world; Syd Barrett and art. Despite having achieved fame as a musician, first with Pink Floyd, and then later with two solo-albums, Syd was a painter first and foremost. He attended the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts in London, and continued painting later in life. Let’s take a look at the artists and artworks Syd loved! Syd’s first passion was art. Some even went as far as saying that he was a better painter than a musician. Even David Gilmour said that Syd was talented at art before he did guitar. I’ve seen his paintings, and I wouldn’t agree. What could surpass the beauty that he’s created musically?

All quotes in this post are from the book ‘Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd: Dark Globe’ by Julian Palacios, and so is this one: ‘Waters brought older, upper-class friends round to Barrett’s house after school, among them Andrew Rawlinson and Bob Klose. They found him painting, paint below his easel, newspaper as a drop cloth and brushes on the windowsill. Painting and music ran in tandem, and Barrett was good at both. (…) Barrett sketched, painted and wrote, his output prolific.

syd-80Syd holding one of his paintings.

Syd first attended the Saturday-morning classes at Homerton College, and then started a two-year programme at the Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology in autumn 1962. Along with his enthusiasm and skill at painting, he was good at memorising dates and authors of paintings. Here’s another quote that demonstrates Syd’s painting technique: ‘Syd drew and painted with ease, demonstrating a deft balance between shadow and light. He had a talent for portraits, though his subjects sometimes looked somewhat frozen. Best at quick drawings, Syd had a good feel for abstract art, creating bright canvases in red and blue.‘ It seems to me that Syd would have loved Rothko; an American Abstract-Expressionist artist who painted his canvases in strong colours with spiritual vibe.

Then, in autumn of 1964, Syd came to London to study at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts. The curriculum at Camberwell was more rigorous than what Syd was used to at his previous college of arts: ‘At Camberwell, drawing formed the core curriculum. Tutors put Barrett through his paces working in different mediums and materials.‘ Syd’s art tutor, Christopher Chamberlain was taken with Syd’s tendency to paint in blunt, careless brushstrokes. Later in life, Barrett tended to burn his paintings, ‘psychedelic paintings, vaguely reminiscent of Jackson Pollock‘ because he believed that the point lies in creation and the finished product is unimportant. I can’t understand that at all – my paintings are my children.

Now I’ll be talking about seven artists that are in one way or another connected to Syd Barrett.

1918. Hébuterne by ModiglianiAmedeo Modigliani, Portrait of Jeanne Hébuterne, 1918

Modigliani

Sitting cross-legged in the cellar at Hills Road, Mick Rock was impressed as Syd rolled a joint with quick, nimble had. Nicely stoned, they listened to blues and talked about Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani, until the morning light peeked through the narrow slot windows.

Amedeo Modigliani; whose name itself sounds like a sad hymn of beauty, is perhaps one of the most unsung heroes of the art world. And the story of Amedeo and Jeanne’s love is perhaps the saddest of all. When Modigliani died, she couldn’t bear life without him so she threw herself out of the window, eight months pregnant at the time, oh how engulfed in sadness that January of 1920 must have been. Modigliani painted women, he painted them nude, and he painted their heads with large sad eyes, elongated faces, long necks and sloping shoulders. I think Modigliani expressed melancholy and the fragility of life like no other painter. I can’t tell for sure that Syd loved Modigliani, but since he talked about him, I take it that he was at least interested in the story behind his art. I would really like to hear that conversation between Syd and Rock.

gustav klimt beechwood forestGustav Klimt, Beechwood forest, 1902

Klimt

Appealing to Barrett’s Cantabrigian sensibilities were paintings like Gustav Klimt’s 1903 Beechwood Forest, where dense beech trees blot the sky, each leaf captured in one golden brushstroke.

Smouldering eroticism pervades all of Gustav Klimt’s artworks. Sometimes flamboyant, at other occasions toned down, but always burning in the shadow. In ‘Beechwood Forest’, Klimt paints trees with sensuality and elegance. He always painted landscape as a means of meditation, usually on holidays spent in Litzlberg at Lake Attersee, enjoying the warm, sunny days with his life companion Emilie Flöge. Klimt approached painting landscapes the same way he painted women, with visible sensuality and liveliness. The absence of people in all of his landscapes suggest that Klimt perceived the landscape as a living being, mystical pantheism was always prevalent. The nature, in all its greenness, freshness and mystery, was a beautiful woman for Klimt.

1891. James Ensor, Skeletons Fighting Over a Hanged ManJames Ensor, Skeletons Fighting Over a Hanged Man, 1891

James Ensor

Stephen Pyle recalled that Syd’s main interests were expressionist artist Chaim Soutine and surrealist painters Salvador Dali and James Ensor. Ensor’s surreal party of clowns with skeletons cropped up in his artwork even thirty years later.

Belgian painter James Ensor (1860-1949) was a true innovator of the late 19th century art. He was alone and misunderstood amongst his contemporaries, just like many revolutionary artists are, but he helped in clearing the path for some art movements like Surrealism and Expressions which would turn out to be more popular than Ensor himself. Painting ‘Skeletons Fighting Over a Hanged Man’ is a good example of Ensor’s themes and style of painting: skeletons, puppets, masks and intrigues painted in thick but small brushstrokes, with just a hint of morbidness all found their place in Ensor’s art. There’s no doubt that Barrett was inspired by the twisted whimsicality and playfulness of Ensor’s canvases.

1920. Les Maisons by SoutineChaim Soutine, Les Maisons, 1920

Soutine

Art historian William Shutes noted,Barrett used large single brushstrokes, built up layer by layer, layer over layer, like relief contours.

Chaim Soutine was a wilful eccentric, an Eastern Jew, an introvert who left no diaries and only a few letters. But he left a lot of paintings, mostly landscapes that all present us with his bitter visions of the world. He painted in thick, heavy brushstrokes laden with pain, anger, resentment and loneliness. In ‘Les Maisons’ the houses are crooked, elongated, painted in murky earthy colours. Their mood of alienation and instability is ever present in Soutine’s art. He portrayed his depression and psychological instability very eloquently. Description of Barrett’s style of painting, layers and layers of colour, relief brushstrokes, reminds me very much of the way Soutine painted; in heavy brushstrokes, tormented by pain and longings, as if layering colours could release the burden off of his soul.

Ren? Magritte, The Son of Man, 1964, Restored by Shimon D. Yanowitz, 2009 øðä îàâøéè, áðå ùì àãí, 1964, øñèåøöéä ò"é ùîòåï éðåáéõ, 2009Rene Magritte, The Son of Man, 1964

Rene Magritte

There’s no doubt that, as a Surrealist, Magritte was inspirational to young people in the sixties who were inclined to listening to psychedelic music or had a whimsical imagination. With Barrett, Magritte is mostly associated with his ‘Vegetable Man’ phase, in times when his LSD usage was getting out of control, just prior to being kicked out of band. Magritte is, along with Dali, another Surrealist that appealed to Barrett’s imagination. Belgian artist, Magritte meticulously painted similar, everyday objects like men in suits, clouds, pipes, umbrellas and buildings with strange compositions and shadows. In ‘The Son of Man’, some have suggested that he was dealing with the subject of one’s own identity, and that might be something that appealed to Syd when he appeared in the promotional picture with spring onions tied to his head which is an obvious wink to Magritte, not to mention Acimboldo.

1875. Les Raboteurs de parquet - Gustave CaillebotteGustave Caillebotte, Les Raboteurs de parquet, 1875

Gustave Caillebotte

Lying in bed one morning, he stared at his blanket’s orange and blue stripes and had a flashback to Gustave Caillebotte’s 1875 painting ‘The Wood Floor Planers’, which depicts workers scraping the wood floors of a sunlit room in striated patterns. Inspired, with Storm Thorgenson’s garish orange and red room at Egerton fresh in his mind, he got up, pushed his few belongings into a corner, and sauntered off to fetch paint from the Earl’s Court Road.

This is perhaps Caillebotte’s best legacy – inspiring Syd Barrett to paint his floor in stripes which later ended up gracing his first solo-album, the famously dark and whimsical ‘The Madcap Laughs’, released on 3 January 1970. Like the cover, other pictures taken that spring day in 1969 by Mick Rock and Storm Thorgenson, are all filled with light and have a transcendent mood.

1935-dali-paranoiac-visageDali, Paranoiac Visage, 1935

Dali

I believe none of you are surprised that Dali is on this list. Anyone who is familiar with his art will know that it ties very well with the music of Pink Floyd, and perhaps some other psychedelic bands. There’s no one quite like Dali in the world of art. Art he created, like Surrealism in general, is a visual portrayal of Freud’s ideas of the unconscious, and is based on irrationality, dreams, hallucinations and obsessions. His paintings are mostly hallucinogenic landscapes in the realm of dreams; realistic approach combined with deformed figures and objects which, just like in the art of Giorgio de Chirico, evokes feelings of anxiety in the viewer.

When I like an artist, musician or a writer, I always want to know what inspired them, or what they thought of something that I love. What did Barrett really think of Modigliani, for example? But, some things will forever stay a mystery. Perhaps it’s better that way.

My Favourite Posts of 2022

5 Jan

Each published post is followed by another, and then another, and another, until the earlier ones are forgotten, and I am not really a fan of this. It is a reflection of the fast-paced modern world that we live in, and our constant craving for everything fresh and new, but I like to revisit things and enjoy them even if they’re not fresh-out-of-the-oven.

It is interesting for me to look back upon my year of writing and see which themes have posessed me and which new artists or artworks I have discovered. There are definitely some themes that have fascinated me continually throughout the 2022; Indian themes with poetry of Tagore, and fairy tale illustrations by Warwick Goble and Edmund Dulac, and also a work by a contemporary Indian artist as you will see bellow, festival and lanterns such as Prendergast’s watercolour bellow, watercolours by Georgia O’Keeffe, and not to forget my summer obsession with the Rust Belt which I’ve explored musically through Bruce Springsteen, and also artistically and literally through a collection of essays on the theme, and to crown the year a revisit to one of my favourites; Marc Chagall. So, bellow are twelve posts which I have chosen as my favourites in the last year, it’s either for the beauty of the painting, the whole concept and/or they hold personal significance for me in one way or another.

Maurice Prendergast – Feast of the Redeemer

“Spring lanterns –

colourful reincarnations

of the moon”

(haiku by Isabel Caves, found here.)

Film Saawariya (2007) and Art: Carl Krenek, Maurice Prendergast, Edmund Dulac

I am a dreamer. I know so little of real life that I just can’t help reliving such moments as these in my dreams, for such moments are something I have very rarely experiened.

I am going to dream about you the whole night, the whole week, the whole year.

I feel I know you so well that I couldn’t have known you better if we’d been friends for twenty years. You won’t fail me, will you? Only two minutes, and you’ve made me happy forever. Yes, happy. Who knows, perhaps you’ve reconciled with me, resolved all my doubts.

(…) If and when you fall in love, may you be happy with her. I don’t need to wish her anything, for she’ll be happy with you. May your sky always be clear, may your dear smile always be bright and happy, and may you be forever blessed for that moment of bliss and happiness that you gave to another lonely and grateful heart. Isn’t such a moment sufficient for the whole of one’s life?

Eugène Grasset – La Morphinomane (The Morphine Addict)

“Well it just goes to show
Things are not what they seem
Please, Sister Morphine, turn my nightmares into dreams
Oh, can’t you see I’m fading fast?
And that this shot will be my last…”

(The Rolling Stones, Sister Morphine)

Voyage of Delights: Fragonard – Alcine Finds Ruggiero in His Chamber

“….now that nothing restrains
his ardor he gathers her into his arms to begin
their voyage of delights.”

Charles Burchfield – In a Deserted House and Bruce Springsteen’s Downbound Train

In the moonlight, our wedding house shone
I rushed through the yard
I burst through the front door, my head pounding hard
Up the stairs, I climbed
The room was dark, our bed was empty
Then I heard that long whistle whine
And I dropped to my knees, hung my head, and cried…”

Bruce Springsteen’s Blue-Collar Heroes, the Rust Belt and “My Hometown”

“Now Main Street’s whitewashed windows
And vacant stores
Seems like there ain’t nobody
Wants to come down here no more
They’re closing down the textile mill
Across the railroad tracks
Foreman says, “these jobs are going, boys
And they ain’t coming back
To your hometown
To your hometown
To your hometown
To your hometown…”

(Bruce Springsteen, My Hometown)

Winslow Homer – Sunset Fires

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”

(Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds)

John Constable – Seascape Study with Rain Cloud (Rainstorm over the Sea)

 

Depeche Mode and Caspar David Friedrich: Pleasures Remain So Does the Pain, Words are Meaningless and Forgettable

Vows are spokenTo be brokenFeelings are intenseWords are trivialPleasures remainSo does the painWords are meaninglessAnd forgettable

Arjun Shivaji Jain: Solitude, If I Must Thee Accept

There’s a club if you’d like to goYou could meet somebody who really loves youSo you go and you stand on your ownAnd you leave on your ownAnd you go home and you cryAnd you want to die…

(The Smiths, How Soon is Now)

Georgia O’Keeffe: Canyon with Crows and Other Watercolours

 

“Something in the way she movesAttracts me like no other loverSomething in the way she woos me”

Marc Chagall: Something in the way she moves attracts me like no other lover

Hope you enjoyed this little trip down the 2022 posts memory lane!

My Inspiration for December 2022

31 Dec

This December felt long and days passed as in a dream. From the first to the thirty-first, it feels like a whole novel, a little century of different feelings and sensations. This month I was living in the world of love and Chagall’s paintings and, despite the winter’s coldness, my path was covered with roses, and even the snow that fell felt more like powdered sugar than actual snow. Yellow roses were smiling to me, and the green-grey waters of the river murmured to me that spring is around the corner. I know they were lying to me but it brought me comfort indeed. The mist over the hills felt mysterious and inviting. Southern winds caressed my cheeks. Strange days. Every corner I turn is echoing with memories. Another spring will come soon. I really enjoyed many different fairy tale illustrations this month, mostly by Warwick Goble and Edmund Dulac, but also some others, in particular for the fairy tales The Princess and the Pea and The Frog Prince. Roses and frost, frilly dresses and red kisses, winter castles forgotten under layers of memories and frost, Degas’ pastels, Zinaida Serebriakova’s ballerinas and nudes, colourful houses in Gdansk, gorgeous Marine Vacth with a white parasol and adorable Brooke Shields with a white veil… an overall fairy tale mood.

“The years had gone by like a dream.”

(Isaac Bashevis Singer, The Family Moskat)

“Take me out tonight
Where there’s music and there’s people
And they’re young and alive…”

(The Smiths, There is a light that never goes out)

“You are everything to me. What wouldn’t I want to be for you. I’d like to follow you when you’re dead, look back to see you even if I might be turned into stone.”

(Ingeborg Bachmann, In the Storm of Roses from ‘The Poem for the Reader’, tr. Mark Anderson)

Sai Pallavi and Dhanush

Roseraie du jardin des plantes Paris 1909, autochrome frères Lumière , plaque de verre

九水巷 aka 999999999sx (Chinese) – Evening Pond, 2022, Paintings

九水巷 aka 999999999sx (Chinese) – Evening Pond, 2022, Paintings

Winter garden. by Neera

Gdańsk, Poland by Martyna Damska

Picture found here.

Camille Rowe for Urban Outfitters Shoot – Fashion Gone Rogue

love letter from 1913 that opens up to form an art gallery (x)

Picture found here.

‘Rose’ by Beatrix Potter,  25 September 1896.

Picture found here.

Marine Vatch photographed by Cédric Klapisch for Madame Le Figaro (2011).

New Orleans, Louisiana // Valerie Esparza

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