Sunday, December 07, 2008
In complete contradiction to this was Cildo Meireles’s work (born half a century after Rothko) which was absolutely stunning to engage with. Most exhibits were playful and at the same time political. For me Meireles managed the balance between politics and poetry beautifully. The rhetoric at no point in time took over the beauty of the form, which sometimes is very difficult especially when the art work is to represent a strong alignment within a highly political issue. It was nice. Inspite of the gallery having stationed public policing volunteers to stop people from taking photographs, I surreptitiously managed to take some snaps as a gesture of my support for the art work.
“We are overcome by anguish at this illogical moment of humanity.”
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Of all the art works the two series of triptychs by the name Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, first done in 1944 and the next done in 1988 were particularly striking to me. They allowed for a certain sense of dualism within repulsion and horror. The three figures (based on the Eumenides—or Furies—in Aeschylus’ Oresteia) are deformed, anthropomorphic creatures with hanging flesh, skinless muscles that sit on platforms and stools as they bare teeth at the observer.
In the first instance the three images come across as creatures filled with rabid rage waiting to tear away from their orange and red environments, but as one observes them for longer the creatures also seem to be writhing in pain, as if being ordered and twisted and contorted to fit within environments and act out a circus before visitors of the art gallery. This feeling of simultaneous fear and pity that the triptych provokes within the observer seemed to be much more valuable to me than some of his other works. Within these two series both being more or less identical I liked the later one but couldn’t help thinking, if it was my architectural education that naively demands a certain aesthetic of colour combination, proportions, finish and frame style.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Friday, July 04, 2008
David Chipperfield the last living specimen of a dying species articulated his practise as being the mediator between the symbolisms existing within the historic narratives and modern architecture. With enquiries of typology, space, form and order that derived their principles from modern architecture but at the same time got integrated with the context of culture and history to configure newer typologies of public and private buildings. He presented his projects as contemporary extensions to the narrative of modern architecture starting with Corbusier, Schinkel and Kahn.
I feel there is something about these modernists that is very inspiring, their sense of hope as they represent every building in the manner of the utopia they establish for the whole world, their constant negotiation with their practise and principles, their urge of constant invention. As if their sense of life stems from architecture, as every environment, every event and just about everything is realized within universal modularity, like the physicist explaining the structure of an atom and a solar system through a single formula...
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Monday, June 30, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
But somehow I couldn’t imagine a similar book on architects. Imagine John Berger the same person with the same analytical and linguistic sophistication writing a book of texts on Corbusier, Wright and Kahn. And I can’t help but cringe in disgust at the thought of it and say with the sourest face “oh god! This is so fucking patronizing man!” (In screechy voice, if you know what I mean)
When I watched Peter Greenway’s Belly of an architect, I realised while I saw the film as extremely hilarious parody of ‘the architect’, one of my friend had seen it as a story of serious struggle that an architect goes through in his life. No doubt I didn’t lose the opportunity of ruining it for him the very next day, but was left with a lot of self doubt after seeing how sad the conversation had rendered both of us. In the coming weeks we watched a movie on Frida Kahlo. I loved the film. My very same friend hated it, and was soon minced and devoured by women, feminist men, artists and accident victims with spinal cord injuries, from my class.
And so our last project is going to be an art installation on architecture!
Thursday, May 22, 2008
The most impressive of all the canvases was the painting that showed a view of La Marseilles’ Habitat (Corbusier) from a forest of maple trees. The hard architecture with defined edges and multi coloured patches being interspersed with the organic splatter of leaves and nature was simply beautiful. Also the painting of the Swamp with coloured flora and fauna merging with coloured atmosphere of fog, mist and smoke, being reflected in waters of the swamp influenced by the colour of the sky and the chemicals that make it, was very good. I think I liked it for the mad colours but beyond that there is no objective reason that I can find.
Over the next three months I and Kostas are planning to make a book of “invisible Cities” within London where, we plan to look at this relation between Surrealism, Language and Subjectivity.
Friday, May 16, 2008
The first sculpture is along the steps guarding the gates of the museum. The sculpture of woman, stead and beast (by August Kiss and Albert Wolf) engaged in a battle for survival is frozen in a moment where the potential difference within the struggle has reached its peak and the very next instance the act of throwing of the spear will determine the outcome. The arm that holds the spear is stretched to its limit and points towards the heart of the beast with a calm composure that promises assurance of the outcome. The scale of the statue is about 1.5 times the life size, which makes it small enough for the observer to be a witness and at the same time big enough to restrict ones role only to that. This statue called ‘the Amazon’ beats most of the Victorian lion riders, golden angels, baby cherubs, grumpy queens, gate keepers etc hands down.
In contrast to this sculpture that bears the wind, rain and snow, the other two are highly prized and protected artefacts separated by level difference and civilizations- ground floor dedicated to the Greek civilization and the first floor to the Egyptian civilization. As one enters the central room on the first floor, which is comparatively dimly lit and has only one artefact- the bust of Nefertiti. Seeing it is like seeing the real queen and feeling her gaze on you, with her chin held high, sharp features, beautiful eyes and the head that bears the weight of the crown. She is encased in a glass box that tends to throw multiple reflections of her from different perspectives, in a manner such that one stops acknowledging it as an artefact but starts referring to it as ‘her’, the ultimate three dimensional Fayum portrait that comes to life and asserts to us that ‘I existed’ and ‘I was beautiful and powerful, behold me’.
The third sculpture is not something which is displayed as impressively as Nefertiti or is poised like the Amazon at the steps. The third is in the central rotunda arranged as one of the ten odd Greek gods of love, hate, sex and whatever that the Greeks worshiped.
One might even miss her, but if you do glance at her and especially her feet, all the images of present day science fiction and media’s portrayal of flight seem rather bland in comparison to this statue of Nike’ the goddess of flight (and victory). Looking straight ahead, her clothes flutter and show us the wind and her legs elevated above the ground by just a few inches, a detail I could never forget in my entire life! And then this piece of marble takes flight! I can only imagine what might be the impact of another such statue of the headless Nike in the Louvre in Paris that is positioned at the end of a long circulation axis and is in a pose that is about to leap and challenge gravity. Never before have I been so excited on seeing sculpture, but these three sirens are simply fabulous. Madly in love with all three.