Friday, April 23, 2010

" NON ! "

How to say no with a smile -
in the interest of keeping the passage clear.

It's time for a getaway ...

Bon weekend !

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Building Cathedrals

Lavished with ornament from one of the most elaborate decorative vocabularies ever created,
this Caterpillar is a beautiful Gothic machine. Heads turn quizzically  in the museum where it is displayed next to a 15th century maquette of the Saint Maclou Church,

 its nearby neighbor in the streets of Rouen.

This is a maquette of a monumental piece - small but still spectacular,
 at home in this Gothic city. It was created by Wim Delvoye, Flemish artist and spiritual descendant of Brueghel, who has a way - often jarring or disturbingly mocking - of transforming  objects emblematic of the modern world into the registers of traditional art or craft. Here a playful spirit hints at very different ideas of construction, 

and the varying aspirations and values applied to techniques of two ages so very far a part.

It is worth the time to take the time for these concentrated considerations

where standardized meets decorative
  with a good dash of humor. 

Wim Delvoye is exhibiting now at the Musée Rodin

Monday, April 12, 2010

Smoke and mirrors

photo Elle Décoration

It's all done with mirrors - or is it? It's all done with mirrors, maybe. These days, it would seem we are content to hang a mirror on the wall 
or in more adventurous moments, a grouping of mirrors.

True, it maybe an exceptional mirror like this one by Hubert le Gall. 
Any well placed mirror can add another dimension 
to an interior; I'm not belittling the lone mirror.  

Going through my treasured documents, I notice that there was an outburst of reflective creativity not so long ago. In its glory days in the 30s and 40s, mirrored glass was called into service in inventive ways to make up a more decisive part of a room's décor. I don't mean the all out display where the mirror is the entire flashing statement - no, not spectacular Versailles, nor full blown glitzy Hollywood style- but there was originality in the approach to the material that attempted to make its sparkle and beguiling presence interact more with a room. These are some of the examples I've found.

Drian's outstanding painted mirrors surrounded the dining room in the home of Couturier Molyneux.

photo Buffotot

 Narrow bands of mirrors curve out on either side of one large  panel creating facets to reflect the lighting hidden in stucco vases. The color seems to be out of balance in this room by Raval. Is it the photograph? I'd like to replace the not so vibrantly colored hyacynths with geometric ebony sculpture.

More painted effects this time from Félix Davin. I imagine that from the vantage point of the table that the
false oeil de boeuf would be completely filled in with a reflection of the real window facing it.

Beistegui's Venetian glass and Napoleon III frou frou scream out in refusal of Le Corbusier's minimalism.
Brightly lit during the day thanks to plate glass windows, the house must have really come alive at night.
We must remember that this building-top villa was provided with electricity only for spectacular manoeuvres: automatic doors, sliding walls, disappearing trees. Candlelight was the only lighting source to flicker in the surrounding glass, mirrors and crystal.

M.L. Sue achieved an enchanted grotto effect for this double dining room. A composition of mirrors
was cut and superposed to form a sculptural decoration.

Marc du Plantier decorated this apartment in the Ile-St-Louis. Une chambre, c'est bleu ! Seductively wavering blueVenetian glass, blue walls and a bluegreen lacquer writing table with
a polished parchment top create an extraordinary vibration.  Parchment and Indian red keep it lively.

Adnet designed an extremely mannered bedroom, doubly remarkable for using 
 white Staff to imitate curtains and blue tinted mirrors "backstage." Even the bed has a smooth polished surface with its fitted satin cover.

unmarked photos are from Plaisir de France, Atelier Sougez

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Admiring the view

I've been enjoying some lovely views

of hazy, sometimes almost aquatic worlds.
They are Familiar because they remind me of landscapes of the end of the 18th century -
this one was inspired by Lacroix de Marseilles, a French painter who lived the last part of his life in Berlin -
and Strange beause they seem to be images of a half-awake dream world.

If our eyes could penetrate this painting, they would see



before coming back to this.
And we might appreciate knowing about what lies hidden in layers underneath. 

The artist, Henrik Wolff, shares his painterly progressions with us in his journal here.
He works in three realms: landscapes, clouds and nature; figurative and portrait; decorative and site-related.  

Right now, I'm imagining a room today with these hazy, atmospheric paintings replacing
the late neoclassical or romantic works I've seen in some of my "files".

 I'd love a panoramic mural, but don't have room for one - 
a big landscape painting opens the space.

Here the painting could be ordered to fit a specific spot very precisely
as it is here - framed over a bed to make a perfect dream window. 

Henrik Wolff is exhibiting at the Markus Winter gallery in Berlin 17 April - 5 June.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Good Eggs?

Bust of a Beotian Goddess circa 390
British Museum

Did your weekend bring good or rotten eggs? We know about this oval as a symbol of perfection
but is the meaning still there when it rolls out into the design world ?
For the Beotians, the egg is a symbol of universal potential holding the yet undeveloped sky and earth.

Musée de la Carte Postale

A thin, but resistant shell encloses a protective home, inevitably meant
to be broken through to reach outer life.
A natural for Spring.

Sacred Conversation Piero della Francesco 1472

A goose egg hanging from the ceiling suggests the perfection of this birth.
It is a symbol of resurrection and renaissance.

Wikimedia Commons

This egg house in Mashkova Street, Moscow sits firmly in its egg cup.
This house was inspired by by the proud artistry of Fabergé. All reports say the house has yet to be a residence though it was finished in 2002. 
More photos here

 Commissioned for the state furniture collection by then Prime Minister Georges Pompidou in 1966, this Lalanne console was part of the Elysée Palace furnishings through the tenure of several successive presidents.

LOMME  bed

This bed by Günther Thöny is part of a vision of
a utopian world for the present manufactured by LOMME.
LOMME  means  Light Over Matter Mind Evolution. The company  
"conceives, develops, designs and manufactures products that are natural, life enhancing and mind developing for a cleaner, healthier, happier existence."

world architecture news

And have you noticed? Eggs are hatching out in architecture these days. One that really stands out was designed by architect, James Law, as a jewel for the new central business district of Mumbai.

World Architecture News states, "Buildings are no longer about concrete, steel and glass, but also the new intangible materials of technology, multimedia, intelligence and interactivity."  The slanted egg-shaped structure has approximately 10-20% less surface area than a conventional building and thus less solar gain. The egg shell creates up to 30m spans of columnless floors.

This is a new kind of building for the new century.
Technology combines with the working environment to customize your favorite view and have
"real time scenery from all around the world instead of the view the user currently has." Innovations also include cybertecture health systems in washrooms which are designed to keep track of the inhabitant’s health including blood pressure and weight.
"The data collected may be retrieved and sent to a doctor if deemed necessary".  

Could the egg  be the shape of the 21st century?
At the very least, we have proof that man is still striving to create perfection -
the egg is here to show it.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Photographer Jean-Jacques Salvador


Jean-Jaques Salvador is a photographer who goes much, much further than the view found in his objective. With dazzling use of combined techniques, he manipulates the quarry of his hunter's eye to achieve a blushless beauty that isn't all innocence. He plans, interprets, arranges and associates before and after aiming his camera for results that always fascinate.


You make reference of several artists in your work  – Watchmen is dedicated to photographer R.E.Meatyard. What inspires you most, the outside world or the imaginary world ? How do you work?

Often I am inspired by works of the past (painting and photography) to create my photographs.
When I respond to a painting, its beauty and what it evokes, stimulate my imagination
and give me energy to express myself in photography. At other times, it's the meeting of a place or a person that acts as this stimulus to make a photo. To sum up, the works of the past permit me to conceive a new deductive image. On the other hand, the meeting with the outside world sets off a more spontaneous non- premeditated process.

These examples of the artist's pairings form what he terms "sociable" diptychs.

To look at your site, your art often seems to allude to a story. What is the place of narrative in your work?

An important aspect of photography is its interplay with the real. By its nature photography records the real mechanically. Now, to express my own sensitivity, my ideas, I need to breath into it my way of seeing, so I divert fom the real in an obvious way. I reformulate it. Reality remains relative: a work is interesting if it shows a marked aspect of reality  Even when poetic, a work that touches me and makes me passionate, tells me something. It provokes sensations and emotions. It makes memories come rushing back as well as thoughts that had been buried. In this way, every work, even abstract, remains narrative.

Narration remains the method of introduction, or of invitation that seems to me the most accessible way to approach a work - and the most instuctive. It may not be the most universal way, nor the most immediate, and it's not the least perverse, but narration is a key that allows us to receive a work.
If a work is to touch us, it must speak to the senses. Narration is a way to open the perceptions to reach the inside world. The poetic, the beautiful concern the appearance of a work.


Some works have a staging that is apparent, others undergo a technical treatment which is very elaborate. You do not seem very interested in pictures  "from life."

The technical treatment is there to distill the image content and to make it more present to our senses. It contributes to the pleasure of seeing and to being fascinated by an image. There is a capacity of enchantment that has to seize the spectator in the world of images. Each photo receives the technical treatment that I find the best adapted to it. I have taken many photographs from life, perhaps there are too few on my site. What doesn't interest me in the life shots is the documentary- the anecdotic. Photography is the medium I have chosen, but the 'photographer's good eye' isn't enough to express myself.


What made you choose the subject of tarot cards?

It was a fashion designer who introduced me to the Tarot. There is practically no complete photographic version of a full deck of 78 traditional Tarot cards. I was immediately captivated by their iconographic richness and by the initiatory journey the game proposes. Provoking thought through a sort of game is certainly a good thing. So I oriented my interpretation to the “path of life” aspect which asks a question with each card and I used a single character who undergoes a metamorphosis from card to card.


You are clearly an excellent photographic technician. Could your share a bit about the multiple techniques that you use?

Photography is historically linked to its different inventions. Since the beginning of the 19th century, these inventions have shaken up each other, being drawn by the marvels of this new medium supposed to supplant painting and by the lure of profit. In fact, there are numerous different processes of obtaining a photograph. The range of renderings offered is just wide as for printmaking . I draw from these possibilities to find the rendering that interests me.

 When I created Tarots, I observed the icons of Andreï Roublev and I chose to make these images in black and white treated with gold then tinted again with gelatin.For the architectural series Connexes, I chose to make the images with platinum which permits finding the grain of stone and concret.


I made Moons with Ambrotype techniques which allowed me to obtain a the silver mirror finish I found well adapted to a representation of the great night star.

Jean-Jacques Salvador is currently working on a book which will accompany the exhibit of 
“Maisons Lecaron” which is scheduled for next September. Next year he will be part of an exhibit organized by Anne Cartier-Bresson which addresses alternative photographic processes.

Many more examples of the photographer's work
can be found on his generously illustrated  site,  Jean-Jacques Salvador.