Art Of The Day Weekly
#128 - from 9 April 2009 to 15 April 2009
IN THE AIR
La terra trema
One often pleads man’s negligence to justify the ills that grind away at Italy’s artistic heritage. As we have just seen recently, the forces of Nature also have their part of responsibility. We still have very present in our minds the images of Assisi hit in September 1997: the basilica was torn open, its frescoes recreated with the patience of a Benedict monk. It could seem inappropriate to speak about the damage done to monuments when the search is still going on for survivors. It is nevertheless another face of the tragedy. The city of Aquila, the most beautiful one in the Abruzzi region, cannot count all of its losses: the campanile of the church of San Bernardino, the transept of the abbey of Collemaggio, founded by the future Pope Celestin V, the nave of the Duomo… And how could we not mention the minor centres of interest, symbols of the peninsula’s priceless wealth - Onna, Fossa or Paganica – equally hit by the earthquake? The world’s attention and interest only lasts a few minutes. But the rebuilding is often endless: according to the Italian Cour des comptes, half of the financing allocated following the earthquake in 1980 in Irpinia (the province of Avellino) were spent in pure losses. Certain inhabitants continue to live in temporary structures. Numerous palaces and churches are for ever deteriorating. This is an outcome we would like the victims of the Abruzzi region not to experience…
Kandinsky from A to Z
PARIS – He was seen for the last time in Paris in 1984 and the occasion was the donation (1976) and the legacy (1981) by his wife Nina to the Musée national d’Art moderne. Here we have Kandinsky again, one of the inventors of abstraction, in a large retrospective of some one hundred paintings presenting his major periods, from 1907 to 1942. What is new in regard to the previous exhibition? A portfolio from the Bauhaus, watercolors from the Russian period (1914-1917) and manuscripts from 1912-1914, belonging to the Centre Pompidou. As for the rest, this is an opportunity to see once again the masterpieces assembled by the three main holders of his fund: aside from the Centre Pompidou, the Städtliche Gallerie in Munich (where the exhibition was presented before) and the Guggenheim in New York (where it will go after). From the figurative paintings full of characters from 1906, of a deeply Russian taste and glitter, to the stylized mountains from 1910, from the geometric compositions in primary colours from 1926 to the «biomorphic» forms at the end of his life, this exhibit offers the visitor a true section of the XXth century.
Treasures from Mount Athos
PARIS – The exhibition will have at least one great merit: to have let the public know the Petit Palais has one of the most beautiful French collections of icons. In reality, this retrospective dedicated to Bizantine art of Mount-Athos over a period of nearly one thousand years (from the IXth to the XVIIIth century) only picked partially at the museum’s fund. The greater part of the works comes from nine of the twenty monasteries of the Sacred Mountain, among them those of Vatopedi, Dionysiou and Pantocrator. The originality of these icons, reliquaries, manuscripts, documents, chalices and frescoes –forming an exceptional ensemble of Christian art – is the fact that they continue to be used in daily liturgy. Many women will undoubtedly come to the exhibition – as they are forbidden access to Mount-Athos. But men should also go see it: it is not easy to visit monasteries and very few loans of this breadth have been made to date.
Fra Angelico, sweet Renaissance
ROME – The habit of celebrations – a very trendy specialty– allows the renewal of history of art. The opportunities are somewhat constraining but it’s the result that counts… An example is Fra Angelico (1405-1459) who is entitled to a national celebration for the 550th anniversary of his death though nothing was done to commemorate the 600th anniversary of his birth, four years ago. The culmination is an exhibition at the Musei Capitolini, the most important ever dedicated to the famous painter since 1955. His later, Roman period is particularly well illustrated with the triptych from galleria Corsini and the recently restored altarpiece of Bosco ai Frati. The works enlightened under the instructions of the master represent an original section, while a few pieces are brought together for the first time, such as the predella of Zagreb (Saint Francis receiving the Stigmata ) or the Annunciation of Dresden. A reflectographic study by the Ecole normale of Pisa, of which the results are presented, confirm Fra Angelico was a very «sure» artist: very few repentances have been found on his works.
Projects for settings
His name is completely forgotten today, but Edouard Souplet was the costume designer for the movie Mylord l’Arsouille, shot in 1925. He then continued all his life to produce costumes and settings for the cinema, the theatre, the music-hall and the ballet. An important fund of drawings done under his authority (when he was at the head of the Souplet & Rasami house) will be up for sale very discreetly, without any reserve price. Grouped by ensembles of 20 to 100 pieces, generally very coloured (pencils, watercolors or gouaches), sometimes attributed to known artists such as Doboujinsky or Christian Bérard, there are here 4000 sheets, estimated at no more than a few hundred euros. They document, in the form of projects of original settings, half a century (1900-1950) of the cultural life, in the wide sense from the Coupole to the Bataclan, from the Folies-Bergère to théâtre Marigny.
Return to Hiroshima
Hiroshima mon amour, a founding myth of the New Wave in French cinema, the novel by Marguerite Duras, the movie by Alain Resnais… and the photos by Emmanuelle Riva. Half a century after it was shot, the interpreter who so intimately incarnated the heroine unveils another aspect of herself. That of a sensitive photographer, one who wandered the streets of the martyred city with her Ricohflex and seized the new-found life. Images of children bathing or fishing, artisans, water being pumped, women with parasols, wood floating on the water, the construction of the base-ball stadium: it is September 1958, 13 years after the explosion of the bomb of 6 August 1945. As to demonstrate the excellence of the shooting team, and the emotion it carries, the book also includes excerpts from the diary of the movie’s script-girl, Sylvette Baudrot, full of drawings and collages, photos, texts and Air France menus… A travel log we would love to read in its entirety.
ARTIST OF THE WEEK
Ricardo Mosner: humanity in color
Ricardo Mosner could be defined as a passionate artist who dabbles in everything, generous, of libertarian inspiration. We can also say he was born in Buenos Aires but has been active in particular in Paris. He led a theatre troop for his «pictorial shows» then did the settings for Copi or Jérôme Savary. Today he shares his time equally between drawing, painting, engraving and sculpture. He can illustrate Ubu roi for Gallimard or paint a pillar for La Coupole restaurant and thus join the famous Montparnos of the twenties. Even though his characters have spectacular deformities, he is fundamentally figurative, and he creates for himself an abundant Human Comedy full of color and vividness, full of a deeply Latin spirit which his long stay in Paris has not made him lose.
ANTIBES – The antiquities fair of old Antibes will be held from 11 to 27 April 2009
COMO – For the exhibition «Chagall, Kandinsky, Malevich», to be held at Villa Olmo, the room which Marc Chagall occupied at Vitebsk before the Revolution has been recreated with the furniture given to the Russian Museum by his niece.
LONDON – The plans for an extension of the Tate Modern have been approved. The new building, in the shape of a pyramid, has been designed by Herzog & Meuron and will be completed by 2014.
OSLO - Spanish architect Juan Herreros has been chosen to build the new building for the Munch museum in the Bjorvika district, very near the Opera house inaugurated in 2008.
PARIS – According to The Art Newspaper, the Louvre was the most visited museum in the world (8.5 million visitors) in 2008 ahead of the British Museum (5.9 million) and the National Gallery of Art in Washington (4.9 million).
PARIS – Since 4 April 2009, there is free admission to all French national monuments and museums for young citizens of the European Union under the age of 26.
PARIS –The 63th edition of the Réalités nouvelles fair (New realities), bringing together 400 artists who privilege abstraction, will be held from 12 to 19 April 2009 at the Parc floral de Paris.
PARIS – The sale of photographer Nan Goldin’s cabinet de curiosités produced 51 000 euros on 7 April at Christie’s. On the same day, the natural history sale brought in 15 times more with a record at 181 000 euros for an ichtyosaurus’ skeleton.
This week, do not miss
PORTRAIT-MAKING, RODIN AND HIS MODELS
PARIS-The Rodin museum presents a badly-known production, Rodin’s portraits. There is the one he did of Clemenceau as well as the one of Balzac, and the great bourgeois of the XIXth century. Contemporary videos by Gillian Wearing extend the reflection on the concept of the portrait itself.