Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The weight of Oneself - Elmgreen & Dragset

What a great sculpture, and wonderful title!
It shows at first glance a very classic medium, marble, and a traditional scene or subject, with apparently a nude hero, but it is not so classic, and it is not a hero in the old meaning!

Photo Carlos Martin

Elmgreen & Dragset said that they 'use the language of classical sculpture in order to play with it'. During an interview, the artists explained : 'Many details will contribute to making our sculpture contemporary: the subject, the idea that this sculpture is evocative of the notion of looking after oneself, in different ways. The material used, as well as its scale will make it also very contemporary. The fact that it isn’t a sculpture on a human scale will emphasize its depth.'
Indeed they used powder marble, which is solidified. And the size or height is out of ordinary, with 2m70.
Photo Dufy
Regarding the sculpture title, they added that 'it will be representative of our contemporary culture. The work will not be celebrating a hero, nor someone pursuing a goal, or attempting to accomplish something. This will be the story of someone who is trying to save himself.'.

Photo Jacques Leone

Himself ? Yes, because if you look closely, you will see that the two faces (the one from the man standing, and the one from the dead man are the same. Spectators can wonder the various possible meanings of it. Souvenirs ? Mythology ? Philosophy ? Own responsibility ? Justice ?  Well, the sculpture is located just in front of the Palais de Justice !
Photo Terry Cooper
The two artists who created this sculpture are working together since 20 years, in Berlin, Germany, but one, Michael Elmgreen, was born in 1961 in Copenhagen (Denmark), and the other, Ingar Dragset, was born in 1968 in Trondheim (Norway).
Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset by Henridraw
They often display their pieces in public space. In this case, the sculpture is almost on the water, facing the Palais de Justice in Lyon, and this location may not be a coincidence.

Photo Jan Bucholtz

Sources and more information:
Arttube video interview
Interview (written)

Video (the weight of Oneself)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Carrara marble, and the courageous 'cavatori'

Many of the beautiful marble statues, like the David from Michelangelo, were created, and sculpted, with white marble of Italy, and from specific quarries like the one in Carrara.

The short (18 minutes) black and white movie below is an impressive story of the daily life of the courageous men who went up to extract these blocs of marble. Imagine life 50 years ago.... that was the date of the movie (1958) and then what it could have been 400 or 500 years ago.

No translation needed, the pictures & video speak by themselves!

FENICE FILM presenta I CAVATORI (1958)
Un Documentario di Francesco Tarabella girato il pellicola 16mm Ferrania
Primo Premio Assoluto - Festival internazionale Cinematografico MONTECATINI
da una poesia di Lorenzo Tarabella

The two, as impressive, videos below show the contrasted modern technology and transport applied today at the same quarry.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Male art & gay art collector's interview 2 - Paul

Today's interview is from Paul S., from Atlanta, USA, who is telling us in his very own words some personal stories.

Q.1 Could you tell us why you appreciate male art ? 

In 1945, when I was six years old, my father came back from WWII  where he had been a surgeon for three years in the US Army in North Africa and Italy. He had brought back for me a beautifully bound red leather book “ THE WONDERS OF ITALY”.

I was utterly beguiled by the book. My father loved Italy and particularly Florence. He would spend time with me showing me the photos of the paintings and sculpture that were in Florence. I was attracted particularly to the photos of Michelangelo’s DAVID ( much more than Donatello’s!.) and Masaccio’s THE EXPULSION OF ADAM AND EVE.

Michel Angelo's David - Firenze, Italy. Photo by Serge Briez.

I think I remember taking the book to show and tell at school. It would be very amusing  to hear  a recording of what I said when I showed the book to my classmates.

In my early years of adolescence, I knew I liked ‘messing’ around with my friends on campouts etc. but that soon ended and I was of the generation where it was impossible to think of being gay. I hid my interest in men by looking at art books and enjoying the males in heterosexual pornography. Art classes at Princeton afforded me the opportunity to enjoy all the nude male paintings and sculpture of the artist of Greece, Rome, the Renaissance and paintings of the nude male as well as sculpture down to the present day.

In 1959, I went to France and Italy. I was in heaven from the Rodin museum in Paris to the Academia in Florence as well as the church with the Masaccio paintings. I started buying art books at this point not paintings, drawings or sculpture. In 1961, I was finally exposed to Greek Erotic drawings. Unfortunately you couldn’t buy the books in the USA then.

Q.2 Among the art pieces you purchased, could you describe one or two ?

I was married and then divorced in 2006. I essentially was living separately from 1998 on and I then started buying distinctly homoerotic art. My major source then was the Adonis Art Gallery in London. A very good friend of mine in France, Jean-Louis Mennesson lives at the Chateau Outrelaise in Normandy. He is a photographer and had beautiful photos of past lovers etc. He is also a very good friend of a French artist Bernadette Kelly whose major theme is the male nude body. I bought some of her drawings and a painting of a swimming scene with the male body in seven positions at a pool from swimming to diving to observing. Her models were dancers from the Paris ballet.

Bernadette Kelly - Le bain - Oil painting

Q.3 Is there a male art piece that gave you a strong feeling or emotion ?

I visited Villa Rainbow and saw the sculptures of J-Christophe and was immediately attracted to his work and I am pleased to say I have one of his sculptures.
J-Christophe introduced me to the late Patrick Poivre de la Freta. Before Patrick's death I purchased a painting and then from his estate some of his drawings. From my visits to Villa Rainbow, I have been inspired to commission for my bathroom a mosaic of a male nude that is my shower.
Sadly, I am unable to spend a vast amount but I enjoy very much and take pleasure in what I have acquired.

Thank you very much Paul!

Some links:

Château d'Outrelaise website
Patrick Poivre de la Freta in this blog