London. Snippets.

Crappy mobile. Crappy pictures. Few good angles, though, I hope.

Taken in December 2014.

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A special thank to this man, the only one who always sings my name to speak to me. And also the same ONE who does not read my blog…

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Anselm Kiefer. Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, London

I came full of expectations, got stroked by the sacred Art itself, and left in a glass case of emotions.

Photo courtesy Royal Academy of Arts. Photography: James Harris / © Anselm Kiefer.

Photo courtesy Royal Academy of Arts. Photography: James Harris / © Anselm Kiefer.

By the time I steamed my enthusiasm off I started wondering what the hell happened to me in there. Then I started feeling a little slice of disappointment running into my veins, from the heart to the brain. Let’s proceed one step at a time.

The solo exhibit at the Royal Academy of Arts, wonderfully organised, gave me lots of great moments, such it’s poignant. 12 rooms in total, from the early works to special installations made for the Academy, an actual path to explore Kiefer the artist in a fluid flux along the building, majestic feature and background.

In the Hall. © Anselm Kiefer

Hall. © Anselm Kiefer

The official website states:

“Kiefer’s extraordinary body of work includes painting, sculpture and quite simply monumental installations. Uncompromising in the subject matter he tackles, Kiefer’s work powerfully captures the human experience and draws on history, mythology, literature, philosophy and science.”

I loved the composition in the rooms, the visitors were flooding in every possible spot, yet the dynamics between artworks and people was perfect. I also loved having the chance to check out the early works.

© Anselm Kiefer

Early work © Anselm Kiefer

I guess it is about time to explain why I love so much Kiefer. As I already wrote, the term “poignant” could be the only meaningful explanation. To be more talkative (it’s a blog, for Lord’s sake!) Kiefer is a post-war German artist that worked on crucial themes such as history, religion, mythology and  more. A mix of anthropology, ethnology, and more. I could keep writing stuff and ass “and more” and it would not still been enough. Kiefer is the kind of artist that never stops going a bit further with investigating the human being, its actions, its spiritual side. On a personal level his relationship  God-Man is also vastly investigated, as visitors can see in his works with sunflowers and the ones with diamonds.

The use of materials is also an important part of Kiefer’s production. Wood: his childhood; Seeds: religion and life; Stones and Steel: history. And more. Everything seems to have a meaning and this aspect is sometimes endearing, sometimes overwhelming.

© Anselm Kiefer Anselm I am sorry I took some pics, it was prohibited and I learnt it only after been told off by guards

© Anselm Kiefer
Anselm I am sorry I took some pics, it was prohibited and I learnt it only after been told off by guards!

Now, what I realised I didn’t like about the exhibition, that little disappointment was the fact that 2 big topics were missing: the holocaust and more about the Bible, like the Genesis. Also the books and memory topic could have exponentially improved.

I remember a young myself visiting White Cube London some years ago, and falling in love with Palm Sunday and Aperiatur Terra by Kiefer. Oh my days, that exhibit has still a hold on me. It was everything. And more.

I didn’t see anything of those topics, and my little heart cried a little, I must admit.

© Anselm Kiefer Courtyard

Courtyard © Anselm Kiefer 

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Courtyard © Anselm Kiefer

Anyway, I have to wrap this blog post I am writing on a Saturday evening in a nice pub of Clapham Old Town, so I am going to invite everybody in London to go visit the Royal Academy of Arts in Central London and pay the ticket for a Kiefer experience. It’s worthy. And more.

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LAST WEEK TO SEE KIEFER AT RA! (it ends on Dec 14th!)  https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/anselm-kiefer

Sticks and Stones, an intervention

I took some time yesterday to say goodbye to the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin. No, I’m not planning to move away, but there will be major renovation works soon, so the New National Gallery will be closed from 2015 for several years.  Several years, what an awful news.

Albeit the loss the city will face in terms of contemporary art offer, if you are in the city head there, and just enjoy the wonderful installation designed by British architect David Chipperfield. After the great renovation made at Neues Museum in Museum Island, he worked in the open glass hall of the New National Gallery by displaying 144 impressive tree trunks.

David Chipperfield, Sticks and Stones, intervention, installation view

Official Picture from the Museum website. © Photo: David Becker

I was blessed with a beautiful sunny day and the reflections of the light, the rays trespassing and the shadows produced were stunning. The synergy created between place, materials and light was the highlight of my Sunday. Additionally visitors create beautiful interactions by touching the 8m tall trees, by moving around, by creating new shadows.

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Toddler playing

Toddler playing

The exceptionality of living this open space in such a different way is striking if you are usually used to see it as a blank canvas, with no pillars sustaining its free floating roof. Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed the space to be widely open, an interaction of granite floors, steel columns and glass. The introduction of wood on the granite, literally stick and stones, adds new meanings to the space itself: it gives a natural support to the roof, that for all this years; it gives also a sense of closure, anticipating the structural works the museum is about to undergo. An English nursery rhyme says “Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I saw this installation also as a wish, to avoid cracking the soul of the New National Gallery with the upcoming works.

Sony Center in the background

Sony Center in the background

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The exhibition continues downstairs until December 31st, if you have no money to pay the ticket just go there and enjoy the forest in the hall, it is for free and really worth a visit.

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P.S.: as you may see the pictures were taken with a mobile phone. I had no power to control light and sharpness. At the end, I quite like the rough result this time.

 

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Maybe kinda obsession

I might sound unpleasant, but I am pretty sure that before and during 90s it was the real time to be proud to be British. I can’t really explain, but it was time of great band, rock vs pop battles, MTV, Liverpool, London and Camden…before the massive use of phones and reality shows I reckon the Great B. was in a way a better place to live in.

Said this very much personal consideration, I was around twelve years young when I spent an entire afternoon watching the tape of a 10 minutes appearance, interview + ‘live’ performance. Non stop. Non crazy stop, not even for a loo break. Maybe kinda obsession? One step at the time.

At that time I was so uncool not to have a tape recorder, lolz my “alternative” (read: poor) family. During that week there was the most important television music festival, usual triumph of boredom with the only exception for international guests. Blur came, Blur conquered. And my friend recorded everything. The afternoon following the performance, we watched and watched it. Now, Blur have 4 musicians, easy; on stage there were just 2, in a clear state of boozy disorder. I could smell alcohol from the sofa, not kiddin’. They basically didn’t answer any of the silly question, but just kept dragging human-sized cartons of the other 2 members, who were officially ‘ill’. Interview was followed by the worst out-of-time lip-synch performance; where in the middle of it Damon didn’t even pretend to sing but started jumping and playing with Coxon’s carton. There was also a stranger playing instead of Alex. It was P.E.R.F.E.C.T…. a perfect defect. It was a bloody contemporary art performance.. I guess they arrived to the Italian Riviera and started drinking as they meant to die then turned it into art.

Damon Albarn was my first music love and I was in trance watching him tripping over invisible objects. I was totally smitten with him and not for any clever reason fascinated by his scene.

Damon Albarn, oh Damon Albarn. For the first time I was really in love with his hair, voice and, yes!, accent. Everybody who’s met me knows (and doesn’t understand completely) that I adore strong, bit posh, British accents.. it’s a seductive weapon for me. Indeed. And if you disagree, now you know the origin and who to blame, Sir Albarn.

Oh, I have to tell you the end of the story about that afternoon. My friend’s mum came back and found us mummified in the same position as she left us, and freaked out. She took the tape out in custody and obliged to leave. I really had to wee too.

The song, by the way, was “Charmless Man”, AKA nana nana na na naa nanaa.

Enjoy.

( a different live version, because of copyright the only one I can watch and upload!!)