Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Heads & Hands

Because they needed them to express themselves.

1 - Magritte with Hat, Duane Michals, 1965
2 - Elsa Schiaparelli with shoe hat (collaboration with Dali), 1937
2 - Polish, unknown
3 - Jean Cocteau
4 - Schiaparelli, gold-clawed gloves, 1938
5 - Picasso's right hand, Brassai, 1937  

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Decadent or Deranged

This week seemed to be all about losing it. First, Brigitte Fontaine's song Je suis décadente (I am decadent) struck my cords with its eccentric drama and cooky cabaret clip.

Brigitte Fontaine, Je suis décadente (1964)

Je mangerai un yaourt tous les soirs, 
Quand je serai psychiatre avenue Mozart. 
(I'll eat a yoghurt every night,
When I'm a psychiatrist on Mozart Avenue). 

Stuck in an office, did it make me wanna go a little crazy? Maybe. Which is why I remembered Steven Meisel's serenely mental shoot for Vogue Italia 2007. 

Fabulous? Amazingly wrong? Beauty goes with everything, including crazy. But Alexander McQueen's version - may he rest in peace - pushed me over the edge, and put an end to my glamorization of the deranged.

Alexander McQueen, Spring/Summer 2001

I'll try to stick with just decadent. 

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

New Fair

On Monday the postman brought an invitation to the first edition of Art13 London, the city's newest art fair taking place 1-3 March 2013.

Waiting to be filled: Olympia Grand Hall

Fairtigue, you say? How will this one be different from all the other art fairs

It seems that Art13 is tapping into the mid-market. Heavyweights such as Zwirner or Hauser & Wirth are absent from the 130 participants, instead younger and lighter galleries such as Mancunian International 3 will act as a platform for talents to be established.

Rafal Topolewski, Palm Tree, (2013) - International 3 Gallery

Which is exciting. On top of that, the fair will offer plenty of free talks, performances, and specially-curated art projects, just like Frieze - for half their admission prize. 

El Anatsui, In the World But Don't Know the World (2009) - Art13 Projects Artist from Ghana

And their catering partner is Fortnum & Mason. 

I think I am ready. 

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Death in St. Malo

This week I sprang across the Channel to Saint Malo. In Brittany's medieval city of pirates, sun, wind and rain alternated like the blades of a windmill.

We stayed in the Hotel Chateaubriand, birthplace of the Romantic poet. Under high ceilings and potted palms, my man wore a sailor suit and I wore tweed. There was something eerily Death in Venice about it.

Except for the plague, and the perving. Instead, we walked along the beach in mutual agreement, and admired the most beautiful of seaside pools from an appropriate distance.

The End.

Death in Venice (1971), Luciano Visconti; full movie

Tuesday, 5 February 2013


In London, going to see an exhibition on a weekend can be a bad idea - unless you are studying the behaviour of crowds. The other day throngs of trendy twenty-somethings prevented me from casting an eye at Death: A Self-Portrait at the Wellcome Collection.

Artificial Eyes, 1870-1920

But every obstacle is an opportunity, it seems. Instead of giving up I ventured upstairs to the permanent collection. Hipsters and families still abounded, but in the space one could enjoy the bizarre exhibits on obesity and bodily deformations with the right degree of calm.

John Isaacs, "I can't helpt the way I feel" (2003)
Medicine Man

The absolute highlight though was Medicine Man, an eclectic exhibition of objects collected by Henry Wellcome during his liftime. My jaw dropped in silence at artificial noses, Roman phallic amulets, and a Peruvian mummy. 

Henry Wellcome in fancy dress

A decent plan B, that morbid Wunderkammer. Next time, for temporary shows - late nights.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Jane's Way

Serge Gainsbourg has been dead for over 20 years, but last night Jane Birkin revived him in London.

Cadogan Hall was the perfect place for an intimate concert. The former church made Jane's singing feel like a wedding performance - unpretentious, amateurish and beautifully sincere.

Jane Birkin singing Serge's songs

Overall, Miss Birkin put more heart than voice into classics like Les Feuilles Mortes, and somehow that balance felt fair. Because she was charming, in a buttoned up shirt and a pair of flowy black trousers. And because she uncovered some of Serge's lesser known pieces, like 52 year old Les Amours Perdues (which she admitted she hadn't know before preparing for the concert). 

Sounds almost like Boris Vian? 

Les Amours Perdues (1961)

And then there was Melody Nelson. Her rendition of the song from 1971 made me go back and find this crazy short music film. I want to project it onto the walls of every party I will ever throw. 

Serge Gainsbourg - Melody Nelson

Melody Nelson - Extract

That move with the arms up? We saw it last night. 
Keep it up, Jane.