Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Grumpy Child

When I was 5 and in kindergarden I began to wonder whether I wasn't a bit of a grump. While the other kids laughed theirs heads off when our teachers put on puppet shows, I hardly raised the corners of my mouth.

About twenty years later I found myself in the same situation, going to see The Artist after everyone reassured me it was hilarious. I found it so boring I fell asleep. I concluded I didn't find things funny. Especially not silent films.
Which is why, I suppose, I steered off Charlie Chaplin. Until this week. Lonely and sick of words (aren't they everywhere? In books, on computer screens, on bilboards, in everyone's mouth including your own) I decided to give Mr. Chaplin a try.

I started with "The Kid." I laughed so hard laughter flew out of my window and resonated in the street. It contained relief (at not being a hopeless grump) and actual, sincere joy.

The Kid (1921), Charlie Chaplin, in Full

Elated by this discovery, I moved on to City Lights the same day (which happened to be showing at the Kino Kultura). It made me laugh at least as loud as the Kid, if not louder - since we often laugh harder in public (and cry more bitterly at home). That did not stop me from shedding crocodile tears at the end.

City Lights (1931), Charlie Chaplin, in Full

Returning home, I found The Great Dictator on my hard-disk drive. I loved it, despite the words (this one is not silent) and my German schooling. Even though the laughter came from a more desperate place, because this film is without doubt the most ridiculous and yet the most serious of the bunch.

The Great Dictator (1940), Charlie Chaplin, in Full

Serious or not, CC showed me in one day that I am no grumpy child. I love him for that. And I love his outfits too. So does John Galliano (definitely a grumpy child).

John Galliano - Charlie Chaplin inspired show, Spring/Summer 2011

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Is Yours That Big?

Geta Bratescu's is almost 6 metres long. I advise a good therapist. Or is it not hers?

From the collection of the Museum of Modern Art Warsaw, as part of the In the Heart of the Country show. 

Friday, 14 June 2013

Summer beckoning

I can practically feel it on my tongue.

1. Tejal Shah - Between the Waves 2012
2. Amadeo Orellana for Fiasco Magazine
3. Wilhelm von Gloeden, two Sicilian youths

Thursday, 6 June 2013


Laurent Salazar is a florist and floral artist based in London. He is French-Mexican, and I happen to know him quite well. You can admire his ephemeral creations until 14th June at Bosse & Baum gallery as part of their "Re-enchanted Worlds" exhibition. The works are a bit like their creator: a clash of artesanía and art nouveau.

Lea river valley bouquet with orchids

flower-dyed panel (red), 2013

flower-dyed panel (blue), 2013

See more of Laurent's floral fantasies, including bouquets and collaborations, here.

Monday, 3 June 2013

On the Rise

You might call it the Sasnal effect (after the country's highest-selling living artist), an "artistic renaissance"(if you are the Guardian), or simply a booming economy shedding its state control past - either way, the Polish art market is taking off internationally.

Jakub Słomkowski, Untitled Collage (2012) 

Tonight "Polish Art Now" opens at the Saatchi gallery in London, showcasing a selection of artists represented by the auction house/art fund Abbey House. These include established names such as Wojciech Fangor and Andrzej Cisowski, and up-and-coming artists such as Julia Bistuła, Anna Szprynger or Jakub Słomkowski
Julia Bistuła

This is the first time Londoners will have the chance to see such a wide variety of Polish art, and so it is a pity the exhibition only runs for one week (and finishes with an auction). No doubt commercial success will soon bring longer - and more exploratory - showcases of this promising art scene.