"There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness is the true method". Herman Melville

"I know nothing but miracles." Walt Whitman

sábado, 28 de maio de 2011

My latest two paintings

The final version, after some minor changes:

sexta-feira, 27 de maio de 2011

Celeste Olalquiaga

I bought this book in a catalan bookstore in Madrid, across the street from Círculo de Bellas Artes, a place I like to visit for the coffee, the exhibitions and the general atmosphere. Having a catalan bookstore in such a central place in Madrid shows that democratic Spain has come a long way since Franco. I can understand about 95% of writen catalan. Some of the books on sale in that shop are in spanish, as was the case with this one. I was imediatly atracted by the beauty of the cover and the sides color purple, then intrigued by the title, and finnaly seduced by the writing. It´s a wonderfull book and I became an instant fan of Celeste Olalquiaga.

From a review: " The Artificial Kingdom is the first book to provide a cultural history of kitsch, an immensely popular aesthetic phenomenon that has always been disdained as "bad taste," or a cheap imitation of art. Proposing instead that kitsch is the product of a larger sensibility of loss, Celeste Olalquiaga shows how it enables the momentary re-creation of experiences that exist only as memories or fantasies. Simultaneously exposing and celebrating this process, Olalquiaga gives us a bold, trenchant analysis of what and how we see when we look at kitsch.
Tracing its beginnings to the nineteenth century--when industrialization transformed nature into an artificial kingdom of miniature scale--Olalquiaga describes the at once exhilarated and melancholic atmosphere where kitsch came to life. In an arresting mix of theory and anecdote, she examines objects from both the past and the present, probing the fluid boundaries between reality and fantasy, and finding in kitsch a phenomenon as relevant to our own time as it was to the era that made it a massive experience."

quarta-feira, 25 de maio de 2011

Mars-1, Artist :: Off the Hook

Mars-1, Artist :: Off the Hook

My latest painting

Like the previous one, this is also oil on wood, some 35cm across. I cut my profile on an old seat from a chair. On the right of this painting you can see a bungaloo made from recicled parts of cars, the top and the sides, joined together in the shape of a tortoise shell. Some parts would be window glasses, instead of metal, to let the light in, and they would open to ventilate the place. Imagine a camping site in a forest, with bangaloos like this...In my surrealist paintings I like to include projects of objects or structures that could be built in the real world.
The shape on the left was the first element I thought of for this painting. I got the idea by looking at this painting I have, by Robert Bellm.
I was looking at it from a distance, without my glasses on, and in a dim light, on the left side I percieved what looked like a huge floating structute, a gut-like baloon, that I imagined the color of terracota, with paterns similar to the ones used in tradicional portuguese pottery from Nisa.
This is an example of criativity workig according to the principle "order from Noise" that I described earlier.

I tryed to alter the left side of photo to make visible what I perceived there, but I couldn´t. Try to look at it with the eyes half closed, or change the brightness in your screen.

sexta-feira, 20 de maio de 2011

Two new booklets from Paul Bakker

...arrived in the mail with great art and interesting stories. Take a look. Click photos to enlarge:

Thank you Paul!

Poetry and filter bubbles

This facebook thing, having started in a university campus, always seemed like a kid´s or a teenagers´ business to me.
In the New Yorker issue of May 16 2011 there is this poem by Sherman Alexie:

"Welcome to the endless high-school
Reunion. Welcome to past friends
And lovers, however kind or cruel.
Let´s undervalue and unmend

The present. Why can´t we pretend
Every stage of life is the same?
Let´s exhume, resume, and extend
Childhood. Let´s all play the games

That occupy the young. Let fame
and shame intertwine. Let one´s search
For God become public domain.
Let church.com become our church.
Let´s sign up, sign in, and confess
Here at the altar of loneliness."

By the way, listen carefuly to what Eli Pariser has to say:

domingo, 15 de maio de 2011

Synchronicity. The last two cases that happened to me.

Sometimes strange coincidences happen: twice in the same day or within two or three days, from two diferent, unrelated sources I come upon some curious peace of information that I completely ignored so far. For instance, I may read something interesting on a book, and shortly after see it mentioned again on a documentary on tv. I guess this kind of coincidences were first described by Karl Gustav Jung, who called them Synchronicity .
In the begining of May, while I was reading the article by Jonathan Franzen on the April 18 issue of "The New Yorker" magazine, "Farther away, Robinson Crusoe, David Foster Wallace, and the island of solitude", I experienced my lattest two cases of synchronicity. The writer begins by describing the trip he made last January to an isolated island off the coast of Chile, Masafuera, also known by the name of Alejandro Selkirk, after an eighteenth-century Scottish adventurer who lived there alone for four years. His story probabily inspired Daniel Defoe to write "Robinson Crusoe", "...the book generaly considered to be the first English novel".
Just two or three days before, I had seen an episode of "Full Circle with Michael Palin" on BBC Prime where Palin shows his trip to the exact same island. Then I had learned for the first time about this island, about Alexander Selkirk, and how his story probabily inspired Daniel Defoe to write "Robinson Crusoe".

On the night of Monday, 9, I read, on the same article: ""...David, (David Foster Wallace, a fellow writer and friend of Franzen, who had commited suicide in 2008) whose vocabulary was as large as anybody´s in the Western Hemisphere, took a deep breath and letting it out, said, "I´m suddenly realizing that I´ve never actually known what the word ´paragon` means."" Franzen was describing a funny and embaracing story.
Though I had some clue, I decided to look for the exact meaning of that word the next day, and then went to sleep. Next thursday the word paragon never entered my mind again until in the afternoon, when I was watching the movie "Stranger than Fiction", that a colegue of mine had rented. There is a scene, filmed in a swimming-pool, showing Dustin Hoffman sitting in a bench whose brand, writen in words so big you cannot miss them, is PARAGON.

sábado, 7 de maio de 2011

The birth of an orange

...as seen through the Hubble telescope!
Some months ago I bought an orange that seemed to be giving birth to a baby orange. I decided to paint it in my series of odd planets.
This is oil on wood, some 35 cm across. I recicled old wooden chair seats and cut my profile thrice. So this is a kind of self-portrait.

As there is no gravity in space, and no up and down, this paintings can be hung upside down or any position in between:

quarta-feira, 4 de maio de 2011

Robert Hughes

Robert Hughes is an australian writer and art critic. He is an erudite in art history as one can see in that collection of essays "Nothing if not critical", where he also exposes the "mad honeymoon that followed the marriage of art and financial speculation" at the end of the XXth century.
His memoir starts with the description of a bloody, near fatal car crash he sufered in Autralia in 1999. In the following months he spent in the hospital, he says sometimes he had nightmares in spanish! His books are realy worth reading.
On youtube you can watch some interviews with him, and most of his series made for tv.
American Vision:

The Mona Lisa Curse: