A Kiss Withheld

The_Kiss_(Auguste_Rodin)
Auguste Rodin, The Kiss 
CC BY-SA 3.0 (Wikimedia Commons)

“So when it was conceived,” Alice began again, “The Kiss was about Paolo Malatesta and Francesca da Rimini, contemporaries of Dante who appear in his Divine Comedy, in Canto V of his Inferno. While in reality they carried on as lovers for years, in Dante’s Inferno they were surprised one day by Francesca’s husband as they kissed each other for the first time while reading about Lancelot and Queen Guinevere’s first kiss. Francesca’s husband, who was Paolo’s older brother, killed them both, condemning them along with other lustful sinners to the raging storm winds of the second circle of Hell.”

. . .

“I was browsing the other day through Rodin on Art and Artists: Conversations with Paul Gsell,” Alice said, “that Dover edition from 1983 Har gave me for my birthday last year, and it was wonderful to read, in Rodin’s own words, how he looked at Greek Classical art, how much he admired it for the way it answered to both nature and one ideal form or another, for being rooted in close observation of the particular as well as in a quest for the essential. He saw the academic art’s disdain for the truth of the flesh as misguided, leading not to beauty but to cold sculptures, devoid of life. Besides, for Rodin showing beauty meant showing spirit, character.”

Henriette took a drink from her mug. “Yes, the marble version of The Kiss is certainly more than a knickknack. I wonder why he called it that. Did he see it as too decorative—not arresting enough?”

“I think it was his way of saying that his sculpture presented a kiss too superficially, yes. That it didn’t capture enough expressions of deep feelings, that it didn’t do enough to invite the imagination to explore narrative dimensions,” Alice said, basking in the gentle glow of autumnal morning light. “But I think quite the opposite is true. Sustaining this representation of a passionate embrace is the great arc of Rodin’s art, with the transformations his own passion and intellect operate in order to show inner truths: the truth of a kiss withheld for a long time, of passion marrying the tender feelings of love, and of an embrace that tells a story, not least because you can easily see it in motion.”

“In motion?” Henriette asked. “Various poses? Many sculptors did that.”

“Yes, they did,” her sister answered. “In Rodin on Art and Artists Rodin describes how he, too, conceived his figures by putting together fragments of various poses normally seen in sequence, and I think you see here how Paolo and Francesca turn to each other. You see the tightness of his leg muscles under the impact of intense, heart-stopping desire, when she first moves towards him, you see his hand resting gently on her thigh, his arm muscles firm so he doesn’t lay too much weight on her, and then you see him bending his neck to kiss her and abandoning himself to his emotions.”

Read this and more about Rodin’s Kiss and other works of modern and contemporary art in Poets, Artists, Lovers: A Novel, this weekend only $0.99 and £0.99! Enjoy! 🙂

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Henriette, an accomplished sculptor, lives for her work and her dalliances—until she loses the one man she truly loves. Ela, a piano teacher, meets dashing Pamfil, a violinist, and discovers the confusing taste of passion. A bittersweet story of love and friendship for fans of D. Nicholls’s One Day.

Poets, Artists, Lovers (Amazon US, Amazon UK) is available for $0.99 or £0.99 until October 29. Enjoy!

 

Ion Iancuț’s Light Seekers

Earlier this month I saw Ion Iancuț’s personal exhibition Light Seekers (sculpture and pastels) at Senso Gallery here in Bucharest.

Most of the works were quite memorable, as I expected. Here are some of them.

Ion Iancut_Light Seekers_Senso_June 2018

Light Seekers, 2017
Bronze
44 x 77 x 6.5 cm (17.32 x 30.31 x 2.55 in)

Look how these Light Seekers seem to rest on their walking sticks, as if they had found something like Archimedes’s fulcrum (“Give me a lever long enough, and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world”).

Alternatively, I see them pointing down from the sky with sticks like diving rods—rods which point us to the light hidden in our earthly lives, under our worries, disbelief, and general lack of interest in higher forms of existence we could embrace . . . if we only paid attention to the many fulcrums in our paths which could help rise us aloft.

Ion Iancut_Accordion_Senso_June 2018

Accordion, 2017
Bronze
17.5 x 47 x 42 cm (6.88 x 18.50 x 16.53 in)

 

Ion Iancut_the Archers_Senso_June 2018

The Archers, 2017
Bronze
78.5 x 35 x 49 cm (30.90 x 13.77 x 19.29 in)

 

Ion Iancut_Tired Angel_Senso_June 2018

Tired Angel, 2017
Bronze
43 x 32 x 10 cm (16.92 x 12.59 x 3.93 in)

 

Ion Iancut_Star Seeker_Senso_June 2018

Star Seeker [n.d.]
Pastel on colored cardboard
70 x 50 cm (27.55 x 19.68 in)

Ion Iancuț was born in Răducăneni, Iași county. He graduated from the Nicolae Grigorescu Institute of Fine Arts in Bucharest in 1974.

Watercolors by Ioana Nicoara

IMG_20171128_145835_ioana nicoara_annart_bucharestIMG_20171128_145818_sm_ioana nicoara_annart_bucharestIMG_20171128_145840_sm_ioana nicoara_annart_bucharest

Watercolors by Ioana Nicoara, AnnArt Gallery, Bucharest, November 2017

Upon seeing them, I had the sense right away that they visualize inner life. Inner life of the cells, or, barring that (cell life looks different: more geometric and compact), the life of our emotions permeating us like breaths or whooshing over us, coming together with neurons firing sparks of thought and cells responding to all that energy, electric . . .

Dumitru Radu, Echo

dumitru radu_senso_IMG_20171213_145548
Dumitru Radu, Echo, [year?], Senso Art Gallery, Bucharest, December 2017
Bronze and marble
30 x 30 x 30 cm
€3,500

dumitru radu_senso_IMG_20171213_145603

This figure doesn’t move inside the bell, so it’s not quite a bell clapper, but with its trumpet and openings in its body suggests to me someone who has embraced a certain space of meaning—certain themes from the past, for instance—and turns to that space—that of the bell—to amplify his concerns in a certain way, his voice growing in the echo of others who have worked before him (in this respect, to me the bell he’s echoing into could be the trumpet of a predecessor like him).

This type of bell is, in fact, in Dumitru Radu’s oeuvre some kind of funnel, one that brings us in and out of existence, and also a musical instrument through which the music of God resonates. For more about this approach see this presentation by Luiza Barcan at Simeza Art Gallery in Bucharest in 2014. (The talk is in Romanian but the video shows many of Radu’s recent sculptures.)

How do we define love? What does it mean to love? Is there a right or wrong way?

Mira Tudor_Poets, Artists, Lovers. A Novel_ebook cover_blogThe Bookworm at thebookwormspeaks.wordpress.com posted her review of Poets, Artists, Lovers, and she asked me to feature it here as well.

So here’s from The Bookworm:

With Poets, Artists, Lovers: A Novel, Mira Tudor takes us on a journey through a tangled web of romance-ridden lives that starts and ends with Henriette, a talented sculptress and “beautiful redhead”, who finds herself drawn to Pamfil, a pianist/Casanova known for his monthly parties. This all despite her relationship with Haralambie, a writer.

The dialogue-heavy narrative might seem hard going at times, but it is actually quite apt, as the story primarily features middle-aged girlfriends drinking what seems to be endless cups of peppermint tea and talking about not only those oh-so-relatable things such as weight gain, boy troubles and minor existential crises, but sharing shrewd and interesting perceptions on art and society.  The reader is also treated to a raw and authentic yet, despite its many philosophical digressions, accessible glimpse into the Romanian art scene. On the surface, it might just seem to be a close group of bohemian artists hanging out at parties and warbling about art but there is some provocative substance underneath.

To read the rest of the review, go here.

Poets, Artists, Lovers is only $2.99 on Amazon US! Enjoy!

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