But this post won’t be about Hamdi. I chose this image because it was freely shared on Pixabay and it shows some of the thought processes behind Marcus Møller Bitsch’s work, the Danish photographer featured recently on the website of Aesthetica Magazine.
Unlike most Surrealist artists, Marcus MB, as he likes to be called, doesn’t use digital manipulation if he can help it, and instead creates his version of Surrealism using simple props, such as a photograph of a blue cloudy sky cracked open in the middle to reveal a night sky with small sparkly stars. Or a photograph of the sea which he tears in places in order to place in the indents what could possibly be rather small rocks—which then end up looking like large outcrops in the middle of the sea.
Whether you’re an art aficionado or not, I think you may find you’ll enjoy some of the art galleries in downtown Bucharest on your next trip here. Entrance is free and I guarantee you’ll be surprised at what you’ll find. I am amazed myself every time I go for a leisure stroll and stop at Artmark or Galateca or Cercul Militar / Military Circle (the latter one where Victoriei Blvd crosses Regina Elisabeta Blvd, close to University Square). I had another favorite gallery on Victoriei Blvd, but unfortunately it closed down sometime this year. Other galleries I invite you to explore are Elite Art Gallery close to Unirii Square and Art Yourself Gallery near Romana Square.
All of these spaces showcase contemporary art, but Artmark also has an impressive collection of 19th-century art (along with collections of various objects they sell at auction) which rivals in many ways that of the National Art Museum (not in size, of course) and is free to visit. So you have nothing to lose; give it a try! Artmark’s building lies close to the National Art Museum, on a street (C.A. Rosetti) which connects Victoriei Bldv to Magheru Blvd.
Here’s a photo from my last promenade in the area, when I caught some contemporary pieces right after the official close of an exhibition.
And here’s an amazing piece from yesterday’s walk, when I swung by Cercul Militar and caught a glass painting exhibition by Elena Cioclu. The two images presented here are on show until August 5. My favorite is Golden Dream. It includes not only a cross, a (church) bell and angels, but also an axis mundi (through the cross), a liminal circular area which includes references to vegetation and organic forms, and a spiritual realm where angels support the structure of this world, including by holding on to the edges of the bell (and therefore helping it move in the world). The color composition is also intriguing, with golden, blue, and turquoise hues (which I haven’t captured very well) and with a more intense, orange reddish dot at the center of the cross, in a blue square. This bit is very significant, as it may refer both to the human nature of Christ and to His sacrifice; also to the intensity of the center that holds all things together.
Note as well the circle around the meeting point of the arms of the cross, which is an ancient symbol of the Sun adopted by the Celts; given that it’s also split in four, it also references, just as crosses do, the four corners of the Earth and the four elements that—at least in Western symbolism—make up this world (earth, water, air, and fire). And if you don’t see any symbols of the Trinity, keep you hair on: the vertical arm of the cross is flanked by three beams on each side, making up a total of seven, which among other things (the seven days of Creation, for one) is said to represent the unity between the Holy Trinity and the created world.
Golden Dream sells for €1800.
Golden Dream (“Vis de aur”), glass painting by Elena Cioclu
NB: I had to take the photos at an angle because I developed a smudge on my camera lens (can’t fix it) and also this is glass, so I didn’t want my profile reflected in the photos.
Balance (“Echilibru”), glass painting by Elena Cioclu
If the above two pieces are too spiritually charged for you, I’ll leave you with a photo of marigolds from nearby Cișmigiu Park 🙂
Helping people deepen their experience of art is something I enjoy; exploring the various elements of art is one way to do that. Here’s an introductory excerpt from my most recent post.
To set the stage, here are the seven elements required to create art: line, shape, form, value, space, color, and texture. Some artists use all of them in a given work, some may only use two or three, but each artist has her own way of employing the elements and choosing what expresses her intent. The elements required to create art are line, shape, form, value, space, color, and texture.
Last time I wrote about line, an element that makes frequent appearances in my paintings. This time I’ll select another one off the shelf –texture.
The element of texture doesn’t require much explanation. You know when a tactile quality catches your eye, begging to be touched. Running…
My first worry when I saw the fire at Notre-Dame was that it would blow up the rose windows. Had the roof not collapsed, they would have been most likely destroyed. It remains to be seen how the lead frames are faring, and how the glass has been affected once a detailed survey of the damage begins. President Macron wants the cathedral restored in time for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, but that goal may be too ambitious.
During the Easter break we were fortunate to have some extraordinarily unseasonable weather – the sun shone, the sky was a bright summer blue and the thermometer rose – so this seemed the perfect opportunity to see an outdoor glass installation by a favourite artist.
The Dale Chihuly Exhibition, “Reflections on Nature” at The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew is a sequence of artworks, both indoors and nestled within the famous glasshouses. It took a couple of hours of gentle strolling to see them all and to spend time really looking at these beautiful works within the natural environment.
As well as seeing the installations in the garden, we visited the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art (located inside Kew and included as part of your ticket). There is a large exhibition of classic pieces by Chihuly, some of which I already knew. However, I particularly liked seeing his…
“Later that week Anca sent a number of poems to the magazine Literary Romania. “Tell Me” was among them. It talked of roasted potatoes and onions, rooibos tea with honey, and perky sad music on the CD player. It considered whether life is ever more than swapping stories in a kitchen over a poor man’s meal shared threeways, each bite charmed with sunlight and music. It described an intoxicating scene with a long-haired woman in a vaporous dress, pirouetting on the kitchen table to humor her boyfriend, who then grabbed her by the thighs and hips and put her down in front of the piano, where she played God knows what, for she used no sheets, and she and her man were the only musicians in the room. Finally, it mentioned her bare foot pushing the brass pedal with conviction, her launching into Chopin’s Revolutionary Etude, whirling its listeners like a tornado, and her cutting loose as more water for tea boiled on the stove, and the guests were invited to crack walnut shells for a makeshift dessert.”
Poets, Artists, Lovers: A Novel is now selling at $0.99 and £0.99 (until April 25).
I love the aesthetics of Lucia Lobonț’s ceramics, whether they be tamer decorative pieces, moody portraits, or mixed-media-informed collage-like compositions with more recognizable use of decalcomania (Here’s an example of the latter.)
I discovered Lucia Lobonț about a week ago at Elite Art Gallery in downtown Bucharest, where she had two portraits and a mirror frame on show. Here’s one of the portraits and part of the mirror.
Lucia Lobonț, Reflection and Portrait
In the piece to the right, I’m drawn to the economy of gestures in marking shadows and red cheeks, and, of course, the moody tone, set by those wonderful droopy eyes, the chubby chins, the quirkily curved lips, and the full ovals of the faces.
Nika at prettylittlebibliophileweb.wordpress.com has posted a glowing review of Poets, Artists, Lovers: A Novel. I am tremendously happy when my book touches so many chords with a reader, and I’m especially thankful for hearing from readers like Nika who say my book changed their life in some way.
“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! 🙂
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.