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).
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.
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.
Light Seekers, 2017
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.
17.5 x 47 x 42 cm (6.88 x 18.50 x 16.53 in)
The Archers, 2017
78.5 x 35 x 49 cm (30.90 x 13.77 x 19.29 in)
Tired Angel, 2017
43 x 32 x 10 cm (16.92 x 12.59 x 3.93 in)
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.
Poets, Artists, Lovers: A Novel is a book about the beauty and blindness of several Romanian artists who search for love, happiness, and passion. The story finds them on treacherous journeys, where they are slow to figure out how to best tackle their predicaments. Fortunately, their lovers and friends are there to help . . . but then a newcomer complicates things.
PAL is on sale for $0.99 until February 15. Enjoy!
Dumitru Radu, Echo, [year?], Senso Art Gallery, Bucharest, December 2017
Bronze and marble
30 x 30 x 30 cm
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.)
The 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.
About friendship, love, and passion, tenderly, in a manner reminiscent in parts of David Nicholls’s One Day. A book about the beauty and blindness of several Romanian artists and musicians and their treacherous journeys to love and happiness.
Henriette, an accomplished sculptor, seems to find more joy in her feminist-inspired work and her piano playing than in the people who care about her. Ela, a piano teacher turned book reviewer, hopes to discover the key to happiness and a more meaningful life through studying the workings of the mind and crafting poems about emotions she trusts will lead her to a better place. Joining them in beauty and blindness is Pamfil, a violinist who dabbles as a singer and lives mostly for the moment and his monthly parties. As they follow their passions, they find themselves on treacherous journeys to love and happiness, and are slow to figure out how to best tackle their predicaments. Fortunately, their lovers and friends are there to help . . . but then a newcomer complicates things.
“I felt I’d had a virtual trip to Romania and am now ready to take one live! An inquisitive and personal literary bouquet” –Mari Carlson, Midwest Book Review
“This book felt like a philosophical version of Friends” –Annika Stanger