Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Fondation Vincent Van Gogh Arles - Très Traits and Giorgio Griffa - plus Teddy update



Teddy update:
Thank you so much to all of you living in the United States who expressed an interest in adopting Teddy. Unfortunately, I have heard back from the shelter and they are not willing to let him be adopted sight unseen by anyone so far away. 
This doesn't surprise me, as I know that they are very careful about who they let adopt their dogs - in the best possible sense there is. 
I do want to reassure you all that the shelter is a good one. It is located in the beautiful Alpilles region in the woods behind Les Baux de Provence. From what I remember from previous visits, the dogs are on earth and not concrete with platforms and doghouses to use as needed. They are usually housed with buddies and walked by the many truly committed and loving volunteers at the refuge. And yes, it is a no-kill shelter where many animals have lived out their days. 
Of course, this is not what I hope for Teddy because I know him...but honestly, there are so many special animals there. Rest assured that I am still doing all that I can to find a home for him in the region and am not alone. We had a close call thanks to Julie Mautner at The Provence Post who can cast a bigger net in Provence than I can. There is still plenty of hope.
So let's not give up and keep spreading the word to those we know in France. I will let you know more as I do. 
Merci encore mille fois for all of your kindness and concern!



With everything that has been going on, I nearly missed out on telling you about two wonderful exhibitions at the always stellar Fondation Vincent Van Gogh Arles but still want to mention them for those of you in the area before it closes on Sunday. And even for those of you on the other side of the world, it is always refreshing to keep up with what is bubbling in the art world, n'est ce-pas?


First up we have "Très Traits" whose title rather bluntly announces the focus of the show, one that re-examines the importance and meaning of line in contemporary art. To say that we have come a long way from the Neo-classical proportions, always "pleasing to the eye" of an artist such as Ingres is an understatement...


...and yet not entirely. It all depends on how you handle the act of looking. Let's take, for example, "Untitled XI" by Andreas Gursky, which was the starting point for this group exhibition. In this over-scaled photograph, a detail of Van Gogh's "Wheatfield with Reaper" becomes the focus entirely, until the brush stokes that sent the signals to our brains to understand "wheat" transform into a visual dance all on their own.


The same can be said for the joyful movement inherent in "The Sower," where Roy Lichtenstein distills Van Gogh's lines and iconic color ways to a comic book sensibility that has nothing to do with laughter...


...just as Adrian Ghenie's "Lidless Eye" literally strips Van Gogh's self-portraits to reveal a pain connecting both artists across time and space.


French artist Isabelle Cornaro took the process even further by erasing the need for lines in creating a landscape mural by spray-painting directly onto the wall. As the catalogue incites, her work, featuring interpretations of video productions that she has created, are "almost fluid images between everything and nothing." I nearly pressed my cheek up against the wall, hoping to dive in.


I felt the same for the four works by the late Eugène Leroy, whose use of impasto seemed impatient to the point of mania (something Van Gogh unfortunately knew all too well), all while representing a harmony rising above and above the chaos of the everyday.


And finally, I was amused (in this context) by Christopher Wool's embracing the furthermost rejection of the line by celebrating...the accident. Or the accidental, something that we can all recognize bits of ourselves in, yes? But again, it is all in how you look at it...


The lines seemed to solidify once again as I walked up the stairs...


...and swam into the very organized yet talismanic world presented by artist Giorgio Griffa...


...where many of his canvases had been pinned discreetly on the walls, the lines where they had been folded up after being painted a purposeful part of the overall effect.


While Mr. Griffa, who was born in 1936, is considered a major figure of Italian post-war art, this is the first time that I had seen his works (they have been rarely shown until recently) and I was absolutely enchanted by them.


Again, from the exhibition: "They are the fruits of a simple and deliberate operation, one characterised by the fundamental components of painting in order that this latter may fully express its essence. Griffa's formally ascetic works are hallmarked by the repetition of signs, lines and numbers modulated to infinity, which add themselves to the intaglio motifs left by the folding up of the canvas."


Can I ask you, when ever did something so simple look like it could be a map to so many elemental secrets?



Most moving of all was his interpretation of Van Gogh's "Starry Night" - a part of his Golden Ratio series - that was especially commissioned for the exhibition. As with all of Mr. Griffa's work, I felt a strong sense of peace while tracing his trail of sky and stars. Such a wonderful discovery. Grazie, Giorgio Griffa...et merci à la Fondation.

The Fondation Vincent Van Gogh Arles
35 Rue Docteur Fanton
13200 Arles
Tel.: +33 (0)4 90 93 08 08
Opening hours: Currently Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 6pm 
Last admission at 5:15pm
Price: 9€ adults, 4€ for youth and students, free for children under 12

"Très Traits" and "Giorgio Griffa"
Both on view until April 24th.
 The museum will be closed from April 25th to May 13th.


36 comments:

  1. Amazing art. I love impasto. I could look at that Eugene Leroy work for hours and constantly see something different. Isabelle Cornaro's is what the world looks like to me when I take off my glasses.

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    1. Oddly, impasto doesn't usually speak to me. This did.

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  2. Thank you for tempering some upsetting news with abundant beauty. It's the Cornaro piece that captivates me. I see something and then it disappears. And that's looking at a photo of it on my phone. Can't imagine how enchanting it is in real life. and thanks for keeping us updated on Teddy. I shouldn't have proceeded with logistics on how to get him here without checking it was an option first. A bit of a lifelong problem of mine, asking for forgiveness instead of permission :) thanks for the lovely bit of culture in my day. Going to research Cornaro now and hope I can see something of hers in person. I'm not arty so this is big.

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    1. forgiveness good; permission not so much.
      bonnie in provence

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    2. I want to find out more about her work too - trust me the photo doesn't begin to show how beautiful it was.

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  3. I DONOT LIKE ANY OF IT!MODERN ART Or what ever YOU CALL IT!
    I do like the STAIRCASE and WINDOWS!!!
    GOD ALMIGHTY................okay so they are RIGHT but I AM UPSET.UPSET Because SO MANY of us were COUNTING on TEDDY having a new HOME..............off I go to feed WINSTON and slam a few POTS AND PANS!!!!!!!!!!XOXO
    IT HAS been a TOUGH DAY in more ways then one!THE BEST detail SHE gave was the doctor having an expresso before giving HER the NEWS...........SO ITALIAN SO FRENCH SO CIVILIZED as SHE SAID!!!
    I NEED TO TAKE SOME DEEP BREATHS................XOXOXO

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    1. Sometimes doctors are wrong concerning their timelines. I hope this is one of those cases.
      Judy

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  4. Too much to say but count me in as another new fan of Cornaro .

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  5. Aaaah. Oui. J'adore Christopher Wool. Merci.

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    1. It was so wonderful to see in person. De rien...

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  6. You and Elizabeth are amazing what you're doing.
    Someone will come for Teddy soon.
    He's such a lovely looking dog.
    Cheers Heather
    Anita xx

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    1. Thank you, Neat. I really want him to find his forever home.

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  7. Wow - I love all the art and your writings on them! Methinks you have a hidden talent at this specific kind of writing...wondering what other hidden talents are waiting to reveal themselves! Thank you for sharing this beautiful show with us.

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    1. I enjoy writing about art, Sister. I may be self-taught when it comes to what I am talking about, but it is good to try...

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  8. Thank you so much about Teddy's update!

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  9. Oui, me too I like the Christopher Wool... And the Griffa, of course. Funny what finds its way down south... Wasn't it there some years ago that you posted about a group exhibition with Ed Ruscha in it? There I was equally asthonished. But hey thats my prejudices that this kind of art wouldn't be shown in the south ;-)

    As for Teddy I remember the post and video when you got Kipling. And already then I thought the Alpilles where not such a very bad place for a dog... Though the last days I was thinking that if the dog could not come to me I might as well come to the dog...

    But hey I should be working right now and not dreaming. :-)


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    1. I brought 4 dogs to provence as mexican rescues, why not a provencal rescue to the USA?

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    2. Yes, Teddy is in very good hands and it is right that they want to know where he is going next, especially in view of his past.

      And Provence is moving up! Soon, Arles will be one of the biggest art capitals of Europe, you will see...(and yes that was a Ruscha!)

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    3. Arles Artcapital! That makes me nervous! (No joke!)

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    4. Haven't I told you about the Fondation Luma? You will have to go see its construction...

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  10. Heather, thank you so much for the update on Teddy, and the hope that he may still find a loving home. At least he is at a very good place in the meantime. I always appreciate having my eyes opened to works of art unknown to me, and love the various Van Gogh interpretations and homages!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

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    1. Happy to return the favor Karena as you are so good about introducing new artists yourself!

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  11. Heather, thank you for the Teddy update. I just found out about this exhibit and I intend to get there on Friday or Saturday. I would have liked to have gone with you!!
    Judy

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    1. Oh this is good, then I did not do this post in vain. Enjoy!

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  12. I'm not a huge fan of contemporary art, but these are quite enchanting, and relevant to their venue. Thanks!

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    1. It is really worth the visit, Bonnie. Next time you are in Arles?

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  13. It's wonderful exhibit with so many artistic interpretations. The Untitled XI looks like Duchamp's Nude Descending on a Staircase.
    I like also Giorgio Griffa's interpretation of starry sky. And the simplicity of the colorful numbers and alphabets.

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    1. I wish I had more of the show for you to see - I think you would like Griffa's work a lot.

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  14. What a stunning exhibit! Thank you for sharing.

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  15. You know? I have been past so many times, and have never gone in! This needs to change! xo

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    1. Yes it does! And look for the Van Gogh - they always have one on display...

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  16. I agree with Julie, "stunning" is the word. And even though I can't see this work in person right now, just the photographs were a welcome break from daily life. It sweeps one away, as all good art does.

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