My old Sandy, this burly man with the
soul of a nightingale who blows on mobiles
this nightingale who makes his nest
in his mobiles
these mobiles scraping the bark
of the orange-coloured
where my great friend Sandy lives
Poem written by Miró for their 1961 exhibition “Miró-Calder” at Perls Gallery in New York
Alexander Calder and Joan Miró first met in 1928 when the American artist visited Miró’s studio in Paris. Since then they maintained a deep and mutually inspiring friendship lasting almost 50 years during which they exchanged ideas, letters, paintings and gifts and collaborated on numerous exhibitions. There is a remarkable similarity in their creative sensibility. They were both heavily influenced by the surrealist movement, taking their inspiration from the unconscious, and applied heavy symbolism in their abstractions. They also shared a thematic interest in the circus and astrology.
Last week I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Swab International Contemporary Art Fair in Barcelona. With 60 galleries from all around the world and thousands of visitors, the fair was a resounding success, a wonderful place to discover talented artists and get a taste of the global contemporary art scene. Here are a few highlights:
Perfromance piece by Olek
An Avalanche in a Sugar Bowl by Andreas Schulenburg, 2014, presented by Charlotte Fogh Gallery, Aarhus
Youthful, thieving, and conniving shitheads by Mike Swaney, 2013, presented by Charlotte Fogh Gallery, Aarhus
Sketch for That Night I Dont Remember by Humberto Díaz, 2013, presented by Knoerle & Baettig, Winterthur
Paul Pretzer, presented by Jarmuschek+Partner, Berlin
Gas Chevron by David LaChapelle, 2012
Reality is Spam by Enrique Baeza presented by Me & the Curiosity, Barcelona
Roland Darjes presented by Pantocrátor Gallery, Shanghai
Here are some shots from last night’s Manu Chao concert in Reus, a very lively and fun gig!
And a clip from the gig plus one of my favourite songs:
Soy una raya en el mar, fantasma en la ciudad…
Me Gustas Tú
Me gusta la cena, me gustas tú…
Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present is an interesting exhibition which presents paintings of the great masters alongside photography from the 19th Century to the present. The exhibition allows and encourages the viewer to see how painting has influenced photography, and also serves as an introduction to the history of photography.
As well as paintings and photographs the exhibition also includes videos. “Still Life” by Sam Taylor-Wood, and “Big Bang” by Ori Gersht were, for me, the most memorable pieces in the exhibition.
The concept for this video is very simple yet very beautiful. The artist, Sam Taylor-Wood, has recorded a bowl of fruit slowly rotting. We observe the whole process of decomposition, from the first glimpse of fuzzy mould growing on the apples, peaches, pears, and grapes, to the end where all that remains are some small grey lumps. A fascinating video!
Israeli artist Ori Gersht froze a bouquet of flowers with liquid nitrogen and then recorded as it exploded and shattered into a thousand pieces. It’s shocking, beautiful, and mesmerising all at once. Gersht says, “I’m interested in those oppositions of attraction and repulsion, and how the moment of destruction in the exploding flowers becomes for me the moment of creation.” (Here you can see a slightly better version of “Big Bang”)
I’m also including another video I found by Ori Gersht, “Pomegranate”.
Seduced by Art is now showing in CaixaForum Barcelona and will be showing in CaixaForum Madrid from the 18th of June.
Having guests this weekend lent the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the best Tarragona has to offer at this time of year. Unfortunately with less than 48 hours we could only scratch the surface, but we had a lot of fun!
Here are the highlights:
Nit de la Caricatura
Café Metropol organizes lots of cool events and gigs, but even on a regular night it’s a great place to hang out and have a drink. This particular Saturday they hosted the Nit de la Caricatura (Caricature Night) where four caricature artists (including Tziqui and El Chico Triste) drew caricatures of whoever chose to sit for them for a price of only €2. It was great watching the artists at work and seeing their remarkable illustrations unfold, they managed to capture their subject perfectly each time –warts and all! We were so engrossed in drinks, caricatures, and conversations, before we knew it it was 4 am!
The Calçotada is a Catalan tradition which originated in the town of Valls. The calçot is a vegetable particular to Cataluña, something in between an onion and a leek, which is cooked on a fire until the outside is burnt. To eat them you must take off the outer leaves so that you’re left with the nice and moist interior which you dip in a special sauce called salsa romesco (made of tomatoes, garlic, hazelnuts, almonds, and roasted red peppers), a delicious combination! In a calçotada you have calçots and their sauce, plus grilled meats and vegetables, and plenty of red wine, all in the company of good friends. The calçot season is in February/March, so if you’re in the area during these months, make sure to put this in your agenda.
Two weekends ago was the Calçotada Festival in Valls, last weekend was Cós Blanc in Salou, and this weekend was Carnaval in Tarragona! This is what I love about living in Spain, there is never a dull moment.
Carnival in Tarragona lasts one week, though the most important days are the Saturday and Tuesday. Saturday is the day of the main procession of floats and revelers, accompanied by music and hundreds of spectators watching in their own elaborate costumes. The costumes can be anything from Superman to chickens to mustard sachets and everything in between, but whatever it is, people take it very seriously (kids and adults alike!). The costumes in the band are also elaborate, but closer to the flamboyant carnival of Rio (glitter, beads, and feathers abound).
Tuesday is the day of the big finale, known as El Entierro de la Sardina (the burial of the sardine), or El Entierro de Carnestoltes (the burial of Carnestoltes), which is a ritualistic cremation of Carnestoltes, the King of Carnival. Carnestoltes represents carnival, and his cremation symbolises the end of the carnival season and the start of Lent.
The night starts with a solemn procession of folkloric characters and drummers who carry Carnestoltes along the Rambla Nova and up to the main square, Plaça de la Font. Men and women dressed in funeral clothes follow Carnestoltes, weeping and mourning the end of the carnival season. Once at the Plaça, a “notary” reads the last will and testament of Carnestoltes, a satirical poem which references and mocks events of the last year. Then the figure of Carnestoltes is carried to a pyre, covered in gasoline and lit on fire. Simultaneously starts the Ball de Diables, a Catalan tradition where men dressed as devils dance in a circle holding giant spinning sparklers. The effect is exciting and chaotic. If you enjoy this, make sure to come back in September for the biggest festival of Tarragona: Santa Tecla!
Lots of confetti + lots more confetti + music + people + more confetti + costumes + beer = Cós Blanc
In the small coastal town of Salou it snows only once a year, always on the first Saturday in February. But the snow in Salou is not as we know it, it’s much better.
Cós Blanc is a surreal experience, and I can think of no better way to start my new blog. On this night 20 tonnes of confetti shoot out of 20 cannons along the main street while a parade of carnival floats and bizarre costumes takes place. Thousands of people come to watch and throw confetti at each other. Expect to find confetti on your clothes for the next 4 months and on the floor of your house for as long as you live there. Also, be warned: if you buy a giant litre of beer you WILL get confetti in it and you WILL drink it anyway!