Pleasures and Terrors of Levitation

In this wonderful series of photographs by Aaron Siskind the artist captures figures suspended in mid air, their bodies contorted into different shapes. Charles Traub, president of the Aaron Siskind Foundation, says about the series:

“I remember quite clearly Aaron’s delight at the Chicago waterfront, where these images were taken. He was particularly enamored of teenagers—their unabashed frolicking and daring, their inherent athleticism. Aaron loved ordinary people—the sights, sounds, and activities that were off the beaten path of the city. In the summer, the Chicago lakefront was a place where everybody gathered. He adored such places that were full of spontaneous and inventive activity.”

Pleasures and Terrors of Levitation # 37. Aaron Siskind. 1953.

Pleasures and Terrors of Levitation # 37. Aaron Siskind. 1953.

Pleasures and Terrors of Levitation. Aaron Siskind. 1953-61

Pleasures and Terrors of Levitation. Aaron Siskind. 1953-61

 


Brâncuși

I’m off to Romania tomorrow on holiday, so here’s a sculpture by the great Romanian artist Constantin Brâncuși. And when I return I will share all the cool new artists I discovered!

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The Kiss. Constantin Brâncuși. 1908.

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The Artist in his Studio


Luise Kimme

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Luise Kimme was a German sculptor who settled in Tobago in 1979. Before arriving in the Caribbean she studied in Berlin and London and lived and worked in New York and California. Throughout her education she was pressured into creating modern and abstract sculptures inspired by Brancusi, when in reality it was the classical Greek sculptures that fascinated her. It was only when she arrived in Tobago that she finally felt free to do what she really wanted: Sculpt human figures.

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She fell in love with the people of Tobago, and she made large, animated, wooden sculptures of them. She also carved mythological creatures and characters from Trinidadian folklore, such as La Diablesse and Soucouyant. Many of the sculptures were carved from tree trunks brought all the way from a forest in Germany, others came from Tobago itself. She used Oak, Cedar, Cyprus and Mahogany and sometimes made bronze casts from the wooden originals.

Kimme turned her house/studio in Tobago into a museum (The Kimme Museum Institute) which is open for visitors on Sundays. Known as “The Castle,” it houses hundreds of wooden figures.

I was lucky enough to visit her home about 10 years ago. I was only 13 or 14 at the time but I remember her charismatic sculptures, and of course the artist herself, charming and funny. I even had the chance to see her at work, and she asked me for advice on how to finish one of her pieces.

Her death on April 19th 2013 was a great loss to the Caribbean, but her work will certainly become part of the local heritage.

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Kimme’s close friend and photographer Stefan Falke has an amazing collection of photos of Kimme and her work –thanks to him for these images. I also recommend a browse of his Moko Jumbie collection!

And finally, here’s a trailer of the film recently made about Luise Kimme, I Always Wanted to Sculpt Apollo, directed by Eike Schmitz. I haven’t had a chance to see the film, but this clip is worth seeing!