The Ballad of Maria Lassnig

Kantate (The Ballad of Maria Lassnig, 1992) by Austrian artist Maria Lassnig is the story of her life in 14 verses. A witty and wise commentary on the pains of living. See translated lyrics bellow: 

This whole wide world is full of growing grasses
This whole wide world is full of flowers that grow.
And now I am sitting here, – with dreams of yester-year
I’m thinking of the times of long ago.

A babe-in-arms, I was and hardly born
a great wet tear came splashing on my head.
It was my mother dear, – lying lonely and forlorn
she rocked and hugged me, lonesome in her bed.

My early childhood was a real life-drama,
the pots and pans went flying through the air.
The small child screamed aloud: “Stay alive, dear Mamma!”
The poor child suffered from her parents’ war.
I realized from the start, married-life is not made of sugar
a drop of bitterness fell upon my heart.

The good nuns taught me how to read and write
the other children pulled my hair and smiled
I was so slow to learn — and did not like to fight
because I was such a goody-goody child.

The Gods of Fortune gave me no great Beauty.
But one great talent was bestowed on me.
I drew and painted here, – pictures of people clear
like brother Dürer, Rembrandt, Da Vinci.

My darling mother thought this was not proper:
I should be married with a family.
I threw my arms around her feet, fell to the ground:
A man, a child is not my destiny !

The Art Academy was my destination,
I painted better far than any man.
I believe in Art, in Life — and all Creation
That Art should make a better World for Man.

The God of Love just did not like my features
though many suitors clamoured for my hand.
Yet they betrayed me all, – those handsome creatures
I packed my bags and left my native land.

Oh Paris, Home of Arts and velvet drapings,
but Love and Art for me was just a sham
I could try Op-Art, Pop-Art or Tachism
but the Art Mafia always called the game.

America, oh land of hope and glory
the land is mighty and her women strong.
They fight for all their rights, – don’t say they’re sorry
The Macho Men are stung when they do wrong.

The Lady Minister of the Art Department
was wise and friendly , called me home again.
A woman’s aim is high, – she should reach for the sky
a good professor can start her pupils’ fame.

I’ve scrambled up the peaks and reached the summit
my whole long life just lies beneath my feet.
But I’m still searching for — the stone of wisdom
Life’s made me cautious, Life still calls the beat.

I’m growing older and my legs seem longer
but now I love the world with all my might.
My feelings poor and soft, my face is stronger,
my television helps me through the night.

I just don’t feel my life as nearly ended
I still go skiing, ride my motor bike.
And each new day that breaks — brings new dimensions
so Art has kept me young in ways I like.

I know it’s Art so dear, that keeps me young and clear
Art made me thirsty, now fulfilment’s near.


Human/Need/Desire. Bruce Nauman. 1983.

Human/Need/Desire. Bruce Nauman. 1983.

The Good Reputation

The Good Reputation sleeping. Manuel Alvarez Bravo. 1938-9.

The Good Reputation, Sleeping. Manuel Alvarez Bravo. 1938-9.

Whether concealed by a fig leaf or locked by a chastity belt, a woman’s erogenous area has traditionally been kept hidden from view. Flouting convention, Manuel Alvarez Bravo staged this scene by clothing the model’s upper thighs, hips, and waist, and exposing her pubic region. Although this photograph challenges traditional representations of women, it alludes to confinement through the use of bandages around the model’s wrists and ankles. These devices can be interpreted as symbols of bondage and lack of free will.

In this seemingly serene setting, the star cacti lined up beside the slumbering model signal pain and danger. The plants impede the woman’s free movement, while at the same time protecting her from the sexual advances of a potential intruder. In naming this photograph The Good ReputationSleeping, Alvarez Bravo drew upon the Mexican proverb: Earn a good reputation, then rest on your laurels.

(Text from Getty)

Elsa Schiaparelli: Fashion Meets Surrealism

elsa_schiaparelli 2

Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973) was the first designer to explore irony in fashion. She stands out for her sense of humour and wild imagination, which have made her one of the most influential fashion designers of her time. Schiaparelli’s designs are not only humorous but also thought provoking. She was, above all, an artist. Coco Chanel –her biggest rival– referred to her as ‘that Italian artist who makes clothes’.

Modern art, particularly Surrealism and Dadaism, were a great source of inspiration to her and she did many collaborations with artists of these movements, including Salvador Dalí and Jean Cocteau.

The Tears Dress, one of her collaborations with Dalí, is a beautiful evening gown in pale blue and magenta. The fabric is a trompe l’oeil print of rips and tears, designed to give the illusion of torn animal flesh worn inside out.

This year Christian Lacroix will be unveiling the 15-piece collection which he’s designed for the house of Schiaparelli in honor of her legacy. His designs wil be reinterpretations of her most famous creations, so it should definitely be something to look out for!

Tears Dress designed in collaboration with Salvador Dalí. Part of her 1938 Circus Collection.

Tears Dress designed in collaboration with Salvador Dalí. Part of her 1938 Circus Collection.

The original "Shoe Hat" designed in collaboration with Salvador Dalí, 1937.

The original “Shoe Hat” designed in collaboration with Salvador Dalí, 1937.


Jacket designed in collaboration with Jean Cocteau for the Autumn collection of 1937

Gloves designed by Elsa Schiaparelli, 1935.

Gloves designed by Elsa Schiaparelli, 1935.

Schiaparelli's surreal giant fly brooch.

Schiaparelli’s surreal giant fly brooch.

elsa schiaparelli cloche

Schiaparelli’s “Eye” hat. 1950.