December 28, 2012

A change in scenery

Taken the last time I was in New Zealand, at Scandrett Regional Park. Pretty much the essence of New Zealand in a photo, and I will be looking to indulge in more of the same when I touch down 15 minutes to midnight on New Years Eve. Tomorrow is my last day in Malmö for a month, pity my two favourite places just happen to be on opposite sides of the globe. Antipodes, here I come!

December 27, 2012

first sighting

Florence Wild, The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage (detail), 2011-2012, white embroidery thread on white shower curtain.

I made a large embroidery in white on white. It was installed in a rather dimly lit corridor with a very strong, very bright spotlight upon it, giving it a startling presence. However in turn it was, almost undocumentable.
I am working hard at procuring some images which adequately reflect the whiteness/shimmering/textural differences/handwork or at least where the entire image is visible. At the moment all that is captured is the surface area, some vague outlines, and blinding lights. Like a mirage on the horizon perhaps. Quite apt, that.

December 24, 2012


Loving these installation shots of Xin Cheng's exhibition project 'Sustenance' at Split/fountain in Auckland. I am heading back there next week - (this time next week I will be in a plane, hopefully fast asleep) and am looking forward to seeing what has been happening in the Auckland art scene in my absence (if everyone is not on holiday at the time, but really who can blame them).
Will be bring some works with me, so if there exists anyone who actually bothers to read this and knows of any suitable spaces to exhibit some works on paper, inform me! (or inform the space of my awesomeness, if you hold that belief).
Be seeing you, Auckland!

December 22, 2012

From the roll

In my own backyard

images via we find wildness, but really via neeve

It is odd when you discover things happening a stone's throw from your house on the internet. I was stopped in my tracks on a daily scroll through my reader, by the captivating image by Georgian artist Thea Djordjadze. The images are brief glimpses of her exhibition 'Our Full', showing right now at Malmö Konsthall. Right in my back yard.

Tomorrow I will take an hour out of last minute christmas shopping and the like to chill out in what seems a really fascinating show. The more shows like this I see the more excited I get about my own art practice, and my efforts to uphold it against rather minding numbing library drudgery.

December 20, 2012

Autumnal Afternoon

Taking photographs around Malmö with my visiting friend Bree / archery in autumn / probably Malmö's coolest car / good scenic Autumnal vibes, complete with dancing plastic bag / attempt to document wildlife failed miserably - the downside of the point and shot camera.

Anyone who doesn't believe that Autumn is the best season is surely deluding themselves. It is an amalgamation of the wind-down of summer and the anticipation of winter, which you know will wear off a few weeks in. A season where it is perfectly acceptable to still have a gin and tonic on a crisp sunny afternoon, then warm up with some roasted vegetables (pumpkin and parsnips cannot be beaten) and a delicious autumnal ale. It is the perfect time for reading in parks and admiring the gradual shift of hues in the trees. It is not yet too cold to wear a beret, and your coats don't have to be for purely practical reasons.

Autumn also has the coolest songs about it: my two favourites being 'Autumn Afternoon' by The Teddy Neeley Five, and 'It's Autumn' by The Hamlets. Autumn Afternoon has, hands down, the best 'ooo-ing' in a song, ever.

April in New Zealand is the height of Autumn, and I therefore count myself lucky to be born in that month. However, now everything is topsy-turvy, in Sweden my birthday falls in Spring.
And now I am writing this in the middle of winter. If anyone wants to visit me next year, come in Autumn.

Diagonal tourism

When your camera takes film and you only seem document your holidays, it sometimes takes many months for images to see the light of day. These are a few more from my summer touristing in Stockholm in August, these four taken at Drottningholms slott, the private residence of Sweden's Royal Family.

It appears I have a propensity for taking photographs on an angle, perhaps to make them more "dramatic". I think I just rue the fact that a camera does not have the same peripheral scope as my eyes.

December 4, 2012

Gaze and Glaze

Ceramic cups and teapots by Isobel Thom as part of the exhibition 'The Berlin Years' with Saskia Leek, shown at the Hamish McKay Gallery 18 October - 10 November.

Sometimes objects are so beautiful their presence overwhelms their functionality. I have always liked to think that I would be the person who would use such things in my everyday life - and thus get the most pleasure out of them, having been incorporated into the drudgery of my routine. Then again, I broke one of my prized glasses with a picture of a vintage car on it, and am still ruing my carefree attitude towards possessions I do actually care about.

The angular shapes of the tea sets and the stackable nature of the cups are so alluring - all those modernist sensibilities captured and executed on a small scale, while imbued with a sort of zen calmness and the practiced movements of the Japanese tea ceremony. The tea pots themselves have an almost Communist feel about them, their shape and twisting lid seemingly reflecting the hammer and sickle.

I am drawn more and more towards art and designs more closely aligned with craft arts - textile crafts such as embroidery and knitting, ceramics, whittling, jewellery, the making of objects. I am at a sort of cross roads in my life at the moment, and I am not sure what I am wanting to do. All I know is that I do not want my career to be 8 hours a day sitting stationary in front of a computer, and I want to do something with my hands. I believe this is why my artworks are delicate, time consuming and hand made. It is a way of combating the pull of the internet - a direct backlash to the power of technology. Crafts seem to defy the claims that everything can be done on a computer.

Literal flow

Set of open plan book shelves seen on small spaces - a tumblr with a serious case of indoor-outdoor flow, showcasing architecture and design that will make you want to vacuum, put things away, and wipe down table surfaces with a great feeling of inadequacy. Working in a library, I have a great affinity with shelving. Or at least, I feel that I ought to.
These shelves at common room - "a non-profit exhibition space that supports artistic experimentation and dialog in contemporary culture", and described as "bookshelves mounted between the wood studs create a bookstore and social bar on one side of the partition and a more private archive on the side of the artists space" are great because they are accessible from both sides - just like all good things (cloths racks, buffet tables, christmas trees), and provide incentive to collect volumes of books by which to fill out the space into a complete wall.

Sometimes there are so many inspiring things in our alternate reality known as the internet, it makes me want to erupt into a flurry of creativity and then destroy everything in the throes of self loathing. A bit heavy from just looking at a set of cleverly made shelves, perhaps. 

November 18, 2012

Stills from the weekend

Film stills from 'Suna no Onna (The Woman in the Sand) /  newly acquired record rack (made in Sweden!) / pie / Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl
The weekends become increasingly more important as winter inches nearer, and the nights grow even longer, dusk now falling some time between 4 and 4:30 pm. By the time I leave work during the week, it has already been dark for about an hour, skewing one's perception of time. So I try to take advantage of my weekends, the only time I can go out and wander around Malmö without turning on my bike headlights. 
Saturdays are the best days for doing things. On Sundays nearly everything is closed, or at least feels that way. Sundays are good days for cycles to the beach, which is a rather soothing place when it is cold and grey. Last weekend when I saw an old man swimming - it was probably 6 degrees at best. I am sure he has been swimming in November for many years. Old people are very resilient, I find. 
Yesterday was a day of small achievements for me. I saw a fantastic film at Cinemateket, Suna no Onna  (The Woman in the Dunes) as part of the Japanese New Wave series they are showing this season. Though visually captivating, I was also able to actively engage myself in the narrative as my Swedish comprehension appears to have reached the level where I can easily follow Swedish subtitles. A small coup as I continue to attempt to carve out a life for myself here.
After the film I challenged myself to make a meat pie, including the short crust pastry shell. My culinary skills are pretty hit and miss (though somewhat improving) and I began to think I had bitten off more than I could chew. (this would literally, be the case when it came time to consume the pie.) I conveyed my fears to a pie maker of some repute, who told me it would be a success and that I was "excellent at making mince". The pie, I must admit, turned out better than expected. I even went back for seconds. 
Sunday I went to a second hand store, ostensibly hunting for a  gift for someone and naturally coming away with a few for myself instead, coming away with a near perfect condition record rack in handsome navy to house my slowly expanding collection of singles, and a lucky find of a collection of short stories by Roald Dahl, the blurb on the back cover proclaiming "If your taste is for the macabre, the sick, the outrageous, the unexpected, the horrifying - Roald Dahl will give you orgiastic delight. If not, you are going to miss one of the most sophisticated collections of short stories in print."
I look forward to some sophisticated orgiastic delights  from Roald Dahl, starting with my lunch break at work tomorrow.

November 3, 2012

Book pile

My pile of novels which I have on hand right now, including a few library books, which probably need to be returned. Two are in Swedish, and are children's books. One of them is the first Famous Five story. When I told some friends I was reading it to improve my Swedish, they laughed and said my language would most likely come out sounding old-fashioned. Can't say that's  a bad language quirk to have, to be honest.

October 29, 2012

Collection bound

One thing I would like to achieve during my lifetime is to collect all of Ngaio Marsh's 32 detective novels. I unashamedly call Ngaio Marsh my favourite author, and along with Raymond Chandler, Joseph Heller and Haruki Murakami, it is due to her amazing use of language. She uses some wonderfully obscure adjectives.
I am one who generally judges books by their cover. And I mean that literally. I try not to apply that phrase to people, but will stand by it when it comes to literature. There are some wonderful Ngaio Marsh covers, from the hand illustrated to the more boldy graphic as the editions move through from the 40's and 50's into the 60's. From the early 70's onwards, as photography was commonly used, the covers progressed steadily downhill.
So I am keeping my eyes peeled for striking covers that proudly proclaim the amazingness of the words which they contain. Above are some of the best. 

October 21, 2012



Chess sets designed by Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp.

Man Ray chess pieces 1926 / Man Ray chess set 1947 / Marcel Duchamp chess pieces 1918-1919 / Marcel Duchamp pocket chess set 1943

The two friends in the midst of a game.

October 20, 2012

Dust settling

Dust Breeding, 1920, Man Ray

Man Ray's 2 hour long exposure of Duchamp's masterpiece The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (1915-1923), covered in a years worth of dust.

I am at present reading Man Ray's autobiography, appropriately titled Self Portrait, published in 1963. My favourite passage so far concerns his first meeting with Duchamp, around 1915.

"Visitors continued to descend upon us, one Sunday afternoon two men arrived - a young Frenchman, and an American somewhat older. The one was Marcel Duchamp, the painter whose Nude Descending the Staircase had created such a furor at the Armory show in 1913, the second a collector of modern art, Walter Arensberg. Duchamp spoke no English, my French was nonexistent. Donna acted as my interpreter but mostly carried on a rapid dialogue with him. I brought out a couple of old tennis racquets, and a ball which we batted back and forth without any net, in front of the house. Having played the game on regular courts previously, I called the strokes to make conversation: fifteen, thirty, forty, love, to which he replied each time with the same word: yes."

The Large Glass is most likely the one work of art I ardently desire to see in the flesh in my lifetime. 

October 16, 2012

Den nakna ön

Hadaka no Shima (The Naked Island), has been one of the highlights of this season's Cinemateket programme so far, and it was spellbinding viewing tonight. I look eagerly forward to the remainder of the Japanese New Wave selection.
Kaneto Shindo's 1964 film centres on the continuous uphill struggles, living in isolation on a small island in the Seito Inland Sea.
Shot in black and white, and almost completely void of dialogue, Shindo uses repeated daily actions to spell out the monotony of hardship - the breaks from the constant work (a family trip to the mainland, local celebrations) stand out in stark contrast as short interludes of spontaneity. Dialogue is not necessary; even if there had been a script, it doesn't feel like family would have anything to say to each other that could be conveyed with language.
Accompanying the daily farming grind is an incredibly moving soundtrack by Hikaru Hayashi, perfectly reflecting and enhancing the back-breaking labour, one repeated motion after another. Tending to their precious crops, staggering up the rocky, precarious slopes of the island laden with full buckets of precious water - there is a certain elegance to the characters movements, as the gingerly place one foot in front of the other, sinewy arms supporting the yokes across their backs and shoulders in a delicate tightrope balancing act.

Films like this continue to fuel my love of, and fascination with, islands.