January 31, 2012

A trick of the light

It's not often an idea or an artwork will stop me in my internet/google reader trawling, but whenever it does it is always instantly rewarding and I (metaphorically) give myself a withering look and disappointedly shake my head, wondering why I don't make more of an effort.
Via Junkculture I stumbled upon these remarkable photographs of Antarctic icescapes, by Belgian architect  Francois Delfosse, deftly created with simply a plastic bag and some clever lighting. The trick with the scale is beguiling - I originally saw these as a sort of large scale sculptural installation: as if the plastic had frozen and gallery goers were free to traverse it.
And as one commentator noted on Delfosse's flickr, it is reminiscent of the crevasse Tintin falls into in 'Tintin in Tibet' - the bowels of the icy abyss illustrated by Hergé in blues, greys, purples and blacks.

On his website a series of postcards are available, including the series of Antarctic 'scapes, and a particularly wonderful image of the Bermuda Islands, as a quavering mirage. I especially like the way the dark, faceted and enclosed plastic bag Antarctica series feel when juxtaposed against the flat, one-hued and sparse open water surrounding the scarcely visible islands. I also have no idea of its 'authenticity', and I think I prefer to keep it that way.

I am always interested in people who appear to share interests of my own, ongoing projects which have been on a bit of a back burner of late involve both icy landscapes and mirages, in however a non-photographic capacity. I also seem to have compiled a large amount of primarily blue postcards, in particular from New Zealand, which I am wanting to do something with, but may also have to add these three images to the growing pile.

January 28, 2012

Focus de luxe

Swedish designer Folke Arström's stainless steel cutlery "Focus de luxe".

I scanned this image at work from a book about Swedish Industrial Design which was to be inter-loaned.
I was flicking through it hoping to find an image of the cutlery set my Granny had.

And all of a sudden, there they were.

Originally introduced at the H55 architecture and design exhibition in Helsingborg, the cutlery has been back in production since 2006, and would be a wonderful merging of beautiful design, Sweden, and happy memories of dining in style with my grandmother, should I purchase a set.

January 23, 2012

A blue island in a red desert

"Once there was a girl on an island. She was bored with grown ups, who scared her. She didn't like boys, all pretending to be grown ups. So, she was always alone. Among the cormorants, the seagulls, and wild rabbits. She had found a little isolated beach where the sea was transparent and the sand pink. She loved that spot. Nature's colours were so lovely and there was no sound. She left when the sun went down.
One morning, a boat appeared. Not one of the usual boats, a real sailing ship, one of those that braved the seas and the storms of this world. And, who knows... of other worlds. From afar, it looked splendid. As it approached, it became mysterious. She saw no one aboard. It stopped a while, then veered and sailed away. She was used to peoples' strange ways and was not surprised. But no sooner back on shore ... there! (sound of singing). All right for one mystery, but not two!
- who was singing?
The beach was deserted. But the voice was there, now near, now far. Then it seemed to come from the sea, an inlet among the rocks, many rocks that she had never realised looked like flesh. And the voice at that point was so sweet."
- who was singing?
"Everybody. Everything."

Story from Michelangelo Antonioni's sumptuous 1964 colour film 'Il Deserto Rosso'.
I wrote this passage down in my journal after watching Il Deserto Rosso last year, the use of the vignette in the narrative, it's contents, imagery and tone all reflected similar thoughts I had about a series I am working on at present. I enjoy taking the time to take down something in my own hand, to go back and reread.
Also, I think the people's handwriting will be completely illegible in twenty years.

January 22, 2012

Malmö - grey city

Photographs taken around Malmö by Kris and I at the beginning of December. Taken with our new Konica C35 EF camera - picked up at a 2nd hand store (that kind of new), making a pleasant change from the safety net that is documenting in digital.
Above are snapshots of various local landmarks and such - Margaretapaviljongen in Pildammsparken; the Rose Fountain in Folkets Park; our street - with a couple of those windows being our apartment; Kris taking a constitutional in Pildammsparken; Kronprinsen - covered in a mosaic of millions of tiny blue tiles; and a self portrait riding the elevator at work.

I am intrigued as to see how the roles of film we took whilst holidaying in New Zealand turned out. (And if my photography skills have improved to a commendable level).While the camera seems to cope admirably with the greyness of a wintery Malmö, I am not sure how it has done with the overbearing brightness of New Zealand in full summer swing (maybe it was fortuitous that it rained almost the entire time we were there.)

You can find the rest of the roll on Kris's flickr.

January 19, 2012

Foliage Flourish

It is not uncommon these days to come across an installation of a young artist complete with the cursory gesture of the placement of an overly-considered potted plant - usually derided in my eyes as some sort of counter-balance to the generic minimalist neutral hued rectangular forms which staidly take up space.

These images though hark back to the days where the foliage was not necessarily part of the art but part of the atmosphere. Carefully cultivated plants used to litter the Walker Arts Center, sometimes appearing so out of place it makes you wonder if they were not 'planted' there by rogue Intervention Artists.

It does have an interesting effect however - some of the photos grouped together from the Walker Archives could be mistaken for foyers and waiting rooms of upper crust lawyers. It is also rather fascinating how the presence of the plants seem to fulfill the absence of an audience in most of the images - they take on a sort of personality, having heavy handed critiques in corners, or sidling up to a painting for a closer inspection of the brushstrokes.

Just like ash trays in libraries and Benson & Hedges sponsoring cricket, I can't see pot plants in galleries making a comeback in the near future. However, I will be moving into a new room this weekend, giving me the space and the opportunity to install a few artworks by friends I picked up last year, alongside a well placed potted plant to keep them company.

more images and a little background info about 'Plant as Decorative Element in a Gallery' on Off Center.