Mahatma Ghandhi to Adolf Hitler

This is a stunning piece of art installation presented at Southampton’s Hansard Gallery in September 2022. Mahatma Ghandhi to Adolf Hitler It is in the form of a steam cloud against a darkened background upon which a scrolling image is projected. The image is an historic letter written by India’s Mahatma Ghani just before WWII in a gesture of peace and friendship. The installation is by India’s contemporary artist Jitish Kallat (b 1974). Who refers to Gandhi’s letter as essentially a plea for peace and refers to Hitler as ‘My Friend’. Plenty of space here for contemplation is there not? Mahatma Ghandhi to Adolf Hitler Art-Tales is a magazine blog site following the journeys and reflections through the art world of artist, sketcher, art historian and critic Al Beckett. Merely to amuse, inform and entertain, Art-Tales is aimed at people … Continue reading Mahatma Ghandhi to Adolf Hitler

Gormley and Caro Roche Court

The New Art Centre Roche Court near Salisbury Wiltshire is a breath-taking open air sculpture park set within the dramatic hills of southeast Wiltshire. Gormley and Caro Roche Court It is a pure joy to wander through the gardens against the backdrop of the stunning landscape and enjoy the spaces occupied by the modern and contemporary works of art. In 2019 on BBC Radio 4, Antony Gormley spoke of sculpture changing the real world, being no longer a mere reference to it and no longer dependent upon it. Sculpture doesn’t need a wall, a room or even a label to exist. Its presence occupies its own space and thus it can alter people’s behaviour. Gormley and Caro Roche Court Cast your mind to some of the world’s most dramatic and successful architecture and sculpture. Consider the landscape, the room even: … Continue reading Gormley and Caro Roche Court

Affair of Ice and Arts

Did Jane Morris’s and Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s affair have an influence on the Arts and Crafts Movement? … Affair of Ice and Arts Was William Morris influenced by the Icelander Sölvi Helgason to enhance his designs? … Affair of Ice and Arts Did Morris’s trips to Iceland uniquely enhance his designs and influence the Arts and Crafts Movement? … Affair of Ice and Arts First of all the Players – a whistle-stop … Sölvi Helgason (1820-1895) A drifter, a folk artist, a philosopher, that was Sölvi Helgason. He was born on a farm called Fjall in Sléttuhliíð in the eastern part of Skagafjörður Iceland on August 16, 1820 (and lived to the age of 75 which wasn’t bad for those days in that locality). He is known to have travelled extensively across the island but apparently without the then required legal permissions … Continue reading Affair of Ice and Arts

Davíð Stefánsson Icelandic Poet

Davíðshúis – Home of Davíð Stefánsson Icelandic Poet Davíð Stefánsson 1895 – 1964, was Iceland’s leading poet and novelist publishing many volumes of his poetry. He lived many years in this house in Akureyri northern Iceland and on his death the property was bequeathed to the municipality. Stepping inside is like stepping back in time. The interior has been left a though he had just popped into town for a recital or milk and bread. 1000’s of books adorn the walls. His records are still in place. His bathroom and bedroom are preserved as original as is his kitchen, study and living room. In fact, the only major change is the bed. A single bed replacing his large double bed where upon he ‘entertained’ the many women folk whose company he enjoyed and allegedly the feeling was mutual. Adoring a … Continue reading Davíð Stefánsson Icelandic Poet

Ásgrímur Jónsson Iceland

Ásgrímur Jónsson (March 4, 1876 – April 5, 1958) was an Icelandic painter, and one of the first in the country to make art a professional living. Ásgrímur Jónsson Iceland He studied at the Royal Academy in Copenhagen between 1900 and 1903 and travelled widely after graduation. The subjects of his pictures are mostly the landscapes of his home country, particularly mountains. His painting style is similar to the French impressionists like Corot. Some of his pictures also illustrate Icelandic sagas and folk tales. (Source Wikipedia) Visiting his house in Reykjavik introduced me to this interesting and quite unique artist. Despite being trained in Copenhagen, he retained independent from the contemporary European art scene. He concentrated on recognising the haunting landscape of his native country. A local businessman and entrepreneur and art collector Ragnar Jonsson, said of Ásgrímur: “he did not paint subjects from life, he painted primal energy, the climate and governing sources – … Continue reading Ásgrímur Jónsson Iceland

Reykjavik Iceland Dieter Roth

Visiting a part of the world such as Iceland, you often stumble across something quite unique and inspiring. Reykjavik Iceland Dieter Roth The National Museum of Iceland has always lived up to expectations and our recent visit did not disappoint. Working through the traditional and conceptual, almost as an after-thought, we stumbled across an exhibition of the little known artist and jeweller Dieter Roth. Roth became a world-renowned jeweller following an early career as a commercial artist. He was born in Hannover Germany to German and Swiss parents and spent his early years as a Swiss-German, in Zurich Switzerland to avoid the ravages of WWII. He re-joined his by then, destitute family in Bern in 1947 after his training as an artist and poet. It was his discovery of the artist Paul Klee that inspired him to move away from … Continue reading Reykjavik Iceland Dieter Roth

Iceland Akureyri Picnolepsy Bollason Virilio

Discovered an interesting theory and concept whilst visiting Akureyri Art Gallery and Museum, Iceland – PICNOLEPSY. ( Iceland Akureyri Picnolepsy Bollason Virilio ) I cannot do better than reproduce the text itself from the Museum. So with thanks, the source from Akureyri Museum … When Gustav Geir Bollason began work on Sandtime Psalm of Fading Flowers, he was reading Paul Virilio’s Aesthetics of Disappearance (1991), in which the philosopher describes what he calls picnolepsy, a condition marked by momentary cognitive absences, temporary disconnects. As the picnoleptic flickers in and out of consciousness, they compensate for these ‘epileptic’ discontinuities by glossing over them. Perception is thus a polished version of actual sensory experience – just as our eye stitches together discrete cinematic frames for the illusion of seamless movement. With the acceleration of information and hyperstimulation of modern life, these gaps … Continue reading Iceland Akureyri Picnolepsy Bollason Virilio

Lorna Simpson Thun Switzerland

Upon arriving in Thun Switzerland, we made a bee line to the Kunstmuseum to view the exhibition by Lorna Simpson ‘Haze’ Lorna Simpson is a USA artist who became famous in the 1980s with her conceptual works comprised of collages of photographs from her grandmother’s old ‘Ebony’ and ‘Jet’ magazines from the 1950s to 1970s and text snippet works. A time line. Simpson challenges the conventual view of memory, identity, history, gender, and fiction. With the ‘Haze’ exhibition, we saw many examples of her collage works as well as her interpretation of the blurred views when looking at the old magazine covers through ice (actually glass blocks). Most effective. However, her most stunning works were her large paintings of clouds and glaciers. Depicted in luminescent blue and white with splashes of black. The ‘blue hour’, the magical moment of dawn … Continue reading Lorna Simpson Thun Switzerland

Cornwall’s Pilchards – An Empathy

When visiting the gem of a gallery in Cornwall recently (Penlee House Gallery and Museum) it occurred to me that despite all the staging, drama and technical skill, why I didn’t especially identify with two works in particular. Indeed – Cornish Pilchards – An Empathy – ? Stunning to look at, enjoyable to cast a gaze at, but leaving me with no warmth towards them. So what was going on with these pictures and indeed me to give me a feeling not of involvement but antipathy. The two pictures are: ‘Hevva Hevva’ (1889) and ‘Tucking a School of Pilchards‘ (1897), two paintings by Percy Robert Craft (1856-1934). When pilchards were spotted off shore, a lookout would alert the villagers with the cry ‘hevva hevva’. The villagers would then rush to the sea and help the fishermen bag the catch. Bagging … Continue reading Cornwall’s Pilchards – An Empathy

Tate St Ives Thao Nguyen Phan

Tate St Ives Cornwall – Thao Nguyen Phan This is an exhibition by a little-known Vietnamese artist at the Tate St Ives until May 2022. We just stumbled across this event with our main purpose being to update on the works of artists working in Cornwall. It turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable and thoughtful experience. The joy of the unexpected. I cannot describe the works on show better than … … to quote the Tate’s guide: Thao Nguyen Phan (born 1987) interrogates the histories and potential futures of her homeland of Vietnam. Phan maps the turbulent history of the Mekong River with poetic observations of the diverse cultures and ecologies that rely upon it today. In painting, sculpture, moving image and sound, the artist suggests a ‘softer, gentler kind of modernity’. She proposes a past and future in … Continue reading Tate St Ives Thao Nguyen Phan