Monthly Archives: May 2010

Will power

The main character in one of my all-time favorite movies once said something like:

I’m afraid of my will and what it can make me do.

I too sometimes consider my will to be an entity separate from my own self.

Although my it does not scare me, I am frequently in shock every time my will shows its strength to me.

And I am very stubborn too.

Row with Rüegger

I love art that isn’t easy.

When an artist subverts his or her art form to create something intriguing, it is love at first site.

Swiss photographer Romy Rüegger does it very well.

Working with surfaces and using close-ups and bluriness, she successfully questions the very foundations of photography: the need to reproduce reality in a faithful way.

It is far more interesting to challenge some basic notions and the viewers’ expectations than just to provide what we want, especially in a world already saturated with images.

Artists like Rüegger give new strength to art mediums.

How refreshing.

Monster beauty

I said recently that there is usually something homely in art produced by women. Evidently, that is not always the case.

Since I am in a constant fight to break stereotypes, there is a Brazilian painter and illustrator who does it very gracefully, Fefe Talavera:

Depicting emotions using monsters is something she does very well too. I’ve kept up with her blog for some time now and it is always surprising to see what forms and shapes will be presented in the next image.

Drawing inspiration from street art, indigenous paintings and European masters, Talavera creates cartoon-like characters who seem full of personality and presence in the way they represent subconscious emotions.

There is definitely beauty in ugly feelings.

Smooth surfaces, hidden interiors

Rachel Whiteread is a master of sculpture.

The combination of solid, often house-shaped forms with soft and light materials beautifully balances the two opposite forces in many of her stunning sculptures.

The apparent fragility of the exterior together with the massiveness of the pieces raises all sorts of questions about surfaces, appearances and inner worlds.

One can never know how much is hidden behind a surface, especially those which seem incredibly pleasant to look at.

My favorite piece by Whitehead:

I simply adore simple shapes and smooth materials put together.

Smooth and soothing.

Home is where the art is

A friend of mine who is an artist and is currently taking her master’s degree in the subject once had a quarrel with one of her professors. If my memory is right, she was questioning him about the fact that he was never encouraging towards her or towards one of her friends – also a girl.

Then, to her surprise and to mine ten times more, here’s what the men said: “women can never be true artists“. This my friends, was in Zürich, Switzerland.

I could never forget that sentence and the narrow-mindedness contained in it, but it has served a far more dignifying purpose: I now pay close attention to women artists.

Since I believe clichés possess a certain strength, I can’t help but say here that I do feel women produce a different type or art from that of men. Womanhood seems to come through in various elements in the art of women. One of the very striking aspects of their art production is their choice of materials. I find very often that women choose every-day-life materials in their works of art.

Icelandic artist Hildur Bjarnadóttir is one of the finest examples of this:

Using materials tightly connected to home and homely subjects, she raises questions about origins, family and rural identity.

Weaves, threads, looms and spinning machines are all part of the artist’s universe, which are also linked to most grandmothers I know. I think this is true for most cultures around the globe.

It is a true and beautiful use of women’s cultural heritage to create something for a world to which they didn’t really belong up to very recently.

Uniqueness is my word du jour.

Let Pop IN

Although I am very much into unusual, surprisingly complex melodies and charged lyrics, I do have quite a taste for pop music.

The reasons for this are manifold: it’s joyful, it’s sticky, it’s unpretentious. Who can resist?

So, to put aside any prejudices guided by intellectual choices, here are some of my all-time favorite videos for pop music:

Besides being a great song, the video for Vogue is full of references to fashion, film and photography icons AND it has great choreography.

Telephone is an instant classic. It has a story, great moves, outrageous outfits and it is plain bold. Love it, love it, love it.

I basically love everything Michel Gondry sets his mind to do, but this video Come Into My World is even greater, for it shows that great geniuses can join big sellers and still be challenging.

One of the first videos to use supermodels, Freedom 90 has always made me wanna hit the dancefloor and just be happy and carefree.

For its simplicity, its beauty, its dance, Single Ladies is one of the top pop videos of the solar system. Unparalleled.

Let your armor down and let pop sink in.

Justin is the best male pop performer of all time. And he’s cool, stylish and really good looking in an un-obvious way.


Too quick to die

Success needs killing

Let me know the way before there’s hell to pay

Give me room to lay the law and let me go

I am yours now

I’ve been found out

Where would I be

Tvær íslenskar hljómsveitir, þrjú tónlistarmyndabönd

Oh, don’t pull its legs / They’re pulled / Don’t squeeze it too hard up

In the longest of nights
Stir him at your breast
In silence – row him, row him

Það besta sem guð hefur skapað

er nýr dagur

PS: múm‘s new record is on.

Change, change, change

What I’m searching for

To tell it straight: I wanna build a wall.

I can say I hope it will be worth what I give up

If I could stand up mean for all the things that I believe

I find your approach so adolescent

I may look young but your game is prepubescent

PS: I left my home to disappear, it’s all.

Into the city

One day I found a big book buried deep in the ground. I opened it, but all the pages were blank. Then to my surprise, it started writing itself: One day I found a big book…

PS: Gratulerer med dagen, alle nordmenn!

Simple fun

I love music that I love to start my favorite day of the week: Saturday. Since the day officially begins at 00:01, it is almost time to enjoy it fully.

Here’s song I’ve known for a while but which has only recently become an addiction:

I can’t wait for Ladyhawke to release a new album.

Although she isn’t the best performer live, her music is worth all the attention it gets.

No time for further comments.


The Handwriting Project

Last weekend I realized something really dreadful: I cannot recognize many of my own best friends handwritings.

That was a major shock. What if they wanted to send me a proper letter, you know, by post? Wouldn’t I have that wonderful feeling of anticipation just by looking at the letters all put together in an idiosyncratic way? To my horror, I must admit I wouldn’t.

Then, researching about the downfall of handwriting and letter-sending, I came across the work of yet another admirable Finnish artist: Riitta Ikonen.

A record

In her Mail Art project, she sent around a hundred post cards to the same person from different parts of the world, always pushing the envelope (sorry about the easy pun) to see what would get delivered. I’ve chosen some of my favorites to show and share here.

Ants from Japan

Surprisingly, most cards did get delivered and the result of the experiment was turned into a book called Postcard.

Found Paper Clips

The Post has always been the most traditional form of globalization.

As for my disappointment concerning friends’ handwritings, I’ve proposed and they have accepted to begin writing letters to each other, but only with really personal and relevant content. This way we will not only share our thoughts and ideas in a private and quieter way but also learn how to know each other better through something that is quite individual.

I invite all of you to do the same.

Finnish fashionistas

Not Paris, not London and not even New York. The ultimate place for fashion and design inspiration is Scandinavia.

Scandinavian capitals have the best-dressed inhabitants per capita in the world. Maybe it’s the love for design, maybe it’s the colder climate which makes layers so important; the fact is that people in the Nordic countries really know what to wear.

To illustrate my point, there is one site I’m very fond of as a source of style inspiration: Hel-looks.

Hel-looks is a project by Finnish wonder-brains Liisa Jokinen and Sampo Karjalainen which has been dedicated to registering the best of style in the streets of Helsinki ever since 2005.

What I like most about it is not even the pictures – although they are always interesting. It is the description people make of their dressing ways that really please me. This guy above said about his attire:

I’m wearing a second-hand tuxedo with a self-made brooch. The colour black, brooches and shoes are corner stones of my style. My school mate Riina Salmi is a smart dresser and a great designer. I also like Gareth Pugh and Viktor & Rolf. – Matti (23), on Tähtitorninkatu.

I just love the combination of do-it-yourself with vintage wear and big designers who work so well for these Finnish fashion-icons. Also, it seems that fashion is truly a crucial element (or corner stones, if you’d like) in these people’s lives.

I just love when style becomes inherent to dressing.

How motivational.

Reuse and rebirth

For academic purposes, I might spend 7 to 10 days in São Paulo in the near future. It is about time I go there again to check out what’s happening in the worlds of fun, food and the arts.

As I’ve said before, São Paulo is not about beauty, it’s about the experience. Besides, chaotic as the metropolis is, finding agreeable cityscapes is not an easy task for the untrained eye.

The surprisingly talented paulistano artist Henrique Oliveira knows how to do it:

Using wood he finds in the streets of São Paulo, Oliveira creates water-like three-dimensional art pieces which are absolutely stunning.

Recreating structures with discarded wood boards , the artist’s pieces are true eye-openers for those who choose to ignore the hidden poetry urban centers scatter around.

The use of disposed tree parts to create such fluid watery sculptures is a remarkably interesting way to raise questions about the environment and the way we use it for our own benefit.

What a beautiful way to recycle.

Let the world shake

Musicians who have full creative control and total awareness of their artistic goals are always worth of praise.

If they are in addition talented, insightful and surprising, they deserve nothing less than admiration.

When they possess the rare ability of good songwriting, they are entitled to lifelong passion.

Such is the case of PJ Harvey.

As her first new songs begin to appear, my heart has already started pounding with anticipation:

With an album more focused on the ‘outward world’, Polly Jean is once again entering new ground.

Using samples and with a long-waited return of the guitar, her new album is bound to be as elegant as plain good:

To be adored.