July 22, 2013

No maybes: Cartier-Bresson, Marlboro

Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bankers Trust, NY (1960)

In a recently discovered and published interview, Cartier-Bresson said:
But as for me, I enjoy shooting a picture. Being present. It’s a way of saying, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” It’s like the last three words of Joyce’s “Ulysses,” which is one of the most tremendous works which have ever been written. It’s “Yes, yes, yes.” And photography is like that. It’s yes, yes, yes. And there are no maybes. All the maybes should go to the trash, because it’s an instant, it’s a moment, it’s there! And it’s respect of it and tremendous enjoyment to say, “Yes!” Even if it’s something you hate. Yes! It’s an affirmation.
The quote resembles the Maybe campaign launched last year by Marlboro. Cigarettes and tobacco are awful, but the campaign is indeed fab! I saw some ads this weekend at the Melt! Festival.

July 17, 2013

Szymon Laks

Szymon Laks was a Polish born, Paris-based musician, who got caught by the Gestapo. He eventually became the director of the orchestra in Auschwitz. A Jew, he survived the II World War, and published a book about his musical experience at the concentration camp. He kept writing both music and literature, until Israel attacked Egypt in 1973 in the so called Six Days War. He could not understand that Israelis (or Jews) could start a war after the Shoah. He believed in peace and in the power of writing. So he stopped writing music and concentrated on his literary works.

Last week was launched the Master Revival Series, a Polish project regarding forgotten Jew composers from Poland who were imprisoned or killed by Nazis. Szymon Laks' is the first episode. It constitutes a magnificent piece of memory and culture and human heritage beyond races or nationalities. It is worth watching and listening to his son, Prof. André Laks, recalling his paternal figure.

July 9, 2013

First depiction of (naked) native Americans

When were the indigenous people from the Americas first depicted?

I remembered the controversy recently while visiting the Royal Alcazars of Seville. According to the information offered to the visitors, the first one is to be found in Alejo Fernández famous Virgen de los mareantes, right under her right arm.

But Jonathan Jones has pointed out recently that there is an older one to be found in Amerigo Vespucci's first voyage letter to Piero di Tommaso Sonderini, published in Florence in 1505. Jones has even written a book telling more details about the mean means of Vespucci in order to get what he wanted.

Anyways. A few months ago, the Vatican revealed a fresco by Pinturicchio from 1494, where a few Native Americans are shown naked, right under Christs right foot.


Dismembered heads: Art vs Sensationalism

If you go to Seville's Royal Alcazars and you enter the Cuarto del Almirante, you will find an altar with an image of Mary. It is called Virgen de los Mareantes, which used to mean Sea People or Sailors. It is a beautiful baroque piece done by Alejo Fernández in the 1530s.

On the sides, four panels depict four saints, which might had been painted by a different artist.

If you look careful, you'll find a Santiago Matamoros (literally "Moors Killer") image on the left lower corner. He has just killed three moors, whose heads lie on the floor.

We have seen that already in Mexico: Narcos!

Or is it the other way round? It might be possible that due to our baroque art Mexicans have been induced to bestial violence. It could be.

Violence and religion: a great cocktail. Cheers!

Sharp female Christs

Javier Pérez, En el filo (2012)

Vanessa Paradis, snapshot from La fille sur le pont (1999)

Gemini, snapshot from The Man with the Iron Fists (2013)