September 29, 2010

Thick as a Brick: John Coplans, Albert Watson

Thick as a Brick, a succesfull album/song by Jethro Tull, and some body parts like for instance these:

Self portrait, feet frontal, by John Coplans (1984)

Mike Tyson, by Albert Watson (1986)

1990s: Nelson Mandela, Saddam Hussein

Two opposite icons of the 1990s: Nelson Mandela with his grist towards the sky in a sign of resistance and fight for justice after leaving prison in February 1990. And Saddam Hussein holding a gun ready to shoot to the sky in a sign of violence and, portraited in 1991 by his personal photographer Lazim Ali.


September 27, 2010

September 24, 2010

Charles Baudelaire, August Sander

Baudelaire by Étienne Carjat (1863)

Sander's Self portrait (1925)

I was checking last night a Sotheby's catalogue for photography auctions, when I saw this self portrait of great German "portrait photographer" August Sander. He looked to me quite similar to Charles Baudelaire, who published this beautiful poem on Fernweh in his Fleurs du mal:


Mon enfant, ma sœur,
Songe à la douceur
D’aller là-bas vivre ensemble !
Aimer à loisir,
Aimer et mourir
Au pays qui te ressemble !
Les soleils mouillés
De ces ciels brouillés
Pour mon esprit ont les charmes
Si mystérieux
De tes traîtres yeux,
Brillant à travers leurs larmes.

Là, tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté,
Luxe, calme et volupté.

Des meubles luisants,
Polis par les ans,
Décoreraient notre chambre ;
Les plus rares fleurs
Mêlant leurs odeurs
Aux vagues senteurs de l’ambre,
Les riches plafonds,
Les miroirs profonds,
La splendeur orientale,
Tout y parlerait
À l’âme en secret
Sa douce langue natale.

Là, tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté,
Luxe, calme et volupté.

Vois sur ces canaux
Dormir ces vaisseaux
Dont l’humeur est vagabonde ;
C’est pour assouvir
Ton moindre désir
Qu’ils viennent du bout du monde.
— Les soleils couchants
Revêtent les champs,
Les canaux, la ville entière,
D’hyacinthe et d’or ;
Le monde s’endort
Dans une chaude lumière.
Là, tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté,
Luxe, calme et volupté.

September 22, 2010

Gunvor Nelson, U2

My Name is Oona, 56th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (1969)

War (1983)

September 21, 2010

Politics & Humor

A couple of months ago, I posted on Politics & Arts. Now it is time to post some of the best examples of all those mighty people showing their funny, hilarious side.

Doing this research I found out that some terrible bastards were even unable of smiling at least once: Pol Pot, Milosevic, Duvalier, Mussolini..


# 1 worldwide

September 19, 2010

Cigars: Hitchcock, Larry, Churchill

Philippe Halsman took this pic of Alfred Hitchcock in 1962:


Which reminded me of Hitchcock's sosias Red Auerbach with a cigar-smoking (Larry) Bird:

Jeff Kaiser discovered a nice Hitchcock-Churchill sosias, unfortunately with no bird:

September 18, 2010

Schopenhauer dixit

"Der Neid der Menschen zeigt an, wie unglücklich sie sich fühlen, und ihre beständige Aufmerksamkeit auf fremdes Tun und Lassen, wie sehr sie sich langweilen".
Aphorismen zur Lebensweisheit V,10

September 17, 2010

Singin' in the rain instead of yellin' under fire

Last Wednesday night, Mexico celebrated the 200th anniversary of the beginning of a local war which ended up --11 years and 11 days later -- in the Declaration of Independence from Spain.

But Mexico's present is so terrible, that I decided some years ago to leave. Mexico is a great place to be on holidays, not to live in.

These days, I do not feel like celebrating any Mexico: the general violence and political corruption are so immense, that they overshadow any reason to party. It is also a nameless shame that a wracked system allowed a Mexican to become the richest man on Earth, who cannot care less for his country, despite the big poverty.

Instead of drinking tequila and celebrating the Grito ("Yell" or "Call"), I got lucky and went for free to the concert of U2 in Munich. There I got even luckier and managed to be in front of the stage, just in front of this guy with his candle. "This is not good enough to be here", one security guy told me when I showed him my Press ID, "but somehow you managed to be here already, I won't spoil your evening, go ahead".

A very shy rain improved the night. We were singin' in the rain.

In my mind there was the concert of U2 in Berlin one year ago. I have great memories of that beautiful day. I miss 2009, the best year I have had in Germany so far.

Life in Prague: Waiting, Love

"My life is completely chaotic now. At any rate I have a job with a tiny salary of 80 crowns and an infinite eight to nine hours of work; but I devour the hours outside the office like a wild beast. Since I was not previously accustomed to limiting my private life to six hours, and since I am also studying Italian and want to spend the evenings of these lovely days out of doors, I emerge from the crowdedness of my leisure hours scarcely rested.

I am in the 'Assicurazioni Generali' and have some hopes of someday sitting in chairs in faraway countries, looking out of the office windows at fields of sugar cane or Mohammedan cemeteries; and the whole world of insurance itself interests me greatly, but my present work is dreary.

I don’t complain about the work so much as about the sluggisheness of swampy time.  The office hours, you see, cannot be divided up; even in the last half hour I feel the pressure of the eight hours just as much as in the first.  Often it is like a train ride lasting night and day, until in the end you’re totally crushed; you no longer think about the straining of the engine, or about the hilly or flat countryside but ascribe all that’s happening to your watch alone, which you continually hold in your palm (...)".
(Letter from Franz Kafka to a friend in October 1907)


September 15, 2010

Interviewed for the first time

Last Thursday, I met Yaotzin because he wanted to interview me. I wanted to meet him at Diener, my favorite place at Savignyplatz, founded in the 1920s by the most famous boxer in Germany at that time, and which used to be a place for dealing with horses, a tattersall. There we met once Volker Spengler, who became famous thanks to Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz, and he invited us to the Volksbühne one Saturday, but that is another story.

Anyways,  Diener was unfortunately closed.

We ended up in a terrible Kneipe with a terrible name, Dicke Wirtin, which I can just not-recommend. Right after meeting Yoko Ono, I felt like drinking alcohol, and so had my Johnny Walker while being interviewed for the first time. Check the nice text published today on the Tagesspiegel, despite some little mistakes.

September 14, 2010

My first film/animation

Now I am working for this art magazine which happens to be the oldest art magazine in Germany and, if I am not wrong, also in German language. We are currently celebrating the 80th anniversary and I was asked to prepare a PowerPoint presentation for some event. That sounded boring to me, so I learned how to use iMovie and made a short film. I had never edited two images, so I am quite happy with the result. But above all, this meant for me the discovery of a whole new world, which I knew just passively. It is quite fun and challenging!

Enjoy it, but please do not google out the website of the magazine, which is (still) terrible. Rather, like it on FB, if at all.

September 13, 2010

Yoko Ono (après G. Richter)


Last year I had the impressive experience of noticing an anthelion while flying over the wet fields of Tuscany, short before landing. An anthelion is a sort of a circle around a shadow (most commonly, the airplane's) with the colors of the rainbow.

Yesterday, it was one of those days in which the sky is a gift. While driving back to Munich, I could not stopped admiring the yellows and grays, up on the sky. I saw a vertical cirrus cloud, which I had never seen before.

But the highlight was a parhelion or "sundog", two short parts of an incomplete halo around the sun, which might look as two little suns or rather, like yesterday, two little rainbows.

Unfortunately, due to the circumstances I couldn't take a proper picture of it, but it look quite similar to this one here, just rise up the sun and cover everything with gray clouds. Pretty amazingly pretty! It was sort of a game, since at some point one of the sides of the halo disappeared, or became stronger/weaker, etc.

I was not aware of parhelia, since it is not on my Cloud Collector's Handbook, so it was "my own" discovery. According to Wikipedia, Aristotle noticed it before me some time ago. Uh, always these wise Greeks!

September 12, 2010

The Beauty of the Power Game

An amazingly beautiful tennis-ballet gallery by top tennis players, by Dewey Nicks.

September 10, 2010

Yoko Ono, Gleis 29

This is how it looks like when you are in the middle of a crow of journalists shooting at a star who poses for them one minute long, if exceptionally they are allowed to use the flash. I still have to write down yesterday's interview...

It reminded me of a sing in Munich's train station some days ago.

September 9, 2010

A day in my life

I am listening to this song while preparing an interview I am having in a couple of hours with John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono (the first woman who studied Philosophy in Japan). She is opening an exhibition tomorrow in Berlin's Haunch of Venison -- which recalls another graceful day of my life.

Stay tuned!

September 8, 2010

Vultus trifons

Celtic Triple Face (15th Century)

Towards the end of the trecento and beginnings of the quattrocento, some Tuscan artists began to represent the Holy Trinity in a new way, which -- as many other Christian elements -- had been taken from paganism: a head with three faces. They called it vultus trifons.

It was brought to Latin America, where it gained in popularity. The vultus trifons is rather common in Latin countries, and thus it is rare to find it in North European latitudes. But the Trent Concilium prohibited it since it referred to devil and demons, as in this older depiction of Dante's Inferno.

There is in the Renaissance a famous portrait of a man with three faces/heads by Grunewald.

The Triple Face (1525)

The motive has been since then represented by many other artists, who chose the "devil" characters, rather than the divine. All this vultus trifons might had arrived from India.

Pierre Pareja, Venetian Mask (2007)

Rosemary Griggs, Triple Face Jug (2008) | Sunset, Owl (2010)

September 7, 2010

Marilyn Monroe dixit

Amber, by Mario Testino (1997)

"No one ever told me I was pretty when I was a little girl. All little girls should be told they're pretty, even if they aren't."

September 5, 2010

Puebla, La Habana

JonFen dixit

The great Jack Lemmon (The Notorious Landlady, 1962)

"I hope that one day you will have the experience of doing something you don't understand for someone you love".

A single word

Rodchenko, Lily Brik (1924)

A couple of years ago, my friend R asked me for a word who would describe me the best. I had never thought of me before in terms of a single word, but it took me the shortest moment to answer.

I just rediscovered an old text from Romano Guardini, dealing exactly with this intuition:

Ein Traum

Es wurde einmal gesagt, wenn der Mensch geboren wird, wird ihm ein Wort mitgegeben, und es war wichtig, was gemeint war: nicht nur eine Veranlagung, sondern ein Wort. Es wird hineingesprochen in sein Wesen und es ist wie ein Passwort zu allem, was dann geschieht. Es ist Kraft und Schwäche zugleich. Es ist Auftrag und Verheißung. Es ist Schutz und Gefährdung. Alles, was dann im Gange der Jahre geschieht, ist Auslegung dieses Wortes, ist Erläuterung und Erfüllung. Und es kommt alles darauf an, dass der, dem es zugesprochen wird –  jeder Mensch, denn jedem wird eines zugesprochen -, es versteht und mit ihm ins Einvernehmen kommt."
Romano Guardini
August 1, 1964