April 30, 2011

Gallery weekend in Berlin

It is the gallery weekend in Berlin. The weather is perfect and the art scene stupendous. Some impressions from yesterday...

 Waiting, Kastanienallee

Neugerriemschneider: Where is Ai Weiwei? 

José María Cano exhibition at Caprice Horn

 Somewhere in the former Kochstrasse 60

Having an ice cream in a park, Auguststrasse

Man at the show of Olaf Nicolai, Eigen + Art

Having a picnic on a scaffold, Augusstrasse

Coexist, Auguststrasse

NY melancholy at the Auguststrasse

No bikes, Augusstrasse

Linienstrasse 106

Football match seen through the windows of the Kicken Gallery

April 28, 2011

Artistic football

I grew up watching every Sunday Hugo Sánchez scoring for Real Madrid, and I identify myself as merengue. But Real Madrid sucks! I have been unable to support this team for the last 12 years, despite Zidane's majesty, Valdano's prose, Figo's wife and Redondo's perfection. It is getting worse.

Barça plays not only effectively (what counts), but also beautiful (what interests me). As in this artistic clip.

April 26, 2011


"emptiness" [pdf] is a brilliant essay by JonFen published in Playboy in autumn 2004. I read it short after its appearance, and liked it so much, that I saved it. I had it in mind, but had forgotten all its details.

Now I read it again, and it is JonFen at his best.

It is about the infinite potentiality (emptiness) contained in an empty sheet of paper.

Yulia Gorodinsky, Used and thrown away (2010)

My Parisian friends are now organizing a "silent scream" or "empty poetry" demonstration due to the ineffective measures of Mexican government to contain the violence related to drug traffic. Between December 5, 2010 and April 10, 2011 there have been more than 3,000 people killed.

So, they are inviting people to send an empty envelope to the President, as a sign of the human potentiality which has been wasted thanks to that damned bullet.

I think about this emptiness mostly when I recall the death of a child or see his old friends growing up and leading independent lives.

Let's stop this using-and-throwing-away naked, defenseless human beings...

April 25, 2011

re:publica 2011

Daniel Domscheit-Berg by Jonas Fischer

re:publica is one of the most important conferences for bloggers in Germany. I was very positive impressed by the quality of the lectures given, the good spirit of the participants, the funny Power-Point-karaoke, the better understanding of the web and cyberspace, the creativity of these guys, etcetera. I was introduced by a common friend to Johnny Häusler, one of the founders of the conference, and you can see that he is a smart, hard-working, non-pretentious guy.

Yes, there are problems (a new location is urgent, some lectures were not that good, as it always happens in this massive events, then you have at the same time three or four very interesting topics, and you cannot afford everything). But all in all, it was more than worth going there and listen new ideas, new perspectives, new people, new projects.

Letras Libres (Blog) just published three pieces about re:publica:

In the first one, I describe the current state of internet in Brasil, and review the lecture by Sascha Lobo, the enfant terrible of Germany's cyberspace.

In the second one, I discuss different approaches to the violence in Middle East, the role of WikiLeaks and the future of journalism.

In the third one, I present the first study on fashion blogs done in Germany by Anna Weilberg, and one of the cutest bloggers doing an acute work: Julia Probst.

 Julia Probst by Dirk Haeger

Girls and horses

Years ago, I was unable to appreciate the beauty of brunettes and had an eye just for blond girls. The Perfect Girl was 1.80 meters tall, had short blond hair and blue eyes. But as it happens, the Perfect Girl destroyed the Platonic ideal.

I met Uli in the library. We used to work in the same floor: I was doing Greek, she was working on Turkish. It seemed the perfect match: tall, slim, cultivated girl with a strong interest in books and foreign cultures.

We met just two or three times, until I realized that her only obsession and passion was Urielle. Her mare.

I like horses and can ride fairly well (the cowboy way, not the boring, Olympic, civilized, Uli way). Our conversations were about how depressed she was when she figured out that Urielle had an injury. How anxious she was because Urielle was about to undertake an operation. How relieved she was when she learned that Urielle was on the way to recovery.

Not even with the most effective hoover you could suck up more than a two minute talk about literature, Turkish language or any other topic. Besides her mare. Her love for horses did not even drive her to read horse related literature. I kept asking myself if she shouldn't had become a veterinarian, jockey or official mare lover, the Angelina Jolie way.

I had forgotten the moral of Uli's story, until I bumped into this paragraph of Travesuras de la niña mala, by Mario Vargas Llosa:
"Odiaba los caballos con todas sus fuerzas y también a todas sus amistades y relaciones de Newmarket, propietarios, preparadores, jockeys, empleados, palafreneros, perros y gatos y todas las personas que directa o indirectamente tenían que ver con los equinos, malditos engendros que, además, eran el único tema de conversación y preocupación de esa horrible gente que la rodeaba. No sólo en los hipódromos, en las pistas de entrenamiento, en los establos, también en las cenas, las recepciones, los matrimonios, los cumpleaños y en los encuentros casuales las gentes de Newmarket hablaban de las enfermedades, accidentes, aprontes, proezas o desgracias de los horribles cuadrúpedos. A ella esta vida había conseguido amargarle los días, y hasta las noches, porque, últimamente, tenía pesadillas con los caballos de Newmarket".
Sometimes, Life precedes Literature. Sometimes, a horse can change your life.

Fotos: David LaChapelle (2001)

April 24, 2011

Ghostly: Marius de Zayas, Vivian Maier, Graciela Iturbide

I take it that Vivian Maier found the ghostly woman that Marius de Zayas had drawn 50 years before. Twenty years later, she was seen in the Sonora Desert again.

Marius de Zayas, Female Entertainer in Front of the Footlights (1910)

Vivian Maier, January 9, 1957, Florida (1957)

Graciela Iturbide, Mujer ángel, Desierto de Sonora (1979)

James Russell

C'est n'est pas un corps!
C'est un paysage.

C'est n'est pas un paysage!

C'est un paradis.

April 23, 2011

Puerto Paralelo

Mis amigas 'parisinas' Adriana y Mariana lanzaron hace un par de semanas la revista más joven del ciberespacio: Puerto Paralelo, enfocada a descubrir nuevos autores, presentarlos en su lengua original y traducirlos al castellano. El primer número presenta autores subsaharianos de lengua francesa.

¡Enhorabuena y muchas letras!

April 21, 2011

Thin line between plagiarism and inspiration

Some months ago, I posted what seemed to me a plagiarism: Robert Voltaire 'copying' Mario Testino.

After that, I found two more authors doing a very good imitation job: I posted Manuel Vilariño imitating Gerhard Richter. And there is also a stencil by Constantine Xenos based on a picture taken by my friend Pablo, inspired by Madonna, as I also posted already.

There is a video about Voltaire's working in Rio de Janeiro. Somebody has drawn my attention to this scene, where Mario Testino's book is on Voltaire's backstage. Inspiration? Plagiarism? Or is it the same and we invented two words to name the same action, in order to absolve/condemn ourselves?

Robert Voltaire for Calvin Klein (2009?)

Andreas H. Bitesnisch, On Form (2003)

When I asked Pablo if he felt being plagiarized by the pencil stencil of Xenos, he replied to me quoting Jim Jarmusch:
Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: "It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to".

I understand, but disagree. Inspiration is an excuse that triggers the imagination, plagiarism is to surrender to the lack of imagination.

April 19, 2011

My piece on Carlos Slim's new museum at DIE ZEIT

This morning, when I went online to read DIE ZEIT, I got a big surprise: somebody had stolen my idea for a title. I clicked on it... It was my own piece on Carlos Slim's new museum being re-published, what a nice surprise!

Today, a friend of mine who reads no German asked about what was changed. I have to recognized that it was just the last sentence: instead of being a disapproval, it was changed into a praise. That is why I got pissed off. The rest is ok.

Original: "Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country". Heute bleibt Slim genau die gleiche Frage übrig.

Published: "Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country". Slim hat sich die Frage wohl gestellt — und gehandelt.

April 18, 2011

Wars: Natalie Portman or Megan Fox?

Black: Heads, hands

Richard Avedon, Audrey Hepburn (1967)

JonFen on books and children

Some days ago, an interview with JonFen was published in Germany's Berliner Zeitung.

Talking about Bruno Schulz, JonFen says that he likes his literature a big deal. Why?

He answers: "Es sind die gleichen Gründe, aus denen ich so gerne Kinder habe. Bücher müssen uns nicht immer nur Geschichten erzählen, es reicht, wenn sie uns ans Herz gehen, uns berühren, uns interessieren. Bücher können ein großartiges Erlebnis sein. Sie können einem Zweck dienen, der größer ist, als wir es uns vorstellen können".

Long live the books!

Long live the children!

One more reason why I adore Prenzlauer Berg: it is full of life!

Body & desire: Phillip Toledano, Raquel González

When I saw this image by Phillip Toledano, I recalled a shocking micro-poem by Mexican poet Raquel González:

                     Un cuerpo aquí,                                                                     A body here,
                     El deseo allá                                                                          Desire there

April 17, 2011

Grass to sit on: Toledano, London, Behlín

 Phillip Toledano, Untitled

London, Armchair (2010)
Foto: EB

Berlin, Grassauto (2011)
Foto: David Gannon

How to hang artistically by the head: Gormley, Cattelan

Anthony Gormley, Learning to think (1991)

Maurizio Cattelan, Untitled (2007)

April 16, 2011

Artists from Brazil

You want a country really hype? Go to Brazil! That is the place to be, at least till World Cup 2014.

The awesome Colombian magazine Exclama published the its newest issue on Brazil. I was invited to interview four contemporary artists: Henrique Oliveira is doing breathtaking reliefs with wood pieces attached to walls. Rejane Cantoni & Leonardo Crescenti are experimenting with science. Ana Luiza Dias has a metaphyisical approach to movement and repose. And Marcelo Cidade is criticizing politics with his installations.
Henrique Oliveira, Tapume (2010)

April 14, 2011

Leonardo goes Mexican

The Last Fiesta is the remake of Leonardo's Last Supper by Chris Parks with cheve, tequila, taquitos, margaritas, flautas and, last but not least, máscaras de luchadores. The twelve Apostles and Jesus are getting down one last time, and everything is painted not on canvas but on skateboard decks.

April 12, 2011

The richest art collection of the world

The German magazine WELTKUNST just published a piece of mine about the richest art collection of the world: Carlos Slim's.

The building is an amazing work by Fernando Romero (but strange without windows, which reminds me of Jose Saramago's critic to shopping malls). Do not hesitate to check out this awesome picture gallery, from where I am taking these images.

April 11, 2011

Death at the Wall: Berlin, Mx-USA

Hilde Kroll, Berlin memorial
136 persons were killed while trying to escape East Berlin (1963-1989)

Alinka Echeverría, Tijuana memorial
1,954 persons died while trying to get to the United States (1998-2004)

Exhausted: Vivian Maier, Enrique G de la G

Two exhausted couples: Vivian Maier shot that image in Chicago (1950s), I did the other one in the Munich's Deutsches Museum (2006).