Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Diego Rivera: a trend spotter before time

Picture by Diego Rivera

I could not leave Mexico City without paying my tribute to Frida Khalo and Diego Rivera.  With few hours to kill before departing, I decided to make a quick visit to the Casa Estudio, in San Angel, and the Casa Azul, in Coyacan.  

Despite the traffic jam which caused a few sweat drops to ruin my hair, I managed to get to Rivera's studio at the opening time.  I was thrilled!

There is a special aura in this place and, honestly, I could not help but feeling deeply moved once in the large living room where Rivera had his studio.  It's as if Rivera had just left the house and is going to come back in a few minutes.  At the center of the studio, the master's large blue jacket covered with paint stains lays on the sofa.  On the floor, one pair of his gigantic shoes. His paintbrushes are still there. 

The place is filled with magic. The daylight that penetrates through the large windows illuminates the place. Outside, it's all quiet.  It's all green.  You can ear birds sing.  It's hard to believe that you are 30 minutes way from downtown Mexico City.  The time seems suspended but, unfortunately, it is not. 

If I want to say hi to Frida, I've got to go.

The Casa Azul is not far. 

I love Frida, not only for her paintings, but for what she represents (to me), i.e.  Woman with a big "W".  

On arriving at Calle de Londres, I couldn't wait any longer.  

The first thing you notice when you penetrate the large wooden entry door is the colors (the  external walls are painted in electric blue) and the vegetation.  It's a haven of peace disturbed by tourists like me.

In the house, the spirits of Frida and Diego are omnipresent, embodied in the many paintings, letters, photographs and furniture on display. I was under the spell.  

In one of the rooms, I came across the following photographs, taken by Diego Rivera while he was traveling to South America, that I really wanted to share with you.

Looking at these pictures, it feels like the characters are our contemporaries.  Don't you think?  The look in their eyes.  Their poses.  Their outfits.  Yes, their outfits!  They are incredibly stylish and modern.  It's as if things did not really change between the time of these prints and today.

If I dared, I would say that those photographs look like the ones one can find nowadays on some fashion blogs.  After all, what if Diego Rivera had been a trend spotter before time ?

What do you think when you see these shots ?  Do they inspire you ?  Let me know.

Alda Mori

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ai Weiwei... Mouais...

Few weeks ago, on a rainy Saturday afternoon, I resolved to do something to stimulate my brain numb with too much alcohol from the eve.  So I decided to do something really (not) innovative; I took my ass to the Berenice Abbott exhibition with the certainty that I wouldn’t be disappointed.  And indeed, I spent one hour admiring the many photographs on display (over 120 pictures), my favorite ones being Jean Cocteau with a gun and Jean Cocteau’s hands.

Enthusiastic about what I just saw I undertook to stop by the Ai Weiwei exhibition.  What a (half) mistake!  I found it uninteresting except for the New York and Beijing photographs.

The next Monday morning, while enjoying a coffee break and debriefing about the weekend with a colleague, I started a debate about the Chinese artist.

-“I swear.  It was boring.”

-“I cannot believe it. One of my friends told me that it’s one of THE best exhibitions at the moment.”

-“I don’t know. I kinda don’t understand the pointed finger stuff. The perspective?  My ass.  It is so cliché!  But maybe I am too stupid.”

End of the discussion.

Two days ago, the same colleague burst in my office apparently willing to share something highly important: her opinion.

-“I went to the Ai Weiwei exhibition.  Amazing!  Seriously, how can you say that it’s not interesting?”

-“Well, I just don’t get it.  It’s not because someone is a political activist that what this person does qualifies as Art.”

-“Really?????  Now, I don’t get it.  Did you at least read the captions?”

-“Yeah!  And?  A picture should be self-explanatory.  If you need a caption to get the point, then it’s like a holiday picture that you serve to your bored but patient friends with lots of lousy excuses. ”

-“Well, I don’t share your point of view.”

-“Guess what? That’s democracy baby! “

So yes, as an artist, Ai Weiwei… it’s mouais

Alda Mori

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Apple Talk With Garance Doré

Garance Doré
 Friday afternoon, I took my green trench to the Opéra Apple Store in Paris.

Not that I needed anything in particular from there.

No.  The real motive of my little stroll was to meet Garance Doré to discuss her work.  At least that was the promise.

On arriving, I was impressed by the crowd.  Mainly females.  Young and not so young.  Some males here and there. 

The crowd
Do you see Garance backstage ?
A quick glance at the place to try to strategically localize the best place to hear the French blogging goddess.  Damn it!  I arrived too late and since I am not 5 ft. 10 I decided that I was going to be mobile.

That’s when I spotted a nice place on the 1st floor balcony.  It was not ideal, but from there I saw the star of the day.  There she was, preparing to jump on the scene.  Smiling and chatting with her crew.

Garance Doré and her crew
1 p.m.  She eventually got on the stage.  Smiling and natural but maybe a little bit stressed?  She wore her perfect Prada pumps.

Unfortunately, the mic did not work that well or maybe there was too much noise.  I don’t know but I didn’t hear a thing (no, I am not deaf).  Sadly.  So, I ran downstairs.  Close to the stage.  Same thing, although I could now see closely the perfect pumps and the admiring faces of the attendees.

The Prada perfect pumps
I was no longer trying to catch any word of the discussion but just observing the Garance Doré effect. 

Sparkling eyes staring widely.  Mouths falling open.  A fashionable crowd that seemed more attracted by the glamour of Garance Doré’s world than by the hard work behind the show.

Some may criticize her girly girl tone and the fact that she’s no longer the girl next door from the beginning, but the truth is that through her blog Garance Doré offers an escape to our morose daily grind, showing us a chosen piece (the one that makes anyone dream) of her unusual life amongst designers, fashionistas and hipsters.

Garance Doré and her fans
I was a little bit disappointed by the whole thing, partly because I was expecting her to talk about the secrets of the dream making machine, how she manages her blog, the tools she uses to draw, the cameras she works with, the way she gets people to strike the pose, the way she brands herself and markets her blog. 

But one thing is for sure: Garance, you are a rock star!

Hopefully one day I will see these questions answered.  Garance, if you read this, it’s when you want for an interview.

Alda Mori