Sunday, February 25, 2018

Some Favorites, Venice Biennale 2017

  My intention has always been to post more, but damn, life gets in the way. (Life... and Netflix streaming. Who am I kidding? Lame, Janelle, very lame.)

  I need a short break from stressing out in general, so I thought I'd whip out another blog post from events long in the past. Before I know it, I'll be back in Umbria, posting as much as I can. I'm looking forward to seeing what's going on with all our pals there, eating yummy food, reading lots and lots...sigh.
  The hard part will be the weather...we've read it will be very cold- in the teens at night, 20's in the day. There is a nasty cold front moving through the area...yikes. Luckily it will blow along, and then we'll be happy to see spring coming back.
  But in the day or two leading up to the wicked cold...

  So this is a post about a few of my favorite exhibitions from the 2017 Venice Biennale. We were there in November, and I didn't have a very good internet connection, so I wasn't able to do much posting from Venice. Now is my chance.

  One of my very, very favorite shows was Eve Ariza, in the Andorran Pavilion. It was not in the main area, but off on a side street, and we just came across this by chance...


"Her installation, Murmuri, is a reflection on universal language, an in-depth study of changes in material and the origins of form and sound. She works on reproducing the bowl as a container of truth and a sensory experience through its natural resonance. She purposely tears its base to reveal a mouth-like shape, thus transforming its essence and dismissing its conventional use. 

The project carries on the artist's battle against “bla”, the concept of overconsumption and overfeeding on images and sounds as tangibly the sole foundation of today's society. The installation becomes a sensory experience as each bowl reveals its own natural resonance. Liberated from the burden of any explicit narrative content, the work primarily provokes an intense physical dialogue with the viewer."

  I was so taken by the textural element, the scope of it and the color palette. Walking into this space, with no idea of what we would find, was a magical experience. There was a wonderful soundtrack, of course, with simple, ethereal music at just the right level.

  The walls were covered in the most beautiful way...with extraordinarily delicate 'bowls'. I wanted to play them with a pencil thin stick...It was really hard to keep my hands off them.

Don't you love this?

It was just Johnny and I enjoying the show. Always nice.


Thank blew my mind.

  Another interesting work was Lee Mingwei's (USA)"The Mending Project", which was in one of the main pavilions in the Biennale area. 
  The artist set up a table and a couple of chairs, with a wall of colorful spools of thread. There was a stack of clothes, thread attached, nearby.
  The idea was that you could bring in any garment you wanted to have mended, sit and interact with the artist, if you wanted...or not. At the end of the exhibition, everyone could pick their mended clothes.
  I loved it, and wished I'd had something that needed mending!

Mended clothes tethered to the wall of spools of thread.

I just dig the whole concept here...
The thread...the thread...

So fine. Love it.

Garments waiting for their people.

The Artist with a participant.

  Another installation I likes was "Venice Stream" by Japanese artist Takesada Matsutani (born 1937).
I believe that the canvas bag held graphite that slowly 'dripped' onto the ceramic ball, creating a pattern within the square surface. The bag slowly moved, which made an interesting shape of graphite dust around the ceramic ball below.
  Don't ask me why...I just liked it a lot.

  You have to understand that this process of graphite, ever so slowly dripping, had been going on since May. We saw this in November. This was a long term installation, which was changing, ever so slowly, by the hour.
  Pretty damn cool.

The image in the background sort of mimicked the over all effect, I guess.

A mix of sumi ink and graphite on the ball.
So simple and beautiful.

  This next piece, " Escalade Beyond Chromatic Lands" by USA born Sheila Hicks( born 1934), was just a bunch of colorful fun...It was HUGE. It made me smile.
  It also made me want to jump right in and wriggle around for awhile.

Massive balls of stuffed and woven colorful fabric...what's not to love?


  Big balls of color were great, no doubt...but I have to say, I guess what I loved even more were the teeny, tiny vignettes by Argentinian artist Liliana Porter.
  She created several minuscule worlds which captured my imagination more than just about anything else I saw on display.
  Each bitty little scene was on an eye level table top. She used really tiny figures and bits of this and that to create these amazing 'stories'...The figures are about an inch or so the most.
  I'll admit, I have an affinity to small things, so maybe that's why this works spoke to me...

The axe man was so tiny...chopping away at salt crystal sized bits of china...

You could kind of walk around them, to get different perspectives.

At least I thought so.

  Another scene....

I can't help but wonder how she imagined this piece.
I would love to ask...

Each small scene was in it's own little space, so you could take it in separately from the others.
I loved this one...the rope started out so thick...

...and ended smaller than a thread, with these fellows trying to handle it all.
These guys were maybe an inch tall.

  Last, but still so mighty, was the woman mending the fishing net...


  Lastly, we have Claudia Fontes' " The Horse Problem".
  The piece speaks for itself.
  Gigantic. White. Simplicity of form.

  I fell hard for this one, and I'm not sure why. I think because of all the above.
  You have to understand that this was enormous and spectacular and emotional on a few levels.
  So feminine. Evocative...poignant.

  Johnny thinks we should give the Biennale a rest for awhile. Not enough painting for him.
  Me? I just can't get enough of these inspiring installation pieces we see. They spark my imagination in countless ways, and fill me with wonder and delight, as well as creeping me out and making me cringe sometimes.
  As I always say, when it comes to art..... or film, or the written word, or music...If you can make me feel something, anything...I'm in.
  Bring. It. On. dear love...We will return in 2019, if this little chicky has anything to say about it.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Dreaming Of Meals To Come...Soon!

  In just a few days, we'll be packing our bags and heading to Umbria. As usual, Mr. J and I have been  doing our pre-Italy dieting, getting ourselves ready to chow down with gusto after we arrive.

  I'm looking forward to the simple fare I'll fix at home...

Tomatoes with beans and pecorino.
Wonderful in front of the fire.

Typical lunch on the terrace.

Yolanda's market has the best little tomatoes!

Grilled veg for a potluck with our landlord, Carlo.

We eat lots, lots, lots of tomatoes with pecorino.
Here, paired with onion and sage 'pizza' from the town bakery.

Another tasty salad on the terrace.

I'm not never gets old!

I can whip out a pretty damn good risotto, too.

Charred shishito peppers were great with parmesan in the summer.
And a surprise to find at the Chiusi weekly market!

  As nice as it is to fix meals at home, we always look for somewhere new to try at lunch time. In July, we heard about this place that we didn't get to until November. It's another of the 'working man' lunch spots that are often only open on weekdays, and are outstanding.
  Again, except for the staff, I was the only woman in the place. That's how these rough and ready places are. See lots of cars and working vehicles parked outside? That's a good sign.
  Fine with me...I can't wait to go back.

  I knew we were in for a treat when I took a peek at a side dining room, and saw tables covered in fresh pasta set out to dry a bit before cutting.

No kidding.

It was beautiful sight to behold, my friends.

Wine and water, of course...

The fellow who told us about this place said we had to try the 'pici alla briciole', a speciality of the house. Hand made pasta with Not for the light eater, I'll tell you that. 
  But, was good.

Yes, those breadcrumbs were toasted in lots...LOTS..of olive oil and garlic.

Really good grilled veg.

Perfectly fine ceci beans, but not for this meal.
We couldn't finish them. They would be great with grilled meat.

  Don't even try to ask me where this place is. It goes in our little black book of places we want to keep hidden away. 

  There are lots of tasty treats I'm dying to get back to....

Piadini at Bar Gallo....

Suppli at Supplizio in Rome....

Fried porcini at Dardano in Cortona....

Tagliatelle with at Da Suaro on Isola Maggiore...

More truffles with ravioli... somewhere?
I can't remember, honest.

Pappa al pomodoro...a summer treat at Masolino's.
Tomato and bread soup. Yummy.

My favorite salad of buffalo mozzarella and zucchini.
Bar Gallo.

  Lastly, because you just can't get it like this anywhere else...
  Pizza at Remo, in Rome. We will actually stay over night, at any cost, to delight in this 4.50 euro pizza.

Yep, it's that good.

  Counting the days/hours.....