The truth is that our only obligation should be to distil what we can from our epoch, through without belittling what earlier periods have achieved. (Eduard Manet, 1878-79)
Posts Tagged ‘arts’
Ready to welcome the spring after a long winter…..with some thespian experience:
- Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler (with Sheridan Smith) @Old Vic
- Sarah Wolley’s Old Money (with Maureen Lipman) @Hampstead Theatre
- Harold Pinter’s Old Times (with Kristin Scott Thomas, Rufus Sewell and Lia Williams) @Harold Pinter Theatre
- Shakepseare’s Macbeth (with James McAvoy) @Trafalgar Studios
- Peter Morgan’s The Audience (with Helen Mirren) @Gielgud Theatre
I watched the Black Swan yesterday and I really enjoyed Aronofsky’s direction as well as Portman’s great performance. I understand though some ballet critics and dancers who claim that we need to see Natali Portman as an actress and not as a ballet dancer. What attracted my interest was the interplay between the eternal duality: the good and the bad, the white and black, the total absence of any in-between state. The roles of Odette and Odile (the white and black swans in the Swan Lake) reflect the great differences between Me and me, where me becomes the antithesis of Me. The eternal struggle between the good self and the bad self that leads inevitably to an endless imperfect effort for perfection.
Gideon Rachman asks in the FT of 25th January: ‘Where have all the thinkers gone?’
He is making an interesting discovery on the basis of this year’s list of the Foreign Policy magazine re the ‘Top 100 Global Thinkers‘ (of 2010).
He notices that the top ten in the list are quite more famous as doers (rather than thinkers).
‘…The 1861 rankings could have startd with Charles Darwin and John Stuart Mill….then you could include Karl Marx and Charles Dickens. And that was just the people living in and around London. In Russia, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky were both at work, although neither had yet published their greatest novels….’
After naming a few reasons that may account for the above difference between the thinkers of the past century and the doers of our days he concludes:
‘ ….there is a final possibility. That, for all its wealth and its gadgets, our generation is not quite as smart as it thinks it is’.
Probably Gideon Rachman is right. Probably we are less smart despite the tools we use to ‘make’ us smarter (i.e. smartphones?). Or, it is probably our epoch that requires us doing rather than thinking. If thinking is not reflected upon doing then what difference can it make? And, I believe, ‘doing’ has a taste, while ‘thinking’ may be just a nostalgia of a possible ‘doing’…..
I recommend Gauguin: Maker of Myth at Tate Modern Gallery to those ones who can enjoy and exhibition without questioning its feminist boundaries. For me Gauguin represents not only the movement to Primitivism but a deeper political break-up with the modern life, the Western culture and the conventional post-colonian pragmatism. Gauguin knows how to transform the ‘different’ into ‘exotic’, the ‘other’ into part of ‘us’, the ‘local’ into ‘global’.
One of my favourite paintings by him:
What happens to us after we pass away? How order in the cosmos of the afterlife is maintained?
For the ancient Egyptians the constant quest for immortality raises the need for creating written documents, paintings and sculptures to assist the Dead throughout his passage from death to afterlife. (While for the ancient Greeks the quest for mortality, the Now and Present places the Man towards the God, face to face with the human fate – the mystery of Life is what is expressed in the Greek Art rather than the mystery of Death).
Travelling the paths to the hereafter, the rite of passage from Life to Death is exhibited at the British Museum. What I found extremely interesting was the variety of the funerary papyri –the Book of the Dead- on display, papyri rolls that contain astonishing illustrations and sacred texts accompanying and guiding the dead in the afterlife. The longest one ever found and for the first time on public display is 37 meters long, the Greenfield Papyrus!
Such a joy to see Michael Gambon on stage! Krapp’s Last Tape, one of the longest short plays by Samuel Beckett tells the story of Krapp, who listens to the tapes he has recorded over the years, thinks and laughs at himself, with himself….The play is a dialogue between Krapp and his younger self in a way, full of irony and pathos, a kind of lyrical sarcasm, all the ingredients of a retrospective account of your life when you go back and realise how pompous you can be once young….
A part from the play:
Krapp: Just been listening to that stupid bastard I took myself for thirty years ago, hard to believe I was ever as bad as that. Thank God that’s all done with anyway…………….[long after]……..Perhaps my best years have gone. When there was a chance of happiness. But I wouldn’t want them back. Not with the fire in me now. No, I wouldn’t want them back.
An exhibition I had the pleasure to enjoy last week: Camille Silvy: Photographer of Modern Life. Camille Silvy (1834-1910) worked both in France and Britain and is regarded as one of the pioneer photographers as he -through his work- celebrated the portrait photography in a period in which this ‘style’ was not common. (more…)
Daphne Todd is the winner of this year’s BP Portrait Award. I saw the portrait last week during my visit to the gallery and I found it magnificent. Although it portrays the dead mother of the artist, paradoxically, is so full of life: (more…)