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Showing posts from 2014

Festive Danger

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The ducks have had their portrait taken. With one arm poised on the ever supportive traffic bollard that is here starring in the role one of those fake broken columns from Antiquity from back when photography was new.

The photo comes framed. As it happens in the life of a modern duck, it never gets to define which frame. Happy Holidays!



The cartoon shown is courtesy of Jørn Villumsen and must not be reproduced without his permission.


"Hey, if I can be of any help"

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The present blog post was intended to juggle with the notion of anthropomorphized animals. After all there is a plethora on them on this blog - cats, ducks, a pig and not least teddy bears, to mention some of the most notable.

There have been humanoid satirizing animals in art for at least 4000 years. The preserved ones from history are Egyptian as they are from Japan. And then we have Willis of today.


It is each time a marvel to dive into nearly a 1000 years old drawings and recognize their simple, clear outline of animals mocking, critizing and turning over social mores and political stanzes. Most of the time with a strict economy of line; form defined by outline with no need for shadowing nor color. Created by artists belonging to an elite, who saw through the mannerisms and power plays of their day.

Those are all words, which fit the drawings by Nadia Khiari like a glove. And yet, she works in quite another strand too. There is a directness in her work that is her very objective,…

Evening came on, the last evening of the year

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Hans Christian Andersen. Bob Katzenelson asked me to credit Hans Christian as the author of course of The Little Match Girl. She had not sold a match all day and was dreaming herself away while igniting the very items she was supposed to sell. At the dawn of the new year she was found frozen to death in a corner formed by two houses.

She is of a long tradition of round-eyed children, whose lack of the most basic needs in life awakens our do-good-insistency at that one time of the year. Bob has added the very layer of danger to that equation reaching out from our own angle: the helping hands.

Those two are the very reason we had a social reform in Denmark in 1933, a constitutional infrastructure securing basic social security and rights for everyone. Philantropy is a dangerous business to the destitutes. There is no mercy, if the wrong hands get to you. The pointing hand and the grapping one, both carefully gloved.

Poverty is indeed the worst form of violence.




The cartoon shown is cou…

"We were perfect"

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- was the first image shown when Khalid Wad Albaih spoke at the EURO-ARAB Dialogue Forum on November 27, arranged by the Lutfia Rabbani Foundation. He was accompanied by the musician Zid al Tayem.

What strikes one when seeing his drawings from 2011 - just one of those shown in this blogpost are from 2014 -  is the stringency of Khalid's iconography to a degree that his cartoons refer to each other in pairs. The earliest ones have a counterpart drawn at a later date; the former defining the problem at hand, while the latter is reflecting on outcomes and future possibilities.

And yet both of them are barely there.

In aesthetic terms Khalid Wad Albaih is a minimalist, although on its own that term is by now so generic that I would rather stress his analytic aesthetics, which fittingly is a philosophical discipline. Each cartoon from his hand is an investigation into what an image can. How it is never a solid, but sets up a traffic point for exchange.

Such as creating visibility of n…

On Humility and Respect

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It was recently discovered that a painting by Christen Købke at our National Gallery believed to depict a summer's evening in sunny Copenhagen 1838 was originally bathed in broad daylight. This as the result of artificial colors changing over time. Copenhagen at sundown is easily recognized by the surface of the central lakes turning red, so till now the interpretation had seemed natural.

There is but one thing to say:

The museum guests knew all along.

They detected the discrepancies, how the sun was to be seen there, which was far from being its correct position from this angle at evening and the shadows did not make any sense either. I could only add that Købke did not finish his greater works in situ. Sketches were transformed onto a larger canvasback in his studio and he may very well have mixed up what was supposed to be where at what time.

I learned that the two most important ingredients in art history are respect and humility.

Respect and humility to the artwork as well a…

"In a country, which does not respect its citizens..."

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DIGNITY. The very notion from which the Syrian revolutionaries have not swayed a second as their objective. While the notion of freedom may be vast and vague, dignity states what freedom entails. 


A dignified life is one of doing as opposed to being done to. A life of taking responsibility, of deciding for oneself. To show respect and being shown respect.
A government without dignity is thus known by its creating garbage of its people and so the Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane is busy shoving away the dead; at once practicing the policy of the gutter, while forgetting his own claim to Islam how the deceased are entitled to his respect.
The latter are drawn with respect by Khalid Gueddar on the other hand. Their faces remain hidden and yet each body is clearly outlined; they do not dissolve into one another in spite of being thrown about. To all sides of them Benkirane is in constant movement. He has taken the action upon him, being the one who acts on behalf of everybody else…
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