Thursday, 12 July 2018

Where Is... Life?



A very empty leaf in front of the golden girl.

An old photo of mine that I have drained of color to highlight the butterfly.
It is the only non-shiny part of the figurine and placed atop the leaf.
Was the Danish Prime Minister drunk at some formal dinner? Was the Crown Prince convinced he could jump the grandfather clock that same evening?

It certainly did not happen from daily wear and tear for the decorated doors to the room across which tourists are passing every day are as always in rather pristine condition.

No, something specific happened to the grandfather clock in Abildgaardsalen (The Abildgaard Room), which forms part of The Royal Reception Rooms at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen.

I am the minikin down to the left for measure.

Her emptied hands.
The stomach of the grandfather clock, which does look battered these days,
however they may be old wounds that have cracked open yet again.
Valdemar Andersen decorated every corner of The Abildgaard Room with the Danish flora, i.e. beetles, flies, wasps and robins. Bears and their like have been gone for centuries in Denmark.

Atop the grandfather clock he then added another insect, this time a sculpted blue butterfly perched on a leaf with a young girl protecting it with her hands. A sculpture on the fragility of life in the passing of time.

Which makes it all the sadder that the butterfly is gone.

Valdemar wondered back then, if its meaning would be understood?

It proved painfully significant to its artist. It was the last work by Valdemar Andersen, finished on New Year's Eve 1927/1928. Only two months later he was to be hospitalized, his leukemia diagnosed and his all too short, but immensely productive life would come to an early end.

One detail of the room, each square featuring its insect and inviting
in the light by mirroring the squares of the window frames. 
The figurine was first cast with the help of the architect and designer Poul Henningsen (PH) and then carved in mahogany and gold plated. Nothing was lacking in its creation.

The creation of the Royal Reception Rooms on the other hand had turned into a longwinded affair; everyone absolutely hating each other, or rather the head of the team of artists seemed to have been so troubled by the project he had taken upon himself that he hated them all. Everything was changed along the way, form and content alike. Such as the intended use of the rooms. Mirrors already done by Valdemar were never used. Everything was done and then rejected.

In the case of the Abildgaard Room it took eight years to complete and everything in it not created by Valdemar is an overdone eclectic mess rather like the icing on a birthday cake.

Yet, in the midst of everyone hissing at each other, the quiet Valdemar stuck to his original idea of depicting the fauna, portraying each insect at a time and framing it in light grey grotesques. The only thing about his part of the decoration, which reveals the passing of the time, is the hairstyle of the sculptured girl in the fashion of the late 1920'ies.

Her protecting the frailty of life was an exquisite final artistic statement.

Now the blue butterfly is gone.

Life.... is gone...?


Detail of one of Valdemar's decorated doors leading to the room.



Monday, 9 July 2018

The Unfakable



Khalid Albaih at the graffiti wall of the exhibition, the cartoons dirtied up
as they would be outside. With Jens Nüchel Petersen, July 5, 2018.
Photo: Niels Larsen.


"We Were Perfect", view from the exhibition at
the Library at Kulturværftet in Elsinore.
Photo: LCL.
Even before we opened Khalid Albaih's exhibition We Were Perfect at the Library at Kulturværftet in Elsinore (Helsingør), the exhibition had its first visitor.

A young refugee from the Syrian regime, his wide-eyed reaction, when being told that the artist was present before him was the best moment of the evening. His eyes told the story of the presence of Khalid's work too since 2011.

Running through one room of the exhibition is a "graffiti wall" a giant paper wall with dirtied up prints as they would have been seen stenciled on walls in Tahrir Square, Cairo and in Beirut. They were likewise brought on to the streets when demonstrating against regimes, or against the handling of refugees in Australia, and first and foremost they have gone viral on smart-screens in the Arab world as in the West.

The original of the cartoon is at any given instance the publicized one. In this case its publication took place in all of its formats, size and materials. We may speak of a first apparition on the screens, but the constitutive properties are not ephemeral, nor are they transitory. On the contrary, in each of their configurations, his works are fully there as he intended.


"We Were Perfect", view from the exhibition at the Library at Kulturværftet
in Elsinore. Photo: LCL.

"We Were Perfect", view from the exhibition at
the Library at Kulturværftet in Elsinore.
Photo: LCL.
The word is authoritative.

The artworks of Khalid are as clear-cut in form as they are in meaning. A luminous background onto which is a clear-cut graphic element. Simple, yet detailed. They address the specific in laying out a situation, while insisting on the intellectual curiosity of their beholders to think for themselves in everything they hear and do.
"We Were Perfect", view from the exhibition at
the Library at Kulturværftet in Elsinore.
Photo: LCL.

Khalid's objective was understood given it was taken to the streets in the call for change from the noise of despots doing their damnedest to undermine every instance of calm to think.

"Fake" has been a despotic buzzword these years in their adoption of what Orwell termed doublethink, to reach the point were nothing is - well, where nothingness reigns. Contrary to this we have the unfakable of the realm of art, as termed by the philosopher of aesthetics, Nelson Goodman.

Goodman would not have approved of the authoritative manifold of the unique, but then he wrote before there was such a thing as an image being printed on equally excellent appliances across the globe.

Our first visitor came back moments later with his best friend, who originates from Ethiopia. Two friends from two continents accentuating a body of work, which in turn is the embodiment of the poet Maya Angelou:

I go forth alone, and stand as ten thousand.


The local graffiti wall by the library at Kulturværftet,
so of course there is an invitation to find inspiration inside.
Photo: LCL.


The Exhibition We Were Perfect at the Library of Kulturværftet, Elsinore/Helsingør. It opened last Thursday and runs until September 27, 2018.


Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Monument of Shame




Bonil, Trees of Death, by Rosario Murillo and Daniel Ortega,
July 4, 2018.



It is a monument of the atrocities taking place in Nicaragua. Constructions of steel around Managua, designed by Rosario Murillo, wife of president Daniel Ortega. As trees go, these produce no oxygen and can as such be no symbol of life.

Each of the killed embodies the Nicaraguan flag. The full story is before us.



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






The Moral Case of Cartoonist vs. President


Did I just read that? Surely I read wrong?

Correa, the former president of Ecuador has a warrant of arrest on his head.


Bonil, July 4, 2018:
- Walking alert (a leftist cry on a victorious Bolívar through Latin America)
- of Bolívar's sword?
- No, the red alert of Interpol


Interpol has been alerted to have him extradited from Belgium. Belgium is apparently the new haven for political leaders on the run. The Catalan separatist leader escaped extradition from Belgium too only little over a month ago.

Responsibility is but a word of fashion, according to Correa. Now it is there, now it is not.

Correa has done anything in his power, rallying week after week, using every means of his presidential power to undermine the freedom held in the constitution against Bonil and his colleagues. Bonil was singled out time after time in court as in the rallies mentioned, hearing his person and cartoons harassed in a tone, which might have been a suggestion of... violence? Surely verbal violence, which might have escalated even further. Bonil was denied his personal and citizen rights on every level and for every bit of that burdensome and dangerous road, Correa is responsible. Responsible in the present tense.

Correa the Escapist. We know already that he will do anything to avoid facing his own deeds. His life is as cushioned as Bonil's is not. Bonil has been called to answer for his cartoons and he answered. Being answerable is the very definition of acting responsibly.

Of every word with which we characterize Bonil, Correa is his opposite. Bonil has spine, showing courage and using his sharp intellect. He analyses the world with love and humor, creating understanding one cartoon at a time to make this world a better place.

Correa is a whimpering blob of vanity.

The words above have been all about Bonil and that is how it should be.

- Oh, and by the way: It is the Fourth of July in the US. Belgium may be seeing Trump hopefully sooner than later. Sorry, Belgium!



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



Sunday, 1 July 2018

How To Lose The Moral Right to Govern



Pedro X. Molina, June 2018.
The national outcry:
HELP ME!!!

HEAR US! Every cartoon from Pedro X. Molina right now is meant to hurt our eardrums. The volume turned to maximum is everything cartooning, or art for that matter, is not supposed to be and for that very reason the message is all the stronger.

To sum up the Nicaraguans plight, president Daniel Ortega has responded with violence against demonstrations protesting his politics. According to the Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights at least 285 are dead and 1500 injured. By June 25.


Pedro X. Molina, June 2018.
Hors d'oeuvre...
- My men have orders not to shoot!

The salivating Ortega has been turned into not just any beast, but one prepared to clamp down on critique against him. The bullet bars for teeth speak of preparation. In other words, Ortega embodies the problem; he is the problem.

He is as much a roaring noise as his moral counterpoint above, the pietà of desperation. The profound inner sorrow is wrought out to a collective outcry of desperation, desperate too to be heard. In the confrontation of sound, we have their respective stations.


Pedro X. Molina, October 9, 2015.
Please note the date and year: 2015.
- If you think...
- That this is "violence"...
- ... and this is "peace"...
- Then you are simply not thinking.


Pedro X. Molina, June 2018.
The section of the Constitution in which it is stated
that armed paramilitaries are unconstitutional.
Pedro X. Molina already was a cartoonist speaking in direct terms. Direct as in laying out object-by-object, never details, but each element alongside the next element to let it be known what is taking place.

We are in court in his cartoons and the prosecution is laying out the evidence, all of which is adding up. The Constitution and the soiling of it is a central exhibit to the case.

He is calling for judgment before us: This is not a war. This is a massacre by an armed state that kills its unarmed citizens, in his own words. He draws the moral verdict written in the citizens' own blood to NOT commit a revenge murder of Ortega and wife, but to their being removed from power, since they refuse to do themselves:


Pedro X. Molina, June 2018.
OUT WITH THEM




Pedro X. Molina asks of you all to distribute his cartoons as widely as possible to let the situation of Nicaraguans be known.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...