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Showing posts from January, 2012

The Lone Man and His Play

* Edouard Manet, Music in Tuileries

(Always more of a struggle it is to employ a substantial to represent something abstract. Instead of displaying a vignette of an afternoon alfresco concert, Manet’s Music in Tuileries seems to me more like a delineation of how the music travels and sizzles amid the immaculately-dressed crowd. To judge on the whole the music played must be more Romantic than Baroque, the many expressions adopt such leisurely enjoyment that are unmistakably characteristic. The music seems to have its bewitching hooks too, for the barely distinguishable throngs in the centre and at the rear end, they are so enchanted with it that they eventually sozzled under its spell.)

He loves the city he lives in. Still much of an alien of the city, he only moved to the place three years ago and has yet familiarized with his surroundings or talked unerringly in its accent. Nevertheless the city is the place he is ready to call home, with its wild provisions of epicures, dilett…

The Dummy and I

* Irina Ionesco, Untitled

(It is hard to pick a more uplifting one out of Irina Ionesco oeuvre. Sacrilegious or not those pictures seem to most viewers, the well-known fact of the photographer casting her own daughter in several provocative shots will certainly rankle. The world in Ionesco’s photography is the chilling and bleakest folk tales that are recklessly mistaken for the perfect bedtime stories. Glamours, however, can still be conjured from the characters’ vampire-esque or mummy-like portrayal. Dressing glamorously as many other characters, the little girl stands coyly beside the furnished table. Mr. Rabbit with his back facing the viewers- a tale-like tea date between the two endearing ones suddenly turns into an unfortunate interval of a jilted love.)

I carefully dress my dummy before setting out our venture. Such venture has become a quotidian matter, but what it has gradually grown into is something that, like a sudden inpour of sunbeams, befuddles me initially and thus nudg…

The Earth

* Gustave Courbet, The Stonebreakers (1849)

(Courbet’s paintings seem eternally be covered by a layer of dusts- such effect is highlighted when the subject matter is some labour that engenders dusts- breaking stones. Long being assumed a Realist but unarguably weathering from the Romantic School, Courbet ingeniously shrouded the unideal in a vaguely idealized veneer- while one man refuses to face the viewers and the other has his hat rim closely down to the nose tip- neither of them is granted the permission of unfolding his facial expression. The hide-and-seek relation between the objects and the viewers forms a rather mystified sensation to the latters. At any moment the stonebreakers motion can seem stealthy, while something hideous seems to emerge anytime out of those piles of stones, like smoke.)

Due to a minor, inconsequential injury I am temporarily-handicapped and confined to a wheelchair, facing a window that opens up a view of every best moment of the altering seasons. These d…

The Renovation

* Gustave Caillebotte, The Floor Scrapers(1875)

Having witnessed the appalling Floor Scrapers, it is rather hard to imagine the painter would conjure up such a poignantly beautiful rainy scene two years later (Paris Street, Rainy Day). Nevertheless it is from the former painting that an answer is given of why Gustave Caillebotte seemed to straddle between Realism and Impressionism, but was never really belonging to either school. The Floor Scrapers is by no means idealistic, but also seems somewhat coy in comparison with the curt-spoken realism. The matter-of-factness is the only sentiment the viewers can procure from. Labourers scraping the floor- Caillebotte made no hints of effort or any intention to highlight their pain of slaving away, or to concoct a romanticism to trumpet such unconventional topic. The only supposed “embellishment” the painter made was the angle the scene was taken- the slightly slanted view unintentionally prolongs the floor, the real beauty then lies in how th…