Jean-Pierre aka ‘Johnny’ is brooding over his sad lot and three films (but not mine): Jan Švankmajer “Darkness – Light – Darkness” (1989), “Alice” (1988) and lesser known “The Garden” (1968)
July 1, 2015
Josiane Keller “millefleurs” (2015)
And whilst Jean-Pierre aka ‘Johnny’, the unsuccessful pimp-turned-photographer, is sitting in a dingy cafe in a city that looks an awful lot like Montmartre of the 30’s, contemplating his financial troubles and searching for answers, whilst his girlfriend Alice is cross with him and refuses to speak to him, or in fact acknowledge his presence, here some equally surreal entertainment, equally close to life on earth as we enjoy it, by Jan Švankmajer:
Jan Švankmajer “Darkness – Light – Darkness” (1989)
and “Neco z Alenky / Alice”:
Jan Švankmajer “Alice” (1988)
Superb version of a challenging classic.
Here one of the film posters (UK version) painted by Jan Švankmajer’s late wife, Eva:
Eva Švankmajerová “Neco z Alenky /Alice” (1988)
And finally this brilliant and lesser known early film “Zahrada / The Garden”
Jan Švankmajer “Zahrada /The Garden” (1968)
If you are confused you can read, for instance, this article by Marie J. Jean for VOX (Montreal) about it:
“… In Czech surrealist theory, the aim is to reinstate the subconscious dimension of subjectivity so often repressed in contexts of totalitarianism. …”
June 29, 2015
Josiane Keller “Montmartre” (2015)
No end of fight in sight, Alice is cross. I have no arguments against her points. I am guilty, I promised not to sell figures anymore, and here we are: right back to the start. She is hanging in my ears, Johnny this and Johnny that, about the lousy business, the pathetic clients, the annoying surrounding and the brainless job of standing around and being nothing but a decorative object for someone, and that only in the best case scenario.
I know, Alice! I know. By now the other girls got wind of the situation, of course, and they are not in any more accepting mood about it all. Drama, BIG TIME! I am escaping to a Cafe to drown my mood in a coffee, or perhaps something stronger is needed. Maybe I can still come up with a solution, but the miserable mood in the house is too much for me right now. A guy needs a peaceful setting to come up with a good plan, but the ladies are obviously unaware of that part of the physiognomy of the male brain.
June 27, 2015
Alice is no longer pouting. By now we got into a serious argument. She is screaming through the flat “You PROMISED us you would NEVER do that anymore!” Various cooking devices are being thrown heartfully to the ground and land there with loud crashes, not all of them keep the shape they had before Alice got a hold of them.
It’s not that I don’t understand her. It’s not funny, her lot. People don’t think so much about it and there is good money in it, for some. But from Alice’s and the girls’ perspective it’s a nightmare. That’s why at some point I didn’t want to have anything to do with anymore. I felt for the girls.
I promised them other jobs, where they would only model for the photographs, not actually be sold. With the current boom in photography it looked like a plan, I thought this would be it and we were all very enthusiastic, me maybe most of everyone involved.
Josiane Keller “Vicky looking out from the hotel window” (2015)
Just the trick is the marketing, I underestimated that part. I am just a poor gypsy, trying to make it. I am used to pretty direct hand-to-hand exchange of goods for money, that’s it, no thrills, I don’t know another way. I don’t dress, talk or party like these guys. The communication is less than fluent, to say the least. I know I have good stuff, we did some pretty great work, the girls above anyone, the bunny people too, not to forget them, as those were the first ones I felt I can’t just sell, no matter how many people made me a good offer.
And we got plenty of praise, did shows, won awards, all that was in place. Just when it comes down to actual money, by now it is obvious. Money has nothing to do with all that. At that point one has to be willing to be an Art Clown. (Or start an affair with someone influential, which ultimately ends up the same thing, doesn’t it?)
The whole business is so undignified, nobody talks about the abuse involved, people just readily play along with it, they say it’s just part of the game, and I can’t do that or won’t do that, whichever way you want to look at it.
So that’s the end of the story, since money has to happen somewhere. It’s either my dignity or the girls’ dignity, seems there is no third option that actually works.
Poor Alice, poor Vicky, poor Agnes, poor girls, Josette will just laugh, she probably assumed this anyways the whole time to end up that way. I didn’t tell anyone that I already looked at Vicky to go first, with her exotic looks, and Alice and Agnes would do well, too, I know it, that’s what people want. They go for looks, not character, idiots that they are. If it was up to me Josette would be prime, and Gilberte, but I know how these things go.
In reality I am still squeezing my head for an alternative solution. This is not funny for me either, I wish Alice would get the point of that. Listening to the banging stuff crashing to the kitchen floor at least currently she does not.
June 27, 2015
Trouble in paradise. Alice suspects I’m cheating on her or planning to leave her. In fact, constructed photography is all beautiful and intellectual, but there is easier money to be made selling the sculptures, and three years into the work money does become a topic. So she is not so far off and I am not all innocent.
Josiane Keller “Alice pouting in bed” (2015)
Put me on the spot, just like that, and early morning in bed at that. Girl, life is tough and we all need to eat. I understand that she is upset. I had promised never to sell sculptures again. For now I am trying to avoid the discussion, secretly hoping to come up with a better solution before all money runs out, but things have been less than glorious since a while now.
Image of the day: Paul Klee, “Two men, each suspecting in higher position, meet” (1903) and Clown School
June 21, 2015
Today stood all in the sign of this famous etching: Paul Klee, etching and aquatint
“Two men, each suspecting in higher position, meet” on zinc on firm wove paper, 1903, (Zentrum Paul Klee):
or in original language:
Paul Klee: «Zwei Männer, einander in höherer Stellung vermutend, begegnen sich», Radierung und Aquatinta auf Zink auf festem Velin, 1903, (Zentrum Paul Klee)
Nothing much has changed since then. Only in the arts world it seems to me exactly opposite, each party will blow up their chest to appear more important. At least if you happen to live in the province. The focus on the art itself seems to have shifted a long time ago onto social feather rustling.
If you want to see the original etching, you can do so at the Sammlung Paul Klee in Bern, Switzerland:
And if you want to learn how to be a real clown you can also go and study here, for example:
There are others, of course.
Time for a film:
June 8, 2015
In case you belong to the small group of people who check this BLOG occasionally for new things to read and have not found anything new since a while now, I am sorry, I am very busy writing an article on dolls (*which I finally decided NOT to publish in the originally planned form and instead do something completely different) and also finishing an animation, luckily the deadline was extended two additional days from today, and I am working hard.
And yes, it is absolutely an ANIMATION. This one is actually, indeed, meant as a gallery installation.
(*If you find that to be an odd comment, it is an insider-joke and I apologize for making it, but I don’t want to skip it altogether either, so let’s leave it at that this time.)
Here a sneak-peek:
Josiane Keller “a walk through the grass #82″ (2015)
Comments (0) | Tags: a walk through the grass, dolls
June 1, 2015
It is very simple and gorgeous ( and a little bit ‘Richard Long’):
Kakyoung Lee “Coffee Circle” (2012):
here is her homepage:
Comments (0) | Tags: Coffee Circle, Kakyoung Lee, video
A sketchbook page with a rare reproduction of Léonard Tsugouharu’s Foujita 藤田 嗣治 “マドンナ /Madonna”, the quest for an image of a black Madonna – homage to Foujita – the black Madonna of Cleveland
April 9, 2015
Almost three years ago now I was working on the “Each reflection”-project, and as many times stated now started writing this BLOG as a production diary.
One post was this one on the making of Koala’s figure, and in context with this I put up a picture, or rather a print of a photograph of a painting originally painted by Japanese painter Léonard Tsugouharu Foujita 藤田 嗣治. The picture shows a beautiful youthful black Madonna encircled by fifteen black cherubs, the title is only “Madonna” or in Japanese “マドンナ”.
This is the original post:
I took another photograph of it today including my own hand, to make it visually clear that is this actually a page in a sketchbook, which looks like this:
© Josiane Keller “sketchbook page: Léonard Tsugouharu 藤田 嗣治 Foujita’s ‘Madonna’ マドンナ” (1962, 2011, 2015)
(* Just for fun as well as symbolism: I put a copyright symbol here. Not that would do anything about it.)
The original painting, as I found out by now, is in a private collection, although I have not managed to track it down (yet) in which collection and where.
It seems my photograph to my surprise is the only online reproduction of this painting. (!?)
The painter himself, born in 1886 in Tokyo, went in 1913 from Japan to France, befriended the local avant–garde of Parisian artists, among them Modigliani, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, famously so painted Man Ray’s kinky lover Kiki de Montparnasse (Alice Ernestine Prin) several times, inclusive enjoying her bossing him, allegedly because he specialized in painting ‘near white skin’ in a specific technique, as far as I know of mainly the whitish skin of young ladies with sparse clothing on. Kiki was known to him for particularly white skin. Among the many paintings he did of her is this one:
Leonard Tsuhugaru Foujita “nu couche a la toile de Jouy” (1922)
which did so well back then, and in the Wikipedia article it says also two years ago in NY at Christie’s, but the image they have on their site looks nothing like a Foujita at all and different from this very famous one, which makes me very skeptical that they got their data right and so I don’t even show it here, but of course you can check for yourself if you are interested.
Anyways, Kiki was modelling for other artist, too, particularly Man Ray, which is great as now we have photographs of her to compare with the paintings, and this is a famous one of it:
Man Ray “Black and White / Noire et Blanche” (1926)
Foujita married three times, did many paintings and lived a very eccentric life, did various travels worldwide, particularly to Latin America, where he painted and showed his work, spent some time back in Japan, eventually returned to France, converted to Catholicism, finally died in Switzerland and was eventually buried in the Foujita Chapel in Reims, France, he had designed himself and decorated with religious fresco.
And because that chapel, Chapelle Foujita, is very special I will also add a link to some pictures, so you can see it, for example this person went there in 2009 and took some photos:
Some links with information on him as I posted it on him on the initial post I will repeat here once more:
His English wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsuguharu_Foujita
to compare, here the Japanese wikipedia site: http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/藤田嗣治
and some museums hosting his work, for example: ブリヂストン美術館 Bridgestone Museum of Art in Tokyo:
http://www.bridgestone-museum.gr.jp/en/, as stated: this museum will be closing next month on Monday, May 18, 2015 for construction of a new building, and will remain closed for several years; (*you have one and half month to go see it!)
there is also this one: 東京都現代美術館 Tōkyō-to Gendai Bijutsukan in Tokyo: http://www.mot-art-museum.jp/index.html
and this one: ポーラ美術館 Pola Museum of Art in Hakone, Kanagwa Prefecture:
Still, the very specific painting of his black Madonna is a mystery, and not just that, since I put the picture up it has been passionately copied from my BLOG and put on pinterest seemingly multiple times, and from there made its way on other websites and BLOGS, only in one case I got the credit for this photo, and I am not even sure what to think about that, as I did not paint the picture, Foujita did, but I took the photo and the thing is also a bit from one of my sketchbooks. So I suppose some credit should go to me, no?
Then again, there seems to be no other online image of this specific painting than the one I put up, which is easy to recognize by the handwriting around it and the crease in the paper close to the upper edge, where the picture was folded before I glued it into my sketchbook.
One thing is clear from the online statistics on my website: there is a great need for an image of a young, beautiful black Madonna, it seems particularly among the African-American community, although the picture was probably painted with a North-African-French immigrant modelling, this is only my guess, I have currently no fact at hand that actually confirms this.
And so, although I am against organized religion, which is that I think some things should stay free instead being boxed up, instead of sending complaint e-mails to people who download this picture from my website putting it sometimes in the wildest context with their own stuff (even some sort of TV preacher from the Carolinas has it up!) without giving me any credit for it, which half is fair, as I didn’t paint it, and half not fair, as it is after all a corner from my sketchbook, I decided to produce a new, nice image of the same thing, so my next figure is supposed to be another black Madonna, inspired by Foujita’s painting, because it is indeed an interesting painting and I actually like it, too, very much, (which is the reason why I put it into my sketch book in the first place.)
To begin with we need some clay, that as opposed to my work so far contains iron oxide, which gives it deep reddish brown colour. The last time I used this particular clay was years ago, so by now my remaining material is hardened and needs to be worked over.
So right now the Madonna, Stage One, looks like this:
Josiane Keller “red clay” (2015)
Doesn’t look like much right now, if anything than probably more like a bowl of Mousse au Chocolat, but then again all my figures start out that way. A direct parallel to various creation mythologies involving forming creatures from clay cannot be denied.
Finally, by June 2015 the images was completed and titled “The black Madonna of Cleveland”:
Josiane Keller “the black Madonna of Cleveland”, multi-coloured (2015)
There are nine different colour versions and one multi-coloured one.
For additional info please click on link:
April 1, 2015
Josiane Keller “cluster photo – das Grabloch” (2015)
Finally the ground is thawed and we could bury Vanilla, the mouse, who had been since her death stored in an airtight container in my freezer, because the ground had been frozen and was too hard to bury her.
Everybody came, well… almost everybody: Josette, Jenny, Angel, Lee and Gilberte. The others were at work or overslept. It was nevertheless a very festive event and we all cried a lot. Rest in peace.
Comments (0) | Tags: Angel, das Grabloch, Funeral, Gilberte, Jenny, Josette, Lee, Vanilla
January 17, 2013
January 17, 2013
The annual Bonsai Association show, sugar trees, sumie painter Komori Fumio and new avant-garde comics
January 10, 2013
Yesterday Yasuo and me wanted to meet Komori Sensei, a ink painting master, pretty eccentric and lovely = the best combination there is, and along the way we stumbled over the annual Bonsai Association show, which is a good thing as I had planned to see it anyways but would have forgotten about it.
So there were about 90% of all the trees absolutely stunning little slanted pine trees that curl over the rim of their pots along the stand and down-hill so to speak, some with not very brilliant (sorry to say so) landscape ink paintings as background to complete the illusion of a huge old pine tree on a mountainside. They trees were wonderful and one section was trees ‘made” by various famous personalities like the Kyoto major, or other government figures. To my satisfaction and as expected they are not the best “tree-makers” as a rule of thumb but Japan being Japan displayed in a super honorable corner.
I took many many maaaaany pictures, but the lights was crap (neon!!!), the set up was not amazing, cheap exhibition hall set up and the background majorly custard yellow screens, often huge name plates or award plates plastered right in front of the container. All taking away from what it could be.
So I decided to show some pictures trying to demonstrate the illusion of an actually small tree seeming a very big tree. Have a look:
Josiane Keller “Bonsai on a rock” (2013)
with some more “blossoms”:
Josiane Keller “Bonsai in blossom” (2013)
or all naked:
Josiane Keller “Bonsai without leaves” (2013)
and my favorite of the whole show, a tiny thing and many people might have overlooked it, being at first glance totally unspectacular compared to the magnificent slanting pines (can one use that work for something very dwarfed?), but to me it looked most of all like a really huge tree:
Josiane Keller “Bonsai Cedar on a hill” (2013)
and of course the question is: can it be made from sugar? It can for sure, let’s check back with my sugar tree from a while back:
Josiane Keller “sugar tree” (2012)
Josiane Keller “sugar tree bird’s eye perspective” (2012)
I guess you know what I am thinking. By the way: the living bonsai cost as much as medium priced pony and to get them to look that way you have to work, cut, file, twist and turn them for many years. But thank God there is sugar!
After this show we went to see Komori Sensei, or full name Komori Fumio. He is mainly known as a flower painter, sumie, that is (which means ink painting), but also does some abstract work. Since it is the year of the snake, which means renewal, he tried out something new and made some abstract work on cheap brown paper, which needs to be layered so it doesn’t fall apart.
He is one of the coolest guys I know, sadly I do not get so see him very often. Here you can admire him in front of a series of paintings of bean sprouts spread to dry. The funny detail is that to speed up the drying process he put the work under a heating blanket and the result is the nice pattern, which looks like a tatami mat. So the work does its own thing, as always when it is good work. A good artist should be willing and able to give up some control.
Josiane Keller “Komori Fumio with new soybeansprout paintings” (2013)
In the afternoon we went to meet with Ogawa Satoshi, my former professor in the Manga Class at SEIKA University of Arts. We swapped the newest and hippest independent manga, he gave me three of his new works collaborated with students and I swapped with the newest Harvey Pekar on “Cleveland” (do the math and see what a bastard I can be! But to speak up for myself I have to buy the thing and bring it in a suitcase and he simply digs in the box, so there!) and then he suggested to me new work of graduated students, which is all weird and often sexual. if I have time I will put images but not now as today i am supposed to get a one-to-one animation lecture with Naomi Nagata. (*I will write about it later,)
January 6, 2013
I am today meeting my friend Yasuo Imai, so right now I have not enough time to wrote about what I am thinking about. We planned since ea while now to start a surreal artist group,which may very well be only made up by two people, we will see. We thought of a name containing “Foujita” as we both love this artist. We will talk about it and if we come to some clarified conclusions later today I will write about them on the BLOG.
Meanwhile I am researching about Japanese stop-motion animation and also puppetry. I am looking at a famous animator named “Kichiharo Kawamoto” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kihachir%C5%8D_Kawamoto, who in the West is famous for especially one movie he made “The Book of The Dead” /”Shisha No Sho”(2005): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Book_of_the_Dead_(film), see a trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1vRf1Nx6vM
Kihachiro Kawamoto “The Book Of The Dead – poster” (2005)
It is interesting how he made some films only stop-motion puppets, some 2D cut out drawn figures and some both techniques combined.
Also, since it is the year of the snake, I will show this one, in stop-motion “Dojoji Temple” (1976): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N96QUc2oO6U
A cotton flower, steampunk artist Suekichi Haruo, the three norns, Ima Tenku dancing a Sayonara-Taste Butoh and a very sad and festive closing party
December 25, 2012
Today was Shinya’s Sayonara TASTE party, which was very sad.
But to begin on a lighter note I came across a vegetable seller who decided to draw faces on all his pumpkins:
Josiane Keller “Japanese pumpkin” (2012)
But I had the idea earlier, in summer 2008 (although one cannot really prove which of us thought it earlier, anyways!):
Josiane Keller “Yasai – old man Suika (detail)” (2012)
OK, I admit it, it is a watermelon, not a pumpkin in this case. But in that summer I drew everything in Japan as a vegetable, so my series “Yasai” (= vegetables). I think I should continue seeing the world like that, it is very uplifting. I bet the person responsible for the pumpkin felt the same way about it!
Later I passed an absolutely amazing flower shop “Isley” in an ocean of absolutely amazing flower shops http://www.umbra.cc/index.html (usually I would not advertise a shop like that here, but occasionally I make an exception, like for this one, as it is really way too amazing) And as I had glued myself to the window the young manager came out and invited me in and presented me with what he said was a cotton flower. I have never seen a flower like that. It looks very strange and magical, a bit like some elongated “Edelweiss”. (I hope it is magical, I can use some good magic anytime!)
Josiane Keller “a cotton flower” (2012)
I looked it up online, but what I saw labelled as a “cotton flower” was rather a “cotton blossom” and my flower looks nothing like it. So I will take a photo of it right now and IF ANYONE KNOWS THIS TYPE OF FLOWER and what it is called in English let me know and you will win a price!
Then I went over to Shinya’s store TASTE, which she is closing after the New Year. I met Shinya in about 2006, when she was just opening the store. She was asking me if I am a “maker”, and I guess I am, anyways at the time I was taking an “art break” making these little porcelain bottles instead with drawn naked people on them (which later developed into the Milli cartoons). She loved them and took them on, and some other wild stuff I would make, some she loved, some she did not quite understand to my amusement or disappointment, depending on if I needed the money very badly that time, such a signal red hand-bag I once made in form of a Tai fish. I thought it would be a hit, but she thought it is more a child’s toy. See, that is the tricky part in Japan, some stuff looks to the other side more like a child’s toy and each one wonders what the heck they were thinking. Oh well.
Anyways, Shinya was showing wild people’s work in her store for I must admit it: horrendous prizes and to some extent made even a business with it. But the building she uses was her dad’s and he died 2 months ago and now she needs to rent the space to earn more money as it happens to be in Teramachi area prime location and the rent costs a sin. Too bad, it was definitely a one-of-a -kind shop. I was always wondering who would buy the items, in my eyes more interesting for younger people, but who has that sort of money? Shinya told me it was old ladies “okane-obahcan” (=moneyloaded grannny). Interesting.
This time I met an artist there who had come down from Tokyo for the closing party. I had always admired his work, which is… well, crazy. His name is Suekichi Haruo.
Josiane Keller “Suekichi Haruo at TASTE” (2012)
I would have said he is a “steampunk” artist, but he said he is not. He makes wrist watches and other wild items: http://www.eager-beavers.net/products/shouhin_guide.cgi?temp=TMP0, but obviously some other people also thought he is a steampunk artist: http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/28/an-interview-with-japanese-steampunk-artist-haruo-suekichi/
techcrunch “Suekichi Haruo wrist watch” (2010)
And then, a few hours later, it was time for the good-bye party.
Josiane Keller “Last Message from TASTE/Shinya” (2012)
Shinya’s friend, Butoh dancer Ima Tenko (The Mungo had studied with her in 2009), came to do a “Sayonara-taste performance”. What was weird was the whole atmosphere reminded me of a shop window for a manga store on Shijo I had seen earlier. They had put three huge anime characters in the display, that reminded me of the three norns.
Josiane Keller “Animega on Shijo – the three norns” (2012)
These guys are live-size, even if not life-dimensions. When you grow up in the 70’s/80’s in Germany you probably learn very little about Germanic culture and mythology. The reason for that is that it was wildly exploited during the Nazi era to build up a “Germanic identity” to people that otherwise have no imagination and and that always need to be more than they are, as to themselves whatever it is is is not enough. So dashing deities with swords and magical powers is perrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrfect. Of course from an anthropological and psychological viewpoint any story, also a badly abused one, is valuable to learn about people’s thinking back then and our own thinking in reflection to that. So I really had to look up details on these ladies and what they are about.
So in the old Icelandic saga EDDA (compiled in 13th century) there was this idea of the world being centered around this huge ash tree. (That alone is already beautiful, also since I happen to LOVE ash trees!)It had a name: Yggdarsil. And the tree grew in all sorts of directions, branches as well as roots of course, into different worlds, and there were various creatures living in the tree. And these three ladies are in a hall by a well, which is the Well of Uror (the well of fate), where they pour water from onto the tree so it will not rot. Hmmm. Interesting. The also spin the thread of fate. There you go! Fate is always spooky and impressive! Wiki knows more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norns, but in this case not enough, so if you really want to find out you need to click around a bit more ambitious in especially this case.
So Ima’s performance in TASTE really reminded me of this display at Animega. The dance of fate, perhaps!
Josiane Keller “Ima Tenku at TASTE” (2012)
Josiane Keller “Ima Tenku at TASTE 2″ (2012)
Josiane Keller “Ima Tenku at TASTE 3″ (2012)
Josiane Keller “Ima Tenku at TASTE 4″ (2012)
Josiane Keller “Ima Tenku at TASTE 5″ (2013)
It was very impressive. In the end we all followed her into the store and waved good-bye to the store.
There is one final exhibition from tomorrow on til 30th, so if you are looking for a weird artsy bargain go and grab it! After that. Who knows. Not spun yarn yet, I suppose.
We went over to Kinsuikan for the party, which was interesting as I had stayed there for two weeks Christmas and New Year 2008/09 when The Mungo came for visit http://homepage3.nifty.com/kinsuikan/english/index.html. Great affordable place with a huge sento in the basement, if you are looking for a good place central to sty or for a rental for your Sayonara party.
And here we were. Sitting and feasting.
Josiane Keller “closing party for TASTE at Kinsuikan” (2012)
It was very serious to some extent and very sad, Shinya gave several speeches breaking into tears and everyone would try to pat her and comfort her, and it was also fun. It definitely geared to getting as drunk as possible over the night and since my head can’t afford that more than once a year I had to leave after a couple of hours (I tagged that one up already in summer when I got twice the wrong show card printed 1 week before the “Each reflection”-show opened).
So I went home. Es war sehr schoen, es hat mich sehr gefreut. New things will come for everyone.