Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rodin in (un)likely places

"All my life I have fact I started my life drawing" - Auguste Rodin (1840-1917). 

The drawings of Rodin, Capturing the Model can be seen at the Musée Rodin until 1 April, 2012. The  permanent collection is closed whilst The hôtel Biron undergoes renovation. His sculptures though can still be seen in the gardens of the museum and in some other interesting places.
In fact, since I saw the poster for this exhibit in the underground,  I am seeing his work and copies of his work in the most unlikely places.

The exhibiton goes from his earlier black drawings 'dessins noirs', inspired by Dante's Inferno to graphite sketches, his use of assemblage as a precursor to his sculptures, and the use of stumping and colour in the latter part of his life.
The man who is probably better known as a sculptor was a prolific sketch artist. Of the 10,000 drawings and sketches in existence, Musée Rodin houses 7,000.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Indulging the nerd within at Bibliothèque Mazarine

The Winter Sales started today and I was trying by all means to avoid any place that would lead to encounters with shoppers. It's crazy out there! I needed to write and was not getting any inspiration in the apartment so headed out to the library.
I must confess, libraries have always been my favourite places to spend time - I am a nerd that way. I grew up in Lesotho and some of my fondest memories are of visits to the National Library. It was not a huge library- although as a child it seemed enormous, but it was well-stocked. Precious hours would be spent here, where I'd lose myself in the worlds of Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, C.S. Lewis and later on Judy Blume. I still get a thrill from being inside a library; the muted sounds, the scholarly seriousness, the books... this visit to the Bibliothèque Mazarine was long overdue.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

From Abstract to Minimalist

I thought it being a Sunday, not to mention a cold day it would be fairly quiet; this was not the case. While some Parisians were enjoying the comforts of their cosy apartments, others were taking in the jovial atmospheres of warm and loud brasseries; I do love how,irrespective of the weather, visiting your neighbourhood brasserie is very much the thing to do. The more popular ones are always overflowing.
The rest had much the same idea as I- a visit to the museum. There were throngs of people at the Pompidou Centre and I along with them spent a great deal of time taking in Yayoi Kusama's exhibition. It was the last day of the exhibition which might explain the crowds. There were some installations and sculptures that I found really bizarre; some like the  Infinity Nets had me thinking, 'how long did that take?' and others felt like a jaunt at the amusement park- like the hall of mirrors, the suspended lights in dark room, and the pervasive Polka Dot theme in all her work.

A great website that curates all things art, including Kusama's work is Arsty. More information by Artsy on Kusama can be seen here.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Galette des Rois

Suddenly the window displays and counters of my favourite boulangeries are lined with these pastries.
I became wisened to this celebration a bit late but it  happens around January 6th of the New Year or according to some on the first Sunday of January- the flaky pastry consumed is filled with almond and pastry cream and a small trinket is placed inside. It is then shared and the lucky little boy or girl that finds the trinket in their piece is King or Queen for the day. Lovely french custom.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Books: HOW TO READ THE AIR by Dinaw Mengestu

Title: How To Read the Air
Author: Dinaw Mengestu
Published: 2010
Genre: Fiction

I am drawn to immigrant stories. There is something in them that speaks of strength and survival in countries foreign that I can relate to. How To Read The Air offers glimpses of Jonas Woldemariam's parents' transition into America from their home country, Ethiopia. The story itself does not focus entirely on the problems they encounter in America, but of how they have to forge a life as immigrants, who hardly know each other, and build a life from their little-shared past.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Books: THE MARRIAGE PLOT by Jeffrey Eugenides

Title: The Marriage Plot
Author: Jeffrey Eugenides
Published: 2011
Genre: Fiction

The Virgin Suicides, Eugenides' first book and Middlesex, his second, were both mysterious. The Virgin Suicides in its depiction of a family of three daughters growing up under the severely strict parenting of a Catholic domineering father- who all ultimately commit suicide left me with an unanswered. Why? A great review of the Virgin Suicides here. Middlesex was fairly straightforward, as the historical elements of the novel woven around the history of a Greek family leaving Greece, settling in the US and the discovery of the daughter that she is a hermaphrodite. This in itself a mysterious subject. I dare say this is my very abridged version of a book that won Jeffrey Eugenides the Pullitzer Prize for Fiction.

The Marriage Plot is different. A story of a love triangle between friends about to embark on their lives and futures after their graduation from college. A story of the unrequited love of Mitchell Grammaticus, a religious studies graduate for Madeleine, the central figure. Madeleine Hanna, an english language major and great lover of Jane Austen, is in love with and goes on to marry Leonard Bankhead, an intelligent science major and manic-depressive whose steady decline into his mania courses throughout the entire book.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

With ominous warnings of a tough economic year ahead, despite what many felt was a rather hard 2011, revelers worldwide brought in the New Year with the usual amount of optimism and cheer. It was great to see. Watched it all from our TV as we ushered in the New Year with friends. Stepped out momentarily onto our balcony to see the fireworks as we mentally tweaked and edited New Year's resolutions. Bring it on I say.

Wishing you a fantastic 2012!