When we came to London a couple of days ago, I was keen to go see what is now on the forth plinth on Trafalgar Square. I found this, “Gift horse” by Hans Haacke. It makes me think of the internet, for some reason.
More likely, it is a commentary to what is going on with Greece. The horse was unveiled in March, and it is by a German artist, refering to a story of Greek cunning. The German tax payer is bearing the lion’s share of the cost for the Greek collapse, and I have heard some Greeks are even still, when pressured, dragging out the old Nazi skeleton from the closet, as if that would somehow make it right.
We visited the Salisbury Museum, to see the Amesbury Archer, among other things. But I guess what I came away with, more than anything else, were the wonderful papercut pictures by Vanessa Stone. I took a few snaps, to remember to check her out; you can see her work much better on her website.
We landed at terminal 2 – the Queen’s terminal – at Heathrow airport, and stumbled onto this:
It is a guilded, royally red trolley, made for the birthday celebration of the terminal, which was opened officially by the Queen a year ago, after going through much re-design. It is actually the oldest terminal at Heathrow, dating back from 1955, which would make it 60 years old, but it has only been the Queen’s particular terminal for a year.
The trolley plays the British national anthem when one drives it, apparently, but I ‘m not sure how practical it is to load with all that frippery! I imagine the Queen travels with quite a bit of luggage, I don’t think she fits it all in her handbag...
I have blogged about Björn Berg before, that time in connection with another author, Thorsten Ehrenmark. Berg was an illustrator at Dagens Nyheter, the largest national Swedish newspaper, from 1952 and all through his career. He also illustrated many books, among the most internationally famous are Astrid Lindgren´s stories about Emil of Lönneberga.
This book focuses on his illustrations of Alf Henriksson´s poems and texts. Henriksson was a journalist, today most remembered for his daily verses, often on current topics, who also wrote humoristic books, particularly about antiquity and other historical periods. It is an informative study in the interplay between words and pictures, not to mention highly entertaining.
Sometimes I come across the oddest things at the library. This book I found in the art-section, and at first it puzzled me. It seemed to be a travelogue from the 50´s, and everything was familiarily European, and yet very strange. Imagine putting Europe in a blender and then pouring it out again. Yes, Åkerman´s story is set in a parallell universe. It could be called a fake journal! I don´t know if Åkerman is aware of Roz Stendahl´s project (which I have been tempted to join, but perhaps some other year…) but this is pretty much up that alley.
The fake journal writer is called Rocco de Rivarossi, the journey takes place in 1956 and goes through the Svagisch Union. There is a fake map and fake timetables. We don’t know why he is travelling, but it seems like he is going home after something has been done. Nothing occupies his mind but the cities that pass outside the window, as he spikes his coffee with Mister Gordon Watt, smokes cigarrs and eavesdrops on conversations. He admires the ladies. It´s all relaxed and laid back and communicates atmosphere more than anything: a state of mind completely focused on the journey itself.
I like it and find myself returning to it after a week. The whole thing is less than 80 pages and easily read through in a sitting; most of it is paintings and drawings. There is no obvious idea to this project, but it kind of drills itself into my consciousness. I´m not sure what it does there; perhaps it just hums a bit. It´s like being touched by a nostalgic song about things you haven´t experienced but somehow aquired anyway, through cultural osmosis, perhaps. It is a little gem of a book.
The other day, I had a few minutes to spare, so I popped in at the Art Gallery at the Culture House. There were several artists that just didn´t catch my attention at all, they seemed to me more concerned with aesthetics than message. While I enjoy beauty, or even ugliness if it is well done, I am more attracted to pieces that make me stop and think for a while, or feel something – that concerns me, frankly. Ida-Lovisa Rudolfsson, who occupies the largest hall in the gallery with an exhibition called “Mitt i skogen finns ett vardagsrum” (= in the middle of the forest is a livingroom), makes art that does concerns me, a lot.
I would like to describe this as textile paintings. There is appliqué, embroidery, and painting on cloth, and the images are full of familiar things: vacuum cleaners, thermoses, cinnamon buns, laundry. The landscapes are barren and full of traps – the ground opens into large black holes that seem bottomless, and some of the characters are laying traps for others, baited with cinnamon buns, for example. Some characters seem to search for others, some are hiding. Everyone seems isolated. It all seems familiar, in an eerie way.
According to the exhibition programme she has been called “the Roy Andersson of cross-stitches” and yes, there is that same kind of aesthetic and humour as you find in his films. You find more information about her on her website.
(And sorry about the crappy photo quality, I just had my phone camera.)