Local Heart, Global Soul

July 6, 2014

Tiles On The Tables, Chairs And Cupboards: The Netherlands Inspires…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In this archive post Himself and I have been visiting the Gemeentemuseum Museon Den Haag (The Hague City Council Museum Museon) to talk to some of the staff about an upcoming ten year project on climate change.

Afterwards Himself and I took a little time to look around the museum, not all of it of course because we didn’t have enough time but we managed to see one large exhibition in the wing close by.

We enter a large room that contains a table and chairs and a matching cupboard for each of the artists featured: it’s called “Mi casa, su casa” (My home, your home) and the artists are all Spanish immigrants to the Netherlands.

They have used the furniture to feature their work in the form of tile patterns and (mostly) photographs inside the cupboards, expressing their relationship with their new home with a Spanish twist. I love tiles and it’s definitely different to see the patterns extended to what I think is vinyl coverings on the chairs and table. The covering of the cupboards I like less, but hey, each to their own and the subtitle of the exhibition is after all “doe alsof je thuis bent” which translates as “make yourself at home”. I suppose in this artistic expression that’s exactly what they did …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 29, 2014

Quirky That Was And Is No Longer: And Artwork That Endures…

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

Regular readers will know that I like quirky things, be it whimsical, arty or unusual, I’m first in the queue when it comes to enjoying bits and pieces that are a little out of the ordinary.

Last year a friend of ours introduced us to another friend, a blogger (link below) and artist, and a little later we learned that this friend was exhibiting some of her work in a little café that appropriately enough was called “Café Quirky” located on the corner of Prins Hendrikstraat and Tasmanstraat in The Hague.

I don’t get out of the house too much these days apart from medical appointments and sometimes it’s really hard to schedule anything with Himself because he has the added pressure of driving kids to sports, birthdays, social engagements as well as my hospital stuff and the usual household things like grocery shopping. He also has to fit in work of course, and whilst being self employed gives him a good degree of flexibility, the downside is that clients often want work done to tight deadlines. Such was the case when we found out that the exhibition was only on for one more day, today.  Himself was already taking time out from work to take me to a hospital appointment and time was tight because he had a deadline to meet that afternoon too.

I’d originally  asked him if we could maybe fit in lunch there together and we decided to see if it was possible depending on how long the hospital appointment took. Alas we had to spend rather a long time in the waiting room so I compromised, twisting Himself’s arm to just quickly pop in for a cup of tea, stay long enough to grab some photographs but not to stay for food.

With one eye on the clock Himself agreed… and I will have to admit it was a very rushed visit. Quirky’s owner was friendly and didn’t mind me taking photographs of the café and the artworks.  I love the detail in the works, that consist mostly of black and white line drawings with detail, (drool detail!)

I was delighted to have seen our new acquaintance’s artwork but was disappointed to hear from my friend a few months later that sadly Quirky Café had gone out of business. Sad to say times are still tough in these economically for businesses and I personally suspect that the location had a lot to do with it. It’s a good area of town but it has low  foot traffic, a point that would be number on my list if I were to open this kind of establishment.

Therefore this post is all about the artwork… quirky artwork, which I very much admire.

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

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(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

(Copyright © Kiwidutch)

http://georgewithears.blogspot.nl/

 

 

March 28, 2014

Sunflowers, Wheatfields, But Alas No Starry Night To Be Found in Amsterdam…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In the summer of 2012  Family Kiwidutch expanded on the plan we had made  a year earlier: to sometimes be tourists in our own country and to see more famous (and less famous sights) within the Netherlands.

Amazingly one place we had never yet visited but has been on our “to do” list for a while is the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. First of course I need to teach you how to pronounce “Van Gogh” correctly, which I debated the best and easiest way to do, I therefore looked on the internet and found a piece on a BBC website that said it perfectly in my opinion (link to article below) so here is their text:

Most Dutch people pronounce his surname along the lines of vun KHOKH (-v as in vet, -u as in bun, -kh as in Scottish loch) or fun KHOKH (-f as in fit, -u as in bun, -kh as in Scottish loch).

One of the things I would recommend for anyone visiting any popular tourist attraction anywhere in the world is to be there when the doors open, the first hour is usually the quietest and it’s the best way to avoid the (biggest) queues.

My second piece of advice, where possible (as it is in this instance) is to book your tickets on-line. This will mean the fast-track entry line instead of the regular one.

We arrived early to find that at least thirty other people had the same idea about arriving early, but most of them hadn’t booked on-line so we were still in the far shorter lane at the ticket area.

Sadly for my blog all photography is prohibited inside the gallery area, so I only have photographs of the outside of the building,  the gift shop area and of postcards I bought afterwards in the gift shop.

The museum contains the largest collection of painting by Van Gogh in the world, and includes well known pieces for example: “A Pair of Leather Clogs, 1888 “, “Portrait of Theo van Gogh, 1887” “Self-Portrait with Felt Hat, 1888” “Sunflowers, 1889”, “The bedroom, 1888”, “The Langlois Bridge, 1888”, “Wheatfield with Crows, 1890” and the “The potato eaters, 1885” to name just a few.

Much to the consternation of  Little Mr and Kiwi Daughter, Van Gogh’s  “The Starry Night”  is not in the Amsterdam collection, it is instead located in The Museum of Modern Art in New York as part of their permanent collection. The painting did come back to the Netherlands some years ago for a special anniversary exhibition but we missed it at the time, so maybe if we are ever in New York one day, who knows…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s probably not surprising that Dutch children study Van Gogh in school and since Little Mr. had recently had this as a topic he was especially proud to tell us all about the paintings he recognised and what he had learnt as we toured the gallery levels.

The gallery has to be one of the most successful trips we have made to an art museum to date with our children,  they knew enough from their school studies to appreciate the life of the artist behind the works and were fascinated by the transition of seeing pictures of painting in books to seeing the real thing on the walls.

One reoccurring comment was that often the children imagined the works to have been far bigger (or smaller) than they really were,  so I explained that that’s a common problem because even when books give the measurements of a painting it’s hard to imagine the scale in real life.

We had an excellent time at the Van Gogh Museum,  if you go with children who are old enough to understand, then a short explanation about Van Gogh’s life  will go a long way to making this an interesting trip for your kids too, for me the turbulence of Vincent’s life is more than illustrated in the brush strokes on the canvases…  it makes for an emotional visit, you can feel what Vincent was trying to say. It’s just such a deep  shame tat he was so little understood in his own lifetime.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/2010/01/how_to_say_van_gogh.shtml

December 19, 2012

Dedicated to the Innocents for Whom the Laughter Has Been Stilled….

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I got rather excited by the next piece that sits very high up on the wall until (sigh) I realised it too was a copy and not an original…

Most people would not recognise him if I only used his family name and called him “Mr. Buonarroti” … but proving that even centuries ago some were famous enough to be known only by their first names and if I gave you a clue and said he’s probably one of the original “Renaissance men” then probably you may well guess the first name by which he is far better known: Michelangelo.

This piece is a copy of Michelangelo’s “Taddei Tondo” (“Tondo”meaning “round”) and the original marble was carved in Florence between 1504 and 1506.
Michelangelo made several similar “ Madonna and child” studies around this time and this one : ‘The Virgin and Child with the Infant St. John” and depicts a baby Jesus in the lap of the virgin Mary looking over towards and infant John the Baptist who is offering him a bird.

Whilst this copy stands in the Royal Academy of Art in the centre of the Hague, the original stands in the United Kingdom’s Royal Academy of Art in the centre of London.

Michelangelo made remarkably few sculptural pieces so this rare marble is the only sculpture by Michelangelo in the United Kingdom.

The plaque on the wall that describes the piece states that the original had been bought by Sir George Beaumont during a tour of Italy in 1821 and when he passed away in 1830 he bequeathed it to the UK Academy of Art.

There are no original Michelangelo’s in the Netherlands but the painter is known to have vastly influenced two famous Dutch painters: Cornelis van Haarlem and later Frans Hals. In fact, van Haarlem was so influenced that he earned himself the nickname “the Dutch Michelangelo”

The other theme I’m covering in this post are the cupids in the relief panels.. playful in their innocence these little classical cherubs are playing music and frolicking  in joy, dancing and smiling and having fun.

It seemed somewhat appropriate to me that these beautiful images were frozen in time, the laughter is there but like a modern day photograph you can see the smiles but there is no sound in the room.

I’m reminded of the other “little angels” of recent events at Sandy Hook Elementary (Primary) School, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine  and other war zones, and all areas of poverty or abuse who’s laughter has also been stilled.

This post is dedicated to ALL of the world’s babes in arms who are innocent victims of the madness of adults.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 18, 2012

A Mysterious Copy …And The Siren Song That Calls Me To Find Out More…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The next thing that catches my eye in this room at the Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten (Royal Academy of Art) is the amazing work of art around the door I used to enter the room.

Once again the plaque tells me it’s a copy, but I thought  it was such a magnificent copy that I knew I wanted to find out more about the original.

Amazingly I could only find two texts on the piece: both in Dutch, and one of them is the information here that accompanies the Copy.

I’ve quoted both Dutch texts in full, and then made a translation into English following it for you. I do have a small problem trying to figure out where the original is now located… is it still in Remagen in Germany, incorporated into a cemetery wall as the second text sort of implies (complete with photo on website)… or is the original in the Scheurleer collection, purchased in 1919 from the Kuntstgewerbemuseum in Dusseldorf as the first text tells us?

Either way, it’s a shame that more information is not available about beautiful ancient works such as these and in the meantime I’m happy to make do with this stunning copy, which even comes with it’s own little mystery!

“Parochiekerk st petrus en paulus, Remagen Duitsland, Kopie: oorspronkelijk collectie Scheurleer, aangekocht in 1919 van het Kuntstgewerbemuseum in Dusseldorf.

In de vijfde eeuw werd binnen de muren van het Romeins fort Rigomagus de eerst christelijk kerk in Remagen gebouwd. De eersten christenen waren Romeinse soldate,. Op het kerkhof naast de Parochiekerk st.

Petrus en Paulus is deze Romaanse poort uit de 12e eeuw te vinden. De iconografie van de voorstellingen is niet geheel duidelijk, oude Heidense en Romeinse vorstellingen werden zonder problem geintegreerd in de Christelijke iconogrfie.

De oorspronkelijk locatie van de poort is tevens onduidelijk. Uit oude foto’s van rond 1900 blijk dat onderdelen van de poort die nu op een andere manier zijn gerangschikt, lukraak in de kerkhofmuur zijn verwerkt. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Tijdens de verbouwing van de Academie in 1998 kwam tot ieders verassing deze poort achter en betimmering tevoorschijn. Niemand van de toenmalige academiemedewerkers wist van het bestaan van dit toch niet geringe gipsen bouwwerk.”

St. Peter and Paul Parish Church, Remagen Germany.
Copy: original Scheurleer collection, purchased in 1919 from the Kuntstgewerbemuseum in Dusseldorf.

In the fifth century the first Christian church was built within the walls of the Roman fortress in Remagen. The first Christians were Roman soldiers. This 12th century Roman gate is located in the cemetery next to the Parish Church St. Peter and Paul.

The iconography within the representations is not entirely clear, since it was no problem at the time to integrate ancient pagan Roman images into Christian iconography. The original location of the gate is also unclear.

Old photos taken in the 1900’s show parts of the gate as it is now, in a very different way, haphazardly arranged into the churchyard wall. During the renovation of the Academy in 1998, to everyone’s surprise this gate was discovered behind some panelling.

None of the former Academy staff knew of the existence this even though it was not a small or minor plaster work.

site of original text (Dutch language text only)

http://www.oudweb.nl/remagen-sirene.html

“Veel van het middeleeuwse klooster van Remagen (Duitsland) is niet bewaard gebleven. Wél de grote en kleine ingangsportalen (rond 1200) tot het kooster, fraai versierd met fabelwezens. Links is nog de kerkdeur van de neo-romaanse kerk te zien.

Het meest gebiologeerd zijn we toch door de middeleeuwse poorten en vooral door de vliegende Alexander & een vrouwelijk wezentje mét visstaart én vogelpootjes. De roeispaan in haar hand plaatst haar duidelijk (net als haar staart) in de zee; zij is de sirene. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Nou kennen wij de verleidelijke en muzikale sirenen al sinds Homerus (Odysseus) en elders lezen we dat de Sirenen ooit Proserpina’s vriendinnen waren en dat alleen zanger Orpheus de sirenen kunnen overtreffen met zijn gezang!

De middeleeuwer kende dit fabelwezen ook. De associatie met de zee was zó sterk dat de sirene een visstaart kreeg. Verleiding en vrouw horen bij elkaar, althans volgens de middeleeuwer. En zó werd de sirene een vis-vrouw, bij uitstek het symbool voor de vrouwelijke verleidingskunsten. Dat vogel-element bleef ook bekend in de middeleeuwen, vandaar de vogelpootjes.

Zo ‘groeide’ de sirene uit tot zeemeermin met pootjes die nog twaalf keer per jaar – op de eerste maandag van de maand om precies twaalf uur – van zich laat horen (in die hoedanigheid is ze in 2012 precies 193 jaar jong); het kan verkeren!”

Much of the medieval monastery of Remagen in Germany has not been preserved. However, the large and small entrance portals (circa 1200) to the cloister are beautifully decorated with mythical creatures. To the left is the door of the neo-Romanesque church can be seen.

The most we are still mesmerized by the medieval gates and especially the flying Alexander and a female creature with fishtail and bird feet. (Kiwi’s note: Photo number 2 in this post)  The oar in her hand places her clearly (just like its tail) in the sea, denoting that she is the siren.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We know the tales of seductive sirens and their music from Homer (Odysseus) and others, who tell us of the Sirens hold ever Proserpina’s (a.k.a. in greek as Persephone) where even Orpheus the greatest musician was surpassed by the Sirens singing!

This fabulous creature was well known in the Middle Ages too.

The association with the sea was so strong that the symbol for the siren was the fishtail. Seduction and woman went together, at least according to the Middle Ages.

So the siren fish-woman was the ultimate symbol of feminine seduction. The bird element was known in medieval times, hence the inclusion of the bird’s feet.

Thus ‘grew’ the siren mermaid with legs up to twelve times a year – on the first Monday of the month at exactly twelve o’clock – can be heard (in that capacity, which makes her exactly 193 years young in 2012 and in very good condition!)

Now I “think” that the writer here is humorously alluding to a totally different Dutch tradition about the siren, but more on that in a post in the near future.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 17, 2012

Stuff I Can’t Quite Get my Head Around, and Heads I Definitely Can…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In continuance of yesterday’s post, we are still at the Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten (KABK)  in The Hague.

The KABK translates into English as “Royal Academy of Art” and we passed a few exhibits that left us thinking all manner of thoughts from “amazing!” to “um… what were they smoking when they thought that was a good idea?”.

One of the later ones involved little earphone speakers hanging down from the ceiling, you were to hear the natural thought processes behind the art pieces… I went and listened expecting a commentary or music or… something coherent at least.

I was disappointed: the noise I heard was jarring, vague and actually not at all pleasant to listen to. We left that room rather quickly because the artworks in it made as little sense (to us at least) as the soundtrack did.

Other stuff, like the modern ideas in the first photos were also  beyond me… in the jacket pockets are multiple packets of chewing gum and a crushed beer can, and then there is a kind of a “leg” represented with the apparent severed remains of someone’s drastic haircut.
If you  “get it” then do pray tell…  because I’m rather at a loss with this kind of thing.

Even though we were getting close to the time to leave to make our medical appointment, I spied a room through a doorway on our way in that stopped me in my tracks…. now  this is a room I can get my head around!

I didn’t have time to read all of the wall plaques  but it quickly appears that all of the pieces in this room are copies that art students have reproduced  with reference  to famous and historical works. Copies they may be, but they are so much more my style.  I want to take photos not just because I appreciate them as art works in their own right but also because I’m building up a portfolio of “reference/ inspiration  images” for when I get back to drawing properly myself.

Students were in this room, using their laptops and scribbling notes, so I had to take a few of the photos in haste for the brief moments they were out of the picture. Personally my favourites are the first bust shown in the photo series and then the relief craving with the horses and riders that I placed at the end.

Which are your favourites? (Feel totally free to love the Green Jacket one if it grabs your imagination !)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Royal Art Academy 1u (Small)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 16, 2012

The Detail of a Dilemma… Is This to my Taste or Not?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This summer Himself and I went to an art exhibition to see the work of artist Eva Murakeözy at the Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten (KABK) which translates into English as “Royal Academy of Art”.

The Academy is a complex amalgamation of old and new buildings with the main entrance at Prinsessegracht 4 near the centre of the Hague and there are regular exhibitions from artists working in all manner of mediums and styles.

It’s actually a pity that I have a medical appointment to go to so we will only have time to see a fraction of the work on offer, but we knew of Eva via via and heard that her work would be featured as one of the exhibits so we wanted to at least see hers whilst the exhibition was still running.

Eva works with very fine black pens, starting with detailed images and building, growing them into massive artworks.

Since I’m a detail fanatic I’m sure this would appeal: and in the end, yes I love love the detail but am personally less comfortable with the “whole” in the end result.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My own style is more realistic and structured in a more traditional way, so when I studied Art I never did particularly well when attempting to complete  abstract work and I completely failed the cartooning module of the course.

Just as I like to write long sentences in my prose, I also like to draw many lines in my drawing so skinning a subject down to the bare bones and showing it in it’s purest, simplest form with as few lines as possible (the brief  given) was an anathema to me.

Eva’s work shows a mixture of detail and abstraction that makes me want to look at some of her pieces all day long in order to decipher it all, but on the other hand I couldn’t personally live with this on my wall because the abstract elements are so “not me”.

Personal taste is everything of course…

As an Introduction to her work Eva writes:

“Eva Murakeözy
The main theme of my work is growth: my experience of life as an ever-growing multi-level movement.

Growth is guided by the dual principles of diversification and reduction, of outward radiation and inward one-centeredness, of activity and passivity, of the creepiness of instinct and the straightness of logic.

There is a personal struggle to bring both principles in harmony.”

It’s good to stretch your artistic horizons,  even if you think “you already know what you like”,  someone might give you something new and expected to like one day, so every opportunity to  explore and new artistic avenue should be taken.

Like a new food not everything you try will be to your taste but you will be richer and wiser of having tasted it.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

…and then I zoom in…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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These started off as ears…

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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