Summer Inspiration

Björn Wessman: Chateau Noiret le pourriture Noble. 2011, oil on canvas.    

Björn Wessman: Chateau Noiret le pourriture Noble. 2011, oil on canvas.

 

Earlier on this summer I wrote about creative summer space. Enjoying the present, finding creative time and space in unexpected places. Beautiful, creative space that sometimes doesn’t cost anything. Here are some of the highlights from my summer.

This summer I've been inspired by:

What are some of the highlights from your summer? 

Siri Derkert. Pioneer of Swedish 20th Century Art.

Siri Derkert, self portrait, 1915 | Siri Derkert, 1966 © Photo: Anna Riwkin    

Siri Derkert, self portrait, 1915 | Siri Derkert, 1966 © Photo: Anna Riwkin

 

Siri Derkert (1888–1973). A pioneer of Swedish 20th century art.

Early cubist, modernist paintings, fashion drawings from the 1910s, portraits of children and adults, experiments with materials such as concrete, iron strips and clay are all presented in this major retrospective exhibition at the Modern Museum of Art (Moderna). A show that also paints a picture of the life of multifaceted Siri Derkert.

In her piece 'Ristningar i naturbetong' (Carvings in Natural Concrete) in the underground station at Östermalmstorg in Stockholm, Derkert uses a special sandblasting technique to interweave the personal with the political. The piece thematically revolves around peace, environmental questions, dance, music and rhythm.

The peace movement and feminism were major themes of her work and are as relevant today as they were at the time she explored them in art and sculpture. A very inspiring exhibition!

Siri Derkert. Carvings in Natural Concrete. 1965. iPhone photo: Kate England

Siri Derkert. Carvings in Natural Concrete. 1965. iPhone photo: Kate England

Fotografiska

iPhone photography: Old Town seen from Fotografiska   

iPhone photography: Old Town seen from Fotografiska

 

Museums and bad weather are made for each other and I'm still buzzing with the dreamy photography of Sarah Moon that has an almost painterly quality.

Fotografiska Museet (the Museum of Photography) Fotografiska, is dedicated to contemporary, world-class photography. The museum is housed in a former custom house dating from 1906 designed by Ferdinand Boberg in the Art Nouveau style and is one of the world's largest museums of to photography.

Located in a picturesque setting overlooking Stockholm's harbor, the café/restaurant offers one of the best views of town, spanning from the medieval Old Town to Djurgården ("The (Royal) Game Park").

iPhone photography: Djurgården seen from Fotografiska

iPhone photography: Djurgården seen from Fotografiska

Inspired By: White Lies

Sculpture of Greek boxer with traces of red paint. Roman copy of Greek original. From the Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities' collections.    

Sculpture of Greek boxer with traces of red paint. Roman copy of Greek original. From the Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities' collections.

 

One of my favourite spots in Stockholm is The Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities. Now and then I venture there with my sketchbook and Bagdad Café is great a great place for a break. I love how the museum is in a former bank built in 1905, with a neo-classical interior, and the ancient Egyptian mummies are displayed in the old bank vault! I've just been to the opening of the exhibition White Lies, and this time I brought my iPad to take notes, scribbles and make sketches with my fingers, during the three lectures.

White Lies, Turning the Western Ideal of Beauty on its Head "The ancient statues of white marble were long regarded as bearers of Western cultural identity and markers of superiority. In actual fact, all ancient sculptures were painted – something that was kept a secret from the Italian Renaissance until the present. However, the most astonishing fact is not that ancient sculptures were once painted, but that leading art critics and museum curators managed to conceal this knowledge from the ordinary museum visitor."

Head of Caligula. Left: Head of Caligula, color reconstruction. Right: Original (Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen)

Head of Caligula. Left: Head of Caligula, color reconstruction. Right: Original (Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen)

The exhibition White Lies displays how vibrantly colourful the ancient sculptures actually were. Not at all pristine white monochrome, but richly polychrome. The idea of white marble dates back to the early 16th century, when the Renaissance began excavating statues that had been buried in the earth for centuries. Color traces still visible to the naked eye, deep in the folds of draped clothing, went unnoticed. Following what they believed to be the Greek and Roman example, Italian sculptors — notably Michelangelo — conceived their creations as uncolored.

But there were clues elsewhere, in literature. From Helen of Troy, Euripides' play that bears her name Helen: My life and fortunes are a monstrosity, Partly because of Hera, partly because of my beauty. If only I could shed my beauty and assume an uglier aspect The way you would wipe color off a statue.

I feel thoughtful after seeing White Lies. Thinking about what our other misconceptions of history are. About what we consider beautiful, or prestigious, or fine art and how reluctant we can be to change our view of the world. How our time may be misunderstood in the future. I'm thinking about our selves too. Our mindsets. Both in our small, personal world and the world we live in. How important I think it is to be willing to continuously take stock of one's life and outlook. To constantly redefine, to try to understand oneself and others better and to put that into action. Redefinition.

Some of my sketches and notes from White Lies. Roman sculpture. Professor Vinzenz Brinkmann.

Some of my sketches and notes from White Lies. Roman sculpture. Professor Vinzenz Brinkmann.