REPORTING ON ART AND FOOD from Troubled Places

Warning : This is a modern-primitive writing website, of impressionist rather than informative character.

The Future, or a glimpse of it as seen in Hyde Park on Saturday 15 May, about 1300

Julie Curtiss - The Clearer the Image the Greater the Mystery

or When I am falling into the gap between Washington and the West Bank

While the world is in its usual split personality mode unable to decide whether it wants to “build back better” or it would rather “go back to normal”; art doesn’t have bany such bothers. Always renewed while rooted in old chef d'oeuvres, art hasn't stepped aside from its normal better building. And of this banal fact Julie Curtiss is a beautiful illustration.

It is difficult to talk about Julie Curtiss’ painting because it is clean, graphic and precise, yet it creates the impression of an immersive multimedia labirint. The scale is mostly large, the lines are neat, the colours are vibrant, yet the mystery is complete.

“All is hidden in the daylight” that’s my main puzzled impression. Having in mind that puzzled, disorientated and perplexed are my highs when I am on art. Else to speak, this is what I search for in art. And usually I am happy when I get a volatile moment, a nanosecond of disorientation, but Julie Curtiss, Mistress of Mystery, drowns the White Cube space in conundrum and non-dit.

“I am hiding the proces” Julie said; or maybe “I am covering my traces”; absorbed by an attempt to guess her expression hidden by the mask, I am now not sure what she really said.

Imagine private eye Phillip Marlowe. Then imagine Marlowe resolving a mystery taking place not in Santa Rosa nor LA, but between post-surrealist Paris and Jungian Vienna. And now imagine that you are watching this story depicted on the cover of a black lacquer Chinese jewelry box. Well, that is what Julie Curtiss' art is not at all.

The fact that the artist was present in the gallery and gave an extensive talk, did not even lift as much as a corner of the curtain veiling the key of the mystery. But it took me to the personal revelation that the more truthfully and laboriously one obliges to explain one's multicultural bases, references and associations - say Julie's explanations of the complex knots tied by her links to Paris, Dresden, Tokyo, Chicago and New York - the more hidden and mysterious one becomes. Which explains why I am but a constant enigma to my English manfriend.

Other than that the exhibition had the usual mind-shuffling effect on me: whatever I was thinking* on my way to the gallery - mainly frustrating thoughts of the kind: Why Joe Biden's proto-marxism is not enough for a call to Mahmoud Abbas? It seems that Arab Lives don't Matter for the Old Hypocrite trn US' New Alfa Male that still keeps the Capitol surrounded by 3400 National Guards creating a Green Zone not unlike the ones in the capitals of occupied countries. Or also, how come that if “We are always on the defensive”, as said the deputy-mayor of Jerusalem** the other day, it so happens that your territory is always expanding? - evaporated the minute I touched the angular chrome handle of White Gallery's white glass door and then in the next eight hours I had all sorts of different, mainly pleasant thoughts and even managed to do some long postponed choroses.

Later, when in the early evening my late morning thoughts came back to me, I found them metamorphosed, more optimistic, like : the fact that somebody - I won't say who otherwise I may get a call from UK Lawyers for Israel - So, if somebody bombs the olive trees out of Gaza, it doesn't mean that this somebody is more intelligent or stronger than the inhabitants of Gaza. The fact that DNAless viruses destroy magnificent, complex organisms, doesn’t make them wiser or more accomplished than the organisms they annihilate. No, trashing another nation doesn't speak neither of high IQ, nor of sophistication. It mostly speaks of split personality disorder, of a lacking health plan, of a failed vaccination program.

Later on, in my sleep, I dream of the tiny bunch of hairs that with one mighty stroke brushes off the world all the Bibis, Jojos, Momos and Pupus setting the world on its normal, better building way. A way in which the hand that creates a perfect vaccination program is also the hand that lets the sunshine.

Learning from history: Wiki's reads 'crusading was an integral part of Western European culture, and presented as a Christian duty. " Conclusion one: it still is Wiki darling, it still is. That's why tomorrow 15 May marks 73 years since the beginning of the Sixth, Passive Crusade, known as  نكبة  or also known under the name State of Israel.

Learning from history: ​"The Children's Crusade was a failed popular crusade by European Christians to establish a second Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem in the Holy Land, said to have taken place in 1212." The traditional narrative is likely conflated from some factual and mythical events which include the visions by a French boy and a German boy, an intention to peacefully convert Muslims in the Holy Land to Christianity, bands of children marching to Italy, and children being sold into slavery in Tunis.." Conclusion two: this is not the first time innocent proxies are used as scapegoats in a crusade. Also this is not the first time Jewish people have been used as proxies. France used Jewish people as proxies in its North African colonies offering them the dubious privilege to be...chosen for proxies***. Chosen for fratricide - what a privilege. Happy Nakba****

Learning from history: "The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Crusader state established in the Southern Levant. It lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 ". Conclusion three: only some 100 years remain for the New Kingdom of Jerusalem to last. Probably even less, like any other colonisation this kingdom is too unnatural to last longer.

More Julie Curtiss here www.juliecurtiss.com

More about the exhibition at the White Cube here Booking is required before you visit. Advance tickets can be booked here 

This exhibition is on from today 14 May to 26 June

* The artist has no responsibility for any of the author's opinions expressed in this text..

** Nobody at Twat Radio thougt to ask the logical question.

*** See The French Intifada: The Long War Between France and Its Arabs by Andrew Hussey

**** Nakba Day (Arabic: ذكرى النكبة‎, romanized: Dhikra an-Nakba, lit. 'Memory of the Catastrophe') is the annual day of commemoration of the Nakba, also known as the Palestinian Catastrophe, which comprised the destruction of Palestinian society and homeland in 1948, and the permanent displacement of a majority of the Palestinian people. It generally commemorated on 15 May, the day after the End of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of the State of Israel in its place. Cherchez l'Angleterre.

See the list of physical protest 'National Day of Action for Palestine' around the UK here 

Le Futur 2021 Acrylic, vinyl and oil paint on canvas Diameter: 60 in. (152.4 cm) © Julie Curtiss

On Monday 10 of May and in the light of last night fires burning around the Iranian consulat in Karbala, Iraq I am reading Negar Djavadi and her magnificent book Désorientale wondering: Is Iraq beeing taken in consideration during the USA/ EU negotiations with Iranian over the new nuclear deal? Written in French Désorientale is translated in English as Disoriental by Tina Kover and published in 2018.

Online Ceramics Demonstration: Ibrahim Said Hosted by the Victoria and Albert Museum

Gain an insight into the work of talented ceramicist Ibrahim Said in this online webinar broadcast live from his studio in North Carolina.

Ibrahim's work is inspired by his Egyptian heritage, creating intricate carved pieces derived from Islamic jug filter designs.

During this event Ibrahim will discuss and demonstrate the different design approaches and techniques that go in to creating his work, which can be seen in the V&A display Contemporary Ceramic Art from the Middle East from 19 May.

Friday, 14 May 2021 14.30 – 16.30 BST Book here: https://www.vam.ac.uk/event/56v5gGlG/o21018-ceramics-demonstration-ibrahim-said-may-2021

Harvey Nichols "Eid Mubarak" labels

MayDay Folies or a Day in London

My MayDay, just like any other day, started with Radio France Culture where  Rokhaya Dialo the Lioness, one of La République new Marianas gave her two interlocutor - Cyril Bennasar and the host - a mighty fight in a show on 'Racisme et antiracisme"*.

It is crazy how sometimes a cacophony of voices on the radio can draw such a precise, clear picture. The debate was hyper curious and brought me to two revelations:

It seems that according to the French - or at least according to Cyril Bennasar - Christian saints' names such as Jean-Baptiste and Mary or Therse are more secular than Muslim names such as Mohamed Hassan or Fatma or Khadija. Hence, the name Ciryl is more secular than the name Ahmed. A recreational Sunday  is more secular than a recreational Friday. What about primary schools' idle Wednesday afternoon? Is this one secular too? (In France, schools still open for less hours, if at all, on Wednesday - a leftover from the times when Wednesday was the day for catechism).

If I try to think of non Christian French names the only male/female such that comes to my mind are François et Françoise. But then if children in France are named Alger and Algera ou encore Tunis et Tunisa will that be acceptable for Mr Bennasar - whose name d'ailleurs sound suspiciously like Bin Naser - ? Or are François et Françoise less nationalistic than Alger and Tunisa?

This name debate reminded me of the fight of the two priests, Catholic and Protestant, at Autona Island over the soul of the already dead Paul - another secular name - Gaugain**. For for religious fanatics every soul counts and must be put on a register, be it the soul that has inhabited the body of a renowned heretic. So it seems that the Catholic Church is still fighting for souls, be them souls obtained under the camouflage of French secularism.

The other revelation was in regards to humour and jokes. "Good sense of humour is mandatory for the "civilised person".  One is more civilised the less dignity and pride one has : the more one laughs at sexiste, racist and religious jokes the more one is civilised. I am completely civilised, I laugh from the heart at and spread sexiste jokes for the indignation of both male and female friends. I thoroughly enjoy them. I've been tamed into sexiste humour. Now it remains for France to tame Muslims into religious humour. 

Combining these two revelations I concluded that A Selling Conformity is the real name of what we think of as a Christian Civilisation. And here I would like to console Rokhaya Diallo and the other 'newcomers' - Diallo is born in France, I am aware - with alien names or surnames like myself: plenty of people despite already having Christian names have still changed them with "even more Christina names" or to put it simply: better selling names. Thus Reginald Kenneth Dwight rebaptised to Elton John; Maurice Joseph Micklewhite rebaptised to Michael Caine; or encore Jean-Philippe Léo Smet rebaptised to Johny Hallyday. There, nothing specifically anti-muslim or anti-african. It's just that this is a merchant of civilisation, if you don't sell, you don't work and you are no cool. And that's it. Everything else is a nonselling. Pride? Nonselling growth - chop it off. Prayer? Nonselling growth - chop it off. Ramadan? It's good that after Ramadan comes Eid so that you could be sold things. Since last week Harvey Nichols' labels feature large inscriptions on their shop labels reading "Ramadan mubarak" in Arabic. Man, it's good that you Muslims smoke... As you are not drinking if you weren't smoking either, the Selling Conformity Civilisation would have chopped you out long-time ago. Send Philip Morris a thank-you card. 

There, nothing personal. If I was only half-wise upon arrival nine years ago I would have changed my name to Avi Plenty-Cash, Money-Coutts being already taken, and the hyphen being mandatory... Never mind, it's never late to start signing my bullet-pointed cv Avi Plenty-Cash. See what happens.

But for the time being, I am still called as I was called at birth so at noon on Mayday instead of finding myself in an estate house, or at least at a cricket pavilion in Cambridge; I found myself down Grenfell tower, surrounded by a bunch of retards with the Marxist reflections and discourses of people who have somehow missed the entire twentieth century and the first fifth of the twenty-first century. At least they knew that they are retards because they kept saying "We need leadership" and repeating " We need people to guide us". You bet you need something hyper brilliant and courageous to volunteer to fish you out of the nineteenth century and drag you in 2021 out of pure altruism. The worst side of the Young Socialists was that they were actually quite old. I am susceptible to forgive youngsters all sorts of nonsense but I'm not so clement towards grown ups. "Struggle is happiness" somebody said to me. "If it is so, then why am I so unhappy when I am struggling all the time?" I asked in response. Strangely or not the old Young Socialist couldn't answer.

Luckily, a gallery-liggers league representative happened to also be at the meeting, so we didn't tard with the retards and stroll off to Gallery 46 and a fantastic "Queer as Folklore" exhibition private view. 

Lately, I am not sure whether something is good or I am simply high of the thing happening and of me being there. Hence, I don't know how good exactly is this exhibition, but it looked like the best thing in the world on Saturday. Breasty goats, horney fauves, Green men and devils on brooms,  cats, owells, penises, snakes, flowers and all the other Beltane creatures and symbols hang on gallery 46's wall. 

Of all the ten artists " contributing to this exhibition examining British paganism" as the gallery 's leaflet reads, my favourite became James Dearlove - possibly because of the poplar trees   on the background of his "Burning Ghost" and 'The Crossing' paintings. While Crudggie's favourite was Tracy Watts. 

Now is the good time to invite all queers and artists to the original "British pagan" Beltane celebration, which this year is taking place only this coming Sunday, 9th of May on Druid Hill after midday. 

Gallery 46 is in Whitechapel, behind the massive prickly hedgehog of London Metropolitan University. It is a small gallery with a specious garden and for now my favourite gallery in town. So in two weeks time when Whitechapel galleries reopen and you head to see there the exhibition 'Phantoms of Surrealism' don't forget to make a little detour at Gallery 46. 

Food wise MayDay was plentiful and hungry at the same time : I woke up at six as I had to colour 18 chicken,  12 duck and 9 quail eggs : Orthodox Saturday before Orthodox Easter oblige; the eggs are colored as latest on Saturday, but can be eaten only on Sunday. Because of the vast egg operation and the fuss it generates - presumably organic dyes splash about in the kitchen colouring every surface in every imaginable colour  - I left the house without breakfast. Crudggie had two clementines  on him - sweet and seedless. And the gallery had lakes of surprisingly drinkable rosato spumante called Fili and seas of red of an even better description accompanied by Liquorice sweets to go avec, which I refused to eat as I thought they would spoil the taste of the excellent red - which was probably the purpose of the sweets. Everybody that left gallery 46 that MayDay did it in a jolly plastered fashion. Measuring the jolliness of the art-lovers I could tell that some have missed more than one breakfast and a lunch - only the satyrs and the elves know for what variety of reasons. 

Apart from James Dearlove painting, my other discovery was abstractionist Annette Holzwarth, whom I discovered in person at this view and who agreed to meet me and talk about painting and healing. So there, this MayDay might engender more excitement ahead.....never mind that in the mean plastered time I lost Annette's card, as it usually happens.

Happy 1s of May with delay  🌷 Happy Beltane 🌞  Slightly delayed is the Orthodox Jesus too - it took him about a month longer to do, but now he has also risen 🐣 And Eid Mubarak in advance to the Muslims 🌛 in case I forget to say it when it comes. 

* For Radio France Culture program 'Racisme-et-antiracisme' here 

** For Mario Vargas Llosa's 'The Way to Paradise' review in the Guardian here 

A jolly demon next to Paul Bommer's 'Robin Goodfellow the Puck'

When the micro meets the macro cosmos on the last day of April. I am reading KCW London's March issue and more precisely an article called "Arabic Medicine in the Golden Age and Today". The intro reads "Much of what we know about medicine, disease, and public health stems from the work of scholars more than a millennium ago in the Islamic Golden Age. And, today, hundreds of Middle Eastern doctors are on the front line of our NHS". The funny coincidence is that I am reading this article in a hospital, sitting next to a wall decorated with camels in sand dunes where I've come to interpret with Arabic. And I would like to slightly correct Mr Ziad Qattan's estimate of the number of Middle Eastern doctors working in the NHS; only the medical staff of Iraqi background - as I was told few years back at the Iraqi Association Al Muntada Al Iraqi - is estimated at some ten thousand. Famously, Nadhim Zahawi, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment since 2020 is one of them. I have no idea with what number we would end up adding all the other Middle Eastern nationalities.

Another article which I found very curios was the one by Fahad Redha called " The Woman who changed the game against smallpox", which reminds the reader of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, who breath the smallpox in adulation to London.

When in July the nation gets mobilised to Lockdown social media (see below) I will make sure to replace that with few KCW London issues.

Fortunately Middle Easteners don't work only in "our NHS" - ours or Matt Hancock and Emily Gilruth's? *- but also in arts. Middle Eastener Rachid Koraïchi is once more at his usual hub the October Gallery with plenty of new work.

The October Gallery from the other hand will participate in the 2021 Frieze New York Viewing Room. This edition of the fair will run online from 5th – 14th May 2021. Works by Jordan Ann Craig, Romuald Hazoumè, Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga, Alexis Peskine and Benji Reid will be exhibited by October Gallery.

Visit Frieze New York Viewing Rooms here

* Matt Hancock faces fresh 'cronyism' row after it emerges he and his sister own shares in firm that won NHS contracts here

Rachid Koraïchi, Tears that Taste of Sea, until 12 June 2021 at the October Gallery

Tête-à-tête, the Man and the Bus. No this isn't Tiananmen Square 1989; this is Archway, London N19 in 2021. The Man is upset that his Bus is displaying a "Bus FULL" sign and wouldn't let him on; so the Man wouldn't let the Bus go either.

The National Gallery today announced the acquisition of Portrait of a Girl (about 1650) by Isaack Luttichuys (pronounced ‘Lootickhouse’) (1616–1673), the first work by the artist to enter a British public collection. Born in London in 1616 to Dutch parents, Luttichuys spent his early life in England, where the family was known as Littlehouse, the literal English translation of the name. He later moved to Amsterdam and enjoyed a highly successful career as a portrait painter until his death in 1673. The 17th-century oil painting has been acquired by the nation from the estate of George Pinto (1929–2018), banker and philanthropist, under the Acceptance in Lieu scheme, administered by the Arts Council. This follows the Gallery’s recent acquisition through the same scheme of three 18th-century works from the Pinto estate*. The National Gallery is grateful to Christie's for their support in ensuring these works join the collection.

*works acquired from the estate of George Pinto under the Acceptance in Lieu scheme Thomas Gainsborough (1727–1788) Portrait of Margaret Gainsborough holding a Theorbo about 1777 Oil on canvas 90.2 × 69.9 cm

Thomas Lawrence (1769–1830) Portrait of the Hon. Peniston Lamb about 1790 Oil on canvas 76.2 × 63.5 cm

Jean-Etienne Liotard (1702–1789) The Lavergne Family Breakfast 1754 Pastel on paper stuck down on canvas 80 × 106 cm


LAAF 2020 Favourites 

@saudi_in_london

Weapon of Vice, by Bambi, Pipckerying Street or how the symbolism of a piece of art might change from one day to another during a pandemic, mid March


Shamsia the Clairvoyant, Women By Women exhibition, see bellow. 8 March or couple of weeks before the quaranteen.

In the Times of COVID19

I wonder what France does with its ban on face covering...?

"The bill prohibits the wearing of face-coverings in public places and also applies to foreign tourists visiting France. The law imposes a fine of up to €150, and/or participation in citizenship education, for those who violate the law." Wiki

Other contemporary practice that in the Times of COVID19 strikes a particularly rotten pose is the one of the Admin*-Abattoirs as I call them.

Think of the new Camden Municipality building, the one next to Google at the otherwise so luring new Pancras Square, with the exciting postcode N1C. Or also think of the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation HR, the one at Chelsea Harbour (this shamelessly boggling expression of greed that hadn't allowed the growth of a single tree amongst the sardinesquashed buildings...posh? mon queue). I am saying these admin-abbatoirs where up to hundred people are jammed desk to desk with not as much as a cubicle, like the ones in American films, to separate them; and where staff 'meets clients' in massive equally unpersonalized lobbies (overheated or hipper cold respectively), I mean these monstrosities are as a pure health hazard as a chemical attack.

And before my Lady of Elevation, the Starry Badger ** nags me for sueshoutingattea***, which is the contemporary English for unconstructive criticism, I will say : Nay, I am not sueshoutingattea and here is my sconeandclottedcream which is the contemporary English for "having a positive idea nearly solution":

Whenever you've created a workplace for humans - step back, squint your eyes and examine the creation. If it looks like admin-abattoir, start again thinking aesthetics and respect. If aesthetic and respect are incorporated health conditions would be bettered too.

Admin Life Matters.

*By Admin I mean all working for public institutions.

**Caitlin Moran aka CW

*** For contemporary English entry 'sueshoutingattea' follow the link and read N1 ' Yorkshire Tea' here

 

Shield! by Shamsia and Shamsia by Tahmina, at Women By Women exhibition, by ActionAid at OXO Tower, until 8 March

Women By Women and Niqab for Men

An example of strongly talented clairvoyance : Shamsia wears a mask before everybody else. Unfortunately the photos on this exhibition are not dated, so we don't know how much before everybody else exactly.

Shamsia was born as Afghan refugee in Tehran, where the Women-Fearing regime did not allow her to study art (as in addition to Women-Fearing the regime in Tehran is also a Muslim-slaying one - not only it slays Syrians but it also deprives from all rights and dignity the Afghani refugees seeking shelter on its lands).

Today, Shamsia is a street artist, fine arts lecturer and professor in sculpture at the University of Kabul. And hopefully for many a year to come despite all manmade wars and batmade viruses. Else to speak despite all Batmen.

Shield!

By the way, suddenly, in the eternal match Iran vs Saudi Arabia, SA scores yet another goal - Saudi women's gear is more en vogue with the last virus fighting trends. Lately, I am thinking shouldn't we all, women and men, start wearing full niqab?... for couple of months at least. 

Women By Women exhibition, by ActionAid is at OXO Tower, until 8 March


Extinction Rebelion visiting Antony Gormley

Fly now Pay Later - Extinction Rebellion at Antony Gormley

An endearing, lonely extinction rebellionist was a live female sculpture amidst Gormley's Iron Men.


Sea of Tranquility Sea of Plastic by Polite Extinction, @politeextinction

Sea of Tranquility Sea of Plastic

Mare Tranquilitatis is a lunar mare that sits within the Tranquilitatis Basin on the Moon.

Polite Extinction, went to Goldsmiths BA, MA, Museology in Ed, PGCE university of Brighton and is currently in artistic residence at Budapest.