REPORTING ON ART AND FOOD from Troubled Places

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

Nea Wear UK is one of the fourty designers to be showing at DFW21 in November

New on Wednesday, 20 October os 'Morella', by Caroline Fakhri under 'A Teacup in Spain', LAAF ON TOUR subpage.

On  Thursday 14th October read DUBAI MODEST FASHION WEEK 2021's Press Release under Fashion here and presentations of DFW21 catwalking designers !

'Love. Dialogue. 3.... The Dress!' is now under Celebrity Watch Watch Back 2021 here

At Her Gracious Aunty NG

Two novelties to be spotted here. By the order of spotting, or shall we say dotting?: 'All Things Bridget Riley' - this is what I called it, as I call all things spotted, dotted, lined and wavy; but I didn’t see what is the name of the piece - vast, expanded on two enormous walls and joy-generating, leading to where the second novelty is nested and it is: 'Poussin and the Dance'.

Now this is an exhibition that you can't, unlike many others, go and see in any state of mind because you believe that you will be brain-cleansed, this may be true 99% of the time, anyway. In order to appreciate its subtlety and elusiveness well, you need to be in a very calm and serene state of mind. Actually, this is how you may check whether your meditation has produced the desired results. If you are there and Poussin's dancers, the lot of them: fauns, virtues, satyrs, bacchi, sileni and sins, do indeed dance - you've worked your meditation right.

If all your accelerated mind sees are ridiculous figures barely standing at half-points and only lifting their arms above their waists with their calves at some 45% above the ground... then you should go back to your meditation cushion and work some more on your state of mind!

Actually, I wonder what Sylvie Guillem would say about 'Poussin and his Dance'. Why don't we do just that - invite Sylvie Guillem to take us through this exhibition? Or Darcey Brussels for that matter?

After all, elderly aunts and uncles love to see young relatives. Also multidisciplinary is as good as say... multicultural.

Where to go after a visit to the good old auntie? Many places, obviously, with all of China Town, Soho and the South Bank only a stone's throw away. Yet, I strolled to what was once the St George’s Hotel, overlooking the BBC. Now it has a Gum Tree terrace added at the top of it. While the weather is still clement, one might well go there. Two novelties to be spotted here. By the order of spotting, or shall we say dotting?: 'All Things Bridget Riley', vast, expanded on two enormous walls and joy-generating, leading to where the second novelty is nested and it is: 'Poussin and the Dance'.

Now this is an exhibition that you can't, unlike many others, go and see in any state of mind because you believe that you will be brain-cleansed, this may be true 99% of the time, anyway. In order to appreciate its subtlety and elusiveness well, you need to be in a very calm and serene state of mind. Actually, this is how you may check whether your meditation has produced the desired results. If you are there and Poussin's dancers, the lot of them: fauns, virtues, satyrs, bacchi, sileni and sins, do indeed dance - you've worked your meditation right.

If all your accelerated mind sees are ridiculous figures barely standing at half-points and only lifting their arms above their waists with their calves at some 45% above the ground... then you should go back to your meditation cushion and work some more on your state of mind!

Actually, I wonder what Sylvie Guillem would say about 'Poussin and his Dance'. Why don't we do just that - invite Sylvie Guillem to take us through this exhibition? Or Darcey Brussels for that matter?

Elderly aunts and uncles love to see young relatives. Also multidisciplinary is as good as say... multicultural.

Where to go after a visit to the good old auntie? Many places, obviously, with all of ChinaTown, Soho and the South Bank only a stone's throw away. Yet, I strolled to what was once the St George’s Hotel, overlooking the BBC. Now it has a Gum Tree terrace added at the top of it. While the weather is still clement, one might well go there.

Other than that and in the meantime, a few things had happened:

My previous employer asked me why I was bothered by my ex… female manager calling me “pet”. I asked them to imagine the same situation with a male manager. They said it wasn’t the same. I begged to differ. We didn’t come to a mutual understanding. Alas, we are all losers when we don’t get to ride on the same wavelength. They also challenged me that I didn’t challenge her with the matter. I begged to differ once more. I did challenge her, as much as possible, by asking her what her favourite pet was and when she showed me a picture of a hairy cow I asked her why she then just doesn’t call me “Hairy cow”.... She failed to get the... hint or brick? thrown at her. For the record: I would have explained why she can’t possibly call me “Pet” if she was 14 or say 24, but sadly she isn’t. After all I wasn’t employed as an educator, but in an altogether different function. Otherwise, I volunteer to teach children until they are approximately 35. You say what? You are barely 37? How unfortunate, you just missed my education span.

Other other than that: Juicy Sausages are flying to Abu Dhabi next Monday to review some eateries…. We, that’s beeing Me, Myself and I, are flying to Dubai next month to review The Modesty Fashion Show Dubai 21 - Expanded trousers, long shirts, head-wear, women from all over the world - What’s better than that? Meet you by the WC, but not meet you in the desert, how much exactly better can it get?

Other other other than that: This side of the lown is complaining of having a shortage of foreign, especifically EU, labour, while in the last 72 hours, I’ve heard two Bulgarians, with full on English language understanding, but low on command in response, complaining that they, after having worked in this country for more than ten years, have been dismissed under the pretext of “Doesn’t speak English”... Pray say, what is going on?

Thank you MFSD21, you’ve just reminded me to put a date on my entry : hence 8 October 2021

A journalist or a poet, who is staring at the entangled poet's books - one of his poems and the other of his suffering in prison? I don't know, do you? Sun at Night, the Curve

Sun at Night at the Curve

Another powerful and disturbing exhibition created by a woman is Shilpa Gupta's Sun at Night at the Curve, dedicated to poets imprisoned for their opinions, beliefs and ways of life through centuries and continents.

Hundreds of known and unknown poets' voices, names and circumstances to read, hear and apprehend. Varying from Abu Nuwas's: “For young boys, the girls I've left behind And for old wine put clear water out of mind”*, to Irina Ratushinskaya’s: "Whether they will shout me at the point when chaos starts And I will press my trembling hands to the whole that was my heart"**

Big, scary and beautiful, this multimedia exhibition charms with the variety of languages and subjects it displays. The unifying thread bounding all the honoured poets being: the one word written on each and every mentioned poet's heart - FREEDOM. Shilpa Gupta has collected and tied all these freedom loving hearts together with lots of LOVE.

* The "Sun at Night”. After Abu Nuwas's solitary confinement, some thirteen centuries later, the most beautiful street in Baghdad was named after him.

 ** For the "Sun at Night" in Irina Ratushinskaya's solitary confinement... check yourselves.

'CW and LAAF by the Gallery’s WC', by Paola Rego, Tate Britain

Constant Inevitability also known as CW Meet me by the Gallery's WC or else Is a God to live in a Dog?

Where is one most likely to meet one's Muse of Fun and Wisdom, if this Muse of Fun and Wisdom is also known as CW, Celebrity Watch? Obviously, at the WC.

And in which WC one is most likely to meet CW when one is also known as LAAF, London Art and Food? Obviously, at the gallery’s WC aka Water Closed.

And at which emblematic, memorable exhibition CW might meet LAAF by the WC ? Obviously, at the most féminin and powerful of all current exhibitions in London.

And which most féminin and most powerful exhibition that might be? The immense, monster of an exhibition of the mighty, omnipotent Paula Rego at Tate Britain, isn't it?

What else was there? There were also CW's red trainers, blue jeans, leopard coat, fresh blue mask; bright, sparkling eyes, fair completion, skunk hair and her whole unbelievably sweet nature complimenting LAAF on its modest, old coat and boots... side by side with all of Paula Rego's fantastic, robust, vulnerable and exposed women. CW, meet me by the WC at the gallery.... If I had to fantasise our meeting I couldn't have fantasised it better.

Mind you, this was our second encounter, when I meet you for a third time, I will tell you about the first one…

How do I know there will be a third time? I know it from Terry Pratchett, who says of events like one meeting CW by the WC at the gallery: ” Scientists have calculated that the chances of something so patently absurd are millions to one. But magicians have calculated that million-to-one chances crop up nine times out of ten."

Otherwise known as, constant inevitability.

Hugette Caland, Drawing Room

The World on a Page or Celebrating أوغيت الخوري

In the Drawing Room life looks as it used to do once, when I was little - simple. There are white walls, there are drawings and each drawing contains an universe. No sofisticated creative processes, no complex concepts, just the world in a drawing.

The Drawing Room is this special gallery where first class art meets the obscure domain of ésotérisme and érotisme. But above all where very complicated ideas are communicated, old-fashionedly, on a piece of paper.

'Drawing after Bellmer' features 25, if I can count, fantastic artists from through the 20th century to today, all new to me. I fell in love with almost each of them, with my absolute favourite being a genius Huguette Caland with a series of six linear drawings. How, I would like to know, how do you make a line have an expression? How, Huguette, pray say, how did you make a line look yearning, desiring, hungy, greedy? And this not in your mother's Levantine Arabic, but with a simple line? "..Her drawing and paintings express the jouissance of frmal erotic pleasure... The interpenetrating lines of these drawings are blatantly sensual in a delightfully non-binary manner..." Drawing Room press release. Lines blatantly sensual in a delightfully non-binary manner!? Huh? Street artist Stick - my favourite until I discovered Huggette - stick it up your sortie arrière.

Hugette Caland, born Al Khoury 19 January 1931 à Beirut Morte 23 September 2021 à Beirut

Where to raise a glass in celebration of Hugette and all the other artist, be them dead or alive? At 'Diogenes the Dog'. Esoteric Wine and Coffee - obviously. Here, they have not one, but two! Bulgarian wines, unheard and unseen in Bulgaria, on the list.

Elle n'est pas belle la vie?

Everybody needs a bit of 🌈 at the top of their fingers, Past Caring Islington - the best shop in town

Fran Thomas, CLadonia Sulphurina, 2019, watercolour on paper, fragment - a glittered one

Who needs Surrealism when there are Lichens?

Who needs Surrealism when there is nature? The fact that we are used to Nature's madness doesn't make it saner.

A fantastic botanical exhibition opened at Saatchi yesterday, Friday 17th. Strangely enough all the medalists - about 20 of them : one bronze, one silver and many glittered-silver (I know very bizarre "glittered-silver" ) and many gold - are either British women or Japanese men. With an odd Lithuanian silver and an odd American gold, both in photography.

If an English botanical artist met a Japanese botanical artist will their children be garden gnomes? That is the question.

Where to eat after a visit at the Saatchi, is another question. Obviously Le Comptoire is always a good reference. Vardo Restaurant is another option in sunny weather, but here too like in Lauderdale House in Waterlaw Park, règne la dictature du prolétariat - the posher the neighbourhood the more dictatorial turns the proletariat. Getting a table on the terrace at Vardo for single me, was difficult. A single woman stands low on the Waiiter's Best Client List : she eats and drinks less than a single man less than two woman, less than a mixed couple and certainly less than a male couple. I still managed to get the sunny table thanks to a combination of coincidences - I was hungry, therefore grumpy and persistant for one; the receptionist was a woman - a man would never go back on himself having once said "All tables are booked". The couple that arrived ten seconds after me didn't mind sitting indoors. Hence, I got to have a table. Single women in restaurants get either sincerely forgotten by waitresses or patronised by waiters. That's why I personally prefer the first.

Anyhoooow, I was sitting there having a strange duck salad, that looked like made of two salads - one of duck and baby spinach and another one of endives, burrata and ...caramelised walnuts served in a ball.... Hyper odd. What saved the embarassing situation was the unexpectedly finely colored Uruguayan Pino Noir Rose. I can't even start to describe the sofistication of its colour. Imagine sticking a stake-blooded knife in a peach.... or if it is easier to picture, imagine a placenta at dawn. There we go.

The best of the experience? The sun shining through thin feathery clouds over the dark green lawn of Saatchi Square. Or is it called Duke of York Square? Anyway, the vast lawn that has the Down's Syndrome Lejeune Clinic For Children at its opposite end.

The Royal Horticultural Society Art and Photography Show 2021 Winners are now announced at Saatchi. Go there alone, go there in couple, go there with children and you will find a magically simple dream land. Rather surreal.

Theaster Gates's film, fragment

White Cube's DoubleTouch Wood Act

Thirteen old wooden drawers full of hidden treasures. This is a reacuring...what's the opposite of nightmare? Like in a dream that fills you with delight .. ..sweetmare of mine: I am in a strange house, I enter an old-wood furbished room, it's full of cupboards and drawers, I open them one by one to discover all the unknown treasures therein. My dream treasure hunt occurs like a biennale d'art* - approximately once every two of years.

This, exactly, was my experience this Thursday morning when entering White Cube Mason's Yard Gallery at the exhibition Theaster Gates. The only difference, from my sweetmare, being that the woodenry in my dream are lacked, while these at the White Cube are washed, old wood stain by paint and time.

Mason's Yard display resonates perfectly with White Cube Bermondsey Ibrahim Mahama's exhibition with its old wooden school desks and bureaux.... in both exhibitions the drawers are full of treasures, but of different sort. The main difference though is not in the type of the contente, but Ibrahim's drawers are opened, while Theaster's are... closed. A closed drawer though is more inviting.

What do you do when you find yourself alone in a room full of drawers? .... Needless to say. That's why I always arive first at views.. . I love to touch. Can't stop myself really.... even paintings. If I like it, I have to touch it.

At the White Cube's powerful duet-exgibition Africa abides in its South London gallery, while America dwells in its West London space. Fair enough, if your art has travelled thousands of miles and crossed continents why move two more miles in a random direction? Let it rest at the nearest station.

* My current day dream is to attend the 16th Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale initially scheduled in 2021, but postponed until September 2022.

A Bright Excotic Spot under London's Grey Skies - RA's Summer Exhibition

Boris Johnson should prepare a personal Plan C as his voodoo doll hangs amidst Royal Academy's more than 1382 art works exhibited at this delayed Summer Exhibition and pierced by 22 - not even silver, just normal - sewing pins. Fortunately or unfortunately, unlike so many things in this life voodoo always tends to....work. Hence the necessity of a personal plan C for the PM.

Other than that, the colourful galore of the Summer Exhibition is at its usual heights with a lot to see and a lot to desire.

My personal favourites are the two rooms: curated and co-curated by Vanessa Jackson and Eva Rothschild. What would I buy in a parallel world in which I am buying art work? Plenty, but certainly: a wooden sculpture called 'Mother Tongue', delicate and alive by Carlos Zapata, number 1287. A very funny and immediately affordable Covid Triptych by Matthew Appleby under no 837 which I would put in my lavatory to cheer me up every morning; an inconsequential, badly framed, but mythological and sweet collage 'Space Cowboy' by Angus Dunbar, no 842; and an African wood and chrome-plated aluminium sculpture ' Baby Baga#1'' by Nyui Olagunju no 866 to keep company to the ‘Mother Tongue’ sculpture.

Oh, I nearly forgot - Because artists are these extraordinary creatures with fantastic imaginations that make them, as it seems lately, the best storytellers in the world - a beautiful film dedicated to two characters depicted by Durer in 1502, by John Akomfrah called ‘Peripeteia’, in the Small Weston Room. I predict a massive fight between various National Trusts and the Department of Education for the five copies of this curious 2012 film.

RA's Summer Exhibition 2021 is unusual not only with its autumnal opening, but also with the significant amount of humorous works. Post the pandemical void year 2020, it seems that the funny works on display are more than the usual. Having started this impression with Carla Gaita's 'Please Enter Your Pin' depicting PM Johnson as a voodoo doll for pinning - already sold; I have to end up mentioning a discrete but memorably funny 'Chairman Mao Swimming With the Loch Ness Monster' by Jonathan Hajdamach still available for acquiring in the morning of 15th of September.

Ibrahim Mahama with his note book amidst his bats created from old-buildings' metal bars and old packaging fabrics. Yet another excellent story teller, at White Cube Bermondsey

Lazarus on Tuesday, 14 September

Ibrahim Mahama's installation 'Another Hole in the Fabric' - as I called it, named 'Capital Corpses' by the artist - is the best, so far, art interpretation of Pink Floyd's 'Another Brick in the Wall' I have seen.  Other than that, 'Lazarus' is an elaborated and sad - despite the positive approach, narrative and practice of the author who buys discarded objects, for example dead men's 20 century furniture, transforms it into pieces of art, sells the art work and then re-invest the money in his native Ghana. So far Ibrahim Maham has bought an old silos full of bats, frogs, snakes and fishes and six old aeroplanes that he has filled with wooden school desks and uses as a studio -  exhibition, with a delicate and sweet sense of humour in its core.

Regardless of the tune and the noise of a flock of baths reproduced by  a flock of Singer sewing machines, 'Lazarus' exhibition deals with the resurrection of old abandoned buildings built by Eastern European architects and abandoned after a coup-d'etat in 1966; of old school desks; old sewing machines and massive amounts of old Ghanaian archives. Impressive stuff at White Cube Bermondsey on until my birthday. 

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After the press preview I went into Marks&Sparks in search of brown tights. Brown being my tan at present after ten days spent in sunny Bulgaria. Obviously M&S had only “natural”- an unnatural powder N2 tan - and black, as if ever black, I mean black-tights-black is anybody’s natural tan. M&S Angel didn’t have any “caramel”, “cocoa” or other non-powder N2 tan tights. But above all dear M&S, whenever did girls with a natural powder N2 tan wor tights? Never since the impoverished fashion of the bare legs kicked in post WW2; once the American soldiers have departed with the best looking girls of the hood and nobody did bring any tights/stockings around anymore to the poverty-stricken non-lookers left behind. And isn’t it simple and obvious? M&S rails are full of powder N2 tan tights, called by tight-producers “Natural”, because it is so unnatural for girls of that colour to wear them! Naturally powder N2 tan girls prefer to feature red-bleuish frozen un-tight-ed legs at all times. And this is why “quartz”, “caramel” and “cocoa” are missing from the rails because the rest of us still have some standard of elegance. 

Mind you with the hair dye in neighbouring Boits, it is exactly the opposite - there are 99 shades of brown "Because you deserve it" and only N1010 for the blond.

What bizarre world are we living in - brunet hair blond legs....tz tz tz not good..

Colossal Abramoviç at two of the many Lisson Galleries. You might know her as a conceptual performing artist, but what she really is is an estonishingly powerful story teller.

Seven Deaths, micro-fragment of the 1 h, 50 seconds 2021 film by Marina Abramoviç