Archive for November, 2008

The great technical achievement in the development of the pottery manipulation due to the Zsolnay company of Pecs was able to give several creative opportunities to the applied artists. Let alone the new shining material called Eosin, which green, blue, violet and red refractions are more than a typical signature of the Zsolnay own production.

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This article would try to examine one particular achievement due to the new technology in pottery, the enhanced shapeable quality of the material which gave the artist the opportunity to create new effective lines and forms. The curves, the new stylistic religion off the Art Nouveau after Van de Velde, were explored deeply. The softened material gave the artist the same creativity freedom of the painter. And this achievement had as a consequence the use of very strange shapes for the most effective pottery creation

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As inspirational motive the artist could at that point borrow forms and figures from various sources such as bestiaries and illustrated books fulfilled with floral shapes. This is or example the case of the famous book of Erns Hackel, Kunstformen der Natur, 1899-1904, which serve as inspirational source for some Zsolnay creation.

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The binding of the new shaping capability together with the brilliance of the Eosin material had, as a result, the creation of some very effective psychedelic, even ante litteram, effects.

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Some of them seems anticipation of some drawing of the great XX century Italian artist Luigi Serafini.

EQuesta sera ho finito di lavorare, o almeno me ne convinco. E sono particolarmente bravo. Una sola luce in tutta la casa, la finestra, ed una sola luce anche da lì.

DSCF8671  La mia Fuji, adorata  macchia nera nella mia mano, protesi oculare pronta e feroce come un coltello a strappare brandelli di visioni. La visione non è come la vista. Vediamo tutto ciò che passa innanzi ai nostri occhi. Come il profumo non può fare a meno di insidiarsi nelle nari, così adochhiaperti non possiamo evitare di vedere. Ma la visione, be, quella è ben più rara. Solamente ciò che non solamente è visto, ma viene anche strappato dall’oggetto percepito per divenire parte del proprio bottino estetico. Ladri impenitenti, e l’artista è il più ladro di tutti, e l’esteta il più ladro tra gli artisti. L’artista prende spunto l’esteta, genio senza talento, prende e basta. Come diceva Carmelo, fa quel che può …

Questa visione fuori da HArsfa utca nera come solo l’inverno sa essere, è come una Madeleine avvelenata. Il rosso di quella finestra, una sola luce, rossa, rossa come la passione che mi donò la vita, come il furore di colei cui la dedicai, come il sangue del dopo. L’arte è rosso e nero. Leggevo Ludwig Hevesi, che riscontrava proprio queste caratteristiche cromatiche come salienti dell’opera di nostro fratello Ferdnand Khnopff. 100_6244Oltre l’azzurro aveugle degli occhi impossibili.  Rosso arancio. Sopra la terra nera, ciò che si ama, lo struggente canto di Saffo. Sopra la terra Nera il Rosso, ironico, proprio ciò che si ama, che si è amato, che si ama … Un rosso che ha lo sguardo bambino di rocrdi recenti, e che solamente pochi tratti neri bastano a rievocare.

Ma la Terra quando è così nera diviene completamente informe. Il monòcromo livella le vibrazioni cromatiche, e con esse pure le forme.

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Disinforma.

  Ed è così facile scavare dentro esso, ancora a fondo, e sempre nero. Ma quel rosso ci perseguita anche se nella disinformazione del nero esso non è, ovviamente, presente. Esso non è presente, non è innanzi ai nostri occhi, il che rende la situazione, se possibile, ancora peggiore. Esso è sentito ancor che non percepito. Il rosso  è una strega che alberga nelle nostre più incisive visioni. image-2E’ una strega che soffia e sussurra, che scuote come il vento il mare.

E’ una strega che ci sveglia e ci addormenta, che ci sa suonare le musiche che danno malinconia, che si fa costante portatrice di pathos, del patire, che ci distrugge, che ci fa bere, ci fa bere, che ci fa danzare e poi sprofondare ancora nella terra nera. Un odore che impariamo a riconoscere ed ad odiare, tanto è presente, tanto fa male.  Una strega che ci martella il cuore, che prepara per noi sabbath infernali, che fa cadere lacrime trasparenti che bagnano la nera terra, la vivificano come Urano evirato, e ne fanno nascere, ancora, rosso. E’ una strega che ci induce sovrumani silenzi e sofferenze, è la strega che oscura le nostre risate e che ci fa volere sempre oltre. E’ la strega che ci donò tutto questo, la strega che ci donò il colore rosso, che ci ha fatto ri-nascere per vivere per ciò che si ama …

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Il colore, che strano rimbalzo. Il colore non è un qualche cosa di immediatamente esperibile, di concretamente tangibile, come una finestra, un pezzo di legno, un bicchiere, un mattone … Il colore, piuttosto, si informa, letteralmente, prende una sua propria consistenza formale da precedenti rimbalzi di luce. E, tuttavia, il colore è un informale formante: esso costituisceun efficace caratterizzante delle forme esperite, fino a contraddistinguerle, a risultarne talmente intrinseco da non potersi disgiungersi dalla forma nella memoria del percepiente. Il colore è un fondamentale dell’arte proprio per questo suo ruolo evocativo, evocativo della forma soggiogata o, meglio, da esso avviluppata

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. Una luce al neon  sprigionata da un solarium nel palazzo di fronte, avviluppa e caratterizza, rende unica l’esperienza di questo palazzo, a poche decine di metri dalla stazione di Nyugati, Budapest ovviamente.  Tale impatto cromatico caratterizza l’edificio fino ad imprimersi nella memoria estetica dell’osservante  come esperienza visuale unica e cromaticamente caratterizzata (dal blu, in questo caso). Il giorno seguente, al mattino, difficilmente un osservatore non abituale potrà ricollocare geograficamente correttamente l’edificio. L’esperienza visuale accade in un tempo, e quel tempo  viene caratterizzato dalla luce. Rapporto tra luce e tempo nell’esperienza estetica, da approfondire.

DSCF6875 Banale, il cartello illuminato che muta la percezione che dello stesso ha l’osservatore rispetto alla versione diurna.  Il colore, la luce dei fatti. Il fatto estetico è metastorico, non avviene per circostanze, ma accade nell’attimo. Quel m omento in cui il soggetto osserva e si impressiona. Il colore è uno di quegli elementi essenziali che imprime questi momenti e che caratterizza, inequivocabilmente e indipendentemente, l’esperienza estetica del qui ed ora. E, così,la stazione Occidentale è quell’edificio rosso là in fondo o, no un momento, è quello giallo, un momento, un momento, e così via …

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Nessun idolo è scolpito in una pietra talmente dura ed impenetrabile da resistere alla forza della Linea, al suo fascinosinuoso e femmineo …

 

The Hungaria Spa was build in 1910 after the project of the Hungarian architect Emil Agoston in Dohany utca(eventually, who projected the Astoria Hotel, too). The history of the building, and of the spa itself, is a little bit messy. In fact the bath structure operated just until the end of the first decade of the XX century. He was converted in a Cinema in 1920 and as a Cabarè just until 1963. After that date the demolition of the structure began and nowadays what remains is just the facade, which also is in a very terrible condition. 

However the last piece of this historical building survived, and in this very days seems that restoration works finally begin.

The remaining part of the facade still presents a really impressive relief, in typical secession style, of three woman enjoying the thermal water. They aren’t mermaids strictly sense, however those feminine figures are charged with the typical art nouveau symbolism concerning female characters and the water. the pleasing and excited, even erotic, expression which could be still viewable on the female figure on the very left of the relief, is evocative of the sensual, even sexual, relationship of feminine and the natural liquid element.

Not surprisingly, since this symbolism was quite usual in the artistic production of the turn of the century, a very similar frieze can be noticed in Vienna, in Seitzergasse, 1st District. And  even if the subject itself was quite common at the time, however the resemblance between the two sculptures is really noticeable. Judge yourself: link side are the Dohany-utca Budapest woman at the bath, where on the right you can nitice the Vienna mermaids …

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In other part of this blog some evidences of the relationship of the develoment of Hungarian Szecesszio influences from the British Art and Crafts movement were outlined. In particular, since the exhibition, due in 1900, of the british painter and book illuminator Walter Crane those influences became very relevant and characterized mostly of the work of severla hungarian secessionist artist (Sandor Nagy) particularly as far as the book illustration was concerned. Those influences cohabited with other sources which eventually insipred the work of the Hungarian Szecesszio (influences, for example, of the austrian Secessionist movement as well as Wiener Werkstaette on the work of Kozma Lajos, as noted in a very recent post, are noticeable).

In this article, influences of the pre-Art and Craft movement (hitherto with strong relationship with this) named Pre-Raphaelite, after the artists brotherhood who constituted  the movement itself, on the Hungarian painter Aladar Körösfői-Kriesch were outlined. As an example, two works of Aladar Körösfői-Kriesch will be examined. The two paintings refer to the so called "Cicle of Klara" and dated 1911. they both are actually in the National Hungarian Museum of Budapest and the picture here presented were taken in the room of the Museum.

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Both the paintings related to the history of Klara Zach, In this work of Körösfői-Kriesch, as on the big-format paintings,  titled: Zách Klára, and on his goblein (woman with a rose) the figure of Zách Klára is an innocently killed, suffering womans are illustrated, whom refused a God, and a highness (Kasszandra Apollő -the brother of Zách Klára) ‘s love.

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The nudity symbolizes the innocence and the vulnerability of the heroes, pre-destinated to fall. The future of both suffering women are intertwines with the destruction of their city/country. Kasszandra symbolizes tragedy of  Troy, Zách Klára symbolizes the tragedy of Hungary.

Basically, the theme itself could also typical of the Pre-Raphaelitism, since for the brotherhood Renaissance epic constituted one of the main influencing streams. The human characters, mainly female (as per the preraphaelite …) were dressed with traditional clothing, even if here seems that Korosfoi was inspired more from the Italian Renaissance rather than the tradition of his own Hungarian homeland.

Redhair girls are prominent in those two paintings as well as in several works of the Pre-Raphaelite. The following are respectively masterpieces of Edmund Blair Leighton (God Speed, 1900) and Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Lady Lilith, 1968; The Bowder Meadow, 1871-72; The blessed Damozel, 1878)

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All those paintings are inspired by late medieval themes and aesthetics. However, some noticeable differences are noticeable between the paintings of Rossetti and the two of Korosfoi. Basically, I would refer to such differences as related to the role of the woman. In Rossetti, woman still was characterized with ephemeral sight, with a sort of absence in her own eyes, lack of intellectual related activities. Woman in Rossetti painting are like puppets, even beautiful and fascinating, but who seem completely disoriented (in a way they have some similarities with some "Beveuse d’Absrynth" portrayed in some of the turn of the century french area paintings)without any evidence of autonomous (nor actual) thought . On the contrary, female characters in the painting of Kriesch are, on the contrary, really noticeable. Both the Kresch paintings show two group of female characters and, in every case, the feelings and attitude of the characters themselves are quite noticeable, without any doubt.l

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Eyes and expressions of the faces are more than just outlined in those paintings. Feelings like joy, superb, envy, sadness, … are absolutely well evident in the lines of the faces. Obviously even women acting on the main scene are well characterized as well :

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No doubts, even for Kriesch the late Middle age was a source of inspiration. But the symbolism of the Hungarian painter has some different peculiarities if related to the older Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The woman for the British movement was a symbol mainly for the inner, obscure and mainly unknown forces which rule the Nature in the whole. Feminine was a symbol for a fierce, outstanding and still dangerous force which can represent a threat or a menace for human beings. The woman of Kriesch is conceived having a much more complicated character and, as a consequence, symbolism of the feminine itself is much more complex. The females here preserve sensual character, which was even a topic for the British brotherhood (think, as an example, to the red lips of Rossetti’s portraits). and, even, some of the character in the Kriesch painting show a menacing attitude. However the feminine is beaten, till the death of Klara in the last scene, and by male (the soldier) human figure; and she are in deep sadness as well, desperation which, however, doesn’t seem to be characterized by an inner fragility of the weaker sex, as per the former century tradition.

Kriesch’s female characters, in a word, are living beings, not merely beautiful puppets, thus reflecting the changing paradigm of the feminine which characterized the art at the end of the century and the art within the Hungarian Szecesszio in particular. Again, the feminine hasn’t at all the ethereal aspect of the woman in the late Renaissance nor the adorable virginal beauty and attitude of the female figures sang by late medieval cavalry epics. Kriesch females have complex characters, different attitude and they act in the scene in an unpredictable non-taxonomical way.

Symbolizing Hungary, Kriesch’s Cicle of Klara shows a feminine who is beaten by some evil and stronger forces but who also is still able to preserve her character, beaten but not annihilated.

 

Maybe the most famous building of the Hungarian Secession, the Magyar Iparművészet building, due to the effort of the most known turn-of-the-century Hungarian architect, Odon Lechner.

Well, this morning I was the nearby of Ulloi ut, the street where the building is located, and decided to took some pictures. But this morning was a little bit foggy, so I didn’t waste my time taking pictures overcharged by whites (yes, tend to be a perfectionist even more…). Just to try the 10x optical zoom feature of my brand new FujiFilm S5800 I decided to take just details. In which are mostly noticeable the influences on the works of Lechner by the Hungarian national folk art.

Here are. Enjoy !!!

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