Monday, 31 October 2011

Happy Halloween!!!

Marina De Caro

I stumbled upon a work by Marina De Caro. I know nothing about it, except what Frieze magazine writes: Marina de Caro's work 4 Ojos (4 Eyes, 2007) is a video that portrays the artist wandering through Buenos Aires as a comical yet oddly poignant two-headed being. This four-eyed creature purports to have two consciousnesses, owing to the fact that its second head, which exhibits the will of a helium balloon, floats any which way it pleases while tethered to its twin only by a lengthy, limber neck.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Democratic Promenade

Democratic Promenade, the art exhibition at the Bluecoat Gallery, features 40 artists engaging with ideas around democracy and the radical through artwork, objects, reconstructions, films, photography and documentation. The theme Democratic Promenade is prompted by events 100 years ago that had a profound cultural, architectural and political impact.
The title Democratic Promenade is taken from Walter Dixon Scott’s description of the Landing Stage in his 1907 book Liverpool.
The term “Democracy” is described on the online Oxford Dictionary as “a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives: a system of parliamentary democracy. The practice or principles of social equality: demands for greater democracy.
Fareed Zakaria asks, “Democracy is arguably the greatest political buzzword of our time and is invoked by everyone – but what does it mean? Can it be defined, measured, safeguarded? Can it be sold, bought, and transplanted? Can it grow? Can it die? What does it mean to people who can’t even talk about it? What does it mean to people who don’t believe in it? What does it mean to you?” 
Jonathan Jones states in his article ‘The best art is born from democracy’ that “Some say dictatorships spur dissident artists to be truly adventurous, but the strongest art comes from freedom – as our upcoming general election reminds us”
Jones’ article is quite short, but he received a lot of responses and comments. For me, however, Jones was not able to elucidate the real meaning of democracy.
Berlin based artist Oliver Walker and his art installation Mr Democracy at the Bluecoat Democratic Promenade exhibition features 1000 plastic dolls imported from China, all programmed to recite a written constitution for the UK. It is a response to the fact that the UK does not have a written constitution. Mr Democracy is an international solo project exploring trade, democracy and globalisation. Walker’s Mr Democracy project from 2008 was installed at the Royal Standard Liverpool. As stated on Oliver Walker’s website, “The UK is one of only three countries in the world not to have a written constitution”
Oliver Walker’s installation is powerful, ironic and radical, in my opinion. By drawing attention to the absence of a written Constitution in the UK, it explains why there is not enough democracy? It raises questions about why, for example, there are not enough jobs for everyone?
In Francesca’s Klug’s article in The Guardian, titled Political impasse proves need for a written constitution (11 May 2010), she states that "We need a constitution. You cannot run a country without having a constitution, without basic laws. It's a must." So said Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, the Libyan leader's LSE-educated son, speaking to the Jordan Times last week.”  

I read Klug’s article on the day of Gadaffi’s death, when every newspaper’s headline and every TV channel was showing horrible and shocking images of the dictator Gaddafi being dragged from his hiding place. Libya does have a constitution, but can Libya be described as a democratic country? Either way, this leads me to question what democracy is? Justice and freedom? Is justice found in the courts?
Recent events in Libya can hardly be described as examples of justice and democracy. At the very least, Gaddafi should have been made to stand trial before the Justice verdict was made. Libyan people behaved like savages and barbarians. Is this how the new Libya will conduct itself? Is the western media going to continue to show all those horrible images 24/7? Have people always stood for law and order? Libya and other countries have a written constitution but does that make them a better place to live? The old Soviet Union had a written constitution, but it was never obeyed. Constitutions are fictions. Each generation makes its own political settlement and fights for the rights and balances that it thinks are important.
“If we learn anything from history, it is that we learn nothing from history.” (Psalm 78:12-39)

 This seems to be a cliché. It has been repeated so often.

Similarly George Santayana argues that “History is a pack of lies about events that never happened told by people who weren’t there."
What, then, is the role of the arts in promoting a democratic culture? The book The Arts of Democracy book attempts to answer this question in a dozen essays on subjects relating to “the competing claims of "the public" and the free expression of individuals and communities”
Does the Democratic Promenade exhibition clarify what the ‘democracy’ means? In my opinion, it does not.
For me, the real interest or shock came not from any one image or performance in the Democratic Promenade exhibition. Rather, the show’s unsettling message lies in the accumulated encounters from 100 years of Liverpool’ history. The exhibition in general did not shake or shock my imagination, nor did it explain what democracy means and how all these art work represent democracy. Perhaps after few years art historians and the media will represent the latest Liverpool riots and occupy everything movement as an important democratic revolt in society. Having seen the riots first hand on my street in Toxteth, I do not think that it was a democratic movement or important democratic revolt, but merely a barbarian looting.
In conclusion, for me, “democracy” is like “happiness”, in that everybody dreams about it in their own way and nobody knows exactly what it means.

Emma Kristina Hultkrantz

Adorable and talented Emma Kristina!


Marimekko is a Finnish company based in Helsinki that has made important contributions to fashion, especially in the 1960s and 1970s. They are particularly noted for brightly-colored printed fabrics and simple styles, used both in women's garments and in home furnishings
Marimekko was founded in 1951 by Viljo and Armi Ratia, after the former's oilcloth factory project failed and was converted to a garment plant. Armi asked some artist friends to apply their graphic designs to textiles. In order to show how the fabric could be used, the company then designed and sold a line of simple dresses using their fabric. It came as an early recognition of fashion as an industrial art and of Marimekko's role in the process when Finland's leading industrial designer Timo Sarpaneva invited the company to present a fashion show (albeit canceled at short notice) at the 1957 Triennale in Milan. The garments were eventually showcased in the nearby Rinascente upscale department store under its then store display manager Giorgio Armani.

The Guardian:

Marimekko's bid for world domination

With Marimekko's 60th anniversary looming large this year, Huma Qureshi examines the rise and rise of the Finnish textile and design company

Saturday, 29 October 2011

"Why have there been no great women artists?" This is how the critic Linda Nochlin famously opened the debate about the way canonical thinking defined and still defines Western art history.
I assume it's a rhetorical question, meant to provoke debate, rather than a real argument that there have been no 'great' or famous women artists.
It's not that there have been no great female artists, it's that they've been hidden away, discouraged and erased, that they've been paid little attention.
Untaught, overlooked, neglected, overshadowed... they are and they were, and  they stand above... them all.
 I found today an amazing book! Pre-Raphaelite Women Artists -by Jan Marsh and Pamela Gerrish Nunn

Jan Marsh and Pamela Gerrish Nunn's pioneering catalogue lists the folowing women as Pre-Raphaelite women artists:

    Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon
    Anna Mary Howitt
    Rosa Brett
    Anna Eliza Blunden
    Jane Benham Hay
    Joanna May Boyce
    Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal
    Rebecca Solomon
    Emma Sandys
    Julia Margaret Cameron
    Lucy Madox Brown
    Catherine Madox Brown
    Marie Spartali Stillman
    Francesca Alexander
    Evelyn de Morgan
    Kate Elizabeth Bunce
    Maria Casavetti Zambaco
    Marianne Preindelsberger Stokes

    Christina Jane Herrigham
    Eleanor Forescue Brickdale


Marsh, Jan, and Pamela Gerrish Nunn. Pre-Raphaelite Women Artists. London: Thames & Hudson, 1998.

Suzanne Valadon,Mary Cassatt, Artemisia Gentileschi, Vanessa Bell, Gwen John, Angelica Kauffman, Mona Hatoum, Charlotte Cornish, Halima Cassell, Tamara de Lempicka, Cornelia Parker, Gillian Ayres, Lucy Jones, Vieira da Silva, Dod Proctor, Elizabeth Forbes, Michelle Wright, Barbara Rae, Anita Klein,Mary Stork, Louise Bourgeois, Niki de Sait Phalle and there are many more

One of my favourites artists -
Emma Sandys (born Mary Ann Emma Sands) (1843–1877) was a 19th-century English painter.
Sandys was born in Norwich, England in 1843. She was taught by her father, Anthony Sands, and worked in portraits in both oil and chalk, often in medieval or period dress. Her earliest dated painting is marked 1863 and she exhibited her works in both London and Norwich between 1867 and 1874.
Sandys did most of her work around Norwich but may have spent time in the studio of her brother, Frederick Sandys, in London.

Her works include:

    Elaine (National Trust Collection, Lanhydrock, Cornwall.)
    Lady in Yellow Dress (Norwich Castle Museum.)
    Viola (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.)

Emma Sandys, Elaine (National Trust Collection, Lanhydrock, Cornwall.)

 Manchester Art Gallery today

Manchester today

Friday, 28 October 2011

stay alive for

".... the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for" - John Keating from Dead Poets Society movie

Recovery of Picassos major success in fight against art theft

Recovery of Picassos major success in fight against art theft
The recovery of the two stolen Picassos in Belgrade came as a success for the forces of law and order engaged in the hard battle against the billion-pound industry of art theft.
Disappearing borders and customs checks have made the smuggling of stolen art easier, while at the same time growing affluence around the world has increased the numbers of those willing to part with their cash for some illicit art.

Interpol's data base on stolen art lists some 34,000 pieces, but the true number of purloined art is probably far higher given that every year thousands of unregistered works disappear from developing countries.

The millions that can be made has attracted the attention of organised crime and organised gangs. A notorious gang called the Pink Panthers made a name for themselves with spectacular jewellery robberies in France.
Growing awareness of the scale of art theft has led to country's tightening laws, forming specialist police units and forcing auction houses and collectors to check the origins of works of art.

But for all their efforts some works disappear without trace.
Earlier this month a French art thief said that in a panic he threw a collection of stolen paintings including works by Picasso and Matisse and worth an estimated £84 million into a municipal rubbish bin. Authorities fear the paintings were crushed, and their remains ended up on a dump.

By Matthew Day
The Telegraph 

 'Glass and Pitcher' from 1944 which was stolen from an exhibition in the small Swiss town of Pfaeffikon, near Zurich, in February 2008 Photo: AP Photo/Serbian Police

"I never can pass by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York without thinking of it not as a gallery of living portraits but as a cemetery of tax-deductible wealth" - Lewis H. Lapham

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Amber Room

The Amber Room
Much has been written about the elusive Amber Room, but the mystery remains.

    'Architecture began like all writing. It was first an alphabet. Men planted a stone upright, it was a letter, and each letter was a hieroglyph, and upon each hieroglyph rested a group of ideas. Later on, they made words; they placed stone upon stone, they coupled those syllables of granite, and attempted some combinations. The Celtic dolmen and cromlech, the Etruscan tumulus, the Hebrew galgal, are words... Sometimes even, when men had a great deal of stone, and a vast plain, they wrote a phrase.'
    -Victor Hugo, Book 5, Chapter II -The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The origins of the Amber Room lay in Prussia. Originally installed in the Charlottenberg Palace, the panels which embellished this room consisted of over 6 metric tons of baltic amber. In 1717, these amber panels were presented to Peter the Great of Russia as a gift from Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia, strengthening the alliance between these two nations.

Of the Amber Room, Theophile Gautier wrote in the 1860s:

'Only in The Thousand and One Nights -and in magic fairy tales, where the architecture of palaces Is trusted to magicians, spirits and genies, one can read about rooms made of diamonds, rubies, jacinth and other jewels used for jewelry- the expression 'The Amber Room' Is not just a poetic hyperbole, but exact reality. The eye which has not adapted to seeing this material, applied in such scale, is amazed and is blinded by the wealth and warmth of tints, representing all colours [in the] spectrum of yellow - from smoky topaz up to a light lemon. The gold of carvings seems dim and false in this neighborhood, especially when the sun falls on the walls and runs thru transparent veins, as though sliding... '

At the order of Catherine the Great, in 1755 these panels were installed in a room in Catherine Palace in Tsarskoe Selo, creating the Amber Room we know of today. Decorated wall to wall with amber and gold leaf, this room stood as one of one of Imperial Russia’s greatest national treasures.

Until the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, no major alterations or changes had been made to the appearance of the Amber Room. During this time, the room was deconstructed and the large amber panels of which the room consisted were looted by German forces and taken to Königsberg.

Following an air raid on Königsberg by Allied forces in 1944/1945, the prized panels went missing. To this day, the location of the original Amber Room panels remain a mystery, although many believe they were either destroyed during the last years of the second World War or currently stand in a private collection.

The looting of the original amber panels by German forces was not the end of the Amber Room at Catherine Palace. In 1971, the Russian government began the process of reconstructing the Amber Room; the funding for the project coming largely from German donation. In recent years, the final reconstruction and restoration of the Amber Room has been completed following decades of effort. Standing as both a symbol of recovery following the invasion of Russia during the second World War as well as an attraction to be enjoyed by the Russian public and international tourists alike, the history of Amber Room at Catherine Palace is one of beauty, conflict, mystery, and reconstruction.

One of the Few Surviving Photographs of the Original Amber Room, taken during Soviet times, in the 1930's.


1) Lynn H. Nicholas, The Rape of Europa. Pg 190.
“Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh 

and I don’t know how it called…

This time-moment in life before “actually Eating the Honey”. I am in the condition of this moment I think.

I can't wait!

I am in state of mind before of an interesting trip. expectation of a miracle?

 Will the journey shake my imagination?

Maybe not...
I do not know how this state is called. Excitement?

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the places and moments that take our breath away" - Hilary Cooper

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Malmö and Copenhagen

Incredible subway-Oresund Bridge – The Connection of Denmark & Sweden

 The Oresend Bridge was opened on 1st July, 2000. The bridge links Denmark and Sweden together for the first time since the Ice Age. The new road and rail project covers 10.5 miles (17km) between Malmo and Copenhagen and now physically links together Sweden and the rest of Western Europe.

The Oresend Bridge took four years and cost £3.3billion to build. The bridge at 1,624 metres metres, is the second longest suspension bridge in the world. The main bridge pylons are the tallest structures in Sweden, with a height of 203.5 metres. The Oresend Link passes over the artificial island of Pepparholm and through the world’s longest submerged tunnel beneath the Danish section of the sound.

I accidentally bought tickets to flight from London to Malmo, but I needed ticket from Liverpool not London.

How can I change my flight tickets so it’s from Liverpool to Malmo (or Copenhagen) and NOT London...
OOOhh…actually I can…if I pay additional £200. Ryinair’s rip off politic 
never mind...

Denmark associated for me with Hans Christian Andersen, Malmo, Sweden - with  Pippi Longstocking and Karlsson-on-the-Roof(Astrid Lindgren) and The Moomins (Swedish: Mumintroll) by Tove Jansson.

 Pippi Longstocking!  It is one of my all time favourite books! 

Description: original; writing on poster; folded;
Year: 1969
Dimensions: 27" x 41"

Very useful link for travel to Malmo and Copenhagen: 

"The Øresundsbron bridge is the longest combined road/rail bridge in Europe, and the longest border crossing bridge in the world. Since it opened many Danes have moved to Skane, with its cheaper prices, commuting across the bridge to Copenhagen. In many ways Skane has always been more orientated towards Copenhagen than Stockholm. It has low fertile hills and warmer weather, contrasting with the cold mountains and forests of nothern Sweden"(comment)

After reading comments on this website we decided to book Ibis hotel, as they said: 

Q: Hi, I am planning to stay in Malmo (coming from Goteborg) for couple of days. Spend a day in Malmo (using Malmo city card) and do a day trip to Copenhagen. I will be staying in Ibis hotel @ Stadiongatan 21. Third day I will be off to Rostock. Here are my questions:

1. Ibis hotel area: Is it safe ?
2. Can I use the two free parking that comes with the city card at a nearby municipal parking lot ?
3. For train to Copenhagen (from Malmo): Is there any discount using the Malmo card ? IF so then how much ? It is for roundtrip for 2 persons.
4. Is there any discount for the car toll on the Øresund bridge ?

Thanks in advance!
A: Hi Allan! Im gonna try to answer all of your questions:
First of all, the area around Ibis is a calm and safe area. It is right between the city center and a very nice living area. You also have a big nice park just next to you.
The nearest parking place where you can use your City card is at Södervärn. But you should count on a good 15 minute walk between this parking place and your hotel. At least. Although Ibis also have parking places to offer!
The City card doesnt give you any discount on neither the trian nor toll to get over the bridge.
Hope you´ll have a pleasant stay!
We booked room  for two online at Ibis (Malmo) website and it cost for 3 nights - £181. Not bad I think

  What I plan to do in Malmo:

1. I plan to visit the Design Centre

I plan to the “Form/Design Center”. They describe theirselves as follows:

“Form/Design Center is a meeting place for ideas in design and architecture. Here you will find a showcase of the very best contemporary Swedish and Scandinavian design.”

"But it’s not just that, they’re doing much more! Their goal is “to engage and educate about design and show its importance in our surroundings and our everyday life.”. You’ll also get more info on their website.
I found it quite pretty because they really had some good pieces of Swedish design furniture. If you ever come to Malmö: This is definitely worth a visit!" (comments about Malmo Design Centre)

 how to find Design Centre - at Hedmans courtyard at Lilla Torg, in central Malmö

The sculpture Optimistorkesten by Yngve Lundell.

In the historic center of Malmo - one of the oldest houses in town - Form/Design Center.

2. Southwest Skåne and Lund

 The district is probably best known for its Castles, ridges and yellow fields in the farming heartland of Sweden. Copenhagen is now linked to the southern part of Sweden so you will have “one destination – two countries” within a reach during your stay.
The difference in altitude is about 80 meters from the lowest point in the south to the highest point in the north. Lund is located in the largest agricultural district in Sweden, less than 10 km from the sandy shore of the Öresund and about 16 km from Malmö. From the top of the hill Sankt Hans Backar it is possible to spot Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark.
The Middle Ages were something of a golden era for the city. By the beginning of the 12th century Lund had already become a well-established town. Craftsmanship and trade were prospering and the largest mint was situated here. In 1103 the city was made the archbishopric for all of Scandinavia.

The oaks at Veberöd could not be felled as the acorns were used as feed. some of the oaks remain and may well have been there when Linné passed through. The old 12th church in Dalby draw his attention.



Örebro Castle is a medieval castle fortification in Örebro, Närke, Sweden. It was expanded during the reign of the royal family Vasa (House of Vasa) and finally rebuilt about 1900. The castle lies on an island in river Svartån. Some of the rooms are used as classrooms for pupils from Karolinska Skolan.
For over 700 years Örebro Castle has kept a watchful eye on everyone crossing the bridge on the River Svartån. The oldest part of the castle, a defence tower, was erected in the latter half of the 13th century.
This tower was added to in the 14th century to make a larger stronghold, and towards the end of the 16th century most of the impressive castle we see today was built.
Many important events in Swedish history took place here. For over two hundred years it has been the residence of the county governor, but a great deal is open to the general public, with art, music, food, exhibitions, guided tours, conferences, and lots more.(

wow!!! it's brilliant tour! but ot late for me...
so next time.

The oaks at Veberöd could not be felled as the acorns were used as feed. some of the oaks remain and may well have been there when Linné passed through. The old 12th church in Dalby draw his attention.
The district is scattered with old castles and manors so a “castle tour” is recommended.

Packages includes:
4-overnigt stay in double room, WC/shower, possible to change hotels for a round trip
4 – breakfast
2 x 3-course dinners
Guided city tour in Lund
Welcome reception and information at your hotel
Excursion inl. picnic by horse carriage inspired by Linné/Linnaeus.

Price from: SEK 4 690 p.p based on two sharing. Ref. No 685, contact
Travel Gate Sweden to book this tour, info @
Excursion to book at arrival e.g.
Hiking excursions with maps and picnic lunch
City break in Copenhagen – for a day or with an over night stay.
Castle tour
Visit ecological farms, Ängavallen, Grönland, Mossagården and Kulturens Östarps.
Link for more excursions.
The south of Skåne offers both beautiful countryside and cultural sights. We have circuits with interesting things to see and beautiful roads to drive or bike on.
Itinerary/Tour idea:
Day 1. Arrival at your hotel, reception and information about circuits with interesting things to see and beautiful roads to drive or bike on. 3-course dinner in the evening.
Day 2. After breakfast a guided walk in the university town Lund
The afternoon and evening on your own.
Day 3. In the afternoon a horse carriage excursion to follow the roads of Linné/Linnaeus.
In the evening a 3-course dinner at a restaurant.
Day 4. Visit the ecological farmers and shops to boy local products.
Day 5. Departure, visit Malmö.


3. Malmö Museer

Malmö Museum is located at Malmöhus road, in a lush green area located in Malmö. Here you can visit Malmöhus castle and a real submarine, see live Gotland sheep and meat-eating piranhas. The museum tells of his exhibitions on history, nature, technology and shipping. 

4. The Turning Torso

An apartment building erected in 2005, it was the brain child of Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. When it was being built the people of Malmö were up in arms because it just doesn't fit with the rest of the city's old world feel.

Gradually they have come to like it and now take pride in this internationally reknowned landmark.
This 54 story, 623 foot (190 meters) tall edifice is truly fascinating. The idea is that we are facing the back of the building and that the "face" of the building at the top is twisting around to get a better look at the Western Harbor and Denmark across the Öresund.

5. Sauna in the middle of the Sea!

"Ok this is insane!
There is this place 700 meters out in the sea where you can sit in the sauna and look out through the panorama windows and see all Öresund. It is called Bjerreds Saltsjöbad. The price is 6 EUR and you can sit there all day if you want!
The architecture is typical Swedish design and i you are hungry then there is a good resturant too.
It is one of my absolute favorites in the Malmö-region."

6. Slottsträdgårdens Café and Slottspakken

"Organic coffee and cake in the open in the middle of the city. Slottsträdgårdens Café is an oasis for both body and soul, open all year around. After your coffee you can admire the gardens and maybe buy some vegetables or flowers to take home with you"

Organic outdoor café in Slottsparken

Serves: Warm and cold sandwiches, ice-cream, lavender dream biscuits, chocolate balls, cinnamon buns, hot chocolate drink, squash, coffee and tea.

Opening hours: Monday - Sunday 11 a.m. -4 p.m.

Ö recommends: The famous carrot cake


Slottsträdgårdens Café, Malmöhusvägen 8, 211 18 Malmö

7. Pildammsparken Malmö

The park is exactly near our Ibis Hotel!

8. ATT Studio Gallery
 Right in the heart of Malmo. In fact, the very heart of the Øresund! Just 100 meters from Malmö Central Station and City Tunnel. Approximately 1 hour flight from Stockholm and only 30 minutes by train from Copenhagen.

Northern Vallgatan 64 B
211 22 Malmö, Sweden



1.Street Art
sound English to me!

 pictures from

and more:

The free city of Christiania in Copenhagen

Christiania – a small community with big ideas

Amid all the incoherent 'big society' talk, consider Christiania, a democratic Danish community celebrating 40 years of autonomy
The Guardian 
by David Goldblatt

Copenhagen Denmark experiences -
My Top-10 "Must-see" 

  and I must buy the moomin!