Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The after exhibition party - Reflections

The last exhibition in which Marisol and I took part, was the Reflections event in Santander, organised by a Poets and Artists group and curated by our friends Marina and Rosario, which ran for three weeks upto the beginning of November. As is to be expected sometimes from the whims of the authorities and which the exhibiting artists have to take in their stride, there were several hurdles to be jumped over to get to exhibit anything at all. First there was a cancellation of the event in June of this year. Then when politely (and here we have to say we did have to bite our tongues) pressed to explain,  the politicos had given our slot to a 'much more important' event. Many of our group went to see this 'important' exhibition of historic photographs of a news agency, badly displayed and boring to point of tears which hardly deserved to get our slot.

It was only after repeated pleas to understand the tremendous wrongdoing that had been meted out to us, that the Councillor for Culture at the Cantabrian government agreed to give us another exhibition slot in October. Even so we could not expect any help and god forbid even think of a catalogue or money for any expenses whatsoever or any drinks or food for our inauguration. Finally we were told that we could not even arrange for our own drinks for the invited guests.

Marisol's installation 'Arena Sin Continente'

Performance by the writer Mariano Gomez de Vallejo in front of my work, and my 'Chrosome 1' self portrait.

Not to be deterred, the exhibiting group of artists (and their partners) decided that the material that we had already organised for the inauguration could be enjoyed by themselves at a party to be held at some subsequent occasion at a convenient location. And this is exactly what happened a few days ago at the studio of Alfonso, an artist friend of ours, here in Laredo.

Images from the party.
A good time was had by all!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

A hectic trip which took in London and Delhi

October this year turned out to be a fantastic month for sunshine and warmth where we live and it was with some sadness we abandoned Spain for a three week trip to London and India. The London portion was meant to catch up with our home in Epsom which we had not seen since 2010 and the art event Frieze which we try and get to every year. On the other hand the Indian portion of the trip was a mini reunion of the Bawa clan to celebrate many birthdays and anniversaries, Diwali and an assortment of recent birthdays.
 Charting a course through the sea of Frieze
Merging with art!
London was buzzing, we were shocked to see the state of our house and put in to place a program of maintenance to get it back to the condition we used to have. The art in London was everywhere..we toured all the big events including the Other Art Fair, A show in a car park behind John Lewis on Oxford Street where we cought up with many of old srtist friends, and the Frieze itself at Regents Park. I do have an artist for a partner, but still I have to say that her reaction to the opening hours of the Frieze (11am to 7pm) 'what? only till 7?' took me by surprise. Needless to say that we went around the entire exhibition (starting at about 11.05) and only just managed to complete the mission before they threw us out at 7pm sharp! 
 With ants at the Saatchi Gallery
 with Margot and Phoebe
With artist friends in the car park
 With Anil and Hannah at Dishoom
Saluting Thames at Waterloo Bridge (for Massimiliano!)
Not before we had cought sight of a bizarre performance of someone with a bunch of vegetables and fruits for a head! That had to be our friend Fillipos from Madrid, I said to myself. Marisol said 'No it cant be surely'. I walked up to the performer and said 'Mr Tsitsopoulos I presume?' 'Arvinder!' he replied in confirming his identity. Its a small world. A few photographers took our pictures and some of these made it into magazines overnight (one in particular appeared in the Papermag online)
 The image that appeared in Papermag
In between we cought up with most of our friends in Epsom and London and beyond, and packed in a few mouth watering meals at our usual favourite restaurants. Marisol's birthday saw us enjoy the excellent Indian cuisine at Dishoom in St Martin's Lane. There were other birthdays and reunions to celebrate too and we were already quite tired by the time we took the Air India flight 112 to Delhi.
 With Anil at Frieze

 With Loli and John at Frieze
With Elena at the Other Art Fair
AS stated earlier this part of our travels was for a reunion of the Bawa clan in Delhi to celebrate lots of anniversaries and to meet Mom and Dad after a year and a half.
 Dad, Mom and the kids!
 Sis Gunj Temple

Among the celebrations were:
Jessie (my youngest niece) and Joe's first wedding anniversary
Mom and Dad's 70th wedding anniversary earlier this year
Dad's 90th Birthday!
Guddi (Sis) and Birinder's 40th Wedding anniversary
Marisol and mine 40th Anniversary
Marisol's birthday
Sohrab's (nephew) birthday
Phew..on top of that we had Diwali during our trip as well
That was a lot of celebration this year!
Needless to say we had a lot of lunch and dinner appointments!In between all that eating we had a lot of fun showing Jessie and Joe around Delhi. 

If we thought that we were tired after London, at the end of this Indian week we were exhausted, not least from the smog that surrounds Delhi and which never lifted during the entire week. By the end we had packed our suitcases full of packets of delicious Haldiram packets and pickles and the usual assortment of items bought after much bargaining, even if this was at an unusually high level as the prices in Delhi have risen tremendously.

Spice shop and exotic Old Delhi!
We are now safely back in Spain after a 24 hour journey, partly on a much improved Air India (product placement) ...to be continued ;-)

Saturday, 11 October 2014

An Exihibition titled Reflejos (Reflections)

Friday (10 October 2014) saw the inauguration of a new exhibition titled REFLEJOS (Reflections) in Santander which was seen as an experiment of colaboration between Artists and the Writers. Marisol and I formed part of a collection of Artists who participated, although I can hardly call myself an artist. They are part of a group of artists and writers who go under the name of the Kirguise Collective. The name comes from the Spanish version of Kyrgystan which is a country in high Himalayas (I think) whose name roughly translated means 'the land of the forty clans', however I was told by Mariano (more about him later on), who knows a lot about these things, that it also could mean 'those people up in the clouds', which some of the members of the group certainly are!

Anyway after a year long battle with the authorities to get the venue and several cancellations and postponements, this project finally got under way on Friday 10th October with the inauguration of the exhibition at the new Central Library in Santander which is housed in a lovely building which used to be an old tobacco factory. This building has several exhibition spaces which are all great for varying sizes of displays.
Each visual artist paired with a writer or poet and produced a work which 'reflected' the words in the artwork in some way. Marisol chose to work with a local writer and poet Maria Jose Echevarria, with some reputation for her writings while I paired with Mariano Gomez de Vallejo (mentioned earlier) who is an artist and also known to write regularly. 

Marisol's installation titled 'Arena sin Continente' (Sand without a Continent) is based on a poem written by Maria Jose, which deals with the human condition and feelings of pain and bereavement which perhaps perhaps leaves one feeling like the sand of the title. This consists of three broken mirrors with some piece of anatomy bursting forth from the centre. The words of the poem in Maria Jose's own voice are available as a video which can be seen and heard on a TV which is also part of the installation. The other element is an unbroken mirror with a hand holding out miniature books with the words and pictures from the work printed on them. And to complete the installation there is an island of sand on the floor with broken mirrors with text embedded in the sand. The island is surrounded by black paper boats which could be seen as a blockade or a ring frame to give more visibility and harmony with the black frames of the mirrors on the wall.

Marisol's installation 'Arena sin Continente'

My own work consists of a couple of my earlier Fractals and a recently completed image which displays a colourful spacial arrangement of the chemistry based on the data of the 1st chromosome from my own DNA data (aptly named Chromosome 1). My own image can be faintly seen in this display to give it an air of a digital self portrait. The words of Mariano that reflect my work are also derived from a formula which has some parallel with my Fractals. He told me that he was excited by the prospect of trying out the Oulipo method of generating text from a given starting point, such as a definition of a Fractal. So starting from a Wikipaedea definition of Fractals he did iterations of substitutions of translations from a dictionary of various words in the text. This produced a mysterious mix of words when read out had a synergy with visual versions of the Fractals without the theretically heavy exact definition that usually requires much understanding of mathematics.

He even produced a performance in which a mysterious figure in a strange white suit mimes over a digital voice reading out his text in a somewht eclectic mix of tones and silent periods.

The exhibition is a great experience and runs until the 4th of November. In the meantime we head for distant shores to celebrate Dad's 70th birthday, their 70th wedding anniversay, and our own 40th!! 
Regards and all best.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

South Wind and Heat Wave

Where we live September is the best time of the year.
The tourists have left for the rest of the year, the sun is still high in the sky and if the wind blows from the south, we get very warm conditions. 
Today was one of those days.
 It was 30+ C in the shade on our balcony and even dogs in the street were looking for the shadows of the trees. After a morning of doing chores around town I decided to hit the beach for cooling off from the heat. There was not much time and the water was cold, but once I was in, I began to enjoy the swim.
To start with I did not want to get my long hair wet, however the waves were huge and very inviting. I do like to body surf but was holding out to not ride them. By the time the fourth wave had passed me, my resolve disolved and I threw myself into the next wave.
There followed ten minutes of pure bliss...a short walk to dry off the skin and I was headed home looking forward to a much needed lunch.
What a life..someone has to live it, why not me.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Haikus about Fractals

Haikus about Fractals
The other night some poet friends were visiting and on a whim the idea of a Haiku (or two) about Fractals cameup. So everyone got their thinking and creative minds in gear and produced the following:
La otra noche unas amigas poetas visitaban y de repente surgio la idea de un Haiku (o dos) sobre el tema de los Fractales. Asi que todos pusieron su mente creativo en marcha y producieron los siguientes:

Haiku original                  Roughly translated into English

Y al infinito
lo parte el tiemporoto
lo parte el tiempo.

un mar partido sin fin
caos fracturado.

partes formando trama,
todo en urdimbre.

Arde la rosa,
urde la noche el alba,
orden en casa.

And the infinite
time divides, broken
time divides.

endless ocean divided
fractured chaos.

parts forming woof*
all in warp*.

The rose burns
the dawn warps* the night
order at home.

(* warp and woof are vertical and horizontal strings that hold a cloth together)

And this is what its all about - the fractals