Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Antibes outdoor sculpture: Le Nomade

A visit to Antibes is incomplete without paying respect to Jaume Plensa's Le Nomade sculpture looking out to the Mediterranean.

This summer was no exception. It was an easy enough short walk up the ramparts from the beach below, when taking a break from the water.

I've always loved that one can go inside the sculpture too, as it is an open mesh of letters.

Looking up at the pure blue sky from within Le Nomade is a pleasure.

In strong sunlight, the shadows cast by the sculpture are sharp and interesting. I am always expecting to see random words with all the letters of the sculpture, but in my annual visits to Antibes, I have never actually picked out a single word!

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Antibes - musée Picasso and La Colonne à la mer

Every summer when I am in Antibes, I always check out the beautiful Picasso Museum in the Chateau Grimaldi.  I knew there had been renovations done inside, and was delighted to see more of the permanent collection given space. 

While walking past the museum, sculptures by Germaine Richier are visible peering over the walls. When inside the museum, this area is an outdoor sculpture garden, and visitors can also peer over the walls at the sea and at people walking on the ramparts below.

 A new addition to the Picasso Museum collection is La Colonne à la mer by Bernard Pagès. There is another sculpture by Pagès in the outdoor sculpture garden at the museum, but I really like the fact that this one is on the ramparts and fully accessible to pedestrian passersby.

The sculpture is made from stone from nearby Vence, painted steel and coloured concrete. According to the wall plaque on the rampart, it took about twent eight years to complete, 1989-2017.

I liked the way the strong sun made shadows play on the sculpture to become elements of the sculpture itself. There is another sculpture by Bernard Pagès in the museum, but I definitely prefer La Colonne!

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Antibes outdoor sculpture: Sosno

Every summer in Antibes (at least for the past few years that I have been there) there is an outdoor sculpture exhibition, by a single artist. Although the full exhibition consisted of 26 works by Sacha Sosno around Antibes and Juan-les-Pins, I only saw the pieces in the streets around Port Vauban. 

I was especially attracted to this triptych of cut-out columns, which had a changing perspective as one moved.

At first I thought this was a group show, as the highly polished and colourful street furniture and some sculptures were in such contrast with the rustic steel pieces. I epect they were just from different periods of the artist's work.

Other than the column pieces above, all the works had a figurative element. Even the abstracted colourful sculptures, were identifiable as "human". That said, one can also argue that architecture is figurative. These cut-out pieces that recall Roman sculptures are very playful begging for tourist photo-opportunities, as may be found usually limited to head-holes in seaside resort towns in the UK.

I enjoyed the way the cut-outs framed areas of the environment, totally dependant on an individual's point of view.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Antibes: Musée Archaeologie

My main reason for wanting to re-visit the archaeology museum in Antibes is to see the beautiful, ancient, barnacle-covered amphorae. There is a corresponding key didactic to this display that equates the shape of the amphorae with specific countries from where they orginated. At least that is what I think the didactic is explaining -- there are no translations of any didactics in this tiny museum, so I can only guess...

This display shows how amphorae would have been stored in a trade ship.

I think that everything in this very tiny but beautiful museum was found in the area of Antibes, mostly from sunken ships offshore. Perhaps I was told this by someone who spoke in English to me on a previous visit?

This year there was a special exhibit on display "de Terre et de Couleurs" which consisted of artefacts and small watercolour paintings of coastal points of interest in the region. Again, there were no translations of any didactics, so my visit entailed a lot of guesswork.

Since I have been immersed in a ceramic workshop this past year (and looking forward to it starting up again soon, after a summer break) I was taking a closer look at the ceramic artefacts.

 I like the very simple but elegant designs on these bowls.

The border design and bird's head drawing on this sherd really remind me of medieval manuscript designs.

The rabbit design on this sherd also reminds me of something one would find in a medieval manuscript. Once again, my main complaint about the museum is that there are no translations of the didactics -- for someone like me, reading didactics at a museum is a pleasure. My curiosity about things loves to be sated!

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Antibes: Fort Carré

Since seeing this painting of Fort Carré by Nicolas de Stael in the Picasso Museum Antibes I have been enamoured by the painting, Fort Carré, and Nicolas de Stael!

De Stael's painting is from his view of the fort and the sea from where he lived in Antibes during the last year of his life. My usual view of the fort on the promontory is past Port Vauban from the balcony of the apartment where I usually stay while in Antibes.

Since I intend to paint Fort Carré myself, I decided that while I was in Antibes this year I would walk to the fort and take a closer look.

The walk is about a half hour from the apartment through an environmentally protected parkland. Winding through the park, I had views of Nice and the maritime alps to the west, the Mediterranean Sea to the south (above) and Antibes to the east (below - nestled between the trees).

The fort is on the top of the hill. It was lovely to walk around the building and see the sharp 

and shapely architecture.

My original intention was to go on a tour of the inside, but the heat was getting to me and then I could see all the staircases from the entrance. I have not been so great on my feet these past few years, so the idea of going up and down stairs made the decision to turn back easy!

I totally enjoyed looking at the architecture from the outside and from a closer view than the balcony! 

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

More Summer!

I keep seeing in the weather that rain is forecast, or in fact, my phone tells me it is raining in my town as I look out the window at a few clouds, sun, etc. One of the things I did on the bank holiday weekend just past was head to the farm outside the town and pick up loads of fabulous raspberries while they are still in season. Heading back home it's hard to believe that this lovely view of Bray Head is only a ten minutes drive away towards the sea.

The town doesn't even look likes it's there from this view towards the sea!

We picked up eight large punnets of fabulous raspberries and I spent the afternoon rinsing them -- most to go into the freezer for future desserts and wine. Of course, some were kept out to eat fresh. Yum! I think raspberries are fruit of the gods - my favourite!

Well there was some rain last Friday night. In fact there was a downpour at the outdoor gig of Bryan Ferry. However, I had my raincoat as the weather was expected, and Mr Ferry, as sexy and suave as ever at 72, performed fabulously -- to the crowd's delight, mostly Roxy Music's back catalogue. No rain dampened that night! I think that puts a nice end to summer gigs for me - The Rolling Stones in May, LCD Soundsystem in June, and Bryan Ferry in July. It's been a great summer all around!

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Foliage bowls - Part 2

I was ecstatic when my two foliage bowls came out of their final firing in the way I had hoped! With ceramics there is always the chance for something to go not-as-planned, so one has to leave expectations at the workshop door and accept concepts of happy (or otherwise) accidents and random results.

My intention when glazing these bowls was that a green glaze, painted on then wiped off again, would fill the design crevices. And indeed, this worked! Some of the crevices were deeper than others (the stems) caused by me pressing the soft clay into the foliage when creating the bowls in their formers. See my previous post here for details.

Another participant in the workshop has been getting beautiful results with several glazes mixing and running into each other when heated. Although there is the risk of the glazes running too much and a pot sticking to the kiln shelf when these glazes are used on the exterior of a pot, I was hoping that there would be no trouble if the glazes were used on the inside of the bowls. There were three glazes painted on the bowl interior: a base colour of green and then more random painting strokes of a particular blue and another green.

The extra swirling effect is caused by initial pressing of the clay when creating the bowls. It is the wild rose leaf bowl interior above and the fern bowl interior below.

The ferns presented a completely different pattern than the wild rose leaves, but again, there is lighter and darker lines reflecting the depth of the crevices which held the glaze. In each bowl there is also a subtle glaze under-pattern caused by the wrinkles in the cling film from the initial forming of the bowls.