February 27, 2017

Isabelle Huppert for Artists



Last November I went to the premiere of Elle at the French Film Festival in Cinéma Paris in Berlin. I see everything that has Isabelle Huppert in it. I’m always confused after watching her play and that’s what I like about it. There is a great interview with her in The Guardian and a lot of what she says can actually be used for art. I made a list: 

- Avoid a statement
“I would never turn a character into a statement,” she says, “statement” sounding like something distasteful held between her fingers.

- Don't leave a message
A film must be taken for what it is. There is no message.” “Message” sounds worse than “statement”.

- Don’t bother too much
Would she describe herself as post-feminist? “I wouldn’t describe myself. I wouldn’t bother.” 

- Don't be afraid
“I think women are the product of previous fights. Every woman should have equality with men. That should not even be a debate.” She sits again. “And men are not afraid of women the way women are afraid of men. Of course.”

- A little bit ... free 
She rarely talks politics, at least publicly. “I don’t think that’s the type I am. I don’t have much rebellion in my soul. I’m just a little bit … free.”

- Withdraw 
“Acting is imagination more than observation. I could have been locked in a room all my life and still been an actress.” 

- Wink 
She seems so sociable. “Not hysterically sociable. I told you, I’m curious. Everything is like a little piece of fiction to me. I like to peek into people’s lives. I meet them, talk to them, then step back and see them like a story. People are funny. Don’t you think so?” It takes me a moment to realise Isabelle Huppert has just winked at me.

February 19, 2017

The Number 10. Or How To Sail on the Wrong Boat in the 21st Century



“There are only male artists in this group show,” I said to the gallerist, feeling in a generous feminist mood to teach males how to do it better next time. “How many women artists do you have in your gallery?” “Two,” he said. “Out of how many?” I asked. “Out of ten.” I smiled: “How did that happen?” “I just didn’t come upon the right female artists,” he replied. I was surprised, not expecting to hear that argument still in the 21st century. I mean, who doesn’t know by now that some structural discrimination is at work, by which some art is considered to have more authority and value than other? “Thinking of expanding some more?” I asked him. “No, ten seems to be the right number.” “Are you serious? Ten? Take nine, or eleven, but ten?" We hadn't talked about whiteness, but I can just say to all these gallerists out there that if they aren’t starting to be more self-reflective about their choices, they are definitely sailing on the wrong boat in the 21st century. It's gonna be sinking and that’s that. 

February 14, 2017

Because the Night. About Love in Art, Etc.



Grace Jones talks in her memoirs about singing the song La Vie en Rose in Studio 54 in New York at the end of the 1970s while wearing almost nothing: “It was a song that belonged to Paris, and now it belonged to disco.”

When in 2014 Paul McCarthy installed his huge inflatable sex toy sculpture, the butt plug, in the color of green on a Paris square, the world was surprised to see that Paris, the city of love, didn’t like it. As soon as it was installed, somebody unplugged it and although it happened during the night it wasn’t done out of an act of love. 

Intermezzo: here I'd suggest you listen to Patti Smith’s “Because the night belongs to lovers / Because the night belongs to us”. [maybe the MTV unplugged version]

“Ganz schön doof!” [quite goofy!] so said gallerist J. while admiring the work of artist C. at the exhibition opening. Indeed, it’s refreshing when art doesn’t try so hard to be clever. 

To keep up a same level of bad taste over years is an achievement one could call success. 

“I personally don’t think I’m good or bad. I oscillate, I'd say.” So Erik Satie in his Memoires d’un amnesique

Satie, a known solitaire, fell in love only once and that happened from January 14 till June 20, 1893. He himself wrote those dates on a piece of cardboard together with a lock of hair that belonged to his object of love, the trapeze artist Suzanne Valadon. 

Art is essentially loving, ethical and humanistic. But the language of love is poetry.

In 1914 Satie writes Trois poèmes d’amour: “The poet, smitten with dizziness, seems mad with love. His heart thumps, his eyelids tremble like leaves.” 

"Making love is not modern," Francis Picabia writes in 1950, "and still it's the thing I love doing most."