27 December 2012

Fake or Fortune

OK,,, I know its a set up, its television after all, and yet nonetheless, I find myself obsessed with the BBC program Fake or Fortune which I believe is in its second season. A seasoned BBC journalist Fiona Bruce, art dealer Philip Mould and Bendor Grosvenor make up this trio of cultured sleuths. To sum it up, each episode is devoted to the authentication of a particular painting which involves its provenance, its chemical makeup, and ultimately its aesthetic integrity. Its really a forensic adventure in Painting, a Reality show for Art lovers of which I gather there are still many in the world. (Thankfully)

I have seen only three thus far, but all were very engrossing despite all the bells and whistles of what is essentially an entertaining television show. 

They have proved thus far: a Degas, a Turner, and a Van Dyck. I am completely addicted.

23 December 2012


Clouds of Cashmere,
Warm my cold heart
Before Christmas.

19 December 2012

Yusoki Samiro

In April of this last year, I saw this poster in Osaka at the Municipal Museum. I was so taken aback by the image that I fainted and woke up in the Osaka Hospital 3 hours later. (ha ha, je plaisante!!) 

Actually, I really was overwhelmed by it and subsequently made arrangements to go see the show at the Museum of Modern Art at Kanagawa on my way back to Tokyo. To be honest, I was a little less amazed by much of the rest of the show except for these very small and poetic images, a dozen or so, of which this is but one example. They are collages made from scraps of cloth, created as if from nothing, but then, everything all at once. Those cheeky Japanese! This one (above) still surprises me every time I see it. It is strategically placed on my desktop to haunt me... taunt me.

The terrible, the beautiful, the pathos!...

17 December 2012


'STUFF & THINGS' from Mummu on Vimeo.


post script to Habeas Corpus:

Normally, I never criticize the artist, but as a practicing  painter, I look at the work itself, which is fair game. 

There are loads of Picasso's which I loath but many which I adore… ditto for Cezanne, and even Monet, but also other favorites of mine; Philip Guston and Ian Fairweather. Thus the conundrum when it comes to Abromovic:
How does one look at her work critically when her work is her person (elle-meme)? Which is which? What procedure is there? What is the protocol for taking a cool and objective look at what it is that she really does?

13 December 2012

Habeas Corpus!

Of course its possible that I miss the point entirely but the meteoric rise of Marina Abramovic prompts a reflection: Has the Artist replaced the Art work? If so, is that OK? I mean; is that a reasonable form for this cultural evolution of ours to take? It would seem to be the premise of her recent mega show at MOMA in 2010 entitled The Artist is Present. (There is a documentary of the same title currently out)

Am I too old fashioned to accept that the personality of an artist codifies the content of the 'work'? Or even that the Artist is the Form of the work? One could pose the reasonable question: Is Performance Art inherently Form or Content? And, what does it mean? Or, more to the point: does this contribute to our cultural heritage or is it just a kind social filibuster? 

Andy Warhol was a prescient and key player in understanding this social evolution. He could be shuffling in his grave at the moment but meanwhile, I will stick to Matisse.

12 December 2012

St Malo

I have no idea why but I found these houses on the Corniche in St Malo full of personality. 

10 December 2012

Cathedral at Tours

The amazing Cathedral in Tours was built between 1170 and 1547. I stopped there for the night a month ago and was bewitched by its elegance and grandeur.

09 December 2012


japan temple kyoto from cloudsandsea on Vimeo.


It isn't often I can say that a particular book has changed something so radical in my thinking. A few, yes, but mostly fiction, and all were discovered when still in school: Nine stories by JD Salinger (notably; For Esme with love and squalor), The Great Gastby and the great Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, to mention a few.

Altogether different, this is a fascinating but sometimes difficult read for this student who failed dismally in every science, math and biology class. It is a story about the 'Whole' in Nature which so closely relates to all of my artistic thinking, for better or worst. A brief look at the radically new ideas which sprang up in the 1960's in various physics labs around the world and turned Science on it's head. More later, as there is so much to say about its relation to the realm of Painting over the past 100 years.
Good Reading!


A clever and astute friend has informed me that the portrait which provoked such emotion in me was done by Peter Lely who painted it sometime in the mid 17th century. Bravo et Auguri Elisabetta a Parigi!
(a web site informs me that auguri also means chestnuts in japanese)

so here is a haiku for you Elisabetta:

Bowing to the storm
The reverent 

08 December 2012


And then,... I almost fell in love with this young woman who graced a large wall at the Courtauld Institute.....and what an idiot that I assumed I could easily access the name of this painter from the web site without noting the painter's name in my notebook!.. It is an unusual thing indeed to feel such an unadulterated attraction for the subject  in a painting (A woman in my case). But it does happen from time to time. When I was 20 and walking through the Prado I stumbled across a Portrait of St Marguerite by Titian and I felt this same thing; this overwhelming emotion for a fictitious woman! Not made of blood and skin but of oil and turpentine. It was a very odd sensation especially so considering my age. Romantic, yes I am, but also cynical in the real world of words of love... but this is another story...

This portrait, I believe was painted by a Dutch man who had emigrated to Britain in the late 17th century. But I will have to confirm all this somehow. (Their site is not welcoming to this kind of research without a name) However,  there is something so compelling in her regard; so fragile and uncertain.... maybe a broken heart.. but then of course all of this comes from the painter's own heart I believe. Her dress seems like a costume from the Renaissance. Her hands are well done, reminding me of Rembrandt. Indeed her expression reveals that kind of piety one sees in Rembrandt's portraits. Only a delicate hint of sensuality in the treatment of how the dress slides around her bosom... ah,...more to be revealed.