Kitsch or Retro…you decide

press, Studio news/blog

Yesterday I was pleasantly surprised when I received a notification that my work has been featured on a French blog: Le Blog du Kitsch.

In their own words…about their blog:

The Kitsch Blog is originally a webzine dedicated to the culture of kitsch , retro and vintage . This translates into the dissemination of articles on these areas and the forms they can take in, among others, the arts, music, film, video games, graphics, illustration and the web. The blog has been around since 2009, so the editorial line of departure has necessarily evolved somewhat. We will therefore be interested in talking, but especially in seeing, everything that comes close to distance from the original themes

Usually, where I come from, Kitsch is a bad word…retro a bit better…but this made me think about the writings of Marlene Dumas…

I quote (my favourite parts, but you can read the full piece in the link above):

God saw that art was all alone,
so he put him to sleep and gave him kitsch…..

Or maybe, kitsch started with the fall from grace…

Kitsch started as a German word, they say.
Although I could have sworn it was an American invention
or something that they used to make in China.
But we shouldn’t blame the Germans for kitsch….

Kitsch is not pink,
if you want to give it a color, make it white….

Kitsch happened when we discovered that we
could imitate and reproduce, whatever we want
without having to believe in it; without having
to cry or die for it; we can represent
anything without paying for it, emotionally
Intellectually or spiritually, because others
have, or will, pay for it.

Being featured on a blog about Kitsch, retro and vintage…mmm, I’ll take it as a compliment. Thank you…

and I’ve learned the French word for Rubber! BONUS!

Link to the article down below

Have a great weekend everybody

Artcrush: The writings of Marlene Dumas

"Het kwaad is banaal" (Evil is banal) 1984 Oil on Canvas - Marlene Dumas

“Het kwaad is banaal” (Evil is banal) 1984 Oil on Canvas – Marlene Dumas

If been struggling lately to re-write an artist statement for my upcoming exhibition in September; and since we are celebrating Women’s day tomorrow, I thought it would be a nice idea to share one of the many artists who I admire (in this case Marlene Dumas)’s writings:

marlende dumas

marlende dumas2

P.S where she writes ‘paint’ I read “Embroider” 🙂

another version….

Studio news/blog

I cant help to want to share this re-telling of another sort of fairytale, by one of my favourite artists: Marlene Dumas……

And God Said – I told you so

On 09/09/2011

God saw that art was all alone,
so he put him to sleep and gave him kitsch.

Or maybe, kitsch started with the fall from grace,
with the first denial, with the first stupid lie,
the first camouflage after Adam and Eve had
eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
When they started to look for ways to hide their nakedness
When Adam , with tears in his eyes, looked up to the
Heavens and said – she did it.

And God said – Get out of here, couldn’t
you think of something more original!

So off they went, beyond the gates,
to colonize the West and all the rest.
But just as they started to enjoy dancing around
the golden calves; God struck again in all
His eternal wisdom and amoral jealousy
And gave them the no-image commandment.

-Deuteronomium 5 verses 7, 8 and 9
“Thou shalt have none other gods before me.
Thou shalt not make thee any graven image
or any likeness of anything that is in
heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath
or that is in the waters beneath the earth:
thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them or serve them:
for I the Lord your God am a jealous God,
visiting the iniqiuty of the fathers upon the children,
unto the third and fourth generation…”
(Holy Bible-the Gideons 1961.u.s.a.)

And there for us (the children of Abraham, the
Father of the christians, muslims and the jews)
the image – problem started. Don’t blame the
modernists. They just re-discovered our old
mystic, abstract roots. They didn’t mean to make
it difficult, they just wanted to make it simple.

The catholic Jesus, tried to appease God by saying,
“Father forgive them for they know not what they’re doing,”
but then Jesus never painted a picture or wrote a book.
His fans did.

I was always concerned about what God would want me to do.
I always wondered if art was good enough for God. And if so,
What subject matter would be worth pursuing. I knew sexy was low,
erotic a bit higher and sorrow the noblest.
( MD -light, 1999 – A true hedonist is hard to find)

Now in 2006 we know that all subjects are equally low;
or rather as Freud paraphrased Goethe-“the highest and the lowest
are always closest to each other in the sphere of sexuality.”
I’d add, the same goes for politics ,too.

Give God a break. Let’s talk politics.
Kitsch started as a German word, they say.
Although I could have sworn it was an American invention,
or something that they used to make in China.
But we should’t blame the Germans for kitsch.
The third Reich put one off kitsch, but also off art.
When it came to paintings they liked kitsch,
but when it came to music, they liked art.
The South African Apartheid (pre 1994)
politicians didn’t care about art , but also didn’t
even know that kitsch existed. They just censored
anything that moved.

Kitsch is not pink,
if you want to give it a color, make it white,
(repeat, all the good reasons for no equal rights)
If you want to racialize it, give it a hood.
If you want to give it a sexual preferance
don’t make it gay.
I know the Taliban is not o.k.,
but no one should have to look at
the National Geographic all day.

Kitsch happened when we discovered that we
could immitate and reproduce ,whatever we want
without having to believe in it; without having
to cry or die for it; we can represent
anything without paying for it ,emotionally
intellectually or spiritually, because others
have, or will, pay for it.

Gerard Reve – Free love does not exist.

Celine – You don’t do anything for free.
You ‘ve got to pay. A story you make up,
that is’ nt worth anything. The only story
that counts is the one you pay for.
When it’s paid for , then you’ve got the right
to transform it.

And God said – I told you so.

Marlene Dumas

Written for and previously published in:
Kitsch Unedited. Letters and texts of friends compiled by Jan Andriesse, 2006, De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg

found on her website- click here

and of course I cannot help but want to share her version of Snow White:

Snow White and the Broken arm painted by Marlene Dumas 1988


Studio news/blog

I devour words.

I like playing with words

I need words in context and out of it,

I love words – what they represent and how they are represented.

I enjoy seeing words in visual art, stories and in poems

I have a tendency to fall in love with other peoples words.

Unfortunately I don’t always get to hear them say it, but sometimes they appear in written form when I most need to ‘hear’ it.

On Saturday I fell in love with Marlene Dumas’s words in her recent speech.  I always liked her art….and I admire how she uses paint, ink and her I love ability with words.

She made a plight for art in her speech when she won the Johannes Vermeer award…..

Definitely worth reading- here. (it is in Afrikaans, so you might want to translate)

This speech left me speechless

There are a handful of speeches by others I enjoy….

Shortly after his death, i found an article about a speech made by Steve Jobs, and thought I will look it up again… my delight it was also about connecting the dots…..(delightful since I have been obsessing about dots lately.)

The article started like this….

“I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.”

I love this:

“Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

You can read the full story here

pages from the book: Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer

this is from a page in the book  I’m currently reading….

In context it represents the amount of animals eaten in a lifetime by an average American

Out of context it’s just beautiful to look at….

Years ago I received another book ( a catalogue from an exhibition entitled:  Through the looking glass) from a previous employer and now friend.  Inside she  wrote this:

“…Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I was under the impression that this was from Nelson Mandela’s speech…..and much to my surprise I found this site

that claims he never wrote it or used it in his speech…..

I don’t know how true it is, but nevermind- it is still powerful words!

By whom and where and when- does it make a difference to words?