When, on the morning after the day of silence and fireless hearths, Pugig lighted the fire again in the kitchen, it seemed to burn with a new warmth. Voices rose brightly; people set about work with animation. A fresh start had been made once more. Colin McPhee in A House in Bali.
I like almost everything in the Agung Rai Museum of Art, which is about a half hour walk from my house. Their fine collection is housed in beautiful spaces (though the experience would benefit from a/c or even just a bit of ventilation). Their extensive grounds feature a botanical garden, performance space, a hotel, a restaurant (where I ate lunch), even a rice paddy.
The museum focuses on art by Balinese artists and foreigners living in Bali. One building has abstracts, the second realism with Hieronymus Bosch like high-detail pieces depicting life in Bali: the cultivation of rice, cremation rituals, cock fighting, and gods and goddesses.
I especially like the large eye-catching Made Kedol painting "Golden rice" with its vivid bands of rice grass that pop out of the canvas. Stunning. I so wanted to take a picture of it and finally I succumbed: as I walked past its room and saw it framed in the doorway I couldn't resist the urge to grab a surreptitious shot even though the signs expressly forbid it.
For a picture to be good, he said, it must have a little of everything in it - fighting, a little love, comedy and grief. Like a well-made dish there must be mingled sweet, salt, a taste of acid, a taste of bitter...
And this? I asked, pointing to the incalescent love scene.
He laughed. It gives the savor, he said. Like "sra." Like shrimp-paste. Colin McPhee, A House in Bali
I took a taxi today to the Neka Museum. It's barely two km but I knew even this short walk would leave me drained. I think my muscles are atropying in the heat. I need to get home and start running again.
Ketut, a talkative fellow, asked 60000 for the short trip to the museum which I gladly paid. I don't haggle over small amounts, I think a dollar means more to them than to me. Later in the day, when I'd walked through every building at Neka, studied every painting, examined every sculpture, I messaged Ketut with WhatsApp and he brought me back.
Here's a test: how many older siblings are in my driver's family?
The Neka museum, like the Agung Rai, is a beautiful compound of attractive buildings set amongst lush gardens and soundtracked by noisy birds. And, like the Agung, the Neka specializes in the work of Balinese and ex-pat artists. The Agung Rai has a smaller but equally-beautiful collection but makes up for that in ancilliary facilities. The Neka is just art. Beautiful, mostly-colourful art, with Balinese life as subject. Happily for me, this museum allows photography.
Speaking of art, the streets of Ubud are sprouting huge bamboo stalks of home-made art, and they grow in number every day. Plus the ubiquitous shrines are being draped in colourful fabrics and the offerings seem to be growing in size. It's preparation for yet another special day, or rather days. I'm lucky, two festivals in one trip.
But, I hate to plant this thought in your head, but I find the poles creepy. The pole ends, which are very tall and have elaborate offerings dangling, bring to mind photos of Iranian cranes and nooses that were in the news a couple years ago, scenes that stick with you even though with all your might you try to erase them. Sorry for the disturbing thought.
Enjoy the art!
We took the metro to Lyon's Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) where we saw their "Floating worlds" exhibit. The three floors of mixed-media exhibits - found objects, music, videos, and interactive pieces - were entertaining but more Rube Goldberg than Picasso, which is where my mind goes when I think contemporary. The exhibits included:
- A small black room with a floor half-covered by popcorn and lit by black light.
- A fan blowing on a hanging light which occasionally illuminates a photoelectric cell that triggers a scanner that sends its scan to a computer monitor. Times 5.
- A book in a glass box whose pages are turned by a fan. Interesting only because the artist, Laurie Anderson, is one of my favorite musicians. I didn't know she made museum art.
- A video of cows and then cow-shaped kites titled Let's Make Cows Fly.
- A video where a woman comes out of a wind tunnel, sets up a music stand, takes out a flute, then plays. Wind blows.
- A video of 150 people dressed in black tearing out the black pages of a black book, throwing them down, then reassembling them.
You get the idea. At times I thought the most creative aspect of the exhibit was the descriptive text accompanying each piece.
Literally and figuratively, the artist accomplished the dissemination of logocentrism and its hierarchies, for the sake of the incommunicable and the imagination. From the MAC exhibit guide on a poem by Ewa Partum.
I suppose I'm sounding like a philistine.
The juxtaposition of the fixed images and wooden structures supporting kinetic water-courses, with objects found in situ, invites us to consider the symbotic relationship between nature and technology, aesthetic beauty and function. From the MAC exhibition guide on Yuko Mohri's More More [Leaky]: The Falling Water Given #4-6.
Lyon's Musee des Beaux Arts is located in a charming old building, a former abbey, in the heart of the city and adjacent to the beautiful Hotel de Ville de Lyon, or Lyon city hall. Its collection ranges from Egyptian antiquities to impressionist paintings. We came for the paintings.
The second floor up displays a pretty selection of paintings from the last six centuries (no famous works, but a good Impressionist collection). Youll see Renaissance and Baroque paintings by Veronese, Cranach, Rubens, and Rembrandt, and modern works by Monet, Matisse, Pissarro, Gaugin, and Picasso. The highlight is a series of Pre-Raphaelite-type works called Le Pome de lAme (The Poem of the Soul), by Louis Janmot. This cycle of 18 paintings and 16 charcoal drawings traces the story of the souls of a boy and a girl as they journey through childhood, adolescence, and into adulthood. Th