The contemporary sculptor I love most is undoubtedly Henry Moore. Whenever I travel to any major city in Europe I first find out where I can see the Henry Moore exhibited in that city. Great was my excitement when I had the chance to visit York and found that there is a Henry Moore Sculpture Garden.
Of all the museums I visited, the Brancusi museum will always be one of my favorites. Situated in the heart of Paris on the square in front of the Pompidou Centre. This small museum is free, and although small, give a wonderful insight into the work of the sculptor. The workshop of the artist with its contents was left to the people of France by the artist. The whole artelier was reconstructed as it was when the artist died. One can still see the implements he worked with as well as a sleeping area. One almost expect him to walk in and start working.
I love small churches. Especially on quiet mornings. The atmosphere of sacredness, early morning sun through stained glass windows and beautiful woodwork, peace and quiet. In the Western Cape, South Africa, I noticed a similarity and uniqueness in Anglican churches. I discovered a surprizing thing. All these churches were designed by a Victorian lady, an amateur architect , Sophy Gray. In Victorian times no ladies were allowed in the professions. Yet lady Grey did an excelent job as an architect.
On the fringe of the Knysna woods is a facility for orphaned African elephants. This project was started with 2 abandoned elephant calves in 1994. Today the matriarchal herd is led by the first calf, now a fully grown elephant, Sally. The herd numbers eleven at the moment. There are also a smaller herd of males on the premises. They live in a protected area, but move about freely.
Reduction woodcut is a graphic printing process using wood as basis. the process is similar to wood cut and lino cut prints except that one use the same block of wood to do the printing but reducing the amount of printing surface with every print. Colours are used from lightest to darkest so that lighter colours can shine through. It is a time consuming process the art buying public do not understand. Every print is still an original work of art. Each one is different.
I try to present, in these woodcuts my loves in life:
I love old buildings. In South Africa we see a lot of small independent grocers. They usually occupy old buildings and they call themselves cafe’s.
At the end of the nineteenth century the industrial revolution was in full swing in Europe. Industrialisation brought new building materials. Cement, steel and corrugated iron led to unimaginative, homogenic housing. Art and craft and good craftsmanship became less important. A new style developed, as a reaction to the boring buildings, known as Art Deco. In Barcelona it was known as Modernism. Buildings that were people friendly with excellent craftsmanship and decorated with unique tiling, mosaics, metalwork and sculpture became the norm for the new middle class evolving. Old style craftsmanship combined with new building materials and a new style of architecture changed the face of Barcelona. Architecture so innovating that today, a hundred years later, the style still is fresh and new.
I am a sucker for collecting stuff. All kinds of useless stuff most people just throw away. I am sure that sooner or later I might need it. The result was a gararge so full that there was no place for a motor vehicle.
Then I decided to start making things, using all the useless stuff. Fortunately a very appreciative niece was there to encourage me. It started off with an extra piece of leather left over from furniture that was re-upholstered.
I used the leather in combination with pieces of wood. The first one as a backpack. As it was for my daughter, studying as a winemaker, using parts of an small wine barrel as sides to the bag. An old soft rope was used as back pack carriers.
On the end of the island behind the Notre Dame cathedral in the small garden is a memorial to the 200 000 people, mostly Jews, that was deported by Nazi’s to concentration camps in the second world war. Most of these people never returned.
From the walkway behind the cathedral the memorial is not visible. You need to descend the steep concrete steps to enter the memorial. A stark triangular space confront you with a view of the river trough a barbed wire sculpture.
If you stand in front of the Eiffel tower and look across the Seine you see a monumental building, the Trocadero. The wing on your right houses the museum of Architecture of Paris.
Replicas of parts of some of the finest cathedrals and monuments of France is housed inside. Yes, this is a museum of replicas. Detail of parts of buildings is painstakingly reproduced for research and restoration purposes. The end results ends up here. On first reading this I decided against visiting the museum. Who wants to see replicas if Europe is filled with the real thing?
I am a fan of modern Architecture. Well, lets say most of the well designed buildings. One of the greatest architects of the twentieth century must be Charles-Edouart Jeanneret-Gris, or better known as le Corbusier.
Le Corbusier summed up his approach architecture in five points.
1. Lift the whole structure of the ground. He used pilotis or reinforced concrete stilts to do this. Because the stilts carried the weight of the building it allowed the next two points
2. A facade free of support elements.
3. No interior support walls witch allows for open plan spaces.
4. Ribben windows that span the length of the building that allows in lots of light and uninterrupted garden views.
5. Roof space used as garden and outdoor entertainment area.
On a recent visit to Paris I could not wait to visit the Le Corbusier Foundation that is housed in the Maison la Roche, built to house the art collectors collection of modern paintings. The site of the building is a challenge to any architect, but the ingenious rethinking of use of space make this house something special
One enters the house into a foyer that extends upward over three floors. With stairs and passages one is linked to the rest of the house.