Saturday, May 30, 2009

Walking: A Spring Night Stroll in Rome

A few snapshots from walking in the city at night, living the streets from several historical and architectural layers in less than one hour-stroll.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Vernissages | Gregorio Botta at Fondazione Volume, Rome

The artist Gregorio Botta says in an interview with Claudia Gioia: “Dico sempre che l’estetica e’ in primo luogo un’etica…Le materie sono importanti perche’ e’ importante mantenere un contatto con la fisicita’ dell’essere: anche l’immagine piu’ indefinite deve nascere assieme ad una presenza del corpo...La massima energia visiva con il minimo segno. Questa e’ l’aspirazione.”

Fondazione Volume at Via San Francesco di Sales

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Places of Memory | Castel Sant'Angelo and Borgo

Rome, was my first axis mundi and during every visit in the past ten years I go through a ritual of revisiting places of my childhood or adolescence, experiencing a deja vu of perceptions, memories and transformed feelings. I realize how my personal history here ---and when I was living here I was totally unaware of it --- was interwoven with historical and architectural places. My childhood and adolescence experiences are connected with all these magical places. If only I could write perhaps I could sell best sellers and screenplays for Hollywood blockbuster movies :-)
This time my ritual was on Castel Sant'Angelo, where I remember riding a trycycle and then several years later with many different experiences. See below how my childhood memories of strolls and tricycle rides happened right in the “angel and demons” places…

An angelic Water Fountain

Photographs and text are excerpts from the conceptual multimedia project
“Axes Mundi: Perceptions and Understanding of Places as Intersections of Space, Time and Culture”

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Poet’s Habitat

“Be still not only in the room where you write, but in the place where you live, coming to know it by your unknowing relationship with it. In this way you will come to know the world.”
Wesley McNair

Making a poem intimate and individual but, ultimately, universal carries with it that sense of imaginative achievement which is a primary factor in life and in art. Equally vital is a need to have an uncharted relationship with the stillness of the place where the writing occurs.
Every poem is an enactment. As it unfolds, it suggests multiple meanings which can never be fully fathomed, although the poet cannot impede its true impulse.
There is never an answer in a poem, but the poet and the reader are there to discover what they did not know they knew, and to use that knowledge as a compass bearing.

Irene Mitchell

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Poetry Reading, May 17, 2009: Irene Mitchell and Paul Genega

“I’ve been listening to Irene Mitchell’s poetry for more than five years,” said Craig Hancock as he introduced the poet to the listening audience at the Kinderhook Memorial Library. “She pays a great deal of attention to language, but the language choice is always in service of the poem. Irene, like the best of poets, writes poems which are particular and universal – both at the same time.”
Mitchell, whose new collection, Sea Wind on the White Pillow, was just published by Axes Mundi Press, talked to the audience about her poetic style. “Nowadays,” she said, “poetry is a little pill, easily swallowed, instantly digestible. I strive to go beyond that prescription, preferring to write poetry that is remarkable for its layers of meaning, its musical quality, its blending of playfulness and profound seriousness.”
These are the qualities, among others, Mitchell finds in the work of poet Paul Genega, who shared the limelight that evening. Genega is the author of four full-length collections and four chapbooks. His awards include an individual fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the “Discovery”/The Nation Prize, and a citation in this year’s Allen Ginsberg Awards.
Among those present at the reading were Daniela Bertol, publisher of Axes Mundi Press, James Werkowski, Linda and Emily Bonin, Carol Derfner, Julie Johnson, Mark Hirschberg, and others who came to lend an ear to poetry. The poets signed copies of their collections following the reading at the library in Kinderhook, New York.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Exhibitions: Yang Fudong at Marian Goodman, NYC

Yang Fudong is one of the most visionary artist to have come out of China in memory. An icon, a master, whatever—he is hailed. But he has stayed very much resident in China, as if his goal is to devote his life to the exploration of his own people, the Chinese ideas, the mystery and majesty that defines his birthplace. He understood that this cannot be done from a distance, that he must remain, observe, ponder, and synthesize that which he has experienced in order to arrive at something of meaning worthy of an artistic contribution.

In his latest show, East of Que Village, 2007, Fudong has reached his mark. This touchingly transcendent exhibition exposes a China far off the beaten path in some ways, but in a deeper way, not so far at all. Fudong knows that what is really to be appreciated about China is the fact that even in the midst of a billion residents, there is an enormous, palpable isolation and chill that pervades everything: the landscape, the buildings, the institutions, and the people. They are lonely in a way that perhaps can only occur because they are so absolutely surrounded by others. It is one of life’s greatest ironies, and one that Yang Fudong appreciated and managed to capture in this deeply compelling, rich array of photographs.

The works have dogs as their subjects. Dogs wander the landscape, in search. In search of what is not clear, but that is another of the ironies displayed resplendently in Fudong’s depictions. In the dogs’ eyes is another perspective on China, one that underscores the frigidity that encapsulates the culture with an edge bordering on soullessness. Here dogs wander a junk heap in clouds of smoke, there a solitary dog ambles down a long, barren road. The quality of the photographs, although superb, is irrelevant, so strongly infused is each with the emotion of non-emotion, the overflowing of emptiness.

Fudong did not take the easy path in his interpretation of life in China. He avoided the shots of people, weathered and worn, laid low by burdens, which have become so commonplace. In a sense, one ponders how much of the work is autobiographical and what Fudong pulled out of his own history to offer up to his audience. This is a China we would not easily find in the midst of our touristic traversing. But it is the true China. Fudong’s work gives us a chance to develop an intimacy that might guide us in our travels to discover the more authentic threads of what gives the Chinese mentality its uniqueness apart from the rest of the world.

Fudong was trained as a painter at the renowned Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou. But he outgrew that media as a child outgrows shoes, and he strode confidently into the world of film and video, which seems not only a natural progression, but a necessary one. While Fudong the painter was commendable, Fudong the photographer is astonishing. The work is an introspective combination of the psychological, philosophical, historical, and emotional components of China that lay it open for all to see.

Yang Fudong is indeed the visionary. How a propos that the show is presented at the Marian Goodman Gallery, where visionary art is de rigueur. 24 West 57th Street, NY, NY.