european modernism

thetimelordthatlived  asked:

If you could travel back in time what time period would you travel to? Would you be a participant or observer?

I would probably like to see what it was like to live as a native person before before the european invasions, perhaps many centuries ago, just to see exactly what the relationship to the world around them was. It’s hard as a modern white european to fully grasp the spiritual and daily lives of a people that lived deeply in balance with the natural world around them. I would like to participate and observe and then return here to this time with that knowledge. I am afraid it may be devastating seeing to the extent with which we have gotten out of balance with the world and energy of the natural world. When I see the animals in the Galapagos and their fearlessness toward their human fellow earthlings, it makes me wonder about the “garden of eden” and our place in it. Were we at one with it at some point? Was there a time when there was not distinction between us and it? Was that the native experience? From eastern religions we hear about the illusion of duality, the illusion of “individual” when in fact all things are interrelated and interconnected through many different unseen systems. Food systems, air and water systems, and energy systems. I imagine that wisdom is the essence of the original people’s experience. But I sure wish I could go back and experience it myself.

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In Focus: Jane and Louise Wilson’s Sealander


British artists and twin sisters Jane and Louise Wilson utilize photography and other media to revisit locations associated with recent European history. Their Sealander series, from 2006, features bunkers erected by Hitler along the European Atlantic coast during World War II. The Wilsons’ eerie photographs of these abandoned monuments are on view through July 2 at the Getty Center. 

Polish Hamlet. Portrait of Aleksander Wielopolski, 1903 by Jacek Malczewski, National Museum, Warsaw.

■ It was painted in 1903, and is one of the most famous works of Malczewski. It presents the painter’s grandson as Aleksander Wielopolski who was a Polish politician, a member of the Polish Kingdom government in the early 1860s, who tried to maneuver between the interests of the invaders and the Polish population. The figure is located in the center of the composition, surrounded by two women; two different visions of the fate of the Polish nation. He is dressed in yellow-green dress and belted pouch, in which instead of bullets are tubes of paint, and he thoughtfully pulls on the petals of chamomile.

■ The painting is symbolic and patriotic. The two women placed on both sides of the picture are an allegory of two different visions of the fate of their homeland. Located to the right is an elderly woman with white hair, dressed in dark robes, his hands cuffed no shackles, and her face takes on an expression of sadness, despair and awareness of their situation. She embodies an enslaved Poland, experienced by fate, remained under the yoke of others who can not be liberated. On the left side there is a young girl, half-naked, shown at the time of breaking the shackles. She is full of energy, and her face has the expression of reaction with her mouth open. She symbolizes the “young Poland” - capable of action and of escaping from the long-term captivity.

■ The image can be interpreted as a dilemma of choosing the right and wrong for the homeland. This dilemma clearly refers to the title character of Hamlet from William Shakespeare’s drama and his choices. Alexander Wielopolski is an example of the person making the difficult decision, and carrying the consequences of that choice, resulting from the need to accept or reject the situation. The artist does not show his own views on the topic. The man in the painting is pensive, lost in melancholy. And his indecision is highlighted even more by the flower in his hand and the belt on the body. The work is an expression of Malczewski’s concern for the future of Poland at the time.

Kugel/Gipps House, Charles Zehnder, 1970

BUILT ON NARROW LAND (2013)

Documentary about the unlikely fusion of European Modernism and New England Vernacular, which resulted from a group of bohemian designers working to adapt Bauhaus principles into Cape Cod dwellings. (Photo: Raimund Koch)