schöner gibts nicht

  • This aria, which is also known by its popular name, “Dido’s Lament,” is from the opera Dido and Aeneas by English Baroque composer Henry Purcell (1659-1695), with the libretto by Nahum Tate.

  • Dido and Aeneas is based on the mythological story of Dido, Queen of Carthage and the Trojan prince Aeneas, and her despair at his abandonment. It is based on Book IV of Virgil’s Aeneid.


important ps:

Te Tuhirangi Contour

Te Tuhirangi Contour, once more 

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Richard Serra: Te Tuhirangi Contour (1999/2001), Gibbs Farm, New Zealand

Viewed from above, the 257-metre steel wall has a delicate quality like a dark ribbon curling, almost floating. One of the features that ensures this impression is the unbroken curving line formed by the top edges of all of the steel plates which are perfectly butted together and engineered so that the whole can expand and contract with sunlight and nightfall without the slightest warp or buckling.

The graceful ribbon-like deception is beguiling until one walks nearby and underneath the six-metre-high sculpture. Here the viewer is confounded by an altogether different experience. From the downhill side Te Tuhirangi Contour has all the mass of a giant dam filled with water. Each of the 56 steel plates leans out by 11 degrees from the vertical, which is steeper angle than Serra had ever tried before, and which was imposed by the site-specific concept itself: that the line should run at the true perpendicular to the slope of the land. So, seen from below, the materiality of mass and form impose themselves dramatically as something more felt than seen.

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Richard Serra: Te Tuhirangi Contour (1999/2001), Gibbs Farm, New Zealand

pure nature

Most writers on Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010), says her artwork mirrors her troubled life. I’m in no way an expert on Bourgeois. I have seen parts of her work in different exhibitions all over the world, and I always find it intriguing – but it is not for me to say whether or not her art reflect her life. However I do believe art must do more than mirror just a singular person’s individual life, to be of public interest. I’m not saying that an artist’s life is of no interest, just that there always also have to be more. Bourgeois put it this way: “A work of art doesn‘t have to be explained… If you do not have any feeling about this I cannot explain it to you, I have failed.” Art is connectedness.

If I had been the owner of an unlimited travel account, I would have gone to Stockholm right away, to see Bourgeois’s show “I Have Been to Hell and Back” at Moderna Museet, especially since one-third of the pieces in the exhibition have never before been shown publicly before. But for now I have to be satisfied with what I can find in the web:


Louise Bourgeois N.Y.C., 1998, Photo: Mathias Johansson

The giant sculpture Maman is perhaps Bourgeois’s most significant single work. Maman is a monumental steel spider, so large that it can only be installed out of doors, or inside a building of industrial scale. Supported on eight slender, knobbly legs, its body is suspended high above the ground, allowing the viewer to walk around and underneath it. Each ribbed leg ending in a sharp-tipped point is made of two pieces of steel, and attached to a collar above which an irregularly ribbed spiralling body rises, balanced by a similar sized egg sac below. The meshed sac contains seventeen white and grey marble eggs that hang above the viewer’s head, gleaming in the darkness of their under-body cavity. Maman was made for the opening of Tate Modern in May 2000 as part of Bourgeois’s commission for the Turbine Hall, the grand central space of the museum.

In the very fine short-film Three Artists, On a Spider by Louise BourgeoisLars Norén, Karin Mamma Andersson and Meriç Algün Ringborg reveal very different feelings and thoughts about Louise Bourgeois’s Maman. I am especially fascinated by the way Karin Mamma Andersson talks about being a woman & an artist. And I must say I also find Norén’s jeering of the historical urban space rather entertaining. To be fair I have to say that I myself really love the milieu at Skeppsholmen.

Louise Bourgeois- Maman (1999)
Louise Bourgeois: Maman (1999), as shown in Stockholm 2015

Louise Bourgeois was born in France, where she studied art for a number of artists, including Othon Friesz, André Lhote and Fernand Léger. She moved to New York in 1938, where she began her career as an artist.

art & nature

Art matters -Serra 2

Richard Serra: Te Tuhirangi Contour (1999/2001)
56 Corten steel plates 252m x 6m x 50mm

Te Tuhirangi Contour is a site-specific work located on the Kaipara harbor in New Zealand, 30 miles north of Auckland. The site is a vast open grass pasture with rolling elevations and curvilinear contours. The sculpture, made of hundreds of tons of steel, is located on one continuous contour, at a length of 257m (843 feet). The particular contour was chosen for its location, differentiation, contraction and expansion in relation to the total volume of the landscape, and the elevation of the sculpture is perpendicular to the fall of the land, which generates its lean of 11 degrees.

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Richard Serra: Te Tuhirangi Contour

The thing is – good land art is not only a pleasure in itself, it does also enhance qualities of the landscape, with which it becomes a part. Walking a long a work like Te Tuhirangi Contour, one will notice light & shadow, temperature, wind and sounds – in a very different way from in a totally open landscape. Encountering a building would not result in the same awareness. A work of art asks for contemplation, while a building usually has a practical function. Sometimes we have to put usefulness aside if we are to fully experience the beauty of the world.

Richard Serra was born in 1938 in San Francisco. While working in steel mills to support himself, Serra attended the University of California at Berkeley and Santa Barbara from 1957 to 1961, receiving a BA in English literature. He then studied as a painter at Yale University, New Haven, from 1961 to 1964, completing his BFA and MFA there.


I’m hiking in order to save myself –

At 22 she lost her mother, in the four years following – everything unravels. Thats why Cheryl Strayed decided to walk the the Pacific Crest Trail.

Strayed’s memoir about the hike, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, is a fantastic story about transformation and becoming oneself. The movie based on the book, staring Reese Witherspoon, is also good, but one gets a much better sense of time in the text version. And coming to terms with oneself sure can take a lot of time & suffering …