Sunday, November 28, 2010

Exquisite Holmegaard Glass as captured with the very special SONY NEX-5

Per Lütken (1916-1998) Heart vase designed for Holmegaard in 1958.
Friday I decided to purchase a new camera - my old camera being the Canon A-1 bought in Hong Kong in 1984. Most of the images posted on this blog over the past two years were taken with my Cell phone camera and a small digital camera from work. I received advice from numerous individuals, including recommendations from my very own brother, Alan Hon - as to the ultimate choice of camera for my particular needs. At first it was a toss-up between the Nikon D3100, the Canon EOS 500D and or a Sony Alpha. In the end, after much thought, and a convincing recommendation from a colleague at work, Angus Campbell (an Industrial Designer), I purchased the new compact Sony Alpha NEX-5. The compact and lightweight design being the deciding factors. I could not face walking round with a bulky camera whilst on holiday- like a true Japanese tourist.
Sony NEX-5
Needless to say that Friday afternoon and early Saturday morning was spent trying out the new toy in my studio - the back 'stoep' (balcony floor) with its neutral grey cement finish. The lighting is absolutely perfect as the posted photos will testify.  
Per Lütken (1916-1998) Heart vase (1958).
I decided to photograph three products from my small collection of fifties glass, especially the Holmegaard heart vase (one of two in my collection) and two of seven rectangle tube vases (all different colour combinations). The two types of vases compliment each other, as the heart shaped vases resembles the female and the rectangular tube like vase, reminiscent of a condom, the male equivalent. 
Per Lütken (1916-1998) Heart vase
Per  Lütken (1965)
by Erling Mandelmann
The heart shaped vases are attributed to the danish glass maker Per Lütken (1916-1998). He designed more than 3000 pieces for Holmegaard from 1942 until his death in 1998. The pieces in my collection was designed during the late fifties and early sixties. I am particularly interested in them because of the symbolic aspect of their design (heart shaped). The other vase in my collection has a smokey black interior.

The following rectangle tube vases are very special to me, especially the first one, clear glass with smokey black tube interior. I am not sure of the designer or the factory that produced these - please can anyone assist me in this regard. I have searched the Internet and I am sorry to say none the wiser. I will be most grateful if someone can even assist with where to start looking for the origin of these vases.

Please could you leave your comments regarding the photos, the quality of the lighting, styling of the images and the vases themselves. Very soon I will post images of my entire collection. As soon as I get feedback on the designer and the factory that produced these vases.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stop Bullying: Ball point pen drawings at The Cité Internationale des Arts

Last week I watched a CNN news broadcast featuring a rise in bulling amongst kids and decided to feature a series of ballpoint pen drawings developed round the theme of bulling. The CNN topic is Stop Bullying: Speak Up - Fifty-fifty chance your kid is a bully. Follow link for full story.
"If the saying, 'sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never harm me' was ever true, it certainly is not so today," said Josephson "Insults, name calling, relentless teasing, and malicious gossip often inflict deep and enduring pain." Cited on CNN website October 27, 2010 - Study: Half of high school students admit to bullying
Arkansas school board member officially resigns over anti-gay post, stating "I went too far"
The concepts and individual drawings showcased below were produced in Paris, during a three month residency at Cite internationale des Arts
The Cité Internationale des Arts
The foundation provides a studio and is intended to provide short and long stays (2 months to 1 year) for professional artists who want to develop artistic work in France. The Cité Internationale des Arts is a foundation directed to the public benefit since 1957. Since its opening in 1965, the Cité Internationale des Arts has accommodated more than 18 000 artists from all over the world. The site where I stayed, one of two (the other located at Montmartre) is located at 18 rue de l’Hôtel de Ville includes 270 individual workshops in the heart of the Marais district, a dynamic quarter swarming with art galleries and a favourite destination for Parisians. 
Friends in my studio.
My stay at the Cite - for me it was an incredible experience - visiting local Galleries and Museums, drawing inspiration from countless artifacts in historically significant collections displayed to maximum effect. Seeing artifacts, maquettes and sculptures in the flesh, and rendering them in quick ballpoint pen drawings, contributed significantly to the development of my vocabulary of sculptural forms, shapes and textures. The stay richly increased my visual art knowledge and provided me with an opportunity to consolidate my ceramic sculptural concepts and innovative ideas in terms of ceramic techniques and processes. Contemporary Art exhibitions in nearby art galleries enriched my knowledge of cutting edge art theory and practice.
Scanned Ballpoint pen drawings of "Bullies" on side plates.
Minotaur painting Picasso.
The drawing above and below were inspired by a series of art works by Picasso - referring in particular to his minotaur series of etchings produced during a decision making period in his life (crises) - subject matter that featured in many art works from thereon (image on the left). He had to make a choice with regard to parenthood and his commitment as an artist. Professor John O. Jordan, Department of Literature, University of California gave a talk in 1991 at Wits University in South Africa on the subject tiled "Picasso, the Minotaur, and the `Renunciation' of Art." 


Monday, November 1, 2010

Anish Kapoor chooses Nicholas Hlobo : Rolex Protege Arts Initiative

Unongayindoda (Installation including Imtyibilizi xa yomile)

Detail of craftmanship

One normally associates Rolex sponsorship with Tennis, Yachting and Golf. However they are mightily involved in the arts. The Rolex Mentor & Protege Arts Initiative is firmly behind the value and significance of the arts; especially appreciated during the present economic meltdown. Funding of the arts has always suffered greatly during times of economic uncertainty and cut drastically during a recession. However the times they are a changing, proving that investing in the arts, might bring better returns in the long term than most other long term investments. We are in a recession, however auctioneers specialising in the visual arts are experiencing record prices for sought after works of art. I believe Rolex has always understood the true value of the luxury market; each Rolex being numbered and timeless in value (immortal - passed on to the next generation). Our understanding of Luxury has dramatically changed - There is a new concept for luxury. "It's less about worth and more about values; less about exclusivity and more about experience - it's about buying less, but better"(Cited in Elle Decoration England; November 2009;19). Luxury lies not in how much stuff we have but in its fine craftsmanship and how highly we value the product.
Nicholas Hlobo's work is highly valued and it is therefore not surprising that Anish Kapoor chose him as his Protege. As mentioned at the press launch, held at Linger Longer Restaurant today, Hlobo is already an established and accomplished local South African artist, winner of numerous major awards, including the Young Standard bank Artist Award. He also had a solo exhibition at the Tate Modern, to mention just a few achievements (full C.V. at Michael Stevenson Gallery). This is a mentorship with a difference; Great Artists guiding rising talents to reach their true individual creative potential (excellence) on the world stage in a very difficult profession. In its fifth cycle, the Rolex Mentor and Protege Arts Initiative is ultimately about sharing and handing down knowledge from one generation to the next in preserving and promoting excellence in the world's artistic cultural heritage. No doubt that Kapoor and Hlobo will share many issues surrounding their cultural roots; both raised in developing countries, India and South Africa respectively.

First US Installation for Hlobo in Savannah
 Nicholas is one of the students to graduate while I was Dean of the Faculty of Art Design and Architecture at the then Technikon Witwatersrand. His work celebrates being a South African and focusses on critical issues round ethnic identity, gender identity and colonial heritage. "Through my works I attempt to create conversations that explore certain issues within my culture as a South African. The conversations become a way of questioning people's perceptions around issues of masculinity, gender, race and ethnicity'. (cited in the media release - Rolex Final Nov.1 2010). Well done Nicholas Hlobo and bravo to Rolex.