Ukrainian photographer Oleg Oprisco’s dream-like photography invites you to his dreams and will make you think of your own. Using old Soviet cameras like the Kiev 88, the warm, soft-focused images are both haunting and beautiful, both qualities often imitated by digital photography in a clinical way. (photo above by Oleg Oprisco)
Watching La grande bellezza , a film about aging, acceptance and the search for beauty, was a great experience in perspective and introspection as experienced by the viewer and by the film’s characters. The plot seemingly concentrates around Gep Garbardella, a writer. As the narrative unfolds, various subjectivities also unravel like his editor’s, his playwright friend and that of the women he seduces.
It’s a story of his life in search of beauty as a young man in love and as an older socialite in contemporary Rome. Sex, parties and death happen to people around him; he questions why and does not get any answers. Short of a reply, the film explores life with the beautiful backdrop of his life in the eternal city: in his beautifully decorated bedroom/library, on cobbled streets, decadent interiors of aristocratic residences and his beautiful rooftop terrace overlooking the city.
This beautiful film by Paolo Sorrentino is not typically Hollywood with predictable subplots of love and crime. Much like the questions brought up by everyday living, answers are hard to find but this is the point of the film. The search for beauty instigates exploration and development of ideas. It’s an introspective experience elegantly projected on the screen. One could be so lucky to see poetry as it unfolds.
(Photographs by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky)
The body of work that Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky came to my attention this past weekend. His photographs of pre-revolutionary Russia captures a time that would capture the beauty of this vast land shared by its different peoples from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok. The stunningly beautiful portraits are of an ever-changing country and its people.
The three-filtre method he learned from Adolf Miethe has brought to life the vibrant colours of tapestries, landscapes and lives of people before the first world war and before the Russian Revolution in 1917. As a person who enjoys photography and the particularities of the different processes, it is fascinating how the colours translate on the computer screen; they are rich and unexpectedly moving like a beautiful impressionist canvas at the Musée d’Orsay. Whether Prokudin-Gorsky is an impressionist or a realist is another discussion. (I tend to be emotional and overly invested when it comes to photography.) It is not a surprise that upon seeing his photographs that czar Nicholas II commissioned him to explore and photograph Russia complete with his own train car equipped with its own dark room.
Seeing these colour photographs is a humbling experience because a lot of times, one assumes that the black and white images that are in museums and galleries are indicative of realities they captured. There were lost colours such as the hues of blue lakes and skies and the sun-kissed cheeks of farmers on a picnic after a day’s work. With new perceptions of reality through technology and other advancements, we forget that we behold the same blue sky and the same hunter green pines on the horizon during a road trip. Just looking away from the computer or smartphone screen for thirty seconds would suffice to take in the view.
The DNA of this blog is composed of art, culture and design and it continues to be. Toronto is the hotbed of this trinity this week with the Interior Design Show and the Toronto Design Offsite Festival with various venues and points of focus. Designers, artists and their disciples will flock to Toronto’s cultural centre with installations and events all over Dundas West, Queen West, the Junction and other neighbourhoods.
Design and art aficionados will find their fix starting tonight with the launch party at Smash in the Junction starting at 8 p.m. Dear reader: if you are up for it, there’s a free (!) Letterpress Card-making Workshop at Graven Feather (906 Queen Street West) starting at 6 p.m.
The Junction will be the place to visit tonight with the above mentioned TODO Launch Party at Smash. My favourite art supplies shop, ARTiculations (2928 Dundas St West), will host an opening reception for the exhibit Accumulation by Christine Kim starting at 6 p.m. It’s all about investigating and experimenting with lines, light and shadow. Toronto’s beloved design shop Mjölk will host to Stockholm-based Italian industrial designer Luca Nichetto. If you’re a coffee fiend like I am, you might find a new toy that would enable your brewing vice with a new collection of accessories inspired by Italian coffee culture. The reception starts at 7 p.m.
Come Up To My Room at the Gladstone Hotel starts tomorrow, Thursday, January 23. Installations by A0 (ALSO Collective + Mason Studio) and EYES ON DESIGN are my top picks to see.
To finish the week off, Interior Design Show (IDS) will be open to the public this weekend at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The two talks I will be attending are on Saturday, January 25. The first one with Sami Ruotsalainen of Marimekko and Andrew Sardone from the Globe and Mail at 12 p.m. The second is with Rafael de Cardenas from New York-based firm Architecture at Large in conversation with the Globe and Mail’s Style Editor Amy Verner at 4 p.m.
So, how’s your design week looking? Just grab some water, cash, your iPhone and you’re good to go.
It’s already been about a month since Haiyan devastated the Philippines, displacing hundreds of thousands of people. All of them need all of our help.
If you’re in Canada, you can donate to the Red Cross by clicking here. Anything helps. Let’s make this holiday season a better one for our fellow beings.
Reaching an age where major life decisions and milestones come in multiples of 3, I have the pleasure of sharing that she, my soulmate, has gone off to pursue her Ph.D. in New York City. It’s an exciting time for both of us with different opportunities in our own careers.
This photo above by Tommy Ton for Style.com encapsulates how I imagine the two of us walking in the Big Apple. It’s up to you if you want to reimagine this photo with no beard on either person but just as much #swag.
I thought I would share this beautiful video that uses analog technology. (16mm film footage and did you see that 110 film camera that Irina uses?!)
The Toronto exhibit featuring the work of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera is heartwrenching, beautiful and inspiring. The months leading up to my first glimpse of any of either artist’s work were excruciating but being immersed in their realities as people and as storytellers made the experience more moving than thought possible.
The exhibit was curated with a mixture of photographs, videos, Mexican indigenous sculptures, canvases and one of Frida’s corsets with a hammer and sickle and an unborn fetus; both artists inspired each other and at certain points in the exhibit, canvases were paired and the styles were undistinguishable. It was an interesting experiment that would have an enthusiast scratching their heads only to find the subtle differences to be nagging. This experiment should be kept internally since such conversations in public end up being ‘scenes’ in public. Just sayin’.
Up to this moment, there are ideas that Frida and Diego ponder about on their canvases that are still relevant today: feminism, equality, oppression, post-colonialism and chauvinism, among others. It’s a thrilling feeling to have access to the thought process that goes behind the otherworldly images that Kahlo presents in what one can call mental ‘landscapes.’ It was thrilling.
With Google images being two clicks away, I am only including the one image for this post. Ideas after all live in the air around us. It is up to us to leave traces of thoughts. Frida and Diego accomplished this with their canvases and murals. It’s up to us now to do the same. Go ahead. Read. Contemplate.