Weekend Artists Series, Part 3: André Masson

Resultado de imagen de andre masson
(André Masson, 1896-1987)

I know I spent a little more time on this artists, but he is well worth it. One of my favourite surrealists (and I am not a big fan of surrealism). Masson had a way of making something extremely creative out of a movement that was more self-aggrandising than anything else…

André Masson was born in Balagny-sur-Thérain, France, however his family moved to Brussels in 1903 and there, in the Kingdom of Belgium, he studied at the Académie royale des beaux-arts de Bruxelles (in French) or in Dutch: Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten van Brussel.

In 1920 he moved to Paris and begins to get familiar with some artists and writers and eventually meets Max Jacob. Max Jacob was the French poet, painter, writer, critic, friend of Picasso and known for his mystical novel “Saint Matorel” (1911); “Le laboratoire central” (1921), and “La défense de Tartuffe” (1919). During the first years of the decade his work shows evidence of the influence of Rodin and of Sade in his erotic drawings and watercolours. He also painted landscapes, especially forests, but he also painted nature mort (still life) and other figurative paintings. His style, at the time, was cubist.

Then in 1922, Picasso’s own dealer, Kahnweiler, offers Masson a contract. His advancement continues and is well ratified when both Hemingway (which I will highlight eventually*) and Gertrude Stein (expect a special on her*) buy some of his canvases. This gains him much recognition and in turn his studio in the rue Blomet becomes a centre for artists and writers to meet and discuss their work.

His first individual exhibition was organised by Kahnweiler in 1924, at the Galerie Simon. And since Breton was among his admirers he turns fully towards the techniques of surrealism.

Upon meeting Giacometti, the great Swiss sculptor, in 1927, he creates his first sculpture, Metamorphosis. He breaks with the surrealists in 1929 and meets Matisse with whom he spends some time in Nice. In 1936 he spends some time in Spain and creates some highly recognised works such as Aube a Montserrat and Paysage aux prodiges (see companion piece video). Then he rejoins with Breton and the surrealist and mounts an exhibit at the International Surrealist Expo in London.

In 1937, highly influenced by Picasso and Dalí, he begins his second surrealist period, characterised by representations of monstrous figures. Then in 1940 he moves to Martinique and later to New York City. His work in America somewhat details the footprint of Indian mythology and the natural world. He exhibits regularly and became thus one of the most influential painters in the abstract impressionist movement taking place at the time in the US. By 1945 he returns to France. Landscape painting continues to be his principal theme in art. And in 1954 he participates in the Venice Biennial and received the Gran Prix for painting.

Masson died in Paris in 1987.

Here is the companion piece with some of his most well known paintings. I hope you enjoy it and I hope you leave me your impressions and your comments, thank you!

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CHEERS!
*These special articles will appear in my Patreon page: http://www.patreon.com/jazzyarts

Weekend Artists Series, Part 2: Klaus Voorman

Resultado de imagen de klaus voormann
(Klaus Voorman, Berlin, 1938- )

The guy who made the drawing that was to become the cover of The Beatles Revolver album…

He is an artist and musician. He met The Beatles in Germany at the club Kaiserkeller. During 1966, when he created the cover drawing for The Beatles Revolver, he played bass for the band Manfred Mann. He also designed the album cover for The Bee Gees Bee Gees’ 1st album and the covers for the three albums that make up The Beatles Anthology. These three, if you place them relative to each other form a large collage composed of covers of other albums and posters that represent the different stages of the career of The Beatles. He worked with the lads during their solo careers and played with George on the concert for Bangladesh. He was born in Berlin in 1938.

Let me know what you think. I, being a life-long and die-hard Beatles fan, like anything and everything related with and relative to the band, so I decided to feature Klaus Voorman. He is worthy of recognition, both as a musician and a graphic illustrator. He is also an actor, a painter, a photographer a record producer and a bassist. Here is my video and musical tribute:

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CHEERS!

Weekend Artists Series, Part 1: Mon Laferte

Resultado de imagen de Mon Laferte artes plasticas
Mon Laferte, 1983- )

Here is an artist, well a bit of a Renaissance woman, that sings, composes and also is quite involved in the struggle for freedoms in many areas of civil society in her native country Chile. She is also a very outspoken activist for women’s rights, for the LGTB community, for animal rights and against censorship like in Twitter and other social media platforms. But I knew her better as a singer. Her bands, Mystica Girls and Abaddon were pretty cool from 2012 to 2014.

In any event, she is also a painter and has painted some rather interesting murals in her home town of Viña del Mar, Chile. One, in particular has caused somewhat of a scandal:

Resultado de imagen de mural controvertido de mon laferte

It has been vandalised by unknown subjects running around the streets of Viña del Mar with black painballs!

“Sabía que esto iba a pasar“: Desconocidos vandalizan mural de Mon Laferte en Valparaíso

However, the residents of the area, as well as the city’s mayor seem to be, and are in truth, happy with the mural. It has become part of a huge outdoor museum as there are many, many murals painted all over the city. But I ask myself why would anyone want to vandalise someone else’s property? Why express such disdain and disrespect? Was it the usual suspects? Those that are easily offended, easily driven to ire? Was it those who are intolerant, self-serving, and holier than thou? Or was it those “schizophrenic, ego-centric, paranoiac, prima-donnas” that John Lennon wrote about in his song “Gimme Some Truth” back in 1971?

Well, I must say that this is not the only mural that Laferte has painted. She also painted this one, again in Viña del Mar:

Resultado de imagen de murales de Mon Laferte

And here is a sample of some of her works of art:

Her style? I would say naif as she herself is a bit naif…

Resultado de imagen de Mon Laferte expo Gestos

But I respect her commitment to her art and to her beliefs. She stands proud and unafraid to say her truth to power anywhere and any time, as I am led to believe by this picture she published of what she did at the Latin Grammy celebration.

Resultado de imagen de Mon Laferte expo Gestos

Mon Laferte is 37 years old…

CHEERS!

Friday Afternoon in València, a Picture and a Poem: “Ask”

(Photo property of FBC, Omnia Caelum Studios València)

Did you say I can ask

and you’ll give me whatever I want?

So my friend, then I’d say:

Give me a rainbow.

No! Instead,

give me a magic tornado,

that would sweep from the earth what is ugly

and bad,

and everything that we’re afraid of.

Let it wash away the sadness,

wash away the pain,

so that after the rain

we can smile

and forget all our hardships.

This poem does not imply that the damages caused by tornados are valuable and good, instead it refers to the idea of a cleansing storm that would only wipe from our midst negative things and leave all the good people and good things unharmed. It is figurative and most certainly not literal. Thank you.

C.2021, Francisco Bravo Cabrera, 19 FEB 2021, València, Spain 🇪🇸

Thursdays Middle of the Week Classic Rock Album 🎸: “REVOLVER” by The Beatles

Resultado de imagen de The Beatles in 1966
(The Beatles in 1966)

This is my favourite Beatles album and it’s saying a lot as I love all their albums. But, made to choose one, I choose REVOLVER for several reasons.

One, it is the continuation, or part two, as George Harrison said, of RUBBER SOUL. That album, released in 1965, and thought of as the “pot” album by John Lennon, was the first album where The Beatles started to convert their songwriting craft into art.

REVOLVER, the “acid” album, again according to Lennon, delves more and more into the artistic phase of The Beatles.

The album starts off with “Taxman”, a little rocker by George Harrison. What’s interesting here is that the guitar lead was played by Paul. George was definitely developing a style, growing as a songwriter and although, as he himself said, that he had to learn to write songs “in public”, while Paul and John had years of experience writing before The Beatles even became “The Beatles!”

But in REVOLVER we also see Paul also showing songwriting maturity. Take a listen to “Eleanor Rigby”. The song deals with aspects of society, alienation, loss, even religion. John also hit a milestone with “Tomorrow Never Know. This song marked the first time The Beatles used a Leslie speaker to obtain special effects like voice vibrato. They also used an ADT system to duplicate the sound of the human voice. Lennon’s lyrics here were mostly “found” or “borrowed” from the book “The Psychedelic Experience” by Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert, y Ralph Metzner. This book is in turn based upon the “Tibetan Book of the Dead”. This book deals with practices like whispering to the person about to die to assure them a happy passage into the other side. Leary used the same idea and would have pre-described whispers ready to be used on people going through LSD trips.

And I would say that REVOLVER goes further. In this album you’ll hear a variety of new musical genres thrown in there in The Beatles usual fashion plus more and more classical styles. One prominent new ingredient was raga, or raga-rock. There is more orchestration and wider arrangements using strings, horns and other classical instruments like the French Horn in “For No One”.

It’s important to note that The Beatles recorded REVOLVER after a three month holiday in London which came right before they decided to retire from touring. Perhaps that is why there are so many studio effects in many of the songs. The Beatles were preparing their new journey through a more artistic style of music. They were creating with the studio as an added instrument. They had successfully passed from being pop craftsmen to artists. This was the first of their tremendously influential albums that, in my opinion, shaped the course of popular music and also set a standard for the aesthetics of rock. That’s not really the reason I love this album. I love this album because of the songs, naturally…

(1966)

CHEERS!

Tuesdays Tunes: “Pange Lingua” by Mocedades

Resultado de imagen de pange lingua mocedades
(1969)

Mocedades is an institution in Euskadi, in the rest of Spain, Europe and Iberian America. They were formed in 1968 in Bilbao, Euskadi. They have gone through many changes as the group is still singing, but their first period, the initial period of their existence, is to me the best and the one to the which I became a huge fan. So, from 1969 to 1971, these were the original members: Amaya Uranga (one of my favourite female singers); Estíbaliz Uranga (her sister who later with her husband, Sergio Blanco, went on to form a very popular duo, Serigio y Estibaliz, another great voice); Izaskun Uranga (Amaya’s other sister who headed a Mocedades in 2014, and a lovely voice as well); Roberto Uranga (brother to both girls); Javier Garay; José Ipiña and Carlos Zubiaga.

Mocedades won second place in the XVIII Eurovision Song Contest (1973), celebrated in Luxembourg…

So what about this song, “Pane Lingua”? It is one of my favourite songs from one of my favourite groups, so that is saying a lot because Mocedades has tons of lovely songs. But this song is a prayer, commonly associated with the Christian holiday of Holy Thursday. Pange Lingua is actually a hymn written by Saint Thomas Aquinas for the solemn Christian festivity of Corpus Christi. The two last stanzas of the hymn, the Tantum Ergo, are sung in Holy Mass before the blessing of The Most Holy, done after the Eucharistic adoration.

In any event, I wanted to publish here the translation of this prayer to English:

Sing, my tongue, the Saviour’s glory,
Of His Flesh, the mystery sing;
Of the Blood, all price exceeding,
Shed by our Immortal King,
Destined, for the world’s redemption,
From a noble Womb to spring.

Of a pure and spotless Virgin
Born for us on earth below,
He, as Man, with man conversing,
Stayed, the seeds of truth to sow;
Then He closed in solemn order
Wondrously His Life of woe.

On the night of that Last Supper,
Seated with His chosen band,
He, the Paschal Victim eating,
First fulfils the Law’s command;
Then as Food to all his brethren
Gives Himself with His own Hand.

Word-made-Flesh, the bread of nature
By His Word to Flesh He turns;
Wine into His Blood He changes:
What though sense no change discerns.
Only be the heart in earnest,
Faith her lesson quickly learns.

Down in adoration falling,
Lo, the sacred Host we hail,
Lo, o’er ancient forms departing
Newer rites of grace prevail:
Faith for all defects supplying,
When the feeble senses fail.

To the Everlasting Father
And the Son who comes on high
With the Holy Ghost proceeding
Forth from each eternally,
Be salvation, honor, blessing,
Might and endless majesty.
Amen. Alleluia.

Actually, when Mocedades released “Pange Lingua” in 1969, it became a source of controversy. Basically, they were taking a Eucharistic text, bound more in spirituality than religion, and the Bishop of Madrid did not like the idea of how they were treating it, in a rather unorthodox manner. Yet, it is one of the most beautiful renditions of this prayer that I have ever heard.

I think Mocedades has always had a spiritual…mystic Christianity…side. Even the song that they sang when they placed number 2 in Eurovision (1973) “Eres Tu”, can be thought of as a prayer…

I know this is a bit different to what you’ve seen here before, but I like many things and many songs:

Enjoy,

CHEERS!

Un poema para un martes valenciano: Veo seres increíbles…

(Foto de Mayra, Art Digital, Omnia Caelum Studios València)

¿Que veo desde las nubes que me inspiran?

¿Que forma tiene el mundo allá tan lejos?

¿Quien quemará las naves del olvido?

¿Que dicen esos viejos?

Veo gente que se mueve, inconscientes,

pintando el orbe con mercurocromo,

y yo encenderé la llama que nos libre,

y esos viejos verán al fin quien somos.

El rayo campeador se estrella en ascuas,

el sueño vence al fin al fiel guerrero,

sus pírricas victorias cobran víctimas,

en fango se convierte aquel acero.

¿Que veo desde las nubes?

¿Que forma tiene el mundo?

¿Quien quemará las naves?

Veo seres increíbles,

El mundo es plano, eterno,

la niña previsible,

va quemando así el intento.

C.2021, Francisco Bravo Cabrera, 16 de febrero de 2021, València, España

A Poem for a Monday Morning in Valencia: “Flowers of Cardboard”

(photo property of FBC, Omnia Caelum Studios Valencia)

I have nothing else to do but to pop open another bottle of champagne,

but I don’t drink to disillusions,

I drink to your health.

I drink to impressions,

I drink to invasions

of clandestine warriors that burst through the walls of your mind

and remind me of horses.

Rome burned in one day,

built in a century,

Don Quijote has lost,

the windmill has broken his lance

and stolen his memory…

So what more can we do?

What is left,

what is new?

If the solid ground beneath your feet

has felt the beat of the drum of the Earth,

of the heat of the hearth,

and succumbed to the fire,

what happened to human desire?

So I waited, you came,

we drank our champagne,

now will piss it on flowers of cardboard.

C.2021, Francisco Bravo Cabrera, 15 FEB 2021, Valencia, Spain