Monday, October 31, 2011

Catch up

The last few days have been packed, productive and insightful. In part with the chilling weather and moving a mile a minute, I'm running a bit of a fever. Although, it gives me the time to slow down, get hydrated properly, clean my studio and update my blog! So yesterday was exciting. I went to fiac! at the Grand Palais. The previous exhibits at the Grand Palais have always had a pretty nasty queue and expensive tickets and this was no different however, I never leave disappointed. The show takes place once a year in Paris. Some of the top art galleries in the world have gallery-booths with pieces from their collection. There is representation from Shanghai, Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, Milan. The list goes on and on. There were pieces by Christain Boltanski, Louise Bourgeois (recent from 2004!), Georg Herold, Sigalit Landau, Dieter Roth, Boetti Alighiero, Wener Haypeter. Phew! what a treat.

I went to the Centre Pompidou for the French retrospective dedicated to the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. She is most known for developing the polka dot motif. I was specifically interested in her works from the 1950s entitled "infinity nets". While so much of her works are graphic, and super-saturated with contrasting palettes, the monochrome works lyrically unearthen repeticious and round moments of under-painting. They feel like stars: gestural brushwork cacooning each moment in the dense space around it. These works specifically, made me consider what the 2 dimension counterpart to my sculpture works might look like. I believe that when I return to St Louis, and set up studio (I am double crossing my fingers for the Luminary Residency. I think my work would operate visually and conceptually well in their chapel installation space) that I will be painting again too.

The big news for the day: I will be part of a group show in Noyers! Bryan and I will be going together in late November to La Porte Peinte. I will be doing the piece and Bryan  will be assisting with restoration of the Medieval building that houses the residency. ( I am going to first install the piece in my studio, probably have an open studio when the piece is finished, and then re-install the work in Noyers. I have a few other meetings with gallerists and a dealer in the next couple weeks so I need to have some work to share with them. I am going to be venturing back into the fabric district today to get a few pieces of material to take to the pleating studio. More bright transparent yellow poly and possibly a wool blend suiting, similar to the work I did for the fashion show in May.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rina is the Bees'-knees-a

Thus far, there have been 4 exhibits that I have had a profound impact.

1. Vaudou/Voodoo at Foundation Cartier Cartier pour l'art contemporain

The exhibit featured over 100 West African Vodun sculptures from the collection of Anne and Jacques Kerchach. First off, the installation and curation were really powerful. Visitors descended an L shaped staircase. The staircase landing provided a locale outside of the primary exhibition for the supplementary text. In the statement, interestingly enough, the collectors preface the show by saying that there will be no captions (no dates, titles or artists), the reason being that it is the intention of the artist that is of primary importance. Well, I can't say that I fully agree. In someways it was a relief, it became less a historical accounting, it became the narrative of a tradition and a people instead of the characteristics of specific artists. The visual impact of the space was stronger ( which I will get into in a sec) but then again, I missed the formulation of a chronological development in the works (perhaps there was none). With that said, picture this. Descending the last half dozen stair for the landing, enter into a completely blacked out room. Before your are 48 identical vatrines on pedestals, layed in a grid. The vatrines are painted black as well but, with a slightly sparkly metalic black. Each vatrine and sculpture is spot-lit. This is the only source of light. Spectacular, dramatic. It definitely felt like a private collection, the size and variation of the works was not that different and there were a lot of pieces. I was though, specifically interested in the double figures and or double heads, the use of twine binding parts of the bodies that were of specific concern for the ailment or prayer.

2. Rina Banerjee at  Musee Guimet

Poetic, animalistic, delicate and a little fierce. She paired her works with poetry such as the following:

Greed, whence she came, she sucked all the world dry,
boneless, left with only earthly money, monsters and Maham...
but still the hunger want
was so intertwined with love that
morning forbidden gave new a green fruit
that could not truly ripen

3. Claude Calun at Jeu de Paume

Calun uses her own body and photography as tool to challenge gender identity and prescribed gender roles.

4. Hussein Chawlayan at Les Arts Decoratifs
Where to even begin with Chawlayan and Les Arts Decoratifs. This guy is a genius.  Chawlayan uses dress and clothing to comment on the effects of identity in a globalized world. He reaches far beyond haute couture. His works are politically and socially charged.  For example, Hussein did a collection in which he explores dual utility on a crash course with technology. Garments with an intricate hidden layer of mechanics that for instance, makes dresses get longer, hair grow, and scull caps turn into wide brimmed sun hats. Yes, all on the runway, all in a matter of seconds. He is probably most well known for sculpting tightly packed tule into bulbous dress and his wooden table that duals as a skirt. Check him out folks.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Weekend Treats

On Friday, Virginia, Audrey and I went to some of the delicatessens in the Saint German area. We found cheeses and meats and a flower shop, and laid for ourselves a really fantastic lunch. I was also on the hunt for gifts for the English reatives. I found Auntie Isle and Uncle Tom a bottle of French Champagne extra dry, salt infused chocolate fondue, Rose preserves, and a piece of heart shaped cheese.


Promptly after reigniting my taste buds (we decided had been sorely neglected for most of a lifetime) I took the metro to Gare de Nord, mazed my way to the Eurostar, through customs and out of France! I slept through most of the Chunnel trip to Ashford where I then transferred to head southwest to Eastbourne and Polegate. I arrived in time to take my aunt and uncle out for a pre-anniversary dinner. Saturday, was their 65! Phew! I have visited them a number of times in the past, although it had been about 4 years since I saw them last. It was a piece of fortuitous serendipitous luckidousness that I was in proximity to them for their anniversary. My mother’s first cousin Penny, is young at heart and so warming and welcoming. We took mock pictures of Isle and Tom cutting their cake, making a proper fuss over them on the big day. It was fantastic to see all the family, especially having grown so drastically and hurtfully apart from my dad’s side of the family a few years ago. My second and third cousins (Sara, Greg, Simon and Heather by marriage) are totally awesome. Sara has the family travel bug and has lived abroad for many years in various parts of Asia, Greg is a total sweet heart, very thoughtful and fun.  Simon and Heather are obviously very much in love and living in Portsmouth. I found family again, if even half a world away.

me and Uncle Tom


There was one particular moment this weekend that I'd like to share. It requires just a bit of back-story. My family is originally from Austria and originally Jewish. Like so many, this combination is dynamite in the most deadly of ways. In 1939, my 18 year-old grandfather escaped to Shanghai. His sister, Isle, was able to reach safety in England through the Kinder-transport, where she was placed with a hosting family. She was thirteen at the time. Before working with soft sculpture and pleating, my work was overwhelmingly based on my family narrative and its relevance to a broader social and historic narrative of the Jewish people and the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. In an attempt to avoid getting totally side-tracked, there are more details on my website (  Where, my grandfather and his sister were able to escape, much of the family was not so lucky; my great-grandmother being one of them. For the party, Ilse had on a charm-bracelet loaded with charms that she had collected from her travels. Her and Tom have been all over the world. Sara, me, Penny and Ilse stood in the living room, as Ilse fingered aside charms, untangling the mix at her wrist, pointing out a little enamel and gold chimney sweep charm. She said, “My mother sewed this into the helm of my coat when I left for England, just the one charm and the bracelet. Someday it’ll be yours, Sara.” I had a strong feeling of reparation; of participation as an essential but single link in a chain so much bigger than myself. Much of my research into my family’s story felt lonely almost. And yet, here we women of the family stood, remembering our matriarch in a genuine, unexpected and real event.

The rest of the weekend, Ilse and Tom just spoiled me . Heating pads in my bed, tea and scones by the coast in Eastbourne, a visit to Beachy Head, the new art gallery in Eastbourne, home-grown tomatoes to take back to France, watching Downtown Abbey, a walk up in the Downs by their house and my favorite meal of all time, lamb with gravy and mint sauce. Spectacular. Tom supplied aperitif, dinner wine and port to end, we had a starter, dessert, and a cheese plate to end. What a treat. I left England in the early morning on Monday and arrived back in Paris around 1:30. Audrey and I went out for a tasty sidewalk cafĂ© lunch in the Marais, and then went to the Galleries Lafayette to ogle the shoes and haute couture designs. We had a coffee sitting around the mammoth stained glass dome, looking out over the cosmetic and perfume stations. Dinner was at one of my favorite restaurants within walking of the Cite, The St Regis I’lle St Louis- Black and white tiles, warm light, real white orchids, a beautiful couple making love through kisses at the next table other, and a bottle of white wine. Lovely conversation and pear flavored L’eau de Vie to end. I woke up early despite the late night, and Audrey and I went to the The Hunting Museum. 


Monday, October 3, 2011


I went to the pleating studio this morning to watch my materials being pleated and order a few more pieces. Each mold has two pieces that fit into each other. One side of mold is pulled flat and secured to a table with clamps. Material is then cut to the same dimensions and ironed flat. The second half of the mold is layed on top, sandwiching the fabric. Weights are placed on the material and the claps released. Then the mold, is carfully brought to its pleated state, contracting with the fabric held in between. The smaller molds are then ironed for about 5 minutes on both sides and then weighted again and meant to rest under the weight for a day. The larger pieces are placed in a heated enclosed chamber. The pictures should help to explain.

A few flea market and fabric store finds:

I have also been working on another artists statement. I have written so many, but as my work and process develops, I feel closer and closer to a truer written counterpart to the work.

 I want to dress the memory of the body. By removing wearability and utility, my work operates as a memorium or sactification of desire and youth. I am interested in the history of exposure. Exposure to the point of disappearance. What remains is cloth visually operating as both garment and skeleton. The remnant of physical body is sanitized, and integrated to the point of colaesion with the exterior. My work explores a body re-contoured and distorted quantifiably through the use of architecture, origami, grids and most specifically, pleating. Pleating is the structure of this new body: orderly, flat, complex, and skeletal but no longer a ridged framework of bone and muscle. There does remain a place holder for the physical breathing body: space. A deliberate void, waiting for the 'imperfections' of a real body to be reitegrated preformatively by the viewer.


1. Fashion as the stage for conceptual art. Feature in a couture display window.

2. visibility verses surface area. This is of great interest, especially that I have now seeing how pleating is done.

 3. "The purist memory is the one un-recalled." I love this.  In recollection, there is a distortion of past realities. Errors of remembering. In reference to my creative action and methods of viewing, this is concious.