Oceania exhibition

Oceania exhibition

Canoes by Stefania Ianne I had a magical visit at the Royal Academy of Arts giving access to a whole new world, known to us in avery piecemeal manner, normally through the filter of other artists' perception, the originals being the spontaneous artwork created by the people of Oceania for no financial gain, reproduced and pillaged through the eyes of the commercially savvy modernists of the XXth century. Oceania first and Africa afterwards, the creative output of native cultures alien to the civilized Western world, have inspired a cultural revolution but have remained largely unknown and beyond comprehension. What is just a pretty picture worth loads of money to us is a vital part of a people’s identity and culture. What was sold as a curiosity and exhibited to amaze, is a visceral part of a whole we cannot belong to, let alone understand. Statues are spiritual beings, foreign cultures feel we have captured their ancestral spirit and kept it captive...
Read More
Low live Brighton Music Hall, Boston

Low live Brighton Music Hall, Boston

A freezing rainy night in Boston, a fast ride in the total darkness through silent skyscrapers, all I remember is fuzziness, the city torn in half by spaghetti junction style highways, greyness all around, distorted by the water, the city is flooded, the spray is horrendous, we are deposited in a daze outside the unassuming venue, I almost step on a policeman rushing by behind my back. In through the double doors we get searched for the first time in our month long stay in the US, understandably, we are just a few days away from the carnage at the Borderline club in California. I wish I had liked the opening act In/via more, but this solo venture voice and synthesiser felt way too monotonous, relying heavily on keyboard effects and the obsessive singing voice felt a tad too high for her range. It could have been magical, but it felt uneventful. Low are unassuming professionals, while waiting in the darkness for the...
Read More
Beyond Georgia O’Keeffe

Beyond Georgia O’Keeffe

I find myself visiting the North Carolina museum of Art. I witness a fresh approach to what a museum should be and how exhibitions should be organized. Comprising a huge sculpture park featuring a community beehive, built with public money and corporate donations, the NCMA in Raleigh feels fresh, vast and complete both as far as the space is concerned and for the richness of its offer. The reason for visiting was an exhibition centred around Georgia O’Keeffe, Beyond, which included a few of her paintings on display compared with current work by emerging artists. The result is interesting; some of the new work on display is quite naive and unengaging but the approach is fresh and most importantly the exhibition convey how inspiring a character O’Keeffe actually was. Through the different sections we feel her presence not only through her artwork, but through her thoughts, her statements printed in large characters throughout, her voice. My personal highlight is a vast...
Read More
Keren Ann and Quatour Debussy Live

Keren Ann and Quatour Debussy Live

A minimalist concert, a string quartet accompanying Karen Ann and her guitar mainly electrified, sometimes acoustic. Sheer class and intense emotions. Sometimes the strings were trying to scream louder but soon the guitar would tell them who is boss. A tiny, figure dressed in black, a powerful smile, smooth melancholy melodies, lulling us safely towards our destination like a sailboat on a smooth, unsettling sea. Liquid music poured into our ears like honey poured from a smooth precious chalice. So many cultures connect in the creative mind of Keren Ann, she seems to make them universal through her art, smoothening differences, distilling them into what is a universal human experience. Her re-appropriation of her own Strange Weather, covered majestically by Anna Calvi together with an inspired David Byrne, brings goosebumps to my body. Her twangy guitar courts and duels with the strings, it plays and dances an ironical battle, her voice dominates her emotions and commands our attention, sweetly but firmly....
Read More
Anna Calvi Live

Anna Calvi Live

I had the privilege of meeting Anna Calvi at the end of her fiery performance in Paris, during the Rock en Seine festival. We had a nice chat centred around her new release Hunter and touching on a few hot topics, including but not exclusively, gender identity. Hunter is a sensual, exciting, wild, intriguing, operatic record. Calvi’s performance on stage is mind-blowing. She uses her guitar as a shield and a weapon. She smoothly pours a powerful sonic attack all over us, enchanting us with her nuanced, powerful voice. It is a cathartic experience both for the musicians on stage and the enraptured audience. When I meet her, one hour after her performance, she has left her powerful stage persona behind and is wrapped in a warm white coat, matching her white boots, cuddled on a sofa, in the cool Parisian evening. I envy her for a minute, as I am freezing in my light summer clothes… The interview was published on...
Read More