The Convent de la Tourette hovers weightlessly on a hill overlooking the nearby town, uncannily reminiscent of a temple atop the Athenian Acropolis. Visitors willing to make the pilgrimage are initially met with a visual field of low intrinsic interest – but the beauty of the architecture slowly reveals itself the more one looks.
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Yayoi Kusama. Pumpkin Magic
19 February 2018
words: Natalie Donat-Cattin
photos: Jian Yong Khoo
“I, Kusama, am the modern Alice in Wonderland” – Yayoi Kusama
The pumpkin often has a connection with the magical world. In Cinderella, it turns into a beautiful white carriage, darting towards the dance. In the same way, it could easily be one of the strange and wonderful inhabitants of the Lewis Carroll world – out of scale, context and with no apparent purpose. If the pumpkin could talk it would ask non-sensical questions while giving absurd non-answers.
Kusama uses this object to provoke us, to create a reaction, to remind us that the world should be looked at with children’s eyes – with a sense of curiosity and of overturning conventions. It indulges us to shape it in our dreams: change it in size, exaggerate it, enlarge it, shrink it. Her works offers us carte blanche: they are endless fairytales, objects abandoned in nature and space in order to stimulate our imagination.
The pumpkin comes from the earth and eventually detaches from it. In Naoshima it sits on a pier, between the beach and the sea. As every man, it yearns to the horizon, still tied to its roots. It stands out on the blue background thanks to its bright yellow colour, shining between the sky and the sea. It is a small point in the universe, reminding us of our humanity yet inviting us to dare, to go further.
“In a Wonderland they lie, Dreaming as the days go by, Dreaming as the summers die: Ever drifting down the stream- Lingering in the golden gleam- Life, what is it but a dream?” – Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
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The power of a mirror lies in its simplicity. A single surface allowing for endless possibilities. Multiplication’s machine, illusions’ creator, reality’s extension are just some of its magical properties.
“Magic mirror, on the wall – who is the fairest one of all?”
Guggenheim Museum by Frank Lloyd Wright, an inverted zigurrat within the urban metropolis of Manhattan – the unconventional layout of the museum makes for a playful visual experience.
Progressing through the maze of columns, towards the centre of Bernini’s eclipse, we find ourselves in front of an imposing white wall, the Dover’s cliff of Rome: Saint Peter’s Basilica. Decorated to the last detail, it can only be compared to the English steep rock face for its whiteness and grandeur. In all other aspects, we can say that the craft of man has equaled if not surpassed the force of nature.
The Barbican Centre – A place of connection, a place of transition between two different worlds: the street and the courtyard. The former, a reflection of everyday life. The latter, an image of the pleasure of stopping, sitting, observing and thinking. Two universes governed by opposing laws: that of motion and that of stillness.