L'ombelico di Svesda



Gianni Berengo Gardin

Venezia, Piazza San Marco, 1959
Venezia, Piazza San Marco, 1959

Gianni Berengo Gardin #1
Gianni Berengo Gardin #8
Gianni Berengo Gardin #6
Gianni Berengo Gardin #2
Gianni Berengo Gardin #9
Storie di un fotografo, Gianni Berengo Gardin a Milano | Linkiesta.it


That’s Life

Off America’s Queen Mother of Soul – Got A Brand New Bag, Big Maybelle

Ferdinando Scianna | Magnum Photos

Festa di Sant’Alfio, Cirino e Filadalefo, Tre Castagni, 1964 di Ferdinando Scianna
Festa di Sant’Alfio, Cirino e Filadalefo, Tre Castagni, 1964 di Ferdinando Scianna

“A photograph is not created by a photographer. What he does is just to open a little window and capture it. The world then writes itself on the film. The act of the photographer is closer to reading than it is to writing. They are the readers of the world.”

Ferdinando Scianna started taking photographs in the 1960s while studying literature, philosophy and art history at the University of Palermo. It was then that he began to photograph the Sicilian people systematically. Feste Religiose in Sicilia (1965) included an essay by the Sicilian writer Leonardo Sciascia, and it was the first of many collaborations with famous writers.

Scianna moved to Milan in 1966. The following year he started working for the weekly magazine L’Europeo, first as a photographer, then from 1973 as a journalist. He also wrote on politics for Le Monde Diplomatique and on literature and photography for La Quinzaine Littéraire.

In 1977 he published Les Siciliens in France and La Villa Dei Mostri in Italy. During this period Scianna met Henri Cartier-Bresson, and in 1982 he joined Magnum Photos. He entered the field of fashion photography in the late 1980s. At the end of the decade he published a retrospective, Le Forme del Caos (1989).

Scianna returned to exploring the meaning of religious rituals with Viaggio a Lourdes (1995), then two years later he published a collection of images of sleepers – Dormire Forse Sognare (To Sleep, Perchance to Dream). His portraits of the Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges were published in 1999, and in the same year the exhibition Niños del Mundo displayed Scianna’s images of children from around the world.

In 2002 Scianna completed Quelli di Bagheria, a book on his home town in Sicily, in which he tries to reconstruct the atmosphere of his youth through writings and photographs of Bagheria and the people who live there.

via Magnum Photos Photographer Profile
Ferdinando Scianna « Lo Specchio Incerto

La Vie Dans L’Après-Guerre

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Willy Ronis, who died on September 12 2009 aged 99, was the last of the great photographers whose images came to define postwar France; like Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Doisneau, he was an aesthete of photo-reportage and street life, capturing politics and poetry in the humdrum and the everyday.

He was, however, more artistic than Doisneau and less patrician than Cartier-Bresson. Ronis had a tender eye, photographing working-class neighbourhoods where men drank rough wine and children played on the streets.

In Le Petit Parisien (1952), a young boy wearing shorts runs down the pavement, laughing, carrying a baguette that is as long as he is tall. In Rue Rambuteau (1946), two waitresses stand behind the counter in a busy café, wearing aprons that are crumpled and dirty, leaving us in no doubt that their working days are long and hard. But with smoke rising from the grill and light falling across the scene, illuminating their hair, the documentary image is also a composition full of beauty.

To a contemporary eye, such themes – lovers kissing, smoky cafés and Parisian rooftops – can seem nostalgic and clichéd; but the lives Ronis documented during the reconstruction of France after the war were anything but cosy. The country was wracked by poverty and social unrest, and Ronis’ vision was radical: for those who wanted France to be seen as modern, he showed a humble world that was entrenched in the past.

via Willy Ronis – The Telegraph.

Madame Bovary leggeva Walter Scott e immaginava l’amore e la vita svolgersi in amabili scenari all’italiana. Se Madame Bovary avesse letto Madame Bovary non avrebbe frenato le sue fantasticherie? I veri libri immorali sono dunque quelli che trattano la vita in rosa e non quelli che ne dipingono gli errori e gli eccessi. Ovvero, non c’è peggior pornografia di quella sentimentale.

Edouard Boubat. Ile St. Louis, 1964
Edouard Boubat. Ile St. Louis, 1964

da Diario Notturno, Ennio Flaiano, 1956


Una delle krautrock band più influenti degli anni ’70, i Can nascono a Cologne e si affermano nel panorama musicale europeo come gruppo d’avanguardia fusion capace di grande estro e maestria.
Di recente il German Rock Museum ha dato modo alla band di portare all’attenzione del pubblico tutto il materiale da loro prodotto e registrato tra il 1969 e il 1977. L’esperimento segna la nascita e il lancio di un nuovo progetto musicale, un cofanetto delle meraviglie contenente all’interno 3 cd di tracce rare e pezzi inediti. Millionenspiel e Dead Pigeon Suite fra questi. Your next psychedelic freak out
Can, The Lost Tapes
BBC – Music – Review of Can – The Lost Tapes.

Nicolas Kalmakoff, The Forgotten Visionary

The apparition by Nikolai Konstantin Kalmakoff

In 1955, a Russian émigré died alone, unknown and in poverty at the hôpital de Lagny to the north of Paris. After leading a hermit’s existence in his small room at the hotel de la Rochefoucault in Paris, this former Russian aristocrat had created a fascinating body of work which, deemed eccentric and worthless, was locked away in storage and forgotten.
Throughout his solitary life, the artist had painted works that reflected his various obsessions with martyrdom, asceticism, decadence, spirituality and sexuality. Executed in a style marked by the Russian art nouveau, his imagery nevertheless transcended this movement, bearing undeniable traces of demented vision, indeed, genius.

Only in 1962 did some of his works come to light when Bertrand Collin du Bocage and Georges Martin du Nord discovered forty canvases in the Marché aux Puces, a large flea market to the north of Paris. All the works in this unusual collection were signed with a stylized ‘K’ monogram.
The Hungarian merchant who sold the lot to them included with it a poster of an exhibition held in Galerie Le Roy, Brussels, in 1924. Here, for the first time, the full name of the mysterious ‘K’ was revealed – Nicolas Kalmakoff.

After lying in darkness and obscurity for thirty-seven years, Kalmakoff’s works were finally exhibited at Galerie Motte Paris in February of 1964. This led to the discovery of twenty-four new works in Metz – including an entire series which once decorated a chapel dedicated (ironically) to the resurrected called Chapelle Fortin du Résurrectoire. Four years later, another exhibition followed at Galerie Jacques Henri Perrin.
Finally, in May of 1986, a large exhibition of his collected works was organized by Musée-galerie de la Seita, resulting in the colour monograph: KALMAKOFF, L’Ange de l’Abîme, 1873 – 1955. A documentary film by Annie Tresgot (also called L’Ange de l’Abîme) provided interviews with Kalmakoff’s contemporaries. Through these various sources (all in French), a shadowy and fragmented picture of the recluse emerges.
And yet, the works themselves – many of them self-portraits – invite a myriad of speculations onto the artist’s life and his very unique view onto the world. Did his spiritual ideals drive him towards an extreme asceticism, which then had the contrary effect of releasing onto his canvases a rich profusion of repressed eroticism, effeminism, misogyny and narcissism – culminating in delusions of Satanhood and even Godhood? The enigma of his life and works remains unsolved – a labyrinth into which the speculative writer (and curious reader) wanders at his own risk…



Nobuyoshi Araki, Theater of Love, c.1965

Burn of the second
throughout the tender fleshbud of desire
Sting of vagrant chili
at two in the immoral afternoon.
Glove of the edges edge to edge.
Aromatic truth touched to the quick, on connection
the sexual antenna
to what we are being without knowing it.
Slop of maximum ablution.
Voyaging boilers
that crash and spatter with unanimous fresh
shadow, the color, the fraction, the hard life,
the hard life eternal.
Let’s not be afraid. Death is like that.
Sex blood of the beloved who complains
ensweetened, of bearing so much
for such a ridiculous moment.
And the circuit
between our poor day and the great night,
at two in the immoral afternoon.

From Trilce, published in 1922, by César Vallejo (born 16 March, 1892; died 15 April, 1938)
translated by Clayton Eshleman

Nature Is On The Inside

Apples and Oranges, Paul Cezanne

In “Eye and Mind,” Maurice Merleau-Ponty examines how art, specifically painting, displays the act of viewing the world with openness and immersion that is more truly representative of the continuum of existence. The essay opposes scientific thinking that, according to Merleau-Ponty, views all things in the world with an objectifying appraisal and fails to see the lived world as the site through which the body perceives and associates itself with others and its surroundings. Because it is through the body that consciousness extends itself and is affected, perception becomes the means through which consciousness establishes itself as an integral part of the world. This perception is not a channel that simply filters in information from a separate environment, but rather it is a kind of interconnectedness that allows for a simultaneity in which one both perceives the world through observation and interaction, and experiences the world revealing itself through its very essence.

The essay explores how a painter must offer her body (through her eyes and hands) into and through the world in order to manifest it most truly in art. Merleau-Ponty describes this vision as a movement that both extends the body through the act of looking and opens the body to the world through this extension. The body sees and is seen. It is within this merging between the perceiver and observer that distinctions break down between the subject and the object, the real and the imagined, and enclosure/encapsulation and space. The painter, with her endowment of a clairvoyant-like vision, unveils the object, while at the same time the object makes itself known to her. The invisible is made manifest through the painter’s enactment of her vision and the object’s revelation of itself to the painter.

“Eye and Mind” moves beyond the Cartesian notion that the act of painting is simply a way of manifesting thought or empirical observation, and it rejects the conception that space is an entity separate from, outside of, and indeterminable by perception. In fact, Merleau-Ponty examines space as that which directs the viewer and painter back to themselves. The body is both born out of space and functions as the core around which all space expands. He argues, “I do not see [space] according to its exterior envelope; I live in it from the inside; I am immersed in it. After all, the world is all around me, not in front of me . . . ” (178). The question becomes not how to understand space, but rather how to make oneself open enough to perceive it. Space and content merge in their coming-into-being through the visible. And while the painter seeks to express this fusion through a concentration on depth, line, form, and color, she must uncover a “secret of preexistence,” an “internal animation,” or a “radiation of the visible” that exists as a kind of Ur-force in what she sees, what exposes itself to her (182). Line, for instance, does not exist as a clearly defined boarder that distinguishes objects from each other. Rather, it is suggested by space and content in their genesis into the visible. There is no actual distinction between the body and its environment, but rather an extension and expression of Being which permeates the painter’s vision.

What distinguishes Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological investigations from those of other philosophers, such as Sartre and Heidegger, is his insistence on the body as the center of perception and the medium of consciousness. His study of vision as an extension of the corporal shows us that in order for consciousness to unfold into a part of the world—to exist as a flourishing—it must be embodied. To perceive the world and be shaped by it, one must be in and of its flesh.

via Merleau-Ponty, “Eye and Mind,” annotation by Leila Wilson.

Eye and Mind

Maurice Merleau-Ponty

What I am trying to convey to you is more mysterious; it is entwined in the very roots of being, in the impalpable source of sensations.
J. Gasquet, Cézanne

Science manipulates things and gives up living in them.1 Operating within its own realm, it makes its constructs of things; operating upon these indices or variables to effect whatever transformations are permitted by their definition, it comes face to face with the real world only at rare intervals. It is, and always has been, that admirably active, ingenious, and bold way of thinking whose fundamental bias is to treat everything as though it were an object-in-general—as though it meant nothing to us and yet was predestined for our ingenious schemes. But classical science clung to a feeling for the opaqueness of the world, and it expected through its constructions to get back into the world. For this reason it felt obliged to seek a transcendent or transcendental foundation for its operations. Today we find—not in
science but in a widely prevalent philosophy of the sciences—an entirely new approach. Constructive scientific activities see themselves and represent themselves to be autonomous, and their thinking deliberately reduces itself to a set of data-collecting techniques which it has invented. To think is thus to test out, to operate, to transform—the only restriction being that this activity is regulated by an experimental control that admits only the most “worked-up” phenomena, more likely produced by the apparatus than recorded by it.
Whence all sorts of vagabond endeavors. Today more than ever, science is sensitive to intellectual fads and fashions. When a model has succeeded in one order of problems, it is tried out everywhere else. At the present time, for example, our embryology and biology are full of “gradients.” Just how these differ from what classical tradition called “order” or “totality” is not at all clear. This question, however, is not raised; it is not even allowed. The gradient is a net we throw out to sea, without knowing what we will haul back in it. It is the slender twig upon which unforeseeable crystalizations will form. No
doubt this freedom of operation will serve well to overcome many a pointless dilemma—provided only that from time to time we take stock, and ask ourselves why the apparatus works in one place and fails in others. For all its flexibility, science must understand itself; it must see itself as a construction based on a brute, existent world and not claim for its blind operations the constitutive value that “concepts of nature” were granted in a certain idealist philosophy. To say that the world is, by nominal definition, the object x of our operations is to treat the scientist’s knowledge as if it were absolute, as if everything that is and has been was meant only to enter the laboratory. Thinking “operationally” has become a sort of absolute artificialism, such as we see in the ideology of cybernetics, where human creations are derived from a natural information process, itself conceived on the model of human machines. If this kind of thinking were to extend its dominion over humanity and history; and if, ignoring what we know of them through contact and our own situations, it were to set out to construct them on the basis of a few abstract indices (as a decadent psychoanalysis and culturalism have done in the United States)—then, since the human being truly becomes the manipulandum he thinks he is, we enter into a cultural regimen in which there is neither truth nor falsehood concerning humanity and history, into a sleep, or nightmare from which there is no awakening.
Scientific thinking, a thinking which looks on from above, and thinks of the object-ingeneral, must return to the “there is” which precedes it; to the site, the soil of the sensible and humanly modified world such as it is in our lives and for our bodies—not that possible body which we may legitimately think of as an information machine but this actual body I call mine, this sentinel standing quietly at the command of my words and my acts. Further, associated bodies must be revived along with my body—”others,” not merely as my congeners, as the zoologist says, but others who haunt me and whom I
haunt; “others” along with whom I haunt a single, present, and actual Being as no animal ever haunted those of his own species, territory, or habitat. In this primordial historicity, science’s agile and improvisatory thought will learn to ground itself upon things themselves and upon itself, and will once more become philosophy….
Now art, especially painting, draws upon this fabric of brute meaning which operationalism would prefer to ignore. Art and only art does so in full innocence. From the writer and the philosopher, in contrast, we want opinions and advice. We will not allow them to hold the world suspended. We want them to take a stand; they cannot waive the responsibilities of humans who speak. Music, at the other extreme, is too far on the hither side of the world and the designatable to depict anything but certain schemata of Being—its ebb and flow, its growth, its upheavals, its turbulence.
Only the painter is entitled to look at everything without being obliged to appraise what he sees. For the painter, we might say, the watchwords of knowledge and action lose their meaning and force. Political regimes which denounce “degenerate” painting rarely destroy paintings. They hide them, and one senses here an element of “one never knows” amounting almost to an acknowledgment. The reproach of escapism is seldom aimed at the painter; we do not hold it against Cézanne that he lived hidden away at
L’Estaque during the Franco-Prussian War. And we recall with respect his “life is frightening,” although the most insignificant student, after Nietzsche, would flatly reject philosophy if he or she were told that it did not teach us how to live life to the fullest. It is as if in the painter’s calling there were some urgency above all other claims on him. Strong or frail in life, but incontestably sovereign in his rumination of the world, possessed of no other “technique” than the skill his eyes and hands discover in seeing and painting, he gives himself entirely to drawing from the world—with its din of history’s glories and scandals—canvases which will hardly add to the angers or the hopes of humanity; and no one complains.2 What, then, is the secret science which he has or which he seeks? That dimension which lets Van Gogh say he must go “still further”? What is this fundamental of painting, perhaps of all culture?


The painter “takes his body with him,” says Valery. Indeed we cannot imagine how a mind could paint. It is by lending his body to the world that the artist changes the world into paintings. To understand these transubstantiations we must go back to the working, actual body—not the body as a chunk of space or a bundle of functions but that body which is an intertwining of vision and movement. I have only to see something to know how to reach it and deal with it, even if I do not know how this happens in the nervous system. My moving body makes a difference in the visible world, being a part of it; that is why I can steer it through the visible. Moreover, it is also true that vision is attached to movement. We see only what we look at. What would vision be without eye movement? And how could the movement of the eyes not blur things if movement were blind? If it were only a reflex? If it did not have its antennae,
its clairvoyance? If vision were not prefigured in it? All my changes of place figure on principle in a corner of my landscape; they are carried over onto the map of the visible. Everything I see is on principle within my reach, at least within reach of my sight, and is marked upon the map of the “I can.” Each of the two maps is complete. The visible world and the world of my motor projects are both total
parts of the same Being.
This extraordinary overlapping, which we never give enough thought to, forbids us to conceive of vision as an operation of thought that would set up before the mind a picture or a representation of the world, a world of immanence and of ideality. Immersed in the visible by his body, itself visible, the see-er does not appropriate what he sees; he merely approaches it by looking, he opens onto the world. And for its part, that world of which he is a part is not in itself, or matter. My movement is not a decision made by the mind, an absolute doing which would decree, from the depths of a subjective retreat, some change of place miraculously executed in extended space. It is the natural sequel to, and maturation of, vision. I say of a thing that it is moved; but my body moves itself; my movement is self-moved. It is not ignorance of self, blind to itself; it radiates from a self….
The enigma derives from the fact that my body simultaneously sees and is seen. That which looks at all things can also look at itself and recognize, in what it sees, the “other side” of its power of looking. It sees itself seeing; it touches itself touching; it is visible and sensitive for itself. It is a self, not by transparency, like thought, which never thinks anything except by assimilating it, constituting it, transforming it into thought—but a self by confusion, narcissism, inherence of the see-er in the seen, the toucher in the touched, the feeler in the felt—a self, then, that is caught up in things, having a front and a back, a past and a future….
This initial paradox cannot but produce others. Visible and mobile, my body is a thing among things; it is one of them. It is caught in the fabric of the world, and its cohesion is that of a thing. But because it moves itself and sees, it holds things in a circle around itself. Things are an annex or prolongation of itself; they are incrusted in its flesh, they are part of its full definition; the world is made of the very stuff of the body. These reversals, these antinomies,4 are different ways of saying that vision is caught or comes to be in things—in that place where something visible undertakes to see, becomes visible to itself and in the sight of all things, in that place where there persists, like the original solution still present within crystal, the undividedness of the sensing and the sensed.
This interiority no more precedes the material arrangement of the human body than it results from it. What if our eyes were made in such a way as to prevent our seeing any part of our body, or some diabolical contraption were to let us move our hands over things, while preventing us from touching our own body? Or what if, like certain animals, we had lateral eyes with no cross-blending of visual fields? Such a body would not reflect itself; it would be an almost adamantine body, not really flesh, not really the body of a human being. There would be no humanity. But humanity is not produced as the effect of our articulations or by the way our eyes are implanted in us (still less by the existence of mirrors, though they alone can make our entire bodies visible to us). These contingencies and others like them, without which mankind would not exist, do not by simple summation bring it about that there is a single
man. The body’s animation is not the assemblage or juxtaposition of its parts. Nor is it a question of a mind or spirit coming down from somewhere else into an automation—which would still imply that the body itself is without an inside and without a “self.” A human body is present when, between the see-er and the visible, between touching and touched, between one eye and the other, between hand and hand a kind of crossover occurs, when the spark of the sensing/sensible is lit, when the fire starts to burn that will not cease until some accident befalls the body, undoing what no accident would have
sufficed to do…
Once this strange system of exchanges is given, we find before us all the problems of painting. These problems illustrate the enigma of the body, which enigma in turn legitimates them. Since things and my body are made of the same stuff, vision must somehow come about in them; or yet again, their manifest visibility must be repeated in the body by a secret visibility. “Nature is on the inside,” says Cézanne. Quality, light,color, depth, which are there before us, are there only because they awaken an echo in
our bodies and because the body welcomes them.
Things have an internal equivalent in me; they arouse in me a carnal formula of their presence. Why shouldn’t these correspondences in turn give rise to some tracing rendered visible again, in which the eyes of others could find an underlying motif to sustain their inspection of the world?5 Thus there appears a “visible” to the second power, a carnal essence or icon of the first. It is not a faded copy, a trompe l’oeil, or another thing. The animals painted on the walls of Lascaux are not there in the same way as are the fissures and limestone formations. Nor are they elsewhere. Pushed forward here, held back there, supported by the wall’s mass they use so adroitly, they radiate about the wall without ever breaking their elusive moorings. I would be hard pressed to say where the painting is I am looking at. For I do not look at it as one looks at a thing, fixing it in its place. My gaze wanders within it as in the halos of Being. Rather than seeing it, I see according to, or with it.
The word “image” is in bad repute because we have thoughtlessly believed that a drawing was a tracing, a copy, a second thing, and that the mental image was such a drawing, belonging among our private bric-a-brac. But if in fact it is nothing of the kind, then neither the drawing nor the painting belongs to the in-itself any more than the image does. They are the inside of the outside and the outside of the inside, which the duplicity of feeling [le sentir] makes possible and without which we would never understand the quasi presence and imminent visibility which make up the whole problem of the imaginary. The picture, the actor’s mimicry—these are not devices borrowed from the real world in order to refer to prosaic things which are absent. For the imaginary is much nearer to, and much farther away from, the actual—nearer because it is in my body as a diagram of the life of the actual, with all its pulp and carnal obverse exposed to view for the first time. In this sense, Giacometti says energetically, “What interests me in all paintings is likeness—that is, what likeness is for me: something that makes me uncover the external world a little.”6 And the imaginary is much farther away from the actual because the painting is an analogue or likeness only according to the body; because it does not offer the mind an occasion to rethink the constitutive relations of things, but rather it offers the gaze traces of vision, from the inside, in order that it may espouse them; it gives vision that which clothes it within, the imaginary texture of the real.
Shall we say, then, that there is an inner gaze, that there is a third eye which sees the paintings and even the mental images, as we used to speak of a third ear which grasps messages from the outside through the noises they caused inside us? But how would this help us when the whole point is to understand that our fleshly eyes are already much more than receptors for light rays, colors, and lines? They are computers of the world,which have the gift of the visible, as we say of the inspired man that he has the gift of tongues. Of course this gift is earned by exercise; it is not in a few months, or in solitude, that a painter comes into full possession of his vision. But that is not the question;
precocious or belated, spontaneous or cultivated in museums, his vision in any event learns only by seeing and learns only from itself. The eye sees the world, and what it would need to be a painting, sees what keeps a painting from being itself, sees—on the palette—the colors awaited by the painting, and sees, once it is done, the painting that answers to all these inadequacies just as it sees the paintings of others as other answers to other inadequacies.
It is no more possible to make a restrictive inventory of the visible than it is to catalog the possible expressions of a language or even its vocabulary and turns of phrase. The eye is an instrument that moves itself, a means which invents its own ends; it is that which has been moved by some impact of the world, which it then restores to the visible through the traces of a hand.
Continue to read...merleauponty_1964_eyeandmind.pdf (application/pdf Object).

Softly, As In A Mornings Sunrise

Off the album Kelly Blue, performed by Wynton Kelly (piano), Paul Chambers (double bass), Jimmy Cobb (drum), 1959.
Would just a teaspoon of sugar in my coffee affect my blood glucose levels?

La Noia, Lo Spazialismo

Lucio Fontana. Concetto spaziale, Attese.

tratto dal Prologo

Ricordo benissimo come fu che cessai di dipingere. Una sera, dopo essere stato otto ore di seguito nel mio studio, quando dipingendo per cinque, dieci minuti e quando gettandomi sul divano e restandoci disteso, con gli occhi al soffitto, una o due ore; tutto a un tratto, come per un’ispirazione finalmente autentica dopo tanti fiacchi conati, schiacciai l’ultima sigaretta nel portacenere colmo di mozziconi spenti, spiccai un salto felino dalla poltrona nella quale mi ero accasciato, afferrai un coltellino radente di cui mi servivo qualche volta per raschiare i colori e, a colpi ripetuti, trinciai la tela che stavo dipingendo e non fui contento finchè non l’ebbi ridotta a brandelli. Poi tolsi da un angolo una tela pulita della stessa grandezza, gettai via la tela lacerata e misi quella nuova sul cavalletto. Subito dopo, però, mi accorsi che tutta la mia energia, come dire? creatrice, si era completamente scaricata in quel furioso e, in fondo, razionale gesto di distruzione. Avevo lavorato a quella tela durante gli ultimi due mesi, senza tregua, con accanimento; lacerarla a colpi di coltello equivaleva, in fondo, ad averla compiuta, forse in maniera negativa, quanto ai risultati esteriori che del resto mi interessavano poco, ma positivamente per quanto ruguardava la mia ispirazione. Infatti: distruggere la tela voleva dire essere arrivato alla conclusione di un lungo discorso che tenevo con me stesso da chissà quanto tempo. Voleva dire aver messo finalmente il piede sul terreno solido. Così, la tela pulita che stava adesso sul cavalletto, non era semplicemente una qualsiasi tela non ancora adoperata, bensì proprio quella particolare tela che avevo messo sul cavalletto al termine di un lungo travaglio. Insomma, come pensai cercando di consolarmi del senso di catastrofe che mi stringeva alla gola, a partire da quella tela, simile, apparentemente, a tante altre tele ma per me carica di significati e di risultati, adesso potevo ricominciare daccapo, liberarmene; quasi che quei dieci anni di pittura non fossero passati ed io avessi ancora venticinque anni, come quando avevo lasciato la casa di mia madre ed ero andato a vivere nello studio di via Margutta, per dedicarmi appunto, a tutto mio agio, alla pittura. D’altra parte, però, poteva darsi, anzi era molto probabile che la tela pulita che adesso campeggiava sul cavalletto, stesse a significare uno sviluppo non meno intimo e necessario ma del tutto negativo, il quale, per trapassi insensibili, mi aveva portato all’impotenza completa. E che questa seconda ipotesi potesse essere quella vera, sembrava dimostrarlo il fatto che la noia aveva lentamente ma sicuramente accompagnato il mio lavoro durante gli ultimi sei mesi, fino a farlo cessare del tutto in quel pomeriggio in cui avevo lacerato la tela; un po’ come il deposito calcareo di certe sorgenti finisce per ostruire un tubo e far cessare completamente il flusso dell’acqua.
Penso che, a questo punto, sarà forse opportuno che io spenda qualche parola sulla noia, un sentimento di cui mi accadrà di parlare spesso in queste pagine. Dunque, per quanto io mi spinga indietro negli anni con la memoria, ricordo di avere sempre sofferto della noia. Ma bisogna intendersi su questa parola. Per molti la noia è il contrario del divertimento; e divertimento è distrazione, dimenticanza. Per me, invece, la noia non è il contrario del divertimento; potrei dire, anzi, addirittura, che per certi aspetti essa rassomiglia al divertimento in quanto, appunto, provoca distrazione e dimenticanza, sia pure di un genere molto particolare. La noia, per me, è propriamente una specie di insufficienza o inadeguatezza o scarsità della realtà. Per adoperare una metafora, la realtà, quando mi annoio, mi ha sempre fatto l’effetto sconcertante che fa una coperta troppo corta, ad un dormiente, in una notte d’inverno: la tira sui piedi e ha freddo al petto, la tira sul petto e ha freddo ai piedi; e così non riesce mai a prender sonno veramente. Oppure, altro paragone, la mia noia rassomiglia all’interruzione frequente e misteriosa della corrente elettrica in una casa: un momento tutto è chiaro ed evidente, qui sono le poltrone, lì i divani, più in là gli armadi, le consolle, i quadri, i tendaggi, i tappeti, le finestre, le porte; un momento dopo non c’è più che buio e vuoto. Oppure, terzo paragone, la mia noia potrebbe essere definita una malattia degli oggetti, consistente in un avvizzimento o perdita di vitalità quasi repentina; come a vedere in pochi secondi, per trasformazioni successive e rapidissime, un fiore passare dal boccio all’appassimento e alla polvere.
Il sentimento della noia nasce in me da quello dell’assurdità di una realtà, come ho detto, insufficiente ossia incapace di persuadermi della propria effettiva esistenza. Per esempio, può accadermi di guardare con una certa attenzione un bicchiere. Finchè mi dico che questo bicchiere è un recipiente di cristallo o metallo fabbricato per metterci un liquido e portarlo alle labbra senza che si spanda, finchè, cioè, sono in grado di rappresentarmi con convinzione il bicchiere, mi sembrerà di avere con esso un rapporto qualsiasi, sufficiente a farmi credere alla sua esistenza e, in linea subordinata, anche alla mia. Ma fate che il bicchiere avvizzisca e perda la sua vitalità al modo che ho detto, ossia che mi si palesi come qualche cosa di estraneo, col quale non ho alcun rapporto, cioè, in una parola, mi appaia come un oggetto assurdo, e allora da questa assurdità scaturirà la noia la quale, in fin dei conti, è giunto il momento di dirlo, non è che incomunicabilità e incapacità di uscirne. Ma questa noia, a sua volta, non mi farebbe soffrire tanto se non sapessi che, pur non avendo rapporti con il bicchiere, potrei forse averne, cioè che il bicchiere esiste in qualche paradiso sconosciuto nel quale gli oggetti non cessano un solo istante di essere oggetti. Dunque la noia, oltre alla incapacità di uscire da me stesso, è la consapevolezza teorica che potrei forse uscirne, grazie a non so quale miracolo.

da La Noia, Alberto Moravia, 1960
Manifesto Bianco, Lucio Fontana

In the mood for love: Ed van der Elsken’s Love on the Left Bank | Sean O’Hagan | Art and design | guardian.co.uk

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Ed van der Elsken‘s groundbreaking book of photographs, Love on the Left Bank, first published in a small edition in 1954, has been reprinted by the small British publisher, Dewi Lewis. This is a cause for celebration. It is a classic of its kind – grainy, monochrome cinéma vérité – and one of the first photobooks to record the nascent flowering of rebellious youth culture in Europe.

Set in and around the hinterland between Odéon and St Germain-des-Prés, shot in black and white, the book is an impressionistic narrative that centres on a fictional character, Ann, a beautiful and enigmatic bohemian, and her circle of vagabond friends, who haunt the bars, cafes and clubs of the area. Van der Elsken’s camera trails Ann as she works as an exotic dancer, drinks, flirts, fights, sleeps, falls in and out of love.

Ann is actually the legendary bohemian figure Vali Myers, a self-exiled Australian artist, who was friends with Cocteau and Genet, and, by way of van der Elsken’s evocative portraits of her, later became a muse for the teenage Patti Smith. When the two eventually met in New York in the early 1970s, Myers tattooed a lightning bolt on Smith’s knee, while Smith described her as “the supreme beatnik chick – thick red hair and big black eyes, black boatneck sweaters and trench coats”.

Love on the Left Bank is actually narrated by a relatively minor character called Manuel, a young Mexican on the run from his own demons, who falls for Ann and whose thoughts form the text that accompanies the pictures. The text, van der Elsken makes clear from the start, “is entirely fictional and is not related to any living person”. The story of Manuel’s unrequited love for Ann creates another layer of mystery, adding to the sense that this is a snapshot not just of a time and place, but of a mood, maybe even a collective state of mind. That mood could be described as the beatnik sublime, and van der Elsken captures the first stirrings of a kind of youthful non-conformity that would become much more familiar – and ritualised – in the coming decades.

The intimate portraits of Ann – daydreaming, dozing, stirring a coffee – are the still moments in an otherwise impressionistic, often frenetic, narrative. The characters in the book are constantly on the move, from cafe to bar, nightclub to jazz club, the streets of St Germain-des-Prés alive with young people in search of the next nocturnal high. The supporting cast of real-life characters includes Jean-Michel, Benny and Pierre, who look like stylish proto-punks and drift in and out of trouble without much thought for the consequences, getting drunk, getting high and, at one point, getting arrested for brawling on the street. Like Brassaï before him, van der Elsken is drawn to the symbolic as well as the impressionistic: in one portrait of Ann, she leans against a wall on which the word Rêve (Dream) has been painted: shades of the Situationist slogans that would transform Paris during the student uprising of 1968.

In one series of fly-on-the-wall photographs, van der Elsken captures Jean Michel teaching a girl to “smoke hashish in the right way … the cigarette not held in the mouth, the smoke inhaled together with air from the cupped hands”. Jean Michel Mension would later become one of the main protagonists of the 1968 student uprising, a member of the Letterist International, to which the legendary Situationist activist and thinker, Guy Debord, also belonged. Legend has it that the back of Debord’s head can be seen in one of the many bar scenes in the book.

Ed van der Elsken’s Love on the Left Bank is important for many reasons, then: as an early reflection of youth cultural ennui, disaffection and rebellion; as a glimpse of a particular place and time when Parisian culture, specifically its youth culture, was on the cusp of a great sea change; as one of the first visual narratives that walks the line between fly-on-the-wall reportage and created narrative.

Vali Myers went on to become an opium addict, then an artist of some repute. She lived for a time in her own personal “Garden of Eden”, a small house with a rambling garden in Positano. She is the subject of four films, one, Death in the Port Jackson Hotel, made in 1971 by van der Elsken. She died of cancer, aged 72, in 2003 in her native Melbourne. In a newspaper interview, given from her hospital bed, she said, “I’ve had 72 absolutely flaming years. It [the illness] doesn’t bother me at all, because, you know love, when you’ve lived like I have, you’ve done it all.”

Van der Elsken went on to produce several brilliant books and to embrace colour photography in order to capture the vitality of his native Holland, but he was never at ease with the world of commercial photography.

Love on the Left Bank, his first and most groundbreaking book, remains his most beautifully realised body of work. He died of cancer, aged 65, in 1990. He once said, “I report on young, rebellious scum with pleasure … I rejoice in everything. Love. Courage. Beauty. Also blood, sweat and tears. Keep your eyes open.”

via In the mood for love: Ed van der Elsken’s Love on the Left Bank | Sean O’Hagan | Art and design | guardian.co.uk.

A Kind Of Taste

Con la provocazione che segue voglio attirare su di me l’ira di molti di voi, tant’è credo gli appassionati di jazz per sommi capi distinguibili in due categorie:
i jazzofili che se la tirano e i jazzofili che non se la tirano
Fatta eccezione per i musicisti jazz, i jazzofili che se la tirano diranno di essere grandi appassionati di Coltrane, pionere del jazz modale e genio avantguardista pressochè indiscusso. Ammettiamolo, nominare Coltrane assicura rispettabilità e quello charme da intellettuale di nicchia che tanto appaga la vanità di chiunque appassionato del genere.
I jazzofili che non se la tirano- e io faccio parte di questi- vi diranno che sì Coltrane è certamente un musicista geniale, ma piuttosto quattro ore di kabuki che ascoltare album come Interstellar Space o Meditation. Kind of Blue, Blue Train, My Favorite Things, Stardust, sono album meravigliosi, che amo molto, ma sfido io a godersi brani come Jupiter, Venus, Leo, senza sobbalzare dalla sedia stizziti, piuttosto frastonarti e perplessi. Senza nulla togliere alla maestria di Coltrane, che, del resto, se non avesse scritto e lavorato su quei brani, non avrebbe potuto formulare e convalidare lo sperimentalismo di cui è noto.
C’è piuttosto un musicista jazz nettamente ignorato ma altrettanto innovativo e sperimentale, che mi piace ricordare spesso perchè stralunato, meglio venuto da Saturno, pioniere dell’afrofuturismo e della filosofia cosmica, Sun Ra. Ho trovato su youtube questo filmato, del 1980, che lo racconta e ne mette in risalto l’estro 🙂

Lazing On A 60s Sunday Afternoon

The Four Lads – The Girl On Page 44
Perry Como – Like Young
Bo Diddley – Ride On, Josephine
The Chordettes – Lollipop
The Shirelles – Mamma Said
Connie FrancisLipstick On Your Collar
Paul Anka – Oh Carol
Chuck Berry – Ramona Say Yes
Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode
Bill Haley – Rock Around The Clock
Buddy Holly – Maybe Baby
Frank Zappa – I’m So Happy I Could Cry

Degli Abeti E Del Barone Rampante

Illustration by Terry Fan

La campagna, che meraviglia, secca, arsa dal sole, il frinire delle cicale, il gracidio dei corvi, le balle di fieno, onde alte, onde basse, onde alte, onde basse, che disegnano ricami di spuma dorata nei campi fiatati dallo scirocco, e il Mediterraneo, dietro i muretti a secco, a pennellate di cielo e nuvole oltre il limitare della terra cotta. I papaveri. I girasoli.
C’è una pineta vicino casa dove vado quasi tutti i giorni, a correre e passeggiare; qualche anno fa un incendio ha bruciato diversi ettari di terreno impoverendo di molto il paesaggio e privandolo del verde che prima ossigenava l’aria e offriva frescura nelle colline. Mi piacerebbe riconoscere la varietà di uccelli che mi capita di vedere, spesso piccoli come passerotti e con le ali sfumate di azzurro e giallo; un giorno mi è capitato incontrare un riccio, un altro un paio di volpi (sebbene potrebbe trattarsi delle guardie forestali che si aggirano tra i cespugli e a tarda sera spiano le coppiette appartate in macchina nelle aree di sosta).
Sapevate i celti usavano assegnare un albero ai giorni del caldendario, che si distingue dal nostro perchè inizia il primo giorno di novembre, e in base allo studio delle costellazioni minori associare un albero alla nascita di ciascun individuo. Secondo la tradizione celtica io sono un abete.
Tra gli alberi che punteggiano di verde le colline della pineta, ci sono molti cipressi, abeti, lecci e oleandri, che amo particolarmente per via del portamento arbustivo e i meravigliosi fiori. Pare il fusto e le foglie dell’oleandro particolarmente velenosi. Natura matrigna e ingannevole.
Stamattina, passeggiando tra i pini, mi è venuto in mente Il barone rampante, di Italo Calvino, che da ragazzino litiga col padre e sale su un albero per trascorrere tra i rami tutta la vita; il romanzo è ambientato nel settecento ed evoca molto il racconto filosofico di Diderot e Voltaire, le avventure di Crusoe disperso in un’isola deserta, le sfide di Fogg in giro per il mondo in ottanta giorni. Il giovane Cosimo si arrampica di ramo in ramo e di albero in albero supera confini, vive avventure, legge romanzi, conosce uomini (persino Napoleone, persino lo zar di Russia), fantastica di uno stato ideale alla maniera di Platone, si innamora. Sullo sfondo la campagna ligure e i botti della Rivoluzione Francese.
Ho ritrovato questo libro a casa dei miei, in soffitta, dentro una scatola ricoperta di polvere e sporcizia. La libreria del soggiorno di casa è già troppo piena di prestigiose bomboniere e cornici e fronzoli, perchè vi rimanga spazio libero da stanziare a carabattole inutili come i libri, per scrupolo meglio depositati nel garage.
Mi rendo conto non è carino, ma mi piace riportare appena le pagine conclusive del romanzo, che io amo molto, e  danno speranza. La speranza di salire su una mongolfiera e viaggiare lontano, almeno con l’immaginazione.
A parlare è il fratello di Cosimo, che scrive

Ora io non so che cosa ci porterà questo secolo decimonono, cominciato male e che continua sempre peggio. Grava sull’Europa l’ombra della Restaurazione; tutti i novatori – giacobini o bonapartisti che fossero – sconfitti; gli ideali della giovinezza, i lumi, le speranze del nostro secolo decimottavo, tutto è cenere.
Io confido i miei pensieri a questo quaderno, nè saprei altrimenti esprimerli: sono stato sempre un uomo posato, senza grandi slanci o smanie, padre di famiglia, nobile di casato, illuminato di idee, ossequiente alle leggi. Gli eccessi della politica non m’hanno dato mai scrolloni troppo forti, e spero che così continui. Ma dentro, che tristezza!
Prima ero diverso, c’era mio fratello; mi dicevo: ‘c’è già lui che ci pensa’ e io badavo a vivere. Il segno delle cose cambiate per me non è stato nè l’arrivo degli Austrorussi nè l’annessione al Piemonte nè le nuove tasse o che so io, ma il non veder più lui, aprendo la finestra, lassù in bilico. Ora che lui non c’è, mi pare che dovrei pensare a tante cose, la filosofia, la politica, la storia, seguo le gazzette, leggo i libri, mi ci rompo la testa, ma le cose che voleva dire lui non sono lì, è altro che lui intendeva, qualcosa che abbracciasse tutto, e non poteva dirla con parole ma solo vivendo come visse. Solo essendo così spietatamente se stesso come fu fino alla morte, poteva dare qualcosa a tutti gli uomini.
Ricordo quando s’ammalò. Ce ne accorgemmo perchè portò il suo giaciglio sul grande noce là in mezzo alla piazza. Prima, i luoghi dove dormiva li aveva sempre tenuti nascosti, col suo istinto selvatico. Ora sentiva bisogno d’essere sempre in vista degli altri. A me si strinse il cuore: avevo sempre pensato che non gli sarebbe piaciuto di morire solo, e quello forse era già un segno. Gli mandammo un medico, su con una scala; quando scese fece una smorfia ed allargò le braccia.
Salii io sulla scala – Cosimo, – principia a dirgli, – hai settantacinque anni passati, come puoi continuare a star lì in cima? Ormai quello che volevi dire l’hai detto, abbiamo capito, è stata una gran forza d’animo la tua, ce l’hai fatta, ora puoi scendere. Anche per chi ha passato tutta la vita in mare c’è un’età in cui si sbarca.
Macchè. Fece di no con la mano. Non parlava quasi più. S’alzava, ogni tanto, avvolto in una coperta fin sul capo, e si sedeva su un ramo a godersi un po’ di sole. Più in là non si spostava. C’era una vecchia del popolo, una santa donna (forse una sua antica amante), che andava a fargli le pulizie, a portargli piatti caldi. Tenevamo la scala a pioli appoggiata contro il tronco, perchè c’era sempre bisogno d’andar su ad aiutarlo, e anche perchè si sperava che si decidesse da un momento all’altro a venir giù. (Lo speravano gli altri; io lo sapevo bene come lui era fatto). Intorno, sulla piazza c’era sempre un circolo di gente che gli teneva compagnia, discorrendo tra loro e talvolta anche rivolgendogli una battuta, sebbene si sapesse che non aveva più voglia di parlare.
S’aggravò. Issammo un letto sull’albero, riuscimmo sistemarlo in equilibrio; lui si coricò volentieri. Ci prese un po’ il rimorso di non averci pensato prima: a dire il vero lui le comodità non le rifiutava mica: pur che fosse sugli alberi, aveva sempre cercato di vivere meglio che poteva. Allora ci affrettammo a dargli altri conforti: delle stuoie per ripararlo dall’aria, un baldacchino, un braciere. Migliorò un poco, e gli portammo una poltrona, le assicurammo tra due rami; prese a passarci le giornate, avvolto nelle sue coperte.
Un mattino invece non lo vedemmo nè in letto nè in poltrona, alzammo lo sguardo, intimoriti: era salito in cima all’albero e se ne stava a cavalcioni d’un ramo altissimo, con indosso solo una camicia.
-Che fai lassù?
Non rispose. Era mezzo rigido. Sembrava stesse là in cima per miracolo. Preparammo un gran lenzuolo di quelli per raccogliere le olive, e ci mettemmo in una ventina a tenerlo teso, perchè ci s’aspettava che cascasse.
Intanto andò su un medico; fu una salita difficile, bisognò legare due scale una sull’altra. Scese e disse: -Vada il prete.
C’eravamo già accordati che provasse un certo Don Pericle, suo amico, prete costituzionale al tempo dei Francesi, iscritto alla Loggia quando ancora non era proibito al clero, e di recente riammesso ai suoi uffici dal Vescovado, dopo molte traversie. Salì coi paramenti e il ciborio, e dietro il chierico. Stette un po’lassù, pareva confabulassero, poi scese. – Li ha presi i sacramenti, allora, Don Pericle?
-No, no, ma dice che va bene, che per lui va bene -. Non si riuscì a cavargli di più.
Gli uomini che tenevano il lenzuolo erano stanchi. Cosimo stava lassù e non si muoveva. Si levò il vento, era libeccio, la vetta dell’albero ondeggiava, noi stavamo pronti. In quella in cielo apparve una mongolfiera.
Certi aeronauti inglesi facevano esperienze di volo in mongolfiera sulla costa. Era un bel pallone, ornato di frange e gale e fiocchi, con appesa una navicella di vimini: e dentro due ufficiali con le spalline d’oro e le aguzze feluche guardavano col cannocchiale il paesaggio sottostante. Puntarono i cannocchiali sulla piazza, osservando l’uomo sull’albero, il lenzuolo teso, la folla, aspetti strani del mondo. Anche Cosimo aveva alzato il capo, e guardava attento il pallone.
Quand’ecco la mongolfiera fu presa da una girata di libeccio; cominciò a correre nel vento vorticando come una trottola, e andava verso il mare. Gli aeronauti, senza perdersi d’animo, s’adoperavano a ridurre – credo – la pressione del pallone e nello stesso tempo srotolarono giù l’ancora per cercare d’afferrarsi a qualche appiglio. L’ancora volava argentea nel cielo appesa a una lunga fune, e seguendo obliqua la corsa del pallone ora passava sopra la piazza, ed era pressapoco all’altezza della cima del noce, tanto che temevamo colpisse Cosimo. Ma non potevamo supporre quello che dopo un attimo avrebbero visto i nostri occhi.
L’agonizzante Cosimo, nel momento in cui la fune dell’ancora gli passò vicino, spiccò un balzo di quelli che gli erano consueti nella sua gioventù, s’aggrappò alla corda, coi piedi sull’ancora e il corpo raggomitolato, e così lo vedemmo volar via, trascinato nel vento, frenando appena la corsa del pallone, e sparire verso il mare..
La mongolfiera, attraversato il golfo, riuscì ad atterrare poi sulla riva. Appesa alla corda c’era solo l’ancora. Gli aeronauti, troppo affannati a cercar di tenere la rotta, non s’erano accorti di nulla. Si suppose che il vecchio morente fosse sparito mentre volava in mezzo al golfo.
Così scomparse Cosimo, e non ci diede neppure la soddisfazione di vederlo tornare sulla terra da morto. Nella tomba di famiglia c’era una stele che lo ricorda con scritto: ‘Cosimo Piovasco di Rondò – Visse sugli alberi – Amò sempre la terra -Salì in cielo’.

Ogni tanto scrivendo m’interrompo e vado alla finestra. Il cielo è vuoto, e a noi vecchi d’Ombrosa, abituati a vivere sotto quelle verdi cupole, fa male agli occhi guardarlo. Si direbbe che gli alberi non hanno retto, dopo che mio fratello se n’è andato, o che gli uomini sono stati presi dalla furia della scura. Poi, la vegetazione è cambiata:non più i lecci, gli olmi, le roveri: ora l’Africa, l’Australia, le Americhe, le Indie allungano fin qui rami e radici. Le piante antiche sono arretrate in alto: sopra le colline gli olivi e nei boschi dei monti pini e castagni; in giù la costa è un’Australia rossa d’eucalipti, elefantesca di ficus, piante da giardino enormi e solitarie, e tutto il resto è palme, coi loro ciuffi scarmigliati, alberi inospitali del deserto.
Ombrosa non c’è più. Guardando il cielo sgombro, mi domando se davvero è esistita. Quel frastaglio di rami e foglie, biforcazioni, lobi, spiumii, minuto e senza fine, e il cielo solo a sprazzi irregolarie e ritagli, forse c’era solo perchè ci passasse mio fratello col suo leggero passo di codibugnolo, era un ricamo fatto sul nulla che assomiglia a questo filo d’inchiostro, come l’ho lasciato correre per pagine e pagine, zeppo di cancellature, di rimandi, di sgorbi nervosi, di macchie, di lacune, che a momenti si sgrana in grossi acini chiari, a momenti si infittisce in segni minuscoli come semi puntiformi, ora si ritorce su se stesso, ora si biforca, ora collega grumi di frasi con contorni di foglie o di nuvole, e poi s’intoppa, e poi ripiglia a attorcigliarsi, e corre e corre e si sdipana e avvolge un ultimo grappolo insensato di parole idee sogni ed è finito.

da Il Barone Rampante, Italo Calvino, 1957

Cronaca Annunciata Di Un’Epifania D’Amore # 4 The Twilight Zone, The Lonely

Off The Twilight Zone, an American anthology television series created by Rod Serling and running  on CBS from 1959 to 1964.
Cronaca Annunciata Di Un’Epifania D’Amore # 3 Lulu – Il vaso di Pandora
Cronaca Annunciata Di Un’ Epifania D’Amore # 2 La Ragazza con la pistola
Cronaca Annunciata Di Un’ Epifania D’ Amore # 1 Thriller

whiskey, Please

Off Baby Breeze, Chet Baker, 1964
‘After a five year European sojourn (including time in an Italian jail) cool jazz trumpeter Chet Baker returned to the States in good form to record this unusual date for the Limelight label in 1964. For starters, he was playing flugelhorn, an instrument he’d recently acquired to replace a stolen trumpet in France. Secondly, the date was produced by Bobby Scott, the English composer of “A Taste Of Honey,” included here as a bonus track. Baker sings the folk-like melody with conviction, accompanied only by Scott himself on piano. In fact, Baker’s plaintive vocals on this tune and others like Mel Torme‘s “Born To be Blue” and Ray Noble‘s “The Touch Of Your Lips” represent his best singing on record in a decade.

The session is smartly divided between these minimally accompanied vocals–the understated guitarist Kenny Burrell makes a welcome appearance on some–and straight-ahead instrumentals with full combo including the fine altoist Frank Strozier. The rich-toned flugelhorn suits Baker’s characteristic lyricism and he negotiates pianist Hal Galper‘s originals with aplomb.

A reissue of the mid-’60s Verve album that featured Chet on flugelhorn in place of his recently stolen trumpet! Bob James and Kenny Burrell are on hand, as are five bonus tracks, two unissued. Includes Born to Be Blue; I Wish You Love; You’re Mine, You , and more.

via Chet Baker – Baby Breeze  Album.


Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1969
Guerrero Province, Mexico, 1963
Western Skies Motel, Colorado, 1978
America, 1956
Utah, 1960
Reflection - 42nd Street, NY, 1952
New York, 1962
Billboard Painter, NY, 1952
Reflection, 3rd Avenue, 1952
New York, 1972
Bridge Reflection, Venice, 1955
Doge's Palace, Venice, 1955
Mandala Mudra Prayer Beads, India, 1974
Autumn Maple Leaves, Kyoto, Japan, 1981
Kumano Waterfall, Japan, 1983
Japan, 1983

In every artist there is poetry. In every human being there is the poetic element. We know, we feel, we believe. As knowers we are like the scientist relating through logical determination. As feelers, we are like poets relating the unrelated through intuition. As believers, we are only accepting our human limitations. The artist must express the summation of his feeling, knowing, believing through the unit of his life and work. One cannot photograph art. One can only live in the unity of his vision, as well as in the breadth of his humanity, vitality and understanding.
There is no formula – only man with his conscience speaking, writing and singing in the new hieroglyphic language of light and time.
via E r n s t H a a s | philosophy

The old pond A frog jumps in The sound of water. Matsuo Bashō

Like Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and their groups, Dave Brubeck and his first great quartet were among the first jazz musicians after World War II to travel diplomatically in the service of peace throughout the world. Armstrong released Ambassador Satch in 1955, and Brubeck released The Real Ambassadors, with Armstrong, Carmen McRae, and others, seven years later—helping, maybe, to thaw the Cold War.
From “Tokyo Traffic” to “Koto Song,” the album captures the range of lifestyles and rhythms of modern Japan, both urban and rural. The pastoral seems to appear more, with Paul Desmond’s sweet alto taking on flutelike inflections and coaxing some of Brubeck’s most delicate lyricism, though he does not neglect the piano’s more percussive possibilities. In the latter, Brubeck is kicked along by the masterful Joe Morello on percussion, the shining star of this date. Using virtually all components of the drum set—particularly the tom-tom, floor tom-tom, Chinese and Turkish cymbals, woodblock, and temple blocks—Morello evokes the spectrum of Japanese musical traditions alluded to by Brubeck in his compositions. Check Joe out on “Tokyo Traffic,” especially.
via Dave Brubeck Quartet | Jazz Impressions of Japan.

Penelope alla guerra

Questo di Oriana Fallaci, Penelope alla guerra, del 1960, non è solo il romanzo di debutto, ma un’ammissione. Oriana Fallaci ammette di essere stata anche lei una ragazzina, e di essersi innamorata, ingenuamente, di un uomo, un ex soldato, che non sta ad aspettare in casa, davanti alla tv e coi ferri della maglia in mano, ma va a cercare, fino in America, e con la scusa di dover girare un film.
La Fallaci sa essere molto presuntuosa e talvolta saccente, in quello che ha scritto, ma è in questo romanzo che secondo me rivela il lato più vulnerabile, sensibile e vanitoso di sè. C’è in lei quel disincanto, che la invecchia e indurisce, misto a stupore infantile, che a un tratto l’intenerisce e riporta a quand’ era bambina. Orgoglio e curiosità devono essere stati i suoi pregi migliori. Nell’edizione che ho qui, della Bur, la prefazione di Concita De Gregorio dice quanto segue
‘Da Oriana Fallaci, la più grande giornalista italiana del ‘900 (definizione che lei avrebbe trovato orrendamente riduttiva, sessista e provinciale, avrebbe chiamato infuriata per farla togliere da questa prefazione, avrebbe telefonato con la sua voce nera e arrochita dal fumo. “Oriana Fallaci. Scrittore”, ha fatto scrivere sulla sua lapide), da lei abbiamo tutti imparato in via definitiva e senza possibilità di equivoco nè di ripensamento che non esiste – in questo tempo saturo di immagini e di notizie, in questo tempo di fasulla correttezza ipocrita – un altro modo di raccontare che non sia quello che mette chi scrive alla guida del racconto. Non l’obiettività ma l’aperta soggettività. Non la neutralità ma la schietta e persino esibita parzialità: la narrazione dal proprio punto di vista, il proprio sguardo sulle cose. Una cifra, nel caso di Oriana un marchio. Il mondo secondo lei. Due righe e siete già sulle spalle di questa donna che vi conduce fuori dalle autostrade a otto corsie del sapere, vi porta lungo i sentieri, vi apre nuove piste nella foresta, vi guida lungo un tracciato solo a lei noto ma fidatevi perchè questa è la chiave dell’adorazione e del disprezzo che Fallaci suscita: fidarsi, lasciarsi portare dove solo lei potrà mostrarvi quel che vede, o non farlo, diffidarne. Girare le spalle e andarsene. Tornate pure ‘lungo la strada che credete più facile perchè è a senso unico e priva di curve’. Andate, illusi. Ecco: siamo alle ultime pagine di Penelope alla Guerra.
New York, 1957. Giò, la protagonista, ha ventisei anni. Oriana ne aveva ventotto, allora. “Strana ragazza, a suo modo incantevole. Parla poco ed ha bellissimi occhi. Diventa feroce quando si arrabbia.” Questo dice di sè. “Sei cinica e allo stesso tempo sei ingenua. Capisci tutto e allo stesso tempo non capisci nulla.” Questo dicono di lei. E’ la storia di una giovane scrittrice spedita in America dal suo produttore perchè trovi l’ispirazione per un soggetto ‘moderno e brillante’. Angelo Rizzoli, il produttore, Oriana la giovane scrittrice. Racconta dunque di sè. Del suo incontro con l’America e della sua idea di America: quella di prima, l’illusione, quella di dopo, la realtà.

Oriana Fallaci.com

One for Us, One for the Road, One for the Moon

ai Pirati e ai Marinai
alle Zingare e ai Poeti
alle Sirene e alle Ballerine
alla Notte e al Mare
Al Circo e alla Strada
Cheers alla nostra, e alla Luna
A quest’anno, che ci porterà fortuna
Have a dancing one
much Love

Plaisir Solitaire

Plaisir Solitaire (The pleasure of Solitude) by French Photographer Rene Maltete

Dennis Stock

Paris, Cafe de Flore, 1958.Dennis Stock
USA. A couple with a child, 1952. Dennis Stock
James Dean, 1955. Dennis Stock
James Dean, 1955. Dennis Stock
Arthur Miller, 1956. Dennis Stock
Bill Crow with his bass, Times Square, 1958. Dennis Stock
Miles Davis, 1957. Dennis Stock
Thelonious Monk in performance at Town Hall, New York, 1957. Dennis Stock
San Diego coastline, 1968. Dennis Stock

USA. California. 1968. Venice Beach Rock Festival. Dennis Stock
California Trip, 1968. Dennis Stock
A surfer at Corona del Mar, California, 1968. Dennis Stock

“Art is a well-articulated manifestation of an aspect of life. I have been privileged to view much of life through my cameras, making the journey an enlightened experience. My emphasis has mainly been on affirmative reactions to human behavior and a strong attraction to the beauty in nature.”

Dennis Stock
[via Magnum Photo]

Perspectives Of Nudes

Bill Brandt - Nude. London, 1958

Ho per le mani ‘Perspectives of Nudes‘, una raccolta fotografica di nudi realizzata nel 1961 da Bill Brandt, fotografo inglese, di origini tedesche, cui lavoro ricorda le Distorsioni di Kertész, e riflette le influenze del movimento surrealista, pioniere Man Ray, di cui Brandt sarà amico durante gli anni trascorsi a Parigi, prima di un definitivo trasferimento a Londra, dove lavorerà come reporter.
‘When I began to photograph nudes, I let myself be guided by this camera, and instead of photographing what I saw, I photographed what the camera was seeing. I interfered very little, and the lens produced anatomical images and shapes which my eyes had never observed.
I felt that I understood what Orson Welles meant when he said ‘the camera is much more than a recording apparatus. It is a medium via which messages reach us from another world’. For over fifteen years I was now preoccupied with photographing nudes. I learned very much from my old Kodak. It taught me how to use acute distortion to convey the weight of a body or the lightness of a movement. In the end, it had also taught me how to use modem cameras in an unorthodox way, and for the last chapter of my book Perspective of Nudes which was published in 1961, I discarded the Kodak altogether.
These last pictures are close-ups of parts of the body, photographed in the open air, I saw knees and elbows, legs and fists as rocks and pebbles which blended with cliffs and became an imaginary landscape.’

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“It is part of the photographer’s job to see more intensely than most people do. He must have and keep in him something of the receptiveness of a child who looks at the world for the first time or of the traveler who enters a strange country… We are most of us too busy, too worried, too intent on proving ourselves right, too obsessed with ideas to stand and stare… Very rarely are we able to free our minds of thoughts and emotions and just see for the simple pleasure of seeing. And so long as we fail to do this, so long will the essence of things be hidden from us” – B.Brandt

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