2013年4月30日 星期二

Bouroullecs’ Subversive Style


Bringing an Industrial Vision to the Home

Paris Exhibit Shows Bouroullecs’ Subversive Style

Bouroullec Tahon
Clouds screen, designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec in 2009 for Kvadrat.

PARIS — Hanging in the sumptuous Grande Nef, or Great Nave, of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris are nearly 1,500 spindly strips of black plastic slotted together to form a gigantic screen. Each one resembles a short strand of seaweed, which is why its designers, the brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, named it Algue, the French word for seaweed.

Studio Bouroullec
Ronan, left, and Erwan Bouroullec with their Vegetal chair for Vitra.
Studio Bouroullec
A view of the ‘‘Momentané’’  retrospective on the Bouroullec brothers in Paris.
Unprepossessing though an Algue looks on its own, when several pieces are combined they create a gently surreal visual effect, which is doubtless why Vitra, their Swiss manufacturer, has sold nearly 8 million pieces of that algaesque plastic in the past nine years. Not bad at €63, or $125, for a pack of 25. It seems apt that a giant ensemble of Algues is among the first things you see when walking into “Momentané,” the retrospective of 15 years of the Bouroullecs’ work, which opened Friday at Musée des Arts Décos and runs through Sept. 1. Not only is it one of their best-selling products, Algue embodies the defining qualities of the brothers’ designs. Formally elegant, technically ingenious, disciplined, yet flexible, it has the air of something that belongs to the present, and could only be the result of the latest technology and design thinking.
Like many bastions of the decorative arts, the Paris museum has traditionally seemed ambivalent about technocratic objects like Algue, and has rarely addressed industrial design on this scale. Yet it chose the subjects of this exhibition wisely because Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, 41 and 37 respectively, are the most important French industrial designers of their generation, and among the most influential worldwide. Even if you haven’t slotted a couple of Algues together, or used any of their other products, there may well be traces of the brothers’ work in the contents of your home and workplace.
Several exhibitions have been devoted to the Bouroullecs in recent years, notably at the Art Institute of Chicago and Centre Pompidou Metz in eastern France, but “Momentané” is their most ambitious show so far. The Musée des Arts Décos gave them carte blanche to present their work as they wished.
It is tempting to interpret their response as a subtle commentary on the historic frostiness between the decorative arts and industrial design. Having been given temporary custodianship of the Grande Nef, the brothers chose to disguise its ornate interior behind a translucent white tented structure and the ceramic floor tiles they developed for Mutina in Italy. They then divided the space with giant screens constructed from Algues and Clouds, the interlocking felt tiles they designed for the Danish textile company Kvadrat.
Gently, yet deftly, the Bouroullecs have transformed the western wing of what was once France’s royal palace into a neutral, modern setting. There is even a quietly provocative subtext to the exhibition’s title. “Momentané” translates into English as “momentary,” which alludes to the speed and frenzy of contemporary life, rather than the monumentality traditionally prized by historic museums like this one.
Not that there is a hint of aggression: that isn’t their style. Before the Bouroullecs, French design was dominated by the Post-Modernist prankster Philippe Starck, whose work is as showy and boisterous as theirs is restrained. Yet their designs are more subversive than his. Rather than devising new versions of existing objects, they question what sort of things we need at a time when digital technology has wrought dramatic changes in the way we live and work, and then develop them.
Brought up in Brittany, both brothers went to college in Paris, where Ronan studied design and Erwan art. Ronan opened a design studio after graduating, and Erwan joined him, initially just to help out. After a brief period of working independently, they have since signed everything jointly, and only ever release a project if they both agree to do so.
Even when Ronan was working alone, he produced objects that could be customized by their owners as their needs changed, typically by adding different components to, say, a series of vases or a kitchen unit. He and his brother have since applied a similar principle to a dazzling range of other products.
Recognizing that workplaces now need to accommodate constantly changing casts of employees, interns and visitors, executing diverse tasks, they have designed desk systems for Vitra inspired by the multiple activities carried out on the kitchen table in their grandparents’ farmhouse, where a child might be doing homework at the same time as other people ate supper, and someone else did the farm accounts.
Their products for the home are equally versatile. Rooms can be divided into different spaces by constructing screens of Algues or Clouds, and then dismantling them. While anyone living and working in the same place can create an enclosed area for a bed, without sacrificing sorely needed floor space, in the elevated Lit Clos sleeping cabin.
“Momentané” shows how the brothers began by developing such objects on an experimental basis, and have since deployed the technology and engineering resources of manufacturers like Vitra and Kvadrat to make them more sophisticated. The show is organized thematically with monumental projects, like Algue and Clouds, clustered in the Grande Nef, while their work for offices, schools and other public spaces is in another gallery, and their designs for the home in a third.
The brothers offer glimpses of their thinking and way of working by displaying the rough sketches from which they develop their ideas, and photographs tracing their work over the years. Seeing Erwan groaning over a glitch in a project, the mammoth machines that shape their products, and Ronan’s daughter Mette toddling around their home brings the Bouroullecs’ designs to life by reminding us of how challenging it is to create something that seems so calm and refined, and how pleasing it can be to live with.

How to Build a Spoon By JOE NOCERA

Op-Ed Columnist

How to Build a Spoon

I have seen the future, and it is in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
Joe Nocera

I’ve seen young entrepreneurs creating companies that actually make things — not some digital app (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) — but actual products you can hold in your hand. I have seen prototypes being churned out on 3-D printers. I have seen the Navy Yard’s 300-acre complex of buildings — whose disrepair was once a symbol of manufacturing’s decline — become a symbol of manufacturing’s revival.
Sorry to sound so highfalutin, but it is easy to get carried away after you’ve been to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. It offers something you don’t often feel these days when you contemplate the future of the American economy, with its loss of middle-class jobs and the widening of the income gap.
It allows you to feel hopeful again.
I went there this week because I had gotten interested in Spuni, a little start-up that was operating out of a development called New Lab — essentially shared space in one of the Navy Yard’s buildings for entrepreneurs and artists. (To be more precise, David Belt, New Lab’s developer, is using temporary space in the Navy Yard to house his tenants, while he refurbishes some 85,000 square feet in the old naval machine shop.)
Spuni is a product dreamed up in the Boston kitchen of Isabel and Trevor Hardy. The 30-something parents of two small children, they got to mulling the mess that William, their first child, made as he was transitioning from a bottle to a spoon.
“We both have design backgrounds,” said Isabel, “and we were trained to solve problems by using simple design solutions.” The problem, the Hardys concluded, was that spoons are poorly designed for small children. As they bite into the spoon, the food in the back half has nowhere to go but the floor. One day, as they were kicking around this idea with their friend Marcel Botha, a serial entrepreneur who shares a South African heritage with Trevor, they came up with the idea of a flatter-shaped, more ergonomical spoon that would allow a baby to suck the food off it.
Trevor and Isabel have full-time jobs. Once upon a time, their little idea would have remained just that — an idea. But Marcel, who had considerable small-manufacturing experience, was convinced that they could create a company to make the Spuni, as they quickly named it. First sketched in the spring of 2011, the Spuni saw its first prototype within two months. Using a 3-D printer, they went through a half-dozen prototype iterations until they felt they had the Spuni and its packaging exactly right.
To raise capital, they relied on crowd-sourcing, generating almost $38,000 by preselling Spunis on the Web site Indiegogo. Marcel, meanwhile, cut a deal with a small German manufacturer he had used before. When we spoke on Friday, he was just returning from Germany, where he had supervised the first quality tests. Within weeks, some 8,000 Spunis will be available for purchase. Marcel expects to be manufacturing 600,000 Spunis within a year’s time. If all goes according to plan, Spuni will be churning out around one million spoons a year by 2015.
The role of the Navy Yard is as an incubator of companies like Spuni. Andrew Kimball, who runs the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, a nonprofit with a 99-year lease from the city, told me that between public and private investment, around $1 billion has been raised to make the Navy Yard a destination for small entrepreneurs and other members of the creative class. According to a recent study by the Pratt Center for Community Development, the companies in the Navy Yard have been responsible for $2 billion in direct economic output and another $2 billion in indirect economic benefits. Kimball says there is a waiting list of 150 companies trying to get space in one of the Navy Yard’s buildings. “It’s cool to make things again,” he said.
Still, for all this glorious activity, the Navy Yard companies employ only 6,400 people. That’s up from 3,600 in 2001, but it is a far cry from the 70,000 men who once built ships during the Navy Yard’s muscular manufacturing heyday. That, of course, is the downside of the manufacturing revival in the U.S. — it simply doesn’t create the number of jobs that the old-style assembly lines used to. When I asked the Spuni founders how many employees they would need in the U.S. if they got to 600,000 in annual production, the number stunned me: 10. In Germany, the factory, at peak production, would probably not need more than 20 employees.
Marcel told me that his goal is to create a small manufacturing center in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He would like to employ 100 or more people and produce a variety of products, not just Spunis. This is the model of modern American manufacturing.
Welcome to the future.

Female Pioneers of the Bauhaus



Bauhaus Archive, Berlin

柏林——格特魯德·阿恩特(Gertrud Arndt)當時一定非常樂觀。1923年她來到包豪斯(Bauhaus)藝術設計學校時,是一個才華橫溢、生氣勃勃的20歲的年輕人,她獲得了獎學金。她在一個建築事務所當了幾年學徒之後,就下定決心要學建築。
可惜她沒有機會去學。包豪斯當時處於動蕩之中,因為它的創始總監,建築師沃爾特·格洛皮烏斯(Walter Gropius),和其中最有威望的一位老師約翰內斯·伊頓(Johannes Itten)長期不和。後者想把學校變成自己的工具,用來實現他准宗教式的藝術設計手法。阿恩特被告知沒有建築學的課程可供她學習,她被分到了紡織講習 班。
不只她一個人受到了這樣的待遇。其他大部分女生也被迫學習“適合女性”的專業,比如紡織或者制陶工藝。柏林的包豪斯檔案館為了對這些女生在校期間被 邊緣化表示歉意,舉辦了“包豪斯女性”(Female Bauhaus)系列展覽,以表彰她們的作品,最近的一次展覽是關於阿恩特的。
阿恩特的展覽中不僅有她的紡織習作,還有她的攝影作品,她在包豪斯學院就讀期間開始練習攝影,以後從未間斷。她的展覽持續到4月22日。她是系列展 中的第三位,前兩位分別是紡織設計師貝妮塔·科赫-歐特(Benita Koch-Otte),以及洛烏·舍佩爾-伯肯坎普(Lou Scheper-Berkenkamp),她在離開學校之後在舞台設計、插畫和色彩理論方面成就了一番事業。包豪斯檔案館計劃將來繼續推出這個系列的更多 展覽。
“包豪斯有先進的理想,但是男性管理者們代表着當時社會的普遍態度,”凱瑟琳·因斯(Catherine Ince)說。她是最近在倫敦巴比肯藝術中心舉辦的展覽“包豪斯以藝術為生命”的聯合策展人。“離實現普遍公正還有太遙遠的距離。”
這種情況後來得以改善。1923年,格羅皮烏斯把伊頓趕走了,代之以激進的匈牙利藝術家兼設計師拉茲洛·莫霍伊-納吉(Laszlo Moholy-Nagy)。莫霍伊不僅確保女生得到更大的自由,還鼓勵其中一位女生,瑪麗安·布蘭德(Marianne Brandt),加入金屬講習班。在20世紀30年代,她成了德國最重要的工業設計師之一。

Experiment in Totality by Sibyl Moholy-Nagy拉茲洛·莫霍利-納吉

 Experiment in Totality by Sibyl Moholy-Nagy拉茲洛·莫霍利...

但是阿恩特、科赫-歐特和舍佩爾-伯肯坎普就沒那麼幸運了,她們在校的時候,莫霍伊還沒來。科赫-歐特是三人中唯一一個堅持最初專業的人,她最終在 紡織設計和藝術教育兩個領域都成了有影響力的人物。相反,舍佩爾-伯肯坎普在與一個同學結婚之後就退學了,幾年之後,她丈夫回校當老師,她就在包豪斯劇院 幫忙。同樣地,阿恩特在1927年完成學業之後也放棄了紡織學,但是她在30年代初又與包豪斯有了一種非正式的聯繫——她丈夫接受了在該校教書的職位,他 們也是在該校就讀時相識的。
即便如此,這三位女士最後的工作領域在男性主導的設計體系中被認為不像建築或工業設計那麼重要,部分原因是這些領域被看作是由女性獨佔的領域。關於 這些領域的書籍和展覽比其他學科要少。甚至連包豪斯最成功的紡織學畢業生,包括安妮·阿伯斯(Anni Albers)、岡塔·斯特爾茲利(Gunta Stölzl)和科赫-歐特,在該校的歷史中也不如那些“更重要的”學科的男校友們那麼顯要。
包豪斯對性別的偏見不是她們遇到的唯一的職業問題。就像因斯女士指出的那樣,學校在初期對女性的矛盾心態反映了那個時代的偏見。她們三個每個人都像 其他職業女性一樣,面臨同樣的挑戰——在家庭責任和事業之間周旋。她們遇到的問題還嚴重,因為她們有可能被在類似領域工作的丈夫蓋過風頭。
情況最糟的是科赫-歐特和她的丈夫,納粹禁止她的丈夫在德國任教,他逃到了布拉格。不幸的是,他因一次意外事故離世,留下她獨自一人回到德國重新開 始生活。阿恩特和舍佩爾-伯肯坎普都沒有像科赫-歐特或者布蘭德(她最後留在了東德)那樣遭受那麼多磨難,但是她們和她們的家人經受了在納粹德國生活的心 理創傷和艱辛。
這些人於3月28日和29日在紐約的“國際性別設計網絡”(International Gender Design Network)大會的開幕式上相聚,討論一個同樣有爭議的話題:對包豪斯學校早期造成負面影響的性別歧視,在如今的設計界還保持着多大程度的破壞力。

Female Pioneers of the Bauhaus

BERLIN — She must have felt so optimistic. When Gertrud Arndt arrived at the Bauhaus school of art and design in 1923, she was a gifted, spirited 20-year-old who had won a scholarship to pay for her studies. Having spent several years working as an apprentice to a firm of architects, she had set her heart on studying architecture.
No chance. The Bauhaus was in tumult because of the long-running battle between its founding director, the architect Walter Gropius, and one of its most charismatic teachers, Johannes Itten, who wanted to use the school as a vehicle for his quasi-spiritual approach to art and design. Arndt was told that there was no architecture course for her to join and was dispatched to the weaving workshop.

Not that she was alone. Most of the other female students had been forced to study the supposedly “feminine” subjects of weaving or ceramics too. The Bauhaus Archive in Berlin is now trying to make amends to the women like them, who felt marginalized at the school, by celebrating their work in the “Female Bauhaus” series of exhibitions, the latest of which is devoted to Arndt.
As well as her student work in textiles, Arndt’s exhibition, through April 22, includes the photographic experiments she began at the Bauhaus and continued for the rest of her life. She is the third female Bauhaüsler to be featured in the series that started with a fellow textile designer Benita Koch-Otte and Lou Scheper-Berkenkamp, who forged a career in theater design, illustration and color theory after leaving the school. The Bauhaus Archive plans to continue the series with more shows in the future.
All three of the first “Female Bauhaus” subjects were unusually talented, determined and resourceful, yet each would have been justified in feeling that she faced greater professional obstacles than her male contemporaries both at the Bauhaus and afterward. Why did a supposedly progressive school turn out to be so misogynistic?
The Bauhaus, which ran from 1919 to 1933, was not always unfair to women. It was only in the early years that female students were relegated to particular courses, despite Gropius’s claim in the school’s manifesto that it welcomed “any person of good repute, without regard to age or sex.”
“The Bauhaus had progressive aspirations, but the men in charge represented the prevailing societal attitudes of the time,” said Catherine Ince, co-curator of the recent “Bauhaus Art as Life” exhibition at the Barbican Art Gallery in London. “It was simply a step too far to bring about equality across the board.”
The situation improved after Gropius succeeded in ousting Itten in 1923 and replaced him with the radical Hungarian artist and designer Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. Having ensured that female students were given greater freedom, Moholy encouraged one of them, Marianne Brandt, to join the metal workshop. She was to become one of Germany’s foremost industrial designers during the 1930s.
But Arndt, Koch-Otte and Scheper-Berkenkamp were unfortunate in having joined the school before Moholy’s arrival. Koch-Otte was the only one of the three to persevere with her original course of study, eventually becoming an influential figure in both textile design and art education. Whereas Scheper-Berkenkamp dropped out after marrying a fellow student only to help out at the Bauhaus Theater when he returned to the school as a teacher several years later. Similarly, Arndt abandoned weaving after completing her course in 1927 but forged informal links with the Bauhaus at the turn of the 1930s when her husband, who she had also met as a student, accepted a teaching post there.
Even so, all three women ended up working in areas that the male-dominated design establishment did not deem to be as important as, say, architecture or industrial design, partly because they were seen as female preserves. Fewer books and exhibitions have since been devoted to them than to other disciplines. And even the most successful Bauhaus textile graduates, including Anni Albers, Gunta Stölzl and Koch-Otte, have featured less prominently in histories of the school than their male counterparts, who studied “weightier” subjects, have done.
Not that gender stereotyping by the Bauhaus was the only professional problem they faced. As Ms. Ince pointed out, the school’s initial ambivalence toward women reflected the prejudices of the time. Each of the trio faced the same challenges as other working women in juggling domestic responsibilities with their careers. For them, those problems were aggravated by the risk of being overshadowed by their husbands, who worked in similar fields.
Arguably, they and their spouses also suffered professionally from staying in Europe during World War II, rather than seeking refuge in the United States like Gropius and other prominent Bauhaüslers. Remaining in Europe not only isolated them from Gropius’s circle, which has since dominated historic accounts of the Bauhaus, but left them to deal with the brutal consequences of the continent’s mid-20th century politics.
Worst off were Koch-Otte and her husband, who were banned from teaching in Germany by the Nazis and fled to Prague. Tragically, he died in an accident there, leaving her to return to Germany to rebuild her life. Neither Arndt nor Scheper-Berkenkamp suffered as severely as Koch-Otte, or Brandt, who ended up on the East German side of the Iron Curtain, but they and their families faced the trauma and hardship of life in Nazi Germany.
The “Female Bauhaus” series is a touching way of acknowledging their achievements and the difficulties they faced during and after their studies. It also reflects the growing interest in the work of female designers, both inside and outside the Bauhaus, by a new generation of design historians and curators, like Ms. Ince.
A group of them is to meet at the inaugural International Gender Design Network conference in New York March 28 and 29 to discuss an equally thorny issue: the degree to which the sexism that blighted the early years of the Bauhaus persists in design today.

2013年4月27日 星期六


2009年當佳士得(Christie’s)拍賣鬧劇我很注意. 因為1994我曾與公司同事王定坤先生
(手提回旅館)取回台灣  那不曉得是真品還是複製品. 如果真的.那我們提過億元的東西在新加坡濕熱的街頭

2013年04月27日 15:09 PM
英國《金融時報》 舍赫拉查德•達內什庫 巴黎報道

成龍(Jackie Chan)的最新電影《十二生肖》(Chinese Zodiac/CZ12)講述的就是尋找流失銅像的故事。在這部片子里,這位巨星為了銅像在西方博物館中一路奔襲打鬥,而邪惡的拍賣者則在給一些類似的珍寶落錘定價。
因此,當佳士得(Christie’s)拍賣行的擁有者弗朗索瓦-亨利•皮諾(Francois-Henri Pinault)周五宣稱,他將把兩尊銅像歸還中國的時候,他在改善中法關系方面的作用,已經不亞於弗朗索瓦•奧朗德(François Hollande)總統同時間對中國的訪問。
這次歸還的青銅鼠首和青銅兔首,是1860年鴉片戰爭(Opium Wars)期間,英法軍隊火燒圓明園(Summer Palace)時搶走的十二生肖青銅像中的兩件。
它們曾是伊夫•聖•羅蘭(Yves Saint Laurent)奢華的藝術收藏品的一部分。在這位時尚設計師去世後,他的同性戀伴侶和商業合作夥伴皮埃爾•貝爾熱(Pierre Bergé)於2009年通過佳士得拍賣了這兩尊銅像。
當時中國評論家猛烈抨擊了法國當局,指責他們不尊重中國。在此一年前,時任法國總統尼古拉•薩科齊(Nicolas Sarkozy)曾會見達賴喇嘛(Dalai Lama),法國抗議者還擾亂了北京奧運火炬在巴黎的傳遞活動。
這在中國引發了一場外交風暴,佳士得在中國也備受批評。中國同時是PPR增長最快的奢侈品市場。PPR旗下的奢侈品包括古馳(Gucci)手袋、聖羅蘭(Saint Laurent)時裝以及彪馬(Puma)運動裝。
“皮諾家族付出了巨大努力以歸還這兩件中國國寶,我們強烈認為,它們應該回到它們的祖國,”皮諾表示,“皮諾家族的業務遍佈全球,在中國也有著龐大的業務。皮諾家族控股Kering集團(Kering Group)。”
英國《金融時報》吉密歐(Jamil Anderlini)、歐陽德(Simon Rabinovitch)北京、德爾菲娜•施特勞斯(Delphine Strauss)倫敦補充報道

2013年4月26日 星期五

Vending machine for hungry dogs arrives on Clapham Common

Vending machine for hungry dogs arrives on Clapham Common

Hungry canines in south London were given an unexpected treat when the world’s first vending machine for dogs pitched up on Clapham Common this week.
While their owners can just pull out some loose change in exchange a sugary treat, these dogs were made to work hard for their rewards.
Bakers doggy vending machine arrives on Clapham Common
World’s first vending machine for dogs arrives in Clapham Common (Picture: Bakers)
The animals are challenged to pull a bone attached to a lever, which causes a tennis ball to fire from the roof of the machine.
They then have to sprint after the ball and return it to the prototype before picking up their treat.
Every element of the machine was created with a dog’s needs in mind, encouraging fun engagement and exercise.
Bakers doggy vending machine arrives on Clapham Common
The vending machine was a hit (Picture: Bakers)
Hounds are enticed to approach the machine, the brainchild of dog food brand Bakers, by the noises it creates such as a cat’s meow.
Peter Neville, an animal expert who works with Bakers Complete, said trips to the park ‘may never be the same again’.
Bakers doggy vending machine arrives on Clapham Common
A dog chases after the ball (Picture: Bakers)
‘Imagine stumbling across a doggy vending machine that adds challenge and excitement to your run in the park,’ he said.
‘All it takes is a little focus, and dogs can earn a tasty Bakers Complete reward simply by engaging in a stimulating mix of mind and body.’
Bakers doggy vending machine arrives on Clapham Common
The canines get their reward (Picture: Bakers)

2013年4月24日 星期三

Thai great national artists, 1949-96

 我在舊書店買到一本印刷精美的書Thai great national artists, 1949-96 (泰文-英文)
 繪畫7人/雕塑 5人/ 版畫 5人/ 應用藝術1人/ 裝飾藝術 1人
  1. National Artist of Thailand - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The National Artist is a title given annually by the Office of the National Culture Commission of Thailand, recognizing notable Thai artists in literature, fine arts, ...
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National Artist
Thailand National Artist logo.png
Awarded for Exceptional contribution to the arts of Thailand
Country Thailand
Presented by Office of the National Culture Commission
First awarded 1985
Official website http://art.culture.go.th/artist_en/
The National Artist (Thai: ศิลปินแห่งชาติ, RTGS: Sinlapin Haeng Chat, IPA: [sǐn láʔ pin hɛ̀ːŋ tɕʰâːt]) is a title given annually by the Office of the National Culture Commission of Thailand, recognizing notable Thai artists in literature, fine arts, visual arts, applied arts (architecture, design) and performing arts (Thai dance, international dance, puppetry, shadow play, Thai music, international music, drama and film).
Since 1985, the honors have been presented on February 24, "National Artist Day" in Thailand. The date was chosen because it is the birth date of Buddha Loetla Nabhalai, or King Rama II, who was an artist himself. In 1986, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, an accomplished musician, photographer and painter, was named "Supreme Artist."
National Artists receive a monthly salary of 12,000 baht as well as health benefits, 15,000 baht towards funeral expenses and 120,000 baht for a memorial biography.[1][2]

2013年4月22日 星期一

Cloisonné decorated jar景泰藍瓷壇 (Croydon)

London, a world city in 20 objects: Cloisonné decorated jar

Jessica Harrison-Hall, British Museum
Cloisonne jar with dragon
Cloisonné decorated jar
Philanthropic Londoners are supporting the Evening Standard’s campaigns to encourage London primary school children to read more and to find young adults work through apprenticeship schemes. This culture of selfless giving is a vital part of London life. Visitors to the British Museum have benefited greatly from this generosity, which manifests itself in new buildings, refurbished galleries and acquisitions of new objects.
Jimmy Riesco (1877-1964) from Croydon was one such benefactor. He collected Chinese art and bequeathed his collection of Chinese ceramics to his home town, where it is now on display in the Riesco Gallery in the Museum of Croydon. This magnificent cloisonné jar, a testimony to the quality of Chinese craftsmanship, was once in his collection. It is decorated with powerful dragons with snake-like bodies and horns flying through the clouds.
Cloisonné is a method of decorating metal objects with a network of wire cells. Cloisonné wares are particularly time-consuming and labour-intensive to make. Craftsmen sketch a design onto a metal jar using a brush and black ink. Wires are cut out of sheet copper and fixed to the body of the jar, forming cells. The cells are filled with multicoloured opaque glass, which produces a brightly coloured surface. The jar is then fired in a kiln at about 600 degrees centigrade. After firing, the jar cools and the glass shrinks. Any gaps in the design are filled in and the jar is refired. This process is repeated up to four times. Finally the jar is polished and the metal wires gilded.
From two inscriptions around the rim of this jar, we know who commissioned it and where it was made. Zhu Zhanji (1399-1435), the Ming Emperor from 1426 to 1435, commissioned it and eunuchs in the Forbidden City Palace in Beijing supervised its manufacture. Ming Emperors ordered such brightly coloured objects to decorate the vast halls of their palaces. The magnificent dragons were symbolic of the emperor. As you can see from walking around Chinatown today, dragons continue to be a powerful symbol of good luck.
There is only one other jar like this one in the world. It is in Switzerland in the Reitburg Museum, on loan from a private collection. Originally the two jars would probably have been displayed together in the Forbidden City Palace. The British Museum plans to reunite the jars in an exhibition beginning in September 2014, which will show the splendour of early Ming courts and the extraordinary connections that Ming China established with the rest of the world.
This was first published in the London Evening Standard on 11 October 2012.
The Cloisonné decorated jar is on display in Room 33: Asia

Croydon 規模已近"市"級而不是小鎮


更新時間 2013年4月21日, 格林尼治標準時間22:23

英國倫敦南郊不起眼小鎮克羅伊頓(Croydon)的當地博物館中竟然被發現收藏有一件稀世的明朝宣德皇帝朱瞻基御用景泰藍瓷壇(Cloisonne jar)。
據大英博物館專家介紹說,這件由已故瓷器收藏家里斯科(Reginald F.A. Riesco)收藏的珍品早在1964年便依遺囑捐給克羅伊頓博物館。
收藏者里斯科1877年生人,因從事保險生意曾長期往返於歐洲和遠東之間。 據信,展覽在克羅伊頓博物館中的景泰藍瓶就是他在一次遠東之行時購得的。
另一件由私人收藏的宣德御用景泰藍瓷壇目前在瑞士利特伯格博物館(Rietberg Museum)展出,明年九月也將被「請」到倫敦,讓一對舊日明宮「孿生」禦器終能久別重逢。
據悉,上述兩件明宮景泰藍瑰寶將成為明年九月大英博物館將舉辦的名為「明朝:宮廷與交往 1400-1450」的明朝瓷器大展的核心展品。

2013年4月21日 星期日

Designers Versus Inventors

Designers Versus Inventors

IBM Corporate Archives
The IBM 701 went on sale in 1952.

LONDON — What’s the difference between design and invention? It’s one of the commonest questions that I am asked about design, and it is easy to see why, because the two words are so often confused.

Mikhail Kalashnikov.
Take the AK-47, the deadly Soviet assault rifle that transformed modern warfare and determined the outcome of many conflicts. It was not the first gun of its type, but was radically different from its predecessors. Sometimes it is described as having been designed, and sometimes as having been invented. Which is correct?
Or take something less gruesome, the Post-it Note. Unlike the AK-47, there was nothing quite like that scrap of sticky paper when it was introduced by the U.S. conglomerate 3M in 1980. Is it the product of design, invention or both?
The words “design” and “invention” are rooted in Latin ones, “designare” and “inventionem” respectively. Each word was introduced to the French language and then to English. Their earliest references in the Oxford English Dictionary originated in the first half of the 16th century, but then the confusion began.
The OED’s first definition of invention is dated 1509: “the action of coming upon or finding; discovery.” The word has had more or less the same meaning ever since, and has also retained its charm. Unlike “innovation,” invention has escaped being stereotyped by management theorists, and still conjures cheerful images of idealistic boffins and amateur inventors showing off their contraptions at Maker Faires.
Not so design, whose oldest reference in the OED is from 1548 as a verb meaning to “indicate, designate,” only for it to appear as a noun in 1588. Having continued to acquire new meanings over the centuries, not all of which were compatible with the old ones, design has ended up conveying everything from finely calibrated technical specifications, to a snazzy phone, a sinister plan and an entire profession.
Yet in all of its multifarious guises, design has one recurring role as an agent of change. Whatever else it does or doesn’t do, design helps us to translate changes in other fields — scientific, political or whatever — into things that may be useful or enjoyable, ideally both. The same can be said of invention except that, in its case, the outcome must be new. The end-result of the design process can be new too, but not necessarily, because design can be equally useful in modifying something that already exists, ideally by improving on the original.
Back to the AK-47. The official version of its birth is that it was developed in the late 1940s by Senior Sergeant Mikhail Kalashnikov, a Soviet tank soldier who was wounded in World War II and worked on the rifle while convalescing. Not only was the finished weapon named after him — the AK stands for Avtomat (or automatic) Kalashnikova — he was showered with honors, as a self-taught designer and working class hero who had given his country the defining weapon of the era. The truth is more mundane. The wounded sergeant was undoubtedly involved with the development of his namesake rifle, but so were lots of other people. Like many mass-manufactured products of political importance, the AK-47 was devised by committee.
As to whether it was designed or invented, I’d plump for the former. The AK-47’s designers did not dream up the assault rifle from scratch, but devised a superior version of it. That said, they could claim to have invented some of the components that made their model so lethal.
The same applies to computers. The first version of the type of stored memory computer we use today was developed by a team of scientists at the University of Manchester in England during the late 1940s. They can be described as having invented the computer, but it required the work of the designers at IBM in the United States to transform an inscrutable labyrinth of wires and dials into a marketable machine that fulfilled a useful function. The result, the IBM 701, went on sale in 1952.
Even so, the 701 and other early computers were enormous, prone to over-heating and could only be operated by trained technicians. To this day, Apple, Samsung and other computer makers are still wrestling with the design challenge of making them ever smaller, safer and easier to operate, often deploying scientific inventions to do so.
But when it comes to the Post-it Note, the distinction between design and invention is more ambiguous. The catalyst for its development was the invention of a new type of sticky, but not too sticky glue by a 3M scientist Spencer Silver in the 1960s. 3M could not work out what to do with the glue, until another of its scientists, Arthur Fry, suggested using it to stick notes temporarily on to other sheets of paper.
Strictly speaking, he could claim to have invented the Post-it, as it was the first product of its type, but Mr. Fry can also be praised for having taken an inspired design decision to put 3M’s glue to such good use. Whichever interpretation you favor, the Post-it’s evolution is an unusually constructive example of the blurring of design and invention.
The boundaries between the two will become blurrier in future as 3-D printing and other digital production technologies enable consumers to participate in the design process in order to personalize the end-result, thereby transforming their relationship with designers and manufacturers.
If we can determine the final shape, size and color of an object, it could be unique, making it fair to say that we designed it, albeit in collaboration with the designers who wrote the software and the specified the basic form that we adapted.
Can we also claim to have invented the object, given that nothing else will be quite like it? Or is this going too far? After all, we won’t really have created anything new, but simply modified or embellished an existing product. Should we introduce a new category of “reinvention” or “customization,” or would that create even more confusion?

Pierre Descargues《與大師相約五十年》: Pierre Tal-Coat ,曼·雷,趙無極 等等

2013.4.21 翻讀曼·雷 (想置身"藝術史"事外.....),趙無極及其他,趙無極先生今年過世,這是一篇難得的記者 Pierre Descargues與他1978年到阿姆斯特丹去看他最仰慕的林布蘭,此篇記趙的法國交遊圈多為詩人,趙無極送給他的水墨話和賀年卡明信片....

 Pierre Descargues: 皮埃爾·德卡爾格  《與大師相約五十年》譯者 : 林珍妮譯 / 陸典校 上海: 華東師範大學出版社出版年: 2007/2010




Pierre Tal-Coat (real name Pierre Louis Jacob; 1905–1985) was a French artist considered to be one of the founders of Tachisme.


Pierre Tal-Coat

French painter, born at Clohars-Carnoët, Brittany, of a family of fishermen. He was originally called Pierre Jacob, but he adopted the name Tal-Coat in 1926. After working as a blacksmith's apprentice and a lawyer's clerk, he was briefly employed moulding and painting ceramics in a pottery factory, but he was self-taught as an artist. From 1924 to 1926 he did military service in Paris and then moved to Doëlan, near Pouldu. He returned to Paris in 1931 and became a member of the *Forces Nouvelles group. In 1936–9 he did a series of powerfully expressive Massacres, based on incidents in the Spanish Civil War. They have something in common with *Picasso's Guernica, and Tal-Coat was strongly influenced by him at this time.
In the early 1940s, however, his work changed direction radically, as he developed the type of picture for which he is best known: starting from the impression of a natural scene he took this to the point of abstraction, suggesting the interplay of light and movement without specific representation. In 1947 André *Masson introduced him to Chinese landscape painting, which subsequently influenced his work. From the early 1950s his painting took on a mystical character. By this time he was a leading figure in the school of *Lyrical Abstraction that dominated the *École de Paris in the late 1940s and 1950s.

Pierre Descargues《與大師相約五十年》pp. 286-91 /photo p. 315

Tachisme (alternative spelling: Tachism, derived from the French word tache–stain) is a French style of abstract painting popular in the 1940s and 1950s. The term is said to have been first used with regards to the movement in 1951.[1] It is often considered to be the European equivalent to abstract expressionism,[2] although there are stylistic differences (American abstract expressionism tended to be more "aggressively raw" than tachisme).[3] It was part of a larger postwar movement known as Art Informel (or Informel),[4] which abandoned geometric abstraction in favour of a more intuitive form of expression, similar to action painting. Another name for Tachism is Abstraction lyrique (related to American Lyrical Abstraction). COBRA is also related to Tachisme, as is Japan's Gutai group.

タシスム(Tachisme または Tachism、フランス語の「tache」染み、から)は1940年代から1950年代フランス抽象絵画の様式の一つである。評論家のシャルル・エスティエンヌが1954年、新しい抽象絵画、とりわけジョルジュ・マチューらのものに投げつけられた「タッシュ(しみ、汚点)のようだ」との批判的言説を逆用してタシスムという言葉を用い、これを理論付けている。
タシスムはアンフォルメルという、第二次世界大戦後まもなくのヨーロッパなどにおける激情の込められた抽象絵画の流れの一部をなしている。タシスムのほかに叙情的抽象(Abstraction lyrique)という用語も使われる。また、ヨーロッパにおける抽象表現主義アクション・ペインティングとみなされることもある。

主な作家 [編集]