Home and Lifestyle by Anne M. Carminati

Home and lifestyle by Anne M. Carminati

PALAIS GARNIER - BALLET : CUNNINGHAM AND FORSYTHE

How can I best describe my feelings as I entered the Opera Garnier? It was a medley of overwhelming impressions: amazement, admiration for its architectural beauty, the feeling of being connected to centuries of history, I felt the intensity of the moment, the privilege of stepping into the pinnacle of the art form. 
I went to see Ballet performances by Cunningham and Forsythe, The forerunners of American Contemporary Ballet. The first number Walkaround Time by Cunningham, was, least to say, a bit disconcerting. The decor was stunning, and it felt like you were in an art gallery, looking at an abstract painting. There was no music. I could only think of when music would start. The question then arises: Does ballet necessitates music?  Ballets without music seem incomplete, and it is unsettling.  We have been taught to watch dance with simple guidelines: performers dancing, music, costumes and decor. Questioning these rules puts us into disarray. The dancers were doing some movements that hardly resembled dance, at some point they were getting undressed and dressed.  After ten minutes of silence, I finally heard some noises (in the program they called it music!), the sound of walking on gravel, roaring cars, chatters. I tried hard to remain open to new ideas, but I could not help but think of visitors at a contemporary art exhibit that often comments: " I could do it myself." That comment drives me insane, and the irony is that I felt like saying it! Because I am trying hard not to fall into intellectual laziness, I respect Cunningham's new take on choreography (although it is not really new since this ballet was created in 1969). I watched the dancers' movements and gestures, more as signs with an aesthetic point of view like I was looking at an art piece. Needless to say, I need to read about his work and understand his objective and ideas.
The next two numbers by Forsythe, Trio and Herman Schmerman (with music!), were an absolute enchantment, perfection in every way. Beauty, creativity, and performers who were amazing. 
It's a gift to the soul!

 

 Palais Garnier

Palais Garnier

 Cunningham - Walkaround Time

Cunningham - Walkaround Time

 Forsythe - Trio

Forsythe - Trio

 Forsythe - Trio

Forsythe - Trio

 Forsythe - Herman Schmerman

Forsythe - Herman Schmerman

 Forsythe - Herman Schmerman

Forsythe - Herman Schmerman

Tulipomania at Luco

I cannot resist sharing my pictures of the beautiful Tulips at Le Jardin du Luxembourg. It is such an incredible sight. Nature is the most beautiful artwork, a pure delight for our eyes. Tulips are the stars of Luco (Parisians nickname Le Jardin du Luxembourg Luco). Tulips have good reasons to be celebrated in the world's most famous gardens. People have been fascinated by this simple flower throughout history. It started in Turkey in the 15th century, but it reached the peak of its celebrity during the 17th century in Holland.

The Dutch became obsessed with tulips. They were originally a natural curiosity and a hobby for wealthy people, it soon became a fascination, and its value took immense proportions. Speculation on Tulip bulbs began building quickly as the middle and upper classes sought them as the ultimate symbol of wealth and prosperity. Initially, the bulbs were grown and traded between connoisseurs and scholars but the popularity of tulips increased, and speculation began among more commercially oriented people. A period of absurd speculation began, it was known as "Tulipomania" during 1636 - 1637.

Although I agree it reached insane proportions where literally a bulb could buy a house, I totally understand why the Dutch were so fascinated. We are still today in awe. They are the first spring flowers, tulips stand proud, bright and tall, their colors are soft or vivid, they defy winter temperatures, and announce nature's rebirth and most of all they bring happiness and a smile on our faces.

Let's celebrate Tulips!

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Les Jardins du Luxembourg, Paris

Here is a teaser to all my East Coast friends waiting for the blizzard. The weather in Paris today is stunning, and I could not resist going to the Jardin du Luxembourg for a run. Once my run over I had a lovely suntanning session on the iconic chairs. I took a stroll in the Jardins: I enjoyed looking at people reading or relaxing on chairs, lovers cuddling gazing at the early spring flowers, others playing pétanque or tennis, some practicing Tai Chi or running.... What I love about the garden is the relaxed atmosphere, a sense of peace and a shared appreciation of the beautiful historic surroundings. 
Come to Paris and who said Gray Paris?

 My favorite activity: looking at people enjoying the Jardins.

My favorite activity: looking at people enjoying the Jardins.

 Spring is coming!

Spring is coming!

 Even the ducks are enjoying their walk!

Even the ducks are enjoying their walk!

 Catherine de Medicis.

Catherine de Medicis.

Not Afraid of Love, Maurizio Cattelan

I went to an incredible and highly unusual exhibit at the Monnaie de Paris on Quai Conti, Paris. Maurizio Cattelan, Not Afraid of Love, until January 8. 
Emotions are at the center stage of the experience. 
Cattelan is known for its shocking, provoking, surprising, cynical installations and after seeing a few pictures of the exhibit, I thought it would be fun to see a show that was out of the ordinary. I had a sense of what to expect, but it was far from anything I had anticipated. I went through a roller coaster of emotions from surprise, shock, disgust, amazement, wonder, bewilderment, sadness, happiness, pity, horror, fun, joy, empathy, relief... and I am probably forgetting a lot more. There was not a room where I did not let out a: Ahhh, Oh, Huh, Um, Yikes, Ouch, Arrrgh... Even though I had an idea of the artwork, the grandeur of the location, the stunning building of the Monnaie de Paris, was critical to the experience itself and the impact of the installations it has on the viewer.  Maurizio Cattelan said: "I don't want to lead the audience in a specific direction, I want to provoke a spontaneous reaction." He triggered a myriad of reactions and what was even more extraordinary he set off a full array of responses in such a limited time frame. I did not think it was possible to feel all of these emotions in a couple of hours and more particularly in an art exhibit. After I had seen one installation, I thought the next one could not possibly be as powerful. I was totally wrong, all of them were intense. I was lucky to visit the exhibit with a good friend of mine and we were able to chat about our reactions, talk about the artist's message, our interpretations of the installations. We sat for a while in a grand room where Pope John Paul II is lying in the middle of a red carpet with a meteorite on him. We felt empathy for the Pope, what a demanding and challenging job he had, and I certainly would not have liked to be in his beautifully polished red shoes feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. Your heart and brain are at work even your body engages in the experience. 
I could not stop thinking during the exhibit about the artist: "What type of a man is he to come up with such weird, twisted ideas that an ordinary person like me could not even fathom to have? Where does he find his inspirations?". I am fascinated by an artist's creative process. Then I thought I would probably be frightened to meet him; his ideas are too much out there. In reality, I would not be scared of him I would be afraid of myself, of his power to unleash all these inner feelings that are most of the time hidden deep in myself.
In retrospect, it is a therapeutical exhibit. Be open, let yourself live your emotions, embrace the experience, and you'll FEEL ALIVE!

P.S. I would love to meet you, Maurizio!!!