I was inspired to make this piece while contemplating the little gold charm bracelet that I’ve worn almost every day for over 20 years. It struck me how little it would be worth to anyone but me, as the true value is in the meaning attached to each individual charm, all the memories preserved and provoked when I look at them.
Each charm has a complete, standalone story of its own, and when linked together on a single chain they become part of an even more intricate and meaningful whole. A metaphor for life, really, as who we are is the sum of our myriad parts, all invaluable.
I have always had a “things” drawer in my kitchen, a Purgatory for random objects that don’t fit or belong anywhere else. Some are waiting to be useful again, some waiting to be repaired, some waiting for their pair to show up, and some have been in there so long that the outside world has forgotten they exist.
This things drawer has been moved from rental house to rental house over the years, and i thought it was time to explore it. Spending so long with each random piece, cleaning it, preparing its surface and gilding it, then linking them all together was quite an amazing experience. Every single seemingly insignificant castaway had a story to remind me of. Every single thing had once had purpose, played a part in my life. Remembering the tiny ways in which each object had served me over the years prompted all the surrounding memories to surface. I was able to see patterns and links and make sense of the chaos. It was just the start of a very important and ongoing process.
For as long as I can remember, creating art of any kind has been been more about the process than the product. Even as a child, I didn’t draw to replicate what I was seeing, but to explore things emotionally. I was acutely aware of how what I saw affected me, and how what I was feeling affected the way I saw. For example, a donut would look very different to me depending on how hungry I was. When not hungry, I’d be more relaxed and inclined to notice and wonder about all the various ingredients, colours, shapes, textures, smells and tastes. I might even notice how the light reflects off the individual specs of sugar; the contoured edges of the glossy frosting; the spongy, rounded surface of the golden pastry…
When starving, I’d simply see a doughnut.
When I produce a visual representation of my internal chatter, I can see things more clearly. My muddled thoughts start sorting themselves into orderly queues instead of simultaneously clamouring for attention.
To put it another way: imagine hundreds of oddly shaped, different coloured Lego bricks scattered across the floor around you. Sharp little boobytraps everywhere you look! Each individual piece unidentifiable as anything other than part of the one big, insurmountable MESS. You can’t step in any direction without hurting your feet.
It is easy to become so focused on getting rid of or around “The Mess” that you fail to see The Bigger Picture. You might even find yourself paralysed (Procrastinators Unite!) stuck to the spot, awaiting rescue.
But what if you were to stop for a minute, crouch down, give each and every little brick your full attention; start sorting through them, finding connections and piecing them together…? You might see how each seemingly insignificant piece, while not of much interest or use on its own, transforms into something entirely different when it’s linked to others. Each little piece plays a vital role in constructing The Whole. By the end of the process, you’ll still have the same number of oddly shaped, different coloured bricks as you had before, but now there is cohesion and clarity, and more space in which to manoeuvre (For the techies: think defragmenting the hard drive on your computer)
To all those people thinking “But I don’t have time to sit around all day playing with my problems! Hand me a broom!”, think of all the time that you’ve already wasted trying to avoid doing emotional housekeeping.
So that’s how I’d describe the art-making process; forcing myself, despite the discomfort, to slow down and confront the chaos, start picking through the minefield in my head, treading carefully to avoid detonation! Examining and fitting together seemingly random thoughts and feelings until I find a common thread or an image starts to form. Because everything is related. No thought, however trivial, meaningless. Everything matters. The answers to most of my questions are hidden somewhere amid the jumble, so I just keep sifting and sorting my way through it, without any real sense of direction, until I have what I call an “AHA! moment”.
And then, there’s ….
Have you ever tried catching a feather or leaf that’s fluttering about on the breeze? The more you wave your arms or move your hand, the further away it will get. That’s what it feels like for me when inspiration is just out of reach. The AHA! moment comes when I have managed to grasp an idea. Then, the the hard part is over.
When in that creative zone, known as “the flow”, my mind becomes very still. I’m no longer chasing or running or flailing about desperately trying to make sense of things. I am completely tranquil, opening myself up, letting those fluttering objects drift down and settle upon me. I loose all sense of time and space, and switch into cruise control. Emerging from this flow state feels like waking from a dream, only I’ve brought something tangible back with me. A souvenir from my subconscious.
Externalising my thoughts and emotions in this way helps me gain better understanding of them and how they affect me, but it also makes my internal world accessible to others. Exposure to scrutiny and criticism absolutely TERRIFIES me, and makes me extremely vulnerable. So why do I do it??
Because my deep seated longing to make authentic connections only very slightly outweighs my paralysing fear of rejection.
It’s something I find difficult to write about without feeling a tad wanky, but there you have it.
A Buddha statue dating back to the 8th to 10th centuries is carved from a rare iron meteorite.
CREDIT: Elmar Buchne
It sounds like a mash-up of Indiana Jones’ plots, but German researchers say a heavy Buddha statue brought to Europe by the Nazis was carved from a meteorite that likely fell 10,000 years ago along the Siberia-Mongolia border.
This space Buddha, also known as “iron man” to the researchers, is of unknown age, though the best estimates date the statue to sometime between the eighth and 10th centuries. The carving depicts a man, probably a Buddhist god, perched with his legs tucked in, holding something in his left hand. On his chest is a Buddhist swastika, a symbol of luck that was later co-opted by the Nazi party of Germany.
“One can speculate whether the swastika symbol on the statue was a potential motivation to displace the ‘iron man’ meteorite artifact to Germany,” the researchers wrote online Sept. 14 in the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science.
Iron man adventure
The iron man first came to Germany after a 1938-1939 Tibet expedition by zoologist and ethnology Ernst SchÃ¤fer, who was sent to the region by the Nazi party to find the roots of Aryan origin. The statue then passed into the hands of a private owner. [Fallen Stars: A Gallery of Famous Meteorites]
Stuttgart University researcher Elmar Bucher and his colleagues first analyzed the statue in 2007, when the owner allowed them to take five miniscule samples of it. In 2009, the team had the opportunity to take larger samples from the inside of the statue, which is less prone to contamination by weathering or human handling than the outside where the initial samples were taken.
They found that the statue is carved from a rare class of space rocks known as ataxite meteorites. These mostly iron meteorites have a high level of nickel. The largest-ever known meteorite, the Hoba meteorite of Namibia, is an ataxite meteorite that may weigh more than 60 tons.
It came from outer space
A chemical analysis of the iron man samples revealed they are a close match for a famous scattering of space rocks from the Siberia and Mongolian border. The Chinga meteorite field holds at least 250 meteorite fragments, most relatively small, though two topping 22 pounds (10 kg) have been found there. Scientists estimate the Chinga meteorite fell 10,000 to 20,000 years ago. The field’s first discovery was recorded in 1913, but the statue’s existence suggests people were mining the field for artistic materials long before that, Buchner said.
The Buddha meteorite matches those found in the Chinga meteorite field. CREDIT: Elmar Buchner
The identity of the carved man is unclear, but the researchers suspect he may be the Buddhist god Vaisravana, also known as Jambhala. Vaisravana is the god of wealth or war, and he is often portrayed holding a lemon (a symbol of wealth) or moneybag in his hand. The iron man holds an unidentified object in his hand. The statue is about 9.5 inches (24 cm) tall and weighs about 23 pounds (10.6 kg).
Many cultures used meteorite iron to make daggers and even jewelry, Buchner and his colleagues wrote, and meteorite worship is common among many ancient cultures. But the Buddha carving is unique.
“The Iron Man statue is the only known illustration of a human figure to be carved into a meteorite, which means we have nothing to compare it to when assessing value,” Buchner said in a statement. “Its origins alone may value it at $20,000; however, if our estimation of its age is correct and it is nearly a thousand years old it could be invaluable.”
Louise Bourgeois was in therapy for more than 30 years and wrote an essay on ‘Freud’s Toys’. The Freud museum in London has a display of her work and recently unearthed writings about her analysis
Above Freud’s bulbous, oriental carpet-draped couch in 20 Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead, hangs a shrivelled, double-headed bronze penis by Louise Bourgeois. In an essay on “Freud’s Toys” (1990), as Bourgeois dismissed the ancient artefacts that swarm over his desk and shelves (including numerous phallic amulets), she described Freud’s cluttered office, with its “half-dead hysterics”, as “a pitiful place”. She also referred to Freud’s patients as “maggots”, which gives additional resonance to the placing of her suspended larval form. Analysis was, in her view, a form of metamorphosis, promising the transformation of seething misery into what Freud described as “common unhappiness”. “A maggot,” Bourgeois wrote, “is actually a symbol of resurrection.”
Though she doesn’t acknowledge it in her essay, Bourgeois had been in analysis herself for more than 30 years. In 1951, suffering from depression after her father’s death, she entered therapy with Dr Leonard Cammer. The following year she switched to Dr Henry Lowenfeld, a second-generation Freudian who had emigrated to New York in 1938, the same year she did. Lowenfeld had been trained by the Marxist analyst Otto Fenichel in Berlin, where he was also a part of Wilhelm Reich’s radical group, Sex-Pol.
However, in New York, keen to assimilate to American culture and disenchanted with communism, Lowenfeld became part of the psychoanalytic mainstream and hid his radical past. At the height of the cold war he stole the incriminating Rundbriefe – letters written by Fenichel in the 1930s and circulated among their group of dissident analysts – from his colleague Annie Reich in an attempt to erase that history.
In 2007, just before Bourgeois’s retrospective at Tate Modern, two boxes of discarded writings that refer to her analysis, which she underwent four times a week, were found in her Chelsea home; after her death in 2010 (aged 98), her assistant unearthed two more. Selections of these have been exhibited in the Freud museum alongside two dozen of her bulging and sinister patchwork sculptures and installations. These jottings, on random pads, letterheads, even playing cards, offer a glimpse into Bourgeois’s psychological states. According to these notes, Lowenfeld considered the artist’s inability to accept her aggression as the central problem to be worked through in analysis. “Aggression is used by guilt and turned against myself instead of being sublimated into useful channels,” she wrote.
To art historians her free associations and doodles not only suggest clues as to the personal relationships and conflicts that inform all her work, but seem to offer direct links to her creative process (one Isis-like sketch is displayed here next to a similar multi-breasted sculpture, as fecund as the Venusof Willendorf). In an aborted letter to “Mon cher Papa”, Bourgeois wrote: “In the 20th century the best work has been produced by those people whose exclusive concern was themselves.” Her father was a tyrannical philanderer who had a 10-year affair with a live-in English governess, the discovery of which was the central trauma to which Bourgeois endlessly returned in her confessional work.
The recently discovered archive reveals the artist to have been an enthusiastic list-maker. In 1958, aged 47, Bourgeois compiled a melancholy account of her failures: “I have failed as a wife / as a woman / as a mother / as a hostess / as an artist / as a business woman”, and so on. She made a suicidal list of “seven easy ways to end it all” (and throws in another for good measure). She listed her fears: “I am afraid of silence / I am afraid of the dark / I am afraid to fall down/ I am afraid of insomnia / I am afraid of emptiness …” And her feelings about analysis: “The analysis is a job / is a trap / is a privilege / is a luxury / is a duty … is a joke / makes me powerless / makes me into a cop / is a bad dream …”
The area was being researched by a team including New York University anthropologist Randall White who said the discovery was “the oldest evidence of any kind of graphic imagery.â€
Dr White said the drawing was illustrated by circles with small slits on one side.
â€œYou see this again and again and again,â€ Dr. White said. There are also very simple images, in profile, of animals, including horses and lionlike big cats, he told the New York Times.
Dr White said humans at the time lived in the shelters and often used ivory beads and other ornamentation to decorate their bodies.
Dr White said his team report their findings in the current issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The team home that by deciphering more of the art they can understand the culture of the people better.
â€œWhat we hope to be able to do is map the distribution of images on the ceiling and all of the activities of the time,â€ he said.
â€œThere may be a relationship between the art on the ceiling and their lives.â€
FORMER British prime minister Margaret Thatcher swiped a page of doodles by then-US president Ronald Reagan at a summit more than 30 years ago, newly released papers revealed.
Britain’s only female prime minister to date noticed the US leader sketching during a G7 summit in Canada in 1981 and decided to pocket the drawings, according to a historian who recalled her talking about the doodles.
“She had seen him doing it during the meeting,” said Chris Collins, a historian with the Margaret Thatcher Foundation which promotes the former premier’s conservative, free market philosophy.
“He thought it was of no value whatsoever and left. She thought it was rather fun and picked it up.”
The drawings of five heads, an eye and a man’s torso, executed in blue ink at a meeting of leaders of the world’s seven richest countries, were among a collection of Thatcher’s private papers dating from 1981released today.
Thatcher, who led Britain from 1979 until 1990, labeled the page with the words “Ronald Reagan’s ‘doodling’ at the Ottawa conference” in the bottom right-hand corner.
One of the characters sports a trilby and is smoking a pipe, while another has a bushy beard.
Reagan and the woman known as the “Iron Lady” shared strong anti-communist and free market convictions and became firm personal friends during Thatcher’s premiership.
The former Conservative leader, now 86, agreed nearly a decade ago for her personal documents to be housed at Cambridge University.
US actress Meryl Streep won an Oscar last month for her portrayal of the increasingly frail ex-leader, who suffers from dementia, in The Iron Lady.
Get ready for the ride of your life… which, mind you, will also be your last.
A Lithuanian engineer has come up with a unique roller-coaster concept that not only promises passengers a thrilling ride, but also imminent death at the end of their journey.
According to Julijonas Urbonas, the mastermind behind the concept, the Euthanasia Coaster has been engineered to take the life of a human being humanely, with elegance and euphoria”.
Passengers would be subject to many extreme experiences, from euphoria to tunnel vision and loss of consciousness, The Daily Mail reports.
Urbonas, who has been involved with amusement park development since childhood, explained that passengers would die of cerebral hypoxia after being exposed to speeds of up to 100km/s.
“Thanks to the marriage of the advanced cross-disciplinary research in space medicine, mechanical engineering, material technologies and, of course, gravity, the fatal journey is made pleasing, elegant and meaningful,” the engineer, who describes his concept as artistic and philosophical, said.
Nonetheless, Dr Peter Saunders, from leading anti-euthanasia organisation Care Not Killing, has criticised the concept.
“Whilst appreciating the artist’s sense of humour and light-heartedness, we also need to remember that the life a human being cannot ever be taken humanely with elegance and euphoria and with this method the last sensation would more probably be one of overwhelming vertigo and fright,” Saunders said.
Let’s hope that this imaginative method never becomes legal.
Although he had initially thought the idea of the social network was “ridiculous and pointless”, the artist decided to take the stock option instead of cash “in the thousands of dollars” according to the New York Times.
Choe’s payout could be worth more money than auction house Sotheby’s attracted for its record-breaking $200.7m (£127m) sale in 2008 for a collection of work by Damien Hirst.
The Korean-American artist, 35, was first asked to paint erotic murals for Facebook’s first office in Palo Alto, California, by the site’s then-president, Sean Parker.
The site’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, later asked Choe to paint “tamer” art for its second office in 2007.
However art from the original headquarters was cut out from the walls and is on display at other Facebook offices around the world.
Choe – whose work can now be seen in galleries all over the world – is currently painting the site’s new offices in Menlo Park, California.
The artist, who began spray-painting in his teens, created the cover art for Jay-Z and Linkin Park’s multi-platinum album Collision Course in 2004.
In 2008, he also painted a portrait of the then-Senator Barack Obama – a picture that now hangs in the White House.
A WOMAN dropped her pants at a museum and rubbed her rear end all over a painting valued at $30 million, according to police.
Carmen Tisch, 36, was arrested after scratching, punching and, well, rubbing her butt against Clyfford Still’s “1957-J no.2” and causing an estimated $10,000 damage to the artwork at the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver. Police believe she was drunk during the late December incident.
“You have to wonder where her friends were,” a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office told the Denver Post.
Tisch was charged with felony criminal mischief on Wednesday and has been held on a $20,000 bond since the incident in late December, said Lynn Kimbrough, spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney’s Office.
The oil-on-canvas abstract expressionist painting was spared additional damage when the woman tried to urinate on it but apparently missed.
“It doesn’t appear she urinated on the painting or that the urine damaged it, so she’s not being charged with that,” Kimbrough said according to the Denver Post.
Still, who lived from 1904 to 1980, was considered one of the most influential of the American post-World War Two abstract expressionist artists, although he was not as well known as others such as Jackson Pollock. Four of his works were auctioned by Sotheby’s last year for $114 million to endow the Denver museum, which opened in November.