Monday, November 14, 2011

God is in the Detail: Scaling Memory

It had been five years since my last visit to Berlin and before that, 31 years.  That latter visit was so memorable because 1979 were those steely Iron Curtain days when West Berlin was an "island" of the country.  A mysterious and surreptitious air surrounded the visit: the gloomy and somewhat uncomfortable Checkpoint Charlie and, although the Unter den Linden was beautifully spruced up to give foreigners the impression that all was well in the East, occasionally, a small black car passed the desolate wide streets.  My godmother and I were the only visitors to the Pergamon Museum that day.  Our only other companions were the sound of her heels clicking on the marble floors in those giant pantheonic rooms and the tired but nonetheless "at attention" guards, watching over the enormous installations.

My recent visit was a vast contrast to my first.  This time it seemed as though all was in technicolor: lines of people buying entrance tickets, bus loads of tourists decamping, headsets, and racks of vibrant postcards.  And although part of the museum is under restoration and there were hundreds of people scaling the Pergamon temple and crowding the surrounding rooms, my past memories were wonderfully renewed, and it was nice to relive that cherished and exciting moment from my childhood.

The temple of Pergamon, built in 250 BC as a gift to the gods after
the assassination attempt of King Pergamon failed.
processional gate of Babylon (560BC)...glazed terracotta
tiles cover the entire structure
fragments from colossal emperor statues
A model of the original temple

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thomas Fourgeirol

Photograph by Matthew Rose
I bought my first Fourgeirol in Paris ten years ago after seeing one of his paintings in the very stylish L'Eclaireur.  I made my way to his gallerist who in turn organized a visit with the artist in Irvy sur Seine, on the fringe of Paris.  Thomas Fourgeirol still lives there, with his beautiful and talented wife (who's also an artist) and his now grown-up children.  I was most impressed wandering through that beautiful compound, a modernist airplane hangar type space, as we spent hours together pulling canvas after canvas, some the size of a bus.  His work is mostly about texture and the layering of paints, sometimes initially shocking; however, no matter the subject of his work, they all tend to be very soothing and calm after having studied them.  I particularly like that about his work: the relationship that builds from being with the painting.  Thomas also has a studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn, and during my recent stay in New York I visited him to catch up and see some of his new works.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cutting a Rug

Probably my favorite place in the world to buy rugs can be found in Manhattan.  Double Knot is located at 13 White Street in Tribeca and run by Murat, a Turkish man who is not only very knowledgeable about carpets and rugs but also extremely friendly to work with.  I have even bought a few quieter pieces for my home in Istanbul and had them shipped.  Murat has an amazing collection of old jute kilims, usually sewn together from the best pieces salvaged from late 19th and early 20th Century carpets.  The end result is almost modern in its simplicity.  I also enjoy their artisan quality and provincial feel they add to 18th Century or mid-Century modern furniture.  The photos I took during a recent trip are bold and striking compared to the softer pieces I have acquired.  But placed in the right spot, they can easily liven an entrance or any floor surface for your home.  Definitely worth a visit to Double Knot.  Murat is tirelessly helpful and honest about what he sells.