Tuesday, 12 December 2017

My 12 day stay in Isfahan - Day 1 (morning) - Getting to know the hosting family ; strolling around the Naqsh-e Jahan Square; late lunch - The 27th of November 2017

I got to Isfahan airport fairly early in the morning after having spent the whole day travelling, once I had two stop-overs (Frankfurt-am-main and Vienna). Having been the first passenger to walk out of the airport premises I reached my hosting family's earlier than I had initially expected. They welcomed me with a rich breakfast, after which I decided to head towards the Naqsh-e Jahan Square rather than rest.

When I first set foot onto this square in 2014 it must have put a spell on me as since then I had been wondering when I would be able to stroll on it again and explore the bazaar alleys running behind it with its multiple workshops, some of which I had been fortunate enough to have watched back then. 
The feeling of having set foot on it this time was rather strong and in no time I found myself in one of its back alleys watching an artisan hammering metal, so as to make "beauty" out of it ... yes, because everything that came out of the Isfahani artisans' hands, irrespective of the material they used, seeemed to be beauty related.

As Saba and I walked around, I took the opportunity to photograph some of the details of one of the Bazaar entrance gates which had once impressed me (they still do).

Simply breathing in and watching the surrounding atmosphere might have been enough to satisfy me though I decided to "incorporate" an additional pleasure - the buying of two handicraft coats.

By the time we decided to walk back home, which was just a mere ten to fifteen minutes,  so as to cook ourselves something light to eat, I was finally beginning to feel the long trip tiredness.



Thursday, 23 November 2017

The latest films I have watched ...

I have watched three Art oriented films lately, one of which - Loving Vincent,  I was mesmerised by. I must admit I was not particularly impressed with the other two - Tulip Fever and Rodin, despite the fact that the cast wrongly led me to believe they were (could be) films I would later remember. The critcs' views I have copied down correspond to my personal opinion.

"Great look, great cast ... but everything  just sits there like a tableful of delicious ingredients waiting for a master chef who never shows up. " - Jim Lane

"A didactic film, which paradoxically lacks strength and passion." - Oscar Uriel 

"The result is breathtakingly original, a reminder of both Van Gogh's unique vision and the tactile pleasure of hand-drawn animation." - Jim Lane


Wednesday, 22 November 2017

"O Sopro" at Teatro Nacional Dona Maria II, Lisbon - The 2nd of November 2017

"The prompt" or the Theatre  prompter ... is what this theatrical play was about, though it went well  beyond the role such almost extinct characters play (or better said ... have played) in theatrical performance. It was  also Cristina's Vidal's stories, she who has been a prompt for forty years and who in Tiago Rodrigues's play was made visible and actually "played" the role of prompt, the prompt of others and of herself on stage.

" The prompt is an accomplicit partner of actors as they make their way through perfect and  less perfect performing moments. The prompt knows them, adjusts herself to them and learns how to breath in their own rhythm."

As with many performances in life some intervening characters are "invisible", will always remain invisible and when given the possibility not to, will rather continue playing their "secondary" role in the overall stage scenario.

One small note on one of the actors on stage, João Pedro Vaz, whose performance I personally considered second to none.


Monday, 6 November 2017

Berardo Museum collection at CCB, Lisbon - Lu Nan's triology - temporary exhibition - The 28th of October 2017

Lu Nan's triology symbolically named "Divine Comedy" after Dante Alighiery's is really worth the visit. Upon having read what the temporary exhibition was about, I must confess I had no idea I would be so touched by this extraordinary photographer's perspective on life inside mental hospitals, life in isolated rural areas in China and daily life in Tibete. The fact that all photographs are black and white adds to the grim reality which is portrayed, particularly the one in the confinement of mental hospices or homes.

1 - The forgotten people: Living conditions of China's psychiatric patients (photos taken from 1989 to 1990).

2 - On the road: Catholic Faith in China (Photos taken from 1992 to1996).

Attending mass - Shaanxi - 1992 (left). Teenager carrying the Holy image - Shaanxi- 1992 (right).

Priest and nun baptysing an old woman, Yunnan- 1993
3 - Four seasons: Everyday life of Tibetan peasants (Photos taken from 1996 to 2004).

Girl with maternal grandmother - Tibet - 2002 (left). Old woman ploughing a field - Tibet - 2004 (right)

Peasants thanking God for having bestowed them with a good harvest - Tibet - 2003 (left). Family resting - Tibet - 1999 (right). 
Before leaving I still managed to sit through a film on every image being displayed at the exhibition. Despite having seen them twice (so to say) I didn't feel it had too much ... there was a kind of human beauty even in the harshest images ...