happy belated valentine's day
LOVE IS IN THE AIR!!!
Love is all around us, love is all we need and even if I’m not usually a romantic at heart I might be inspired by Valentine’s Day. It was originally a feast organized by the Catholic Church and destined to celebrate physical love. Father Valentinus, dead on February 14 (one doesn’t know what year exactly), gave his name to this event. During Renaissance and Classicism, artists painted lovers, love stories and their paintings were full of erotic and sexual symbols. In the modern and contemporary art scene it’s not uncommon that artists choose their mistresses to be their muses. Some of them also work together on one unique piece.
Jeff Koons (an American artist born in 1955) and Ilona Staller (the “Cicciolina”, a Hungarian-born porn star) were one of the most famous couple that worked together. Known for his giant reproductions of banal objects such as balloon animals produced in stainless steel with mirror finish surfaces, Koons also made a series of paintings, photographs and sculptures that showed the couple in various sexual acts: Made in Heaven, a series that aroused much controversy and critics, specially during the first exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 1990. Most of the works were unveiled in 1991. These works of art describe Koons’ excursion into the world of glamour-porn and are the witness of their love and their passion. Many works from this series were destroyed by Koons himself as a result of these events and the exhibition at the Guggenheim has been questioned several times and finally canceled. This series is one of the most important of his work and according to him the most sincere, the most radical and the most risky.
Less risky but equally radical, work made by Sophie Calle (a French artist born in 1953) is like a diary, her diary. She is a visual artist, a writer, a photograph, a movie director…. She uses many different mediums to produce art pieces extremely provocative and subversive. No Sex Last Night, also known as Double Blind, is a personal and intimate movie that traces, like a diary, an escapade with her lover Gregg Shepard (an American photographer born in 1949) from the East coast to the West coast of the US. This road trip will ended up in a wedding chapel in Las Vegas. There are two versions of the videos: when Gregg films Sophie makes comments in French and the other way around. This picture was taken from a video made after reconciliation in bed! She invites the viewer to get into her universe that question relationship between human being. One no longer speaks of individual identity but of the identity of the couple…
One of Sophie’s video was exhibited in the same show (Emporte moi, Sweep me off my feet, Mac/Val, Vitry, France, 2009) than The Kiss made by Ange Leccia (a French artist born in 1952). He’s best know for his photographs and videos. He’s also a painter, a movie director and has made a lot of installations. Through this installation, Leccia shows us his own interpretation of the feeling and the signification of love and kiss. A kiss is an act extremely intimate and decisive in a loving relationship, isn’t it? This installation is made with two big brutes that face each other, like two human mouths just about to kiss each other. They don’t touch each other, which intensifies excitement and arousal that precedes the first kiss. Pink color and brightness also give to this work his strength.
Rose remains essentially the symbol itself of love and passion. It’s a privileged gift given by all lovers all over the world. Will Ryman (an American artist born in 1969) knew how to do justice to this beautiful and mysterious flower. Well known for his huge and figurative sculptures that represent some kind of caricature of the human race, he brings us, with his roses, to a wonderland that might reminds us the one of Alice. In 2011, a public exhibition took place on Park Avenue. An exhibition in favor of the roses. They were gigantic, the height of a human being of average size. The colors are vibrant, bright and cover all the tonalities from pink to red. Furthermore it’s not uncommon to see ladybugs, dragonflies and other small beasts climb along the stems… About the exhibition he said: “With these roses I wanted to do something that was larger than life and site-specific. In my work I always try to combine fantasy with reality. In the case of The Roses, I tried to convey New York City’s larger than life qualities through scale; creating blossoms which are imposing, humorous, and hopefully beautiful »
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!