arrangements ou compositions

September 19, 2015

trolley

Say it in English or in French – this post is about the placement of items in an attractive manner – some to tantalise, attract in the hope of a purchase or  just please in the aesthetic sense – whoever arranged these knows instinctively that the viewer will appreciate the effort. But maybe some compositions have been arrived at haphazardly . . .

bar

. . . it’s a quiet morning in Les Halles in Avignon so an opportunity to take in and admire the arrangements and compositions inside and also outside . . . ..

bowls

garlic

onions

baskets

 

bread

bread 2

sausages

olives 2

olives

salads

spices 2

spices

. . . as it’s Tuesday the unoccupied fish tank becomes an installation in its own right and rarely seen.

fish tank

Outside in Place Pie, this figure was for investigation . . .

mannequin rear

. . .  even more eccentric from the front.

mannequin front

heads

silks

Ah, all so eclectic.

doll

My mind is like a clamorous market-place.
   All day in wind, rain, sun, its babel wells;
   Voice answering to voice in tumult swells.
Chaffering and laughing, pushing for a place,
My thoughts haste on, gay, strange, poor, simple, base;
   This one buys dust, and that a bauble sells:
   But none to any scrutiny hints or tells
The haunting secrets hidden in each sad face.
The clamour quietens when the dark draws near;
   Strange looms the earth in twilight of the West,
Lonely with one sweet star serene and clear,
   Dwelling, when all this place is hushed to rest,
   On vacant stall, gold, refuse, worst and best,
Abandoned utterly in haste and fear.  Walter de la Mare.

 

 

glimpse

Some very enjoyable hours are spent researching enclosed gardens nowadays. For one researcher it is directly connected to an imminent installation, so the aesthetic;  and for the other, it is connected more and more to the 360 degree view of the plot being worked by the gardener, so the practical. A glimpse into one of the cloistered green areas at Val de Bénédiction Chartreuse in Villeneuve les Avignon offers up the expected box framed parterre – a warm berceau – a  14 C  space lined by cloisters but now the 21 C view that visitors expect. This is the church cloister bounded by chapter room, sacristan’s cell, shaving room and the church housing the mausoleum of Pope Innocent VI. It may have been an area for cultivating herbs . . . . a  ‘focal point’ – vase has been placed as part of the experience that is de rigueur now.

hortus

The feature look a a little out of place in the new setting but it’s a good reproduction of 17 C decorative finial from the entrance gate and posts. Pomegranates, melons and acanthus adorn the vase. This may be a copy of  the original by Franςois Des Royers, a local architect, sculptor and stone mason, who was invited to add similar touches. The monasatery grew richer, more influential and beautiful over the centuries until the Revolution.

niche

Long corridors offer up a peaceful and serene atmosphere. Any decoration is subdued but appropriate. Following a carving up into lots of the library and works of art including frescoes and the bad damage to the building during the Revolution,  the Inspector of Historical Monuments, Prosper Mérimée started the process of repair.

arch doorway

ceiling

support

The priest’s cells form a linear terrace on the right side of this cloister – Cemetery Cloister. The cells had a mezzanine sleeping area looking out onto a private walled garden, and across the Chemin des Chartreux to the Fort St – André,  high on the hill overlooking the new town, the Rhône and the old Avignon.

corridor with rooms

monks houses

The individual garden – hortulus –  has a raised level to catch as much sun as possible. A majority of the herbal plants had been introduced by the Romans but also brought back from The Holy Land by Crusaders so sun and warmth were a prerequisite in their growth and cultivation.

herbs

plan of certosa

The plan of another Certosa, Pavia, shows the uninterrupted rectilinear regulation of line and form. Inward looking and contemplative – nothing from the outside or larger world can interrupt. My thoughts on tending earth and growing plants are on the same level.

k garden

This was the area of the hortus catalogi, also part of the Cemetery Cloister, where plants were grown for food and healing. Grown in an ordered pattern, originally as a user friendly method of organisation,  with roots from ancient Muslim gardens.

hortus catalogi

long corridor

All circulation was through covered cloister walkways – repetition – harmoniously connecting functional spaces – inward views – geometric planes of light and shade – unified  – humility and piety – prayers offered up to save the human race.well

One necessary functional space was based round the water reservoir. The basin here built by Des Royers and covered later with an octagonal rotunda by Franque seems monumental and indicative of the power of the church . . . . so back firmly down to earth with Carol Ann Duffy:

Some days, although we cannot pray, a prayer
utters itself. So, a woman will lift
her head from the sieve of her hands and stare
at the minims sung by a tree, a sudden gift.

Some nights, although we are faithless, the truth
enters our hearts, that small familiar pain;
then a man will stand stock-still, hearing his youth
in the distant Latin chanting of a train.

Pray for us now. Grade 1 piano scales
console the lodger looking out across
a Midlands town. Then dusk, and someone calls
a child’s name as though they named their loss.

Darkness outside. Inside, the radio’s prayer –
Rockall. Malin. Dogger. Finisterre. Carol Ann Duffy  Prayer

Some other posts on the research:

https://juliafoggterrain.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/chronicling-the-day/

https://juliafoggterrain.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/quietude/

https://juliafoggterrain.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/land-of-the-saint-the-devil-and-the-monks/

https://juliafoggterrain.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/a-room-without-a-ceiling/

(refs: drawings from The Enclosed Garden Aben + de Wit; Captured Landscape K Baker)

facade 1

facade 2

faacade

And acte 11 of the double post. At the Collection Lambert in the  Hôtel de Caumont to see:’Oriental Mirages, Pomegranates and Prickly Pears. Mediterranean Comings and Goings’

“In the present day the Arab world allows itself to be seen by the rest of the world via satellite, internet and the Twitter generation, yet it used to be described to Westerners by writers and artists that carried out long and gruelling journeys that sometimes took months or even years”.

poster

Mounted together – an antique cupboard containing  a small library of books by Ginsberg,  Bowles and others put together by Robert Rauschenberg alongside a video by David Claerbout. Enough said – inspirational balance.

antique cupboard

Also inspirational are the sketchbooks from Matisse and Le Corbusier. The low afternoon light floods the galleries . . .

blue room guard

gallery inside

blue room reflected

blue room sun

sun

. . . all around the exotic mix of the old and the contemporary.

roof vista

reflections

A staircase need never be just a staircase . . .

stairwell

stairwell 2

A classroom that most would want to play and to discover in . . .

classroom

class room2

. .  and then the exhibit/installation/artwork?? from the other side. I discover this is by Mona Hatoum, “Nature morte aux grenades”.

gallery outside

ring

A final piece  – very clever – the air from the fan interacts with the ring encouraging a mesmerising dancing movement.

ring 2

ring 1

Thank you to the artists:

Adel Abdessemed, Kader Attia, François Augiéras, Francis Bacon, Miquel Barceló, Yto Barrada, J.-J. Benjamin-Constant, Charles Betout, Étienne Billet, Jean-Charles Blais, Félix Bonfils, A. Bonnichon, Paul Bowles, Alexandre Cabanel, Auguste Chabaud, David Claerbout, Georges Clairin, Robert Combas, Géo Condé, Charles Cordier, Pascal Coste, Louis-Amable Coulet, Edward-Gordon Craig, André Réda Dadoun, Marie-Hélène Dasté, Tacita Dean, Édouard Debat-Ponsan, Émilie Deckers, Eugène Delacroix, Jules Didier, Jason Dodge, Isabelle Eberhardt, Emir El Qiz, Joseph Eysséric, Spencer Finch, Claire Fontaine, Théodore Frère, Eugène Fromentin, Paul Armand Gette, Nan Goldin, Douglas Gordon, Louis-Amable Grapelet, Zaha Hadid, Mona Hatoum, J.-A.-D. Ingres, Zilvinas Kempinas, Bouchra Khalili, Idris Khan, Anselm Kiefer, Jules Laurens, Le Corbusier, Henri Lehmann, Simon-Bernard Lenoir, Hamid Maghraoui, Henri Matisse, Théodore Monod, Moataz Nasr, Carlo Naya, Shirin Neshat, Jean Noro, Jean Nouvel, Yan Pei-Ming, Régis Perray, Pierre et Gilles, Isidore Pils, Walid Raad, Robert Rauschenberg, Michal Rovner, Charles Sandison, Moussa Sarr, Julian Schnabel, Pascal Sébah, Andres Serrano, Waël Shawky, Joseph Sintes, Djamel Tatah, Cy Twombly, Lawrence Weiner

vestibule

farewell

Check out an associated post here

I’ve lived beneath huge portals where marine
Suns coloured, with a myriad fires, the waves;
At eve majestic pillars made the scene
Resemble those of vast basaltic caves.

The breakers, rolling the reflected skies,
Mixed, in a solemn, enigmatic way,
The powerful symphonies they seem to play
With colours of the sunset in my eyes.

There did I live in a voluptuous calm
Where breezes, waves, and splendours roved as vagrants;
And naked slaves, impregnated with fragrance,

Would fan my forehead with their fronds of palm:
Their only charge was to increase the anguish
Of secret grief in which I loved to languish.  Roy Campbell, Former Life

Poems of Baudelaire (New York: Pantheon Books, 1952)

arch mus lapider nave

This is acte 1 of a double acte post.  At Le Musée Lapidaire where Medieval and Gallo-Roman sculptures of the Calvet Collection are housed, the experience is educational. The ecclesiastical building, a former Collège des Jésuites, sits on the main route into the historic centre of  Avignon. Visitors and locals stream passed to and from the stations probably unaware that a museum lies within. The building retains a confident aura although the use has changed into an environment for stone statues, friezes, funery urns and other ‘finds’ from earlier centuries. These are very beautiful in subject matter  – figures both human and animal – and in the craft of the execution.

arch mus lapider 1

arch mus lapider 2

arch mus lapider 9

arch mus lapidere 4

arch mus lapidere 5

The insect world and the botanic world are also treated with a sense of reverence as well as delight . . .

arch mus lapider. 7

arch mus lapider 8

arch mus lapider 3

arch mus lapider 11

arch mus lapider 6.

Pure compositions occur whether meant intentionally or just  in the accumulation of storage.

arch mus lapider 10

arch mus lapider composition

A short step across the street in Rue du Pourtail Bouquier, is another Jesuit building. Once a seminary, and then an officers’ hospital, and then a hospice, and now a hotel and restaurant with eye watering prices. Forgive the sarcasm . . . .

cloitre1

cloitre 2

. .  the mature trees and the surrounding built facades are one.

cloitre 3

As the sun swings round, a sense of theatricality and memory fills the courtyard. An art installation or is it merely items on their way somewhere? And old crafts, like the laying of pebbles, will never be the same again.

cloitre 4

composition

pebble finish

On to Rue Violette and the Collection Lambert . . .

lambert outside

facade 1

J’ai longtemps habité sous de vastes portiques
Que les soleils marins teignaient de mille feux,
Et que leurs grands piliers, droits et majestueux,
Rendaient pareils, le soir, aux grottes basaltiques.

Les houles, en roulant les images des cieux,
Mêlaient d’une façon solennelle et mystique
Les tout-puissants accords de leur riche musique
Aux couleurs du couchant reflété par mes yeux.

C’est là que j’ai vécu dans les voluptés calmes,
Au milieu de l’azur, des vagues, des splendeurs
Et des esclaves nus, tout imprégnés d’odeurs,

Qui me rafraîchissaient le front avec des palmes,
Et dont l’unique soin était d’approfondir
Le secret douloureux qui me faisait languir.  Charles Baudelaire  La Vie Antérieure

à la gare

January 24, 2013

1ground floor

Was glad to get a chance to see this station again. Avignon TGV is a 10 minute bus ride from the centre of town – just 3 euro for a return ticket – and it’s worth a visit even if train travel is not for you. The article by Jonathan Glancey gives a good insight into the design and construction of the 3 new build stations – Avignon, Valence and Aix en Provence – on the TGV-Med Service swooping down to Marseilles. Of course, stations are for travellers so need to function in terms of organization – visit the ladies and see how efficiently Madame manages it – as well as clarity of information and circulation.On a busy morning in early January. there was plenty of room, both standing and seating, for travellers after the holiday break and those travelling for business.

2long view

Some empty space offers the opportunity to appreciate the surfaces both horizontal and vertical. Attractive and practical – there’s plenty of natural light flooding through the curved apertures . . . .

3 short view

. . .  the landscape that greets the traveller is also sleek, organised, stylish and seamless. Lines of poplars are expertly topped to give a graphic visual quality interfaced with slower growing evergreen cypress.

4 poplars1

5 poplars

The main view from the station building to the route to the town shows the large classical gates forming a definition to the contemporary water course axis. The canals had just had their winter clean.

6canal winter

In summer, the water feature looks like this . . . . forms of typha and lilies bridge the decorative look created by large vases of Nerium oleanders.

canal summer

Some areas are more natural like this view to the east. The balance is just right.

south

roof line

The cathedral ceiling emphasises the linear feel. And the current photography exhibition is cleverly hung on the curved walls on the eye line of those using the stairs, elevators and first floor landing which access the platforms.

ads1

On the first floor, travellers can wait in the warm and the dry for their  trains. Admittedly, the timber deck type platform surface was covered in frost. Very slippery – the only problem that I experienced.

waiting

No misdirections in reference to the choice of poem – all plain sailing and very smooth, thank you SNCF (unlike recent trips on Eurostar!).

May they stumble, stage by stage
On an endless Pilgrimage
Dawn and dusk, mile after mile
At each and every step a stile
At each and every step withal
May they catch their feet and fall
At each and every fall they take
May a bone within them break
And may the bone that breaks within
Not be, for variations sake
Now rib, now thigh, now arm, now shin
but always, without fail, the NECK  Robert Graves  The Travellers’ Curse after Misdirection

modern collection

I like spaces in galleries and museums that feel like living rooms – relaxing into an easy chair, picking up a magazine, book or sheet of notes relating to the exhibits brings a whole new dimension to the experience. In the Fondation Calvet, the 20 C collection is hung in the Victor Martin room with  Vlaminck, Soutine, Chabaud well represented together with a quite lovely Bonnard ‘Jour d’hiver’. Crisp morning light floods the rooms, bouncing off glass and perspex surfaces to multiply shapes and colours in other dimensions. The only three dimensional form is a Masque Iba from Nigeria with a dramatic headdress or maybe just a skilful coiffure . . .

mask

. . the sculpture gallery with double aspect and marble floor is 18C. It provides an environment for the neo-classical figures with a fragile quality. Touch it or make too loud a noise and it’ll shatter. A graceful staircase carries the visitor to the first floor of this once privately owned mansion in Rue Joseph Vernet in Avignon. The gallery and sumptuously grand 19C salon house an eclectic mix of paintings and sculptures . . . .

avignon-29-12-2012-21

staircase 2

staircase

1st floor

. . . views down to the courtyard show the usual, simple and correct contained landscape. Fussiness in planting is not required with such stylish architecture. So the role of the garden is for tree planting to provide shade under which to relax in the hot Provence summer sun and  . . .  mentioned by Stendhal as ” large trees of the garden”  in his Memories of a Tourist.

c yard

To the north, the humble arched portal of a side access is dwarfed now by more recent bâtiments.

exterieur

The foundation contains objects, paintings, tapestries, faïence, bronzes, books, coins and decorative metalwork accumulated by 2 enlightened benefactors, Esprit Calvet and Marcel Puech. Calvet also collected ancient Egyptian artefacts. The solemnity of the aura surrounding the display of these was broken by a party of young school children doing a lot of colouring in on fact sheets. Giggles, some tears and general hubbub of teaching and maintaining order passed around the cased mummies until suddenly, just before midday, the little people made a fast exit leaving a sense of calm to re-establish once again.

mummies

mummies2

mummies3

Small alabaster urns have their own presence set neatly within recesses as do the monumental vases in the entrance.

urns

avignon-29-12-2012-20

The winter sun is low and hardly touches the ground plane of the calade pebbles from the Rhone bed. Laid as a decorative carpet using only stones with brown tones.

front

How the light invades the Romantic room where the painting that was the talk of the 1850 salon is hung.

final

It sounded as if the Streets were running

And then – the Streets stood still –

Eclipse – was all we could see at the Window

And Awe – was all we could feel.

By and by – the boldest stole out of his Covert

To see if Time was there –

Nature was in an Opal Apron,

Mixing fresher Air.    Emily Dickinson

wall 1

Place Pie is one of Avignon’s main squares bordered by churches, many bars and restaurants, shops and the covered market, Les Halles. The market is on the ground floor of a 5 level parking garage which forms a portion of the north facing side. This facade has a most decorative finish.

wall small image

Running through the slanted 3 dimensional swirls of planted crocks, resembling cliff side terrain, runs 20 m of Iris japonica. Inside, early morning, there’s an opportunity to delve into more sumptuous delights also beautifully and skilfully laid out. The French are masters at presentation. Regular and perfectly formed shapes . . . .

legumes 1

. . . and the knobbly and irregular forms of organic produce.

legumes organic 2

Poor picture I’m afraid of the display of hats above the boulangerie stall.

pain 1

salade 1

Fresh leaves from the countryside and hams and salamis from Italy . . .

italian

. . the spice stall smells as good as it looks – full of eastern promise with cones of colourful,  dry and grainy powdery textures – great contrast to slippery shells on the coquillages stall.

epices

coquillages

To finish the meal, fruits confits and calissons from down the road in Aix en Provence.

fruits confits

calissons

Back outside, th dry seed heads float in front of the high roof. It’s a green tone landscape in early January . . .

wall 3

. . . but three hundred different species are planted on the 600 sq.m. surface. The image below shows the newly planted vertical garden. The wide expanse offered up an opportunity for Patrick Blanc to flex his artistic muscles and create a stunning horticultural canvas. Surprisingly dwarf conifers are included in the palette along with more usual suspects – cistus, helianthemum, salvia, dianthus and cytisus – now meshed together as the small leaved micraflora of algae flourished along with mosses and ferns.

wall just planted

Two alcoves on either side conjure up the effect of a rocky labyrinth as against a piece of flat tapestry style planting.

wall summer landscape

wall summer

When over the flowery, sharp pasture’s
edge, unseen, the salt ocean

lifts its form-chicory and daisies
tied, released, seem hardly flowers alone

but color and the movement-or the shape
perhaps-of restlessness, whereas

the sea is circled and sways
peacefully upon its plantlike stem.    William Carlos Williams  Flowers By The Sea

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