Monday, October 25, 2010

Minimal attitude in fashion and mosaics

(akris spirng 2010 RTW)

no pattern or design similarities here like the previous posts but the concept of minimalism in clothes and mosaics.
I love mimimalism and as far as mosaics are concerned, there are many mosaics that fall into that category. What comes to mind are the mosaics in Pompeii and in general mosaics where an emblema is the centrepiece and an outline, be it greek key or more intricate and whimsical, frames the mosaic.
now emblema is a Greek word and I want to show you what it looks like.
in fact i will demonstrate mimimalistic mosaics with emblemata.
i need the pictures to be inspired to write. (to be honest today i have no motivation to write).

Simplicity of design is all that is required for a beautiful and accomplished work. Complicated designs and pictures are more suitable for painting or ceramics. When you need to work with pieces of stone, your focus is to translate something "continuous" into a discontinuous object and to give new life to your subject matter. You don't depict, you translate and represent things somehow. This is why complex designs are not "that welcome" or at least easy to work on, unless you are a great craftsman. In class and in the books I read, they always stress the importance of working on a simple design or that your draft is simple. The reasons behind this are mainly technical but beyond that it's the medium that asks for simplicity. It's the art process that becomes the art (object). ..Well at least something along these lines. ....

I had no espresso coffee this afternoon that is supposed to wake me up. 

Enjoy the post and your evening my dear friends and if you are not bored, or made feel bored, by the post, drop a comment.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Who needs memory tools?

So far I haven't mentioned that I am also into translations and work freelance from home. Yesterday as I was looking for something - a mosaic of the goddess of justice to be precise, as I was translating legal material and wanted to post a little something about it - I came across a mosaic of goddess Mnimosini - Μνημοσύνη or Μνήμη (Memory or Remembrance) and the association between mosaic and translation was spontaneous as most translators use what we call CAT tools - computer assisted translation tools or Translation Memory tools. I am 99% convinced that this association is very crazy. But it's ok.

I came to realise (besides having a part of my brain malfunctioning seen the weird associations between things and pictures) that:

1. How seriously traditional I am
2. What a good memory I have (only when it comes to translating....!)
3. Why am I doing something else and not what I really love to do? (I know the answer and it's quite valid I am afraid).
4. Is it sane to do what finds you or to find what you want?
5. How ageless some concepts or principles are ! (the ancients had a goddess for memory - today isn't memory a precious brain function? ooops is that food burning ?)

As a result of the accidental encounter with Mnimosini mosaic and on the spur of the moment I decided that perhaps it's time that I learned some basic CAT tools...maybe

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tribal bag and African mosaics

Time flies.

I have just realised it has been 10 days since my last post.

The picture above illustrates what is considered as one of the trends of the moment. The New York Times proclaims that the "IT" Bag has gone Tribal this season (source of information fashion trendsetter.)

Those who have been following this blog from the beginning know of my love for beadwork and this is what has driven me to associate the tribal bag with mosaic; talking not of mosaic art itself but "other art forms that resemble mosaic art and its patters".

I am not a fan of tribal fashion but ancient mosaics and in this case Roman African mosaics are worth looking into for inspiration. 

The term "tribal" however baffles me like the word "ethnic". I don't like it when they coin terms and then forget about the source or what that term really implies or what are the principles it entails. 

Enjoy the rest of the SUNday. No sun here but feeling good.........

ps: the bag is designed by Silvia Tcherassi. Read more here.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Beads and Mosaic

Sometimes I wonder if there is another art form which could resemble to mosaic and I always end up thinking about beads and not painting nor ceramics. Beads have this feature in common with mosaic = pieces (small objects) that form and cover space with the intention to create a specific and pre-determined design. Now, with beads no cutting is involved whereas mosaic demands an extreme patience.

I have a confession to make.

I have thought of doing beadwork and let mosaic rest for a while considering that my current obligations do not favour much mosaic making..which saddens me. This of course does not mean I can't try some beadwork but when I tried it on a little jeans bag I had made, it didn't give me the satisfaction that mosaic does. But there's more. When you try deviate from your route something happens. You are not happy: 1. you don't do what you are supposed to do, 2. what you do..well you know nothing about, you are trying and experimenting but this is not what you want - substitutes? who wants substitutes? who wants to work with beads when it's mosaics you want to do? I will not provide any answer. I am too tired - mentally and physically - but it's good to put down the least!

Here's some of the beadwork by Valdes I love most. I think it's older work.

your comments will be very welcome on the subject.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Space is the soul of mosaic

The mosaic artist has to consider the many facets of mosaic art which differentiate it from painting.

If I was to split mosaic making into phases I would say that the 1st phase is the designing and defining process on what to make, how, which materials to use, the amount of mosaic tiles you will approximately need, what type of surface you will use, what technique best suits and accommodates your design-hope I have not left anything).

The 2nd phase is cutting your material. It can be stone, glass, marble. What I wanted to discuss today was SPACE which would belong to the 3rd phase, the making process.

Space is the soul of mosaic. The materials used for mosaic making are cut, and therefore, what you construct is in a way made with fragments and your end result is fragmentary. If you want to make mosaic portraits or objects or murals you may not want to ignore and defy this feature, whereas if you are covering a floor, a table, a wall, surfaces that need to be even, the space between the pieces is usually kept to a minimum for specific practical reasons. The main concern when making mosaic to cover surfaces is practicality and durability. Aesthetics are vital but co-exist with the practicality with the work.  

The fragmentary character of mosaic lifts the work into another level. The one I call metaphysical, immaterial. How can we have materials that are immaterial? Art made with materials (versus art made with words, like literature) that invites you into a non material context? The interstice (space) acts as an "opponent" to the real world which has no spaces. To understand this, compare the landscape, nature, the world: it has continuity. Mosaic "breaks" continuity because it does not "copy" landscapes, nature, images of the world the way they are. 

Mosaic represents reality using a "fragmentary" technique. No misleading here. I do not make a picture and then break it into pieces. I create a picture with pieces. I create another reality, a new reality which 1) resembles reality 2) reproduces reality 3) breaks reality.

Enough with philosophy now. Let me post some pictures where you can see the function of SPACE.

In the first picture you see a portrait from Pompei. Wonderful right? A masterpiece. Notice that the interstices have been kept to a minimum. However, you can still tell it's a mosaic. In the 2nd picture the spaces between the mosaics are a bit more evident. The mosaic here is from a floor. Let's see now a mosaic with large spaces between the pieces.

Doesn't it feel more "mosaic" than the portrait from Pompeii?

Doesn't it "represent" a figure instead of illustrating, demostrating it?

Isn't the St.Ambrose mosaic more mesmerising and more intriguing? (Mosaic art has allowed the flourishing of religious mosaics due to this fragmentary/symbolical/metaphysical character).

Why imitate painting if mosaic can be so rich and complete in its own right?

Fragmentary yet complete.

I hope you enjoyed the post.

Back soon.

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