Thursday, June 10, 2010
June 7th 2010
New status of heat. I am keeping my Roman shades down during the day. With fan I am fine but just raising those blades and the heat pours in. It is summer 79 degrees at 10am. Lots of sunscreen, hats that ruin my curls et al. Hoping to hit the beach soon.
Meanwhile missed rainy days last week when I should have been photographing the grey grey skies. Will have to catch it once more if possible (maybe no?). All this for Shelley piece which is winding to a close. Shot the creature from Frankenstein this week, two nights ago, at Villa Aurelia with lights on the grounds at night. Had the inspiration to wrap the creatures’s head with gauze and white strips of cotton, make up his face scarily (tho no makeup artist am I) and then put a tan ‘puffy blouse’ on him. Which made him a disturbed clone of the poet himself. Perfect for Mary Shelley’s own feelings. She subtitles the book after all: the modern Prometheus.
Speaking of which, we went to the Villa Aurora, or Villa Ludovici yesterday. It was originally the American Academy before this building was built. Across town bordering on the Borghese, it used to have 80 acres of gardens that were broken apart by the construction of the Via Veneto. A beautiful villa with bare remains of the gardens but the frescos the frescos the frescos! Many amazing Guerini ones with the brightest colors I have seen, and the softest limbs, faces——a kind of shimmering skin edge. Lovely. Then on the second floor the famous Caravaggio done when he was 25, a tour de force on the ceiling with Jupiter pushing the celestial orb away (or towards?) Pluto and Neptune, all portraits of himself. You are looking up at the gods and presumably C. painted his own genitals, since you are looking up their legs—strange and wonderful foreshortening—while looking in a mirror. Three dogs bark dangerously close —the triple headed cereberus. Amazing.
The house a wonder and it was viewed as too small for real living, was instead a pleasure palace and hunting lodge originally. It would of course suit 20-30 people! Another Renaissance spectacular. The blue of one wall that had not been repaired yet was magnificent as were the three enormous elephant tusks sitting on the floor besides. All led by Princess Rita, a blond Texan who is new wife of the Count (who is very thin and speaks perfect English as educated in England and Switzerland), and dedicated to renovating the place. Very nice with lots of cosmetic surgery and a big smile. She told us to "come on back".
We left to lunch in the park with Patrizia (a visiting fellow artist from Tennessee via Ecuador) and Ann and Richard (remember Sicily?).
The week before my brother Jon was here with his daughter and her mom: Chloe and Becky. I showed them around a bit—including the magnificent Keats Shelley Graveyard (finally got there and filmed what I could with still camera) and the Museum Villa Martini down in Testaccio which combines classical sculpture with a power station from the early 20th c. Beautiful pieces of Roman mosaic and sculpture. An amazing goat from 400 bc that was very detailed, poigant. We got lunch from Volpetti’s and parked ourselves outside my swimming pool on plastic chairs to eat. So quite local. I could not however get them to go to a "real dinner" at a restaurant. I guess the cost was prohibitive, but to come all the way to Italy and not experience food as entertainment in the Italian way was hard for me to comprehend. Particularly after the foody experience of this academy and our time here We did eat one night at the Academy and I think that was fun for them. Chloe is very poised (as Jon has been telling me) and could answer the drunken Fellow who shouted at her the first night with aplomb. That first night was crazy however—with Jonny arriving and fearful that he was experiencing another heart attack. We landed at an Italian public hospital Sunday night —which treated him well and kindly (at no cost: as he said, they didn't even have his phone number!) and it was, luckily, a false alarm! Lots of relief there.
Almost forgot, right after Jon arrived, I was off for two days to Madrid for my show at Reina Sophia Contemporary Art Museum. Flight was uneventful though longer than I imagined—isn’t it simply across the Mediterranean? Show was fantastic. Films looked good (all on dvd pretty much) and audience was appreciative. Talk after was interesting especially since the translation they had done had “normalized” the poetic slippage I had created in the last two films: MIRROR WORLD and LIGATURES. Odd and perhaps predictable. So that “shimmying” became “brillante” which isn’t it at all. And “one on the face” became “one eye on the face” which erased the violent punchiness of the original mistranslation. Now I have to write on both the 'use of humor' and translation/mistranslation. I look forward to that as they have both been on my mind and in my work for a while now.
I am going to stop as I am about to be picked up to install the last of the group shows: spazi aperti at the Rumanian Academy and my computer—which has taken up tooooo much of my time lately (transitioning to new macbook pro)—is acting up on microsoft. Probably snow leopard demands a microsoft version that my school doesn't have...