Saturday 22nd of January 2022

the gates of hell in a coronavirus epoch...



Henri Laurens was the least-known best sculptor in the world in his time and probably still is, though he has been "dead for a while” (1954). He has been forgotten, languishing in the massive shadows of Moore and Rodin. 




Henri Laurens was known for his early cubist works and his later rounded shapes, particularly of the female figure. For the general public, Henri Laurens, who? Yet, his work was a major opus that influenced a lot of other artists and thinkers…






Of those, Laurens' sculptures inspired architect Jørn Utzon — famous for the Sydney Opera House — in particular Laurens' tomb for an aviator designed for the cemetery of Montparnasse, Paris. Erected in 1924, there is so far no available picture of such work on the net or in reference books (as far as Gus could find), as if the sculpture never existed. 






The Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris is the resting place of many famous French and international celebrities, politicians, artists — including the less-famous Laurens. His tomb is decorated with one of his sculpture “la douleur” — translated in many English journals as “grief”, but it really means “pain” in French. Pain is more appropriate, but probably not as elevating as grief...






At the time when Henri Laurens was the best, and the least-known, most critics and journalists concentrated on Brâncuși. One must admit that Brâncuși was possibly the “inventor” of the rounded stone-curve style which Laurens used later on, as seen on his death monument. Brâncuși’s early vision could be seen at the Armory Show in 1913, which had some of the “modernist” sculptures. His work there, a strange portrait bust of Mlle Pogany — a dancer — was dismissed by art critics as nothing but an egg that invited derision and laughter...






Eventually, for praising and evolving critics, “Brancu" (as called by the master of nothing and everything — his friend Marcel Duchamp) was seen as a clean meticulous operator. His studio only had his own well ordered sculptures and it had no other visible other source of inspiration. But Brâncuși had been motivated by other cultures of primitive exoticism, like Paul GauguinPablo Picasso and André Derain — and was influenced by Romanian folk art based on Byzantine and Dionysian traditions.






Constantin Brâncuși (1876-1957) was born in Romania. He was also a painter and photographer. Brâncuși is considered as the patriarch of modern sculpture, one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th-century. As a child he carved wooden farm tools. Art studies took him to Bucharest, then to Munich, then to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He used clean geometrical lines to balance forms with symbolic allusions of representational art










This was nothing






The two modern sculptors who have REALLY dominated the Western world — and possibly beyond — are Rodin and Moore






The French critics, of course nastily inclined, dismissed the latter’s work as "ectoplasmic sculpture, in which the bellies are holes, the heads, the breasts are succinct and the arms are melded into the rest of the blob.” We know our paramecias...






Son of a Lincolnshire miner, Moore discovered Michelangelo at age 14, when his teacher told him about the Renaissance. Inspired, Moore did his first work: the head of an old-fawn with two rows of teeth showing. “Error” commented his uncle, “old fawns don’t have teeth…” possibly mentioning his own decay… So as the (French) critics said: “Michelangelo Moore, took a chisel and knocked a couple of teeth out, those in the middle… Magnificent”.






From then on, Henry Moore became one of the best known sculptor on the planet — doing heads with no features on top of curvy blobs with holes as intestines — a symbolism which has had the English hegemony critics in rapture forever. 






Similarly to Moore, Rodin was born in a very modest family. His father was a “ficeleur” — that is to say his employ was to tie twine around parcels, all day every day… This modest origin is where the similarity between Rodin and Moore starts and ends. On his tomb, in Meudon, France, sits one of the most famous statues ever “le Penseur” (the Thinker)… Like the Mona Lisa of Leonardo di Vinci, this work has been glorified by critics and public alike, and irreverently modified by cartoonists and graffiti "artists". As Moore was about smooth curves and some textured polish, Rodin was about details, extra details, too many bold detail, few very precise, but representative of a powerful emotional interaction between moments and their humans (or vice-versa). “Le Baiser” (the Kiss) is marble eternal. 






Rodin was also well-known for destroying many of his works. Despite this, 12 massive public monuments, 40 groups of statues, 60 effigies of important people, 250 other figures, remain to be admired. Having been rejected many times by the academies and the officious officials, he battled on regardless with gargantuan passion and a genius revolutionary spirit. 






At one stage after one of his work was refused by a gallery, his mates were about to storm the said-gallery by force. It was at the time of the Dreyfus Affair (Dreyfus is also buried in the Montparnasse Cemetery) and of the famous battle between Balzac, a giant of French literature, and a mediocre writer, Falguière, on opposite sides. With “J’ACCUSE” Balzac prevailed to save Dreyfus. We need our Balzac to save Assange, don’t we? One of Rodin’s friends, Bourdelle, had been taught by Falguière “and had learnt nothing”, was also furiously defending Rodin against Falguière’s pissy criticism of the sculptor. Clemenceau, the famous Marshal, had his bust reshaped more than 15 times by Rodin who obliged with more and more distortions. In 1900, having been rejected so many times, Rodin exhibited his works under a tent in Cours-la-Reine. As the world awakened to the exuberant emotions of his walking man with no head and other amazing works, his sculpture “The Thinker” went to be installed in the Pantheon forthwith.






In his youth, Rodin’s impetuousness would have been compared to Rimbaud's, the enfant-terrible of poetry, and his power to the vigour of a Victor Hugo. It had to be a question of universal relentlessly positive badass attitude only toned down by death in 1917...








“The first time that my my hands grabbed the clay, I though I really was going to faint from happiness…”






“I invent nothing, I only find what was, is and will be…"








Picture at top: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra from Paris, France - Le Penseur de la Porte de l'Enfer (Musée Rodin) The Thinker in The Gates of Hell at the Musée Rodin.
La Porte de l'Enfer was set up in the garden of the musée Rodin in 1937. The thinker may have been finished by 1890.











Art critic for YD...

MONA closes its gates...


Mona entry... Gus Leonisky picture...


Hobart's Museum of New and Old Art (MONA) is to close indefinitely, owner David Walsh says.

Key points:
  • MONA founder David Walsh says he's tried to keep the museum open, but has to close it to avoid it becoming a centre for contagion
  • Staff were informed of the decision on Monday night
  • It follows the cancellation of winter festival Dark Mofo


In a statement, Mr Walsh said he had been trying to find a way to keep the museum going, but it will have to close due to "a chance that MONA could become a major centre for contagion".

"Is there a consequence of closing MONA that I can't foresee, but nevertheless does harm? I don't know, but I'm closing Mona," Mr Walsh wrote.

"I'm closing it, without certainty and with some loss of pride, but I'm closing it.

"I hope people care enough to visit when we reopen. I hope that people care enough to understand why we've closed."

Mr Walsh said he had tried to find ways to keep it open, but in the current climate, all options were untenable.

"I thought about conducting tours, or allowing people to register to be invited when the crowd was appropriately underwhelming," he wrote.

"I've been trying to find a way to keep going, an option, an excuse. MONA will lose more money closed than open (oddly, we haven't seen a reduction in visitation) so, unlike Dark Mofo, I'm incentivised to keep it going. And I owe the staff, big time."


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From Inside Tasmania...

tantalising torture...


When the gates of Tartanus ("bloody hell" in modern mythology and in Scomo’s twisted touristy mind looking for customers) open, the whistling of the whips, the cries, the groans are the welcoming noises for a newcomer… You’re stuffed. It you’re a tourist on a coronavirus seasonal visa, you’re dead…

Is the fate of humanity to be tantalised by itself? Tantalising is torture — torture about getting nearly there… Which encompasses humanity’s achievements of never being satisfied with anything…

Tantalum is a chemical element with the symbol Ta and atomic number 73 — a prime number... 

Tantalum is a rare, hard, blue-grey, lustrous transition metal that is highly corrosion-resistant. Its main use today is in capacitors in electronic equipment such as mobile phones, DVD players, video game systems and computers. Tantalum is considered a technology-critical element. Previously known as tantalium, it is named after Tantalus, a villain from Greek mythology.

So who was that villain with such a modern importance? Tantalus was a king who starved his subjects, and cooked Ceres, his own son’s shoulder as a meal for the gods… Abrahams anyone? Jacob was saved at the last minute by an angel, was he not? What's wrong with fathers listening to godots?

The gods, of course, brought Ceres back to life and performed the first ever recorded (and mythical) transplant by replacing Ceres’ missing bits with Ivory and golden parts. To punish (who does not punish anyone any more, dear?) him, the gods sent Tantalus to Tartanus, where he was drowned in water but, thirsty, every time he tried to take a sip, the water ran away. His intolerable hunger was also tempted by lovely fruit hanging over his head, but he could never reach because of the bloody winds. This sounds like my philosophical reality. 

“Above, beneath, around his hapless head,
Trees of all kinds delicious fruitage spread,
The fruit he strived to seize ; but blast arise,
Toss it on high, and whirl it to the skies.”


Tantalus was the character of tantalising… and it’s likely that tantalum, the metal, was named because of its properties that are enticing, but depriving at the same time… Tantalum is thus used for its bio-compatibility. Remember Ceres’ shoulder… This property makes tantalum a popular material for prosthetic implants and other medical devices. Tantalum wires are used in vacuum furnace heating elements, chlorinator springs, light bulb elements, and chemical processing equipment.

Tantalum has very stable thermal, electrical and mechanical properties that extend over a broad range of temperatures for semiconductor processing. It’s compatible with silicon and silicon dioxide, thus tantalum functions as a diffusion barrier between a copper seed layer and silicon, and engenders unique properties. The barrier is often made of a multi-layered structure of pure tantalum, and tantalum nitride, which is reactively sputtered. You now know how your iPhone works… No idea, but the facts are so, otherwise your iPhone would be as efficient as a bloc of wood.

While other materials can be used for the same purpose, the advancement in semi-conductor technology and “Moore’s Law” have picked tantalum for its high stability and very few processing issues, for now and the future. The future is tantalising...

End of lesson 37,157 #2, by lectronic Professor Leonisky….


I can see the next cartoon...

Imagine a dinner party, set like Huis Clos by Jean-Paul Sartre... The plates are empty, the wine glasses were never filled... and everyone is wearing a surgical mask... The cook is dead. Hell is coming... and no one realises it... The thinker never moves again. Read from top.

klara and the sun...



“Klara and the Sun” isn’t Ishiguro’s finest novel (it has third-act problems, and Josie and her family are curiously underdrawn), but it provides a vision of where we are headed if we fail to move beyond this constraining view of freedom. What’s most unsettling about the future it imagines isn’t that machines like Klara are coming more and more to resemble human beings; it’s that human beings are coming more and more to resemble machines. As we slowly discover (and those wishing to avoid spoilers should now skip to the start of the next paragraph), the cause of Josie’s mysterious illness is a gene-editing surgery to enhance her intellectual faculties. The procedure carries high risks as well as potential high rewards — the main one being membership in a professional superelite. Those who forgo or simply can’t afford it are essentially consigning themselves to economic serfdom.

The plasticity of human beings has been of pressing concern to novelists for hundreds of years. Ishiguro told me that he has always envied 19th-century writers like Dostoyevsky who were working at a time when age-old religious beliefs were being called into question by the rise of evolutionary theory. In that moment, he said, it seemed only natural to ask what in recent times may have come to sound like portentous questions: Does the human soul exist? And if it doesn’t, how does that affect our understanding of what human life is for?


“I grew up in an era when you didn’t really ask questions like that,” Ishiguro said, “but it seems to me that these huge breakthroughs in science and technology are forcing us to go back to them and to ask, ‘What exactly is an individual?’”


It’s a question Ishiguro has been asking, in his own way, ever since he first began to write. To judge by the wretched and the meek who fill his books, it may seem as though he takes a dim view of humankind. “We’re modeled from trash,” Kathy’s friend Ruth says in “Never Let Me Go,” during an argument about “possibles,” the real people who may have served as models for the clones. “If you want to look for possibles, if you want to do it properly, then you look in the gutter. You look in the rubbish bins. Look down the toilet, that’s where you’ll find where we all came from.” Certainly that is where most of Ishiguro’s beings, human and otherwise, end up, once society has taken from them all that it can use.

It is curious, then, that we should come away from his books not with a sense of the cheapness and futility of life but something like the opposite. In “Never Let Me Go,” Kathy works as a “carer,” someone who looks after fellow clones once they’ve begun to donate. Her patients include her old school friends Ruth and Tommy, who used to be a couple. Kathy and Tommy have been drawn to each other ever since they were children, but circumstances have always kept them apart. Now, late in the novel, they finally get together and are briefly happy. Believing themselves to be eligible for a deferral, they track down one of their old teachers to ask for one, only to be told deferrals are a myth. Soon Tommy dies and Kathy gets word that the time has come for her to start her own donations.

Though she cherishes her memories of her old friends, Kathy says she doesn’t dwell on them. “The only indulgent thing I did, just once, was a couple of weeks after I heard Tommy had completed, when I drove up to Norfolk,” a place the three of them once visited. On a quiet country road, she notices a barbed-wire fence and a group of trees at the edge of a field. They are filled with trash. “It was like the debris you get on a sea-shore: the wind must have carried some of it for miles and miles before finally coming up against these trees and these two lines of wire.” The sight recalls Ruth’s words from earlier in the book (“We’re modeled from trash”), but Kathy’s thoughts on what she sees, a muted elegy for the overlooked and discarded, provide a defiant counterpoint:


That was the only time, as I stood there, looking at that strange rubbish, feeling the wind coming across those empty fields, that I started to imagine just a little fantasy thing. ... I was thinking about the rubbish, the flapping plastic in the branches, the shore-line of odd stuff caught along the fencing, and I half-closed my eyes and imagined this was the spot where everything I’d ever lost since my childhood had washed up, and I was now standing here in front of it, and if I waited long enough, a tiny figure would appear on the horizon across the field, and gradually get larger until I’d see it was Tommy, and he’d wave, maybe even call.


“I feel it’s an optimistic vision of human nature,” Ishiguro said of “Never Let Me Go” during a recent episode of BBC Radio 4’s “Bookclub” program. Love and friendship may not survive death, but they grow stronger and deeper right up until the end. As he saw it, this tenderness, and not the exploitation that the clones endure, is the moral center of the novel.


What exactly is an individual? For one thing, we are all works in progress, apt to make mistakes both large and small. Technology holds out the promise of human perfectibility, but, as far as Ishiguro is concerned, it is a promise we must resist. Our mistakes are the portals of discovery.


Ishiguro has known nothing but success almost from the moment he began writing. The last time I spoke to him, in mid-January, I wondered out loud what the major disappointments of his extraordinary career might have been.


“They’re like parallel lives,” he said, distinguishing between his public self, who gives interviews and wins awards, and the private one, who spends day after day in his study, trying to will imaginary worlds into being. “Most of the time, after I finish a book, I’m left with the feeling that I didn’t quite get down what I wanted to. And possibly that’s what’s kept me going. I always feel an urgency to get back to my desk. Because I don’t ever feel I’ve written the thing I wanted to write.”



As we discussed the subject of artistic failure and frustration, his train of thought led him to an old memory. In the summer after they graduated from high school, he and a group of musician friends spent several weeks at a chalet near Loch Fyne, on the west coast of Scotland. They’d brought their instruments and a portable cassette player and would pass the days and nights recording songs. Ishiguro had long had an idea for an arrangement of a song he always loved, “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” written by Jimmy Webb and made famous by Glen Campbell. “I really cajoled my friends and made a complete pain of myself, telling them to do this and do that,” he recalled. “One of us, not me, happened to be a superb guitar player, and one of us was a very gifted singer, and it all sort of just happened.” The song turned out almost exactly as he’d envisaged it.

“This thing that I had in my head, in the abstract, had come to life, and it was there,” he continued, narrowing his gaze and lowering his voice. “It was very, very close to the way I had always wanted it to be. I remember being on a kind of weird high.” Ishiguro laughed softly to himself, emerging from his memory of the long-ago summer. “I thought at that point these kinds of moments would come often, but looking back, I haven’t had that feeling again.”



Giles Harvey is a contributing writer for the magazine. His work has also appeared in The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. Jack Davison is a British photographer known for his black-and-white portraiture. He last photographed the two remaining northern white rhinos in the world for the magazine.


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What exactly is an individual?


This has been the focus of many articles on this site as we have tried to understand the influence of others on our own actions and beliefs.  So what has this to do with Rodin?


Rodin has been somewhat misunderstood. His sketches and his sculptures were about individuals in the moment. Ordinary moments with the passion of life. :


It’s very simple. My drawings are the key to my work, declared the renowned sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917). It's true that he's remembered for his sculptures, but he also ought to be remembered as one of the most prolific drawers of his time. The sheer volume of his drawn oeuvre is impressive: some 10000 drawings, most of them not exhibited during Rodin's life.


Why weren't they exhibited and are still sort of hush hushed?


Rodin's Erotic Drawings


When Rodin's sculptures were shown in exhibitions in the late 19th century, they were often considered to be too daring and realistic, or perceived as unfinished and lacking a narrative context. He tirelessly strove to portray the moment and the lifelike corporeality in his sculptures. In many ways he broke with antiquity and paved the way for modernism. Rodin's living and spontaneous idiom was something entirely new. At the same time, the intense interest in depicting the human body makes Rodin one of the last classical sculptors. The muscles and movements of the figures express strong feelings, and the creative hand's imprint in the clay or the stone becomes part of the artistic expression. What the outside world perceived as unfinished was for Rodin perfection.

But the drawings are even more so imbued by the obsession of capturing body movement, vitality, and life itself. A sort of artistic counterpart to "let there be life." The ink of the "black drawings" hint suppressed dramas of violence, sex, anxiety. The starting point was Dante's Inferno and the figures are part of the process of creating a portal, "The Gates of Hell", to the Directorate of Fine Arts. It was commissioned in 1880 but Rodin continued to work on in until his death in 1917.

The infinitely fascinating female body and the pursuit of undiscovered movements drives Rodin further. The exotic poses of the Cambodian dancers and the free movements of Isadora Duncan unleash the pen. Without taking his eyes off the model in movement, he quickly sketched down the impressions. They were then transferred to a new piece of paper and finished with color. The limits of paper gave rise to collage experiments. And it was here that sculpture and drawing coincided. Rodin saw sculpture fragments and the unfinished as full works of art, not least due to his obsession with Michelangelo, fragments which could also be joined together. A new totality is created with cutting and pasting.




Rodin was Matisse before Matisse... But Matisse was "spiritual" while Rodin was "erotic"...


And this is life.

Meanwhile the psychopaths rule the world... and promise to blow it up...


Read from top.


We all have shortcomings and prejudices even if we work hard at eliminating them... Often these traits come back to us as a reaction to the stupidity of others. We brilliantly mirror the stupidity. We need to stop the cart and think twice. As we remember the past, through the slanted records and value the feat of managing a loony humanity, we want to remove the pimple on our face by cutting our own head off. No more pimples. Mission accomplished...



If we erase every part of our history that’s deemed problematic by today’s ethical standards, what will be left?


By Lauren Chen — a political and social commentator. She began as a YouTuber, and has since gained millions of views on the platform and hundreds of thousands of followers. She has also appeared on Fox News, BlazeTV, RT, OANN, Newsmax, The Daily Wire, Rebel Media, PragerU and The Rubin.


Like many nations, Canada’s wrestling with its less than tolerant past. But in removing statues, renaming schools, and now even the National Archives cancelling the country’s first leader, Canadians are playing a dangerous game. 

Sir John A. Macdonald served as Canada’s first Prime Minister from 1867-1873 and again from 1878-1891. He was born in Scotland, moved to Canada with his family as a child, and was a lawyer by trade. And while experts consistently rank Macdonald as one of the country’s most effective leaders, like any historical figure, he was not without his controversies.

In 1873, Macdonald resigned from office when it was discovered that his party had taken bribes from companies hoping to secure contracts to build the Canadian Pacific Railway, though he would eventually be re-elected just five years later.

More scandalously, however, especially from a modern lens, Macdonald was also involved in some of Canada’s most racially discriminatory policies. Under his government, the Chinese head tax was passed, which charged Chinese people a fee to enter the country, with the aim of discouraging immigration.

When it comes to Canada’s indigenous population, Macdonald’s record is even more suspect. He reportedly called First Nations individuals “savages” in Parliament, was part of an effort to depriveindigenous groups of food to force them to work and live on reserves, and also helped to establish Canada’s residential schools.


Under the residential school system, indigenous children were forcibly removed from their homes and sent to boarding schools largely run by the Catholic Church. There, they would be banned from speaking their native languages and obliged to conform to colonial customs and culture. Approximately 150,000 children were placed in these schools, with thousands never returning home. Recently, hundreds of bodies have been found in unmarked graves at sites of former residential schools across Canada.

Cleansing the public square

Due to Macdonald’s prominent role in Canada’s formative years, many institutions throughout the nation bear his name, and statues of him are a common sight. But as activists have become increasingly skeptical of Canada’s past, many have begun to question why so many monuments pay tribute to an arguable racist. 

Within the past few years, Macdonald’s grave has been vandalized, statues of him have been defaced and even toppled, and at least one Ontario school board has removed his name from their school. And now, Canada’s national archive has taken an even bolder step to chip away at Macdonald’s legacy by removing information on him that offends modern sensibilities.

The Library and Archives Canada (LAC) site has a notice which reads:


Our current website contains information that was written many years ago. Unfortunately, it does not always reflect our diverse and multicultural country, often presenting only one side of Canada's history. LAC acknowledges that some of its online presence is offensive and continues to correct these issues.

This is why content that is redundant or outdated will be removed or rewritten. An "archived" notice will be placed on pages with older content that is still useful but will not be updated. In some cases, content may be removed from these pages.

LAC is committed to providing access to Canada’s documentary heritage both in person and online through Collection Search. Access to published and archival material through our Collection Search remains a priority.


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On the same level, Rodin was addicted to what we define today as porn, in the service to artistic imagination... Are we going to remove him from our social consciousness because of our prejudices about porn? Are we going to whitewash porn in order to retain Rodin as a master sculptor? Or are we going to be adults and comfortably live with Duchamp, rather than embrace Michel Foucault? Are there any encryption mistakes in the unchangeable block-chains of Bitcoins? Do these matter? 


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