November 9, 2012
Erri De Luca (1950) is an Italian novelist, translator and poet. He is selftaught in several languages including Ancient Hebrew and Yiddish. De Luca is also a passionate mountain climber. “The Weight of the Butterfly” is one of his books I thoroughly enjoyed reading and that illustrates beautifully this facet of Erri de Luca.
I feel like sharing with you in pictures some lines of one of his poems : “Considero Valore” or “What I highly value” :
a strawberry, a fly,
the mineral kingdom,
the constellation of stars.
An unvoluntary smile,
and two elder persons in love.
I highly value all that will not be valuable tomorrow and all that has not yet much value today.
repairing a pair of shoes and
Rushing up to the first cry, asking permission before sitting, feeling grateful without even knowing why.
The travel of a vagabond, the nun’s fence,
The patience of the condemned man, no matter the wrong,
I highly value the use of the verb “to love”, Amore,
and the hypothesis there is a Creator
Many of those values, I have not known.”
“Oeuvres sur l’eau et autres poésies, 2002″
Erri de Luca
Quote about books :
“I read old books because pages that have been turned many times and that bear the marks of fingers have more weight for the eyes, because each copy of a book may belong to several lives.
Books should remain free, unattended in public spaces so that they would travel with passers-by who would take them for a while and read them. Then books should die like their readers, used by sorrows, contaminated, drowned, put inside a stove during Winter, torn apart by children to make little paper boats. Briefly said, books should die in any way but not because of boredom and privately owned, sentenced to life on a shelf”.
Erri de Luca
December 3, 2011
How would you feel if suddenly your world would look in yellow or red or blue or whatever colour you cannot imagine right now ? Would it change anything for you ?
This is not a recent picture. Since the time I took this portrait of a lady deeply concentrated on her work, I could not figure out what exactly she was doing. I am always shy to take pictures of people in the street. The scene was so special, the mood in her workshop too, I just had “to click” from the street. From the various phials, pens and tools I had a quick glimpse at, I imagine she was doing some sort of calligraphy. What would you say she was making ? What do you see ?
Last Summer I visited a gallery in my hometown. There were two artists who presented their artworks. A lady (Mathilda Raboud) who had created some funny, cheeky and unusual ceramic angels and an Italian artist from Florence, Rosario Memoli. He had worked with all sorts of textiles that he either sewed or stuck on a white canvas. It was abstract art, a kind of reflection on the way space is organised between immobility and movement.
I know it is abstract art… but I could not help seeing it differently. Or rather finding a meaning to his particular creations. Laugh if you want but it is what I seem to see in the above picture : a proud rooster is chasing away a black and white sheep while his favourite polka dot hen is quietly nibbling at a flower
Same sort of tragedy with this other artwork by Memoli… I see a sort of hen (yes, again) and a strange mythological creature with a dangerous looking dented tail. They seem to be arguing. Could the reason be the many colourful seeds in the upper right corner that both are coveting ? See the way my imagination takes over sometimes ?;)
For a long time artists have shown us how to see and think differently. They taught us that there are as many ways as there are people since we all see everything differently. A liberating gift, isnt’ it ?
Rosario Memoli’s artworks bore no title. Maybe the artist intended to free our imagination ? The writer Eugène Ionesco wrote in his book “Découvertes” :
“An artwork is a series of interrogations. Since there is a construction, one can consider a work as an architecture of interrogations. Every artwork must be brought into question”.
December 15, 2010
As dark as a night can be, there will always be some light, somewhere. Like here, in the colourful workshop of a stained glass’ crafsman.
Jazz session in the night. A small café joyfully decorated for Christmas and a warm atmosphere on a freezing Winter night.
“Man has the choice of letting the light in or keeping the shutters closed”. Henry Miller
“There are two ways of sharing the light : being the candle or the mirror which reflects it”. Edith Wharton
“The proof that the moon is inhabited ? There is light up there”. Francis Blanche
August 16, 2010
This post is my contribution to the new photography challenge assigned by Scott Thomas, http://stphoto.wordpress.com; its theme is related to Travel Photography. On the following link you will find the necessary information if you want to join us. Everyone is welcome ! Photos are to be posted until September 8, 2010.
For me, Hauterive is not a faraway place to travel to, 15kms at the most from my home near Fribourg, Switzerland (South of Berne). More than a travel in the usual sense of the word, I would call it an “inner journey”. As soon as you leave the main road leading to the Abbey of Hauterive, you enter a small domain where peace, silence and nature help you slowing down. You don´t even realize it but the way you walk down the path leading to the Abbey is definitely more slow.
I did not meet many people as I strolled under the forest archway. It was a weekday; on Sundays the monastery welcomes many visitors coming to the 10am mass celebrated by the Cistercian monks in the Abbey founded in 1138.The community of Hauterive is a haven of peace. Whenever I need some quietness or just a little time for myself , I love to go and sit in the garden in front of the Abbey. Parts of this garden are closed to the public and reserved to the monks. Pilgrims on their long way to St- Jacques de Compostelle in Spain may stop there for the night.Between light and shade, some benches welcome people who come there for a pause in their day. Some – for their own particular reasons at a period of their life – can stay for a longer time at the Abbey and live with the monks according to their rhythm and spirit. I cannot speak for them but personally I always feel a great inner peace as I stay there, outside or inside the church, also when walking along the river.
This is a view of the Abbey (at the back) and the farm (in front). The monks´s monastic life is essential (“ora et labora” – pray, work and also fraternal life). The monks also cultivate a certain form of relationship with the exterior world. Over the centuries they have valorised agricultural land so that they can sell their various products which bring the necessary revenues for their subsistence.Silence is appreciated in the areas where the monks are praying, meditating.
Hauterive Abbey (which means “high banks”) is located near a river, the Sarine. It flows quietly; people like to come and spend the day at the edge of the water. I saw fishermen trying to catch trouts. Cistercian monasteries were often built near a river in rather secluded areas. Maybe they used rivers as a way of transportation for their goods to be sold in the towns nearby ? It was often done so in the Middle Age when roads were unsafe.
To reach the Abbey you can either walk down a peaceful forest path or use those old wooden stairs. They have been restored of course and if they could talk, they would tell of all the people and the countless steps up and down over the centuries. The walls are original with an occasional patch of new cement and paint here and there. No straight lines for them but slight curves, a sort of imbalance as if they carried the weight of time and events.Let´s enter the Abbey itself through the main porch decorated by a fresco. I visited Hauterive several times over the years; for this photo assignement I came on a sunny morning which soon turned out to be a rainy one. The colours would have normally been much brighter.
I never took any pictures inside the Abbey but the monk I asked about it said it was all right. Those are the stained glass windows on the South side of the church, their bright colours subdued under the cloudy sky. The “rosace” (rose window) is very striking.
Rose windows are particularly characteristic of Gothic architecture and may be seen in all the major Gothic Cathedrals of Northern France. Their origins are much earlier and rose windows may be seen in various forms throughout the Medieval period (Wikipedia).
There were very few people inside the Abbey. I sat for while on the chair on the left. On Sundays and special celebrations the nave and the lateral aisles are all taken up. The monks are reunited behind the choir-screen for the celebration. Their Gregorian chant fills the Abbey. Moments of spirituality and sharing. I feel like saying a sharing beyond all religions, a sheer spirituality that the site inspires and transcends. The monks´chant is bringing life to the ancient walls.Leaving the Abbey by the quiet forest path, I was surprised by a bird flying right in front of me ! I still don´t know how I managed to take a picture. But here it is, a graceful bird dashing to the purple flower bush. A lovely ending of my travel with you. I hope you enjoyed this quiet journey near Fribourg, Switzerland. Thanks to Scott for another interesting photography challenge.
For more information on the Abbey of Hauterive, here is a link to its site. An English translation is available too.
January 14, 2010
January 19, 2009
Blue, white, red, those are the colours of many countries’ banners around the world : France, my neighbour country is the first that comes to mind. Then a little further are the Netherlands, Iceland, Norway. Further still Liberia, Costa Rica, Australia and many more can claim the same colourful trio. Yet there is one in particular that I thought of a lot as I put together this mosaic made of a blue stained glass window and fireworks.
The nation I thought of is the United States of America. Tomorrow, January 20, 2009, is a great, a historic Celebration Day in a beautiful city of our blue planet, Washington, DC. In a few hours these colours will shine high and bright for the Inauguration Day of President-Elect, Mr. Barack Obama. An immense crowd is converging to the capital from all over the country as well as from the whole world. An irresistible wave of people who just want to be there, to be part of these great moments of joy, of hope, of overwhelming emotion. The images I just saw on TV are just fascinating. A glimpse only of what tomorrow will look like.
Tomorrow will be a long day. There will be unforgettable visions, words to remember and share. There will be this personal inner feeling of belonging to a future to be created together. Of course there will be joy, tears, laughter, attentiveness, gratitude. Surely there will be faith and hope, the sort of faith that makes you believe in life and in the changes everyone is hoping for.
Green, they say, is the colour of hope. But let’s say that tomorrow there will be three colours for Hope : blue, white and red !
Happy, Joyful, Wonderful Inauguration Day !