Aix-en-Provence, France en Juillet
Summer has arrived! Clear, hot sunny days, colbalt blue skies, cigales (cicadas) doing their wall-of-noise sound, à la Phil Spectre. Tourists descending like locusts, devouring all the pleasures in sight, determined to enjoy themselves at all costs.
Sculpture in Aix No. 1/ ©2010 Robert D. Hale.
Provence is abuzz with activity. In Arles for example, lying about a hour and a half drive northwest from Aix, ‘Rencontre d’Arles’ the annual photography festival began this week. Perhaps one of the largest events of it’s kind in Europe, and certainly the most popular; this event brings photographers, and those who love photography, together to participate in a month long visual feast of images and discussions highlighted by evening musical performances and light shows. Be advised that although Arles lies on the banks of the Rhone River, it’s quite hot during the daylight hours. You’ve been warned!
Currently, in the streets of Aix, there are several massive installations by the Polish artist Igor Mitoraj. Spread throughout the city center, mainly surrounding the famous fountain La Rotonde at the foot of cours Mirabeau. These large bronze castings of heads and torsos are bold and enigmatic pieces – all being the subject of conversations and photography by tourists and locals alike. In addition to the outdoor art, there have been several exhibitions in various galleries around town. The most recent one I attended was by a young artist who goes by the name of Skomos. His work reminded me somewhat of Basquiat with his use of symbols and figures to simply express what are often time complex ideas. One image in particular resonates today with the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico. The artist explained to me that his aunt was an early outspoken critic of “big oil” and the threat to the environment here in France long before it became fashionable to do so, and this piece although created a couple years before the current crisis; was in tribute to her.
The artist and gallery owners/ ©2010 Robert D. Hale.
American Gallery No. 1 / ©2010 Robert D. Hale.
On the 3rd of July I attended an ‘American Style’ barbeque, and the opening of the American Gallery at the home of Pamela King, the president of Democrats Abroard, a group founded to aid in the election of Barak Obama. The residence sits overlooking the Corniche President John F. Kennedy, which runs along the Mediterranean in Marseille. Ms. Kings home is a hop-skip- and a jump away from the home of the American Consul General, whose barbeque I had attended just a week before. The art was the work of two American artists, both living in Marseille, and the show the first showing for this new gallery.
My exhibition has been put off to September, which actually gives me more time to find some additional images for the show. And though it’s vacation time for most, work continues unabated for most artists. As it should.