Solving a mystery – part I

I like flea/vintage markets, and mostly the treasure hunting part of it. There’s loads of crap, but if you look good enough you might just find an awesome piece. A few weeks ago I went to one in Belgium and I found something completely useless, but nonetheless something I had to get my hands on.

Antique Private Ledger

In between old cans, bottles and other random stuff I noticed a big, leather book that seemed quite old. Despite the lock on it, curious me of course had to open it. It turned out to be a book used for keeping track of expenses, also called a ledger (which was on the back on the book as I later found out). When trying to decode the very old, but beautiful handwriting I found out the book was from 1869! Only a few of hundreds of pages were written on, but while reading I discovered a name (Henry Bailey) and items paid for like drawing tools and pictures. Doesn’t that sound like a painter? I’m going to find out…

Henry Bailey - painter

Contra - Private Ledger

A little tip for the people living in Amsterdam: tomorrow there will be a huge flea market at the IJ-hallen. If you have time, go check it out.

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Recession art

Recession / Recessione, a nonexcisting exhibition

Recession / Recessione - A Nonexistent Exhibition

Although probably no artist likes to admit this, one needs money to be able to create art. Recession is therefore bad news for art. A design studio in Italy came up with a creative way of showcasing art when money is low with “Recession / Recessione – A Nonexistent Exhibition“.
According to the creators, this book (or actually more a catalogue) is a great example of an exhibition that will never take place due to budget limitations. It’s a nonexistent exhibition, you can create one yourself in your own space with the art provided.

Recession / Recessione - A Nonexistent Exhibition

Recession / Recessione - A Nonexistent Exhibition

Between September and November 2009, 35 artists worldwide were asked to interpret the R word through texts, images, artwork or music. Their work is combined in a 1 kg book and an audio CD, which you can amazingly buy for free (you only pay shipping costs). Best idea ever! I ordered mine last week and thanks the lovely people at the studio I received it within days. The ones I liked best were Maxime Buechi and Slavs & Tartars’ “The Hustle”, Camille Vivier’s “Candle II”, Mark Borthwick’s romantic picture “If were pioneer’s”, the design of Paul Bouden’s “Bring it on” and the imaginary mixtape full of miserable songs (“The light at the end of a tunnel…is a train”) by Dirty Sound System. Go order one yourself here, there are only 800 copies available and I have the feeling they are going fast!

Good advice for hard times

Last week I finally went to London again. Shopping was of course on my list and a visit to my favourite bookstore Waterstones was on it too. I came across a little book with a well-known cover (see picture below) with the famous quote: “Keep Calm and Carry On”. The history of this brilliant quote is pretty cool: it was originally designed as a motivational poster during World War II but never used, only to be discovered 60 years later it turned into an icon.

Lieke 054

The book is full with similarly motivational and cheering quotes, proverbs, mantras and wry truths to help us through the recession (instead of WW II). I wanted to share some quotes yesterday already, but then I took one advise to heart (“If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live” – Lin Yutang). Some others worth sharing:

“There is more to  life than increasing its speed” –  Mahatma Gandhi – I’m sometimes guilty of wanting too much too quickly, often blame it on my enthusiasm and getting things done NOW. Some patience never hurt anyone though.

“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how” – Friedrich Nietzsche – Luckily I have a lot of things going for me so I never had to ask the question ‘why?’ yet.

“It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it” – John Steinbeck – True all the way.

“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy” – Guillaume Apollinaire – Have been getting better at this lately, feels good. Hope you do too!

Magnum Photos

I absolutely can’t sing but I can enjoy and admire people who are brilliant at it. The same goes for photography: I am a great fan of it, although I realise my talent is limited. Therefore I was even more amazed by the wonderful exhibition ‘Magnum 60 years’ in Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

This exhibition contained the work of the 83 photographers of the photo agency Magnum. This agency was founded by the following photographers; Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, George Rodger and David Seymour. They saw photography as the means to not only capture world events but also to make people think about it. The way they ran their agency was quite different at that time, ensuring full independency of the photographer by keeping the copyrights, deciding theirselves which pictures were used and how many etc.

Many of the pictures have become icons trough out the years, attributing to the almost heroic status of Magnum. Who for example doesn’t know the picture of the student standing in front of the tanks on Tiananmen Square (Stuart Franklin)? Or the picture by one of my favourites, Robert Capa, taken on D-Day?

Tianamen Square by Stuart FranklinRobert Capa, D-Day shot

If you want to enjoy more pictures you can either go to their website, it showcases a lot of work and make sure you check out their in motion part of the website. Given their 60th birthday, Magnum decided to bring out a 7 kg (!) weighing book called Magnum Magnum with a selection of their best and most important pictures throughout those 60 years of great photography. I received the book for my graduation, and it’s a journey to go through those pictures and history. Get it before it’s sold out!