Artistic radiators growing up with Salvador Dali

19 03 2014

Opening at the REDSEA Gallery on Saturday is an exhibition that will offer a very personal perspective of the surrealist artist, Salvador Dali. SALVADOR DALI: The Argillet Collection will feature 112 etchings, drawings, and tapestries from the renowned Pierre Argillet Collection, all of which will be available for private acquisition. Seen for the very first time in Asia, the collection provides a glimpse into the bond Dali had with Pierre Argillet,  his publisher, through their many years of collaboration and friendship.

Dali with Christine Argillet. © CHRISTINE ARGILLET ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Dali with Christine Argillet. © CHRISTINE ARGILLET ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

The collection is being brought over to Singapore by Pierre Argillet’s daughter, Christine Argillet, who in growing up in the presence of the great artist, will offer a personal insight into the collection. Madame Agrillet, who was also kind enough in allowing me to put some questions to her via email (see below), had this to say about bringing the exhibition in:

“This presentation is a tribute to the work of my father, Pierre Argillet, as an extraordinary publisher of the Dada and Surrealist group. This collection reflects his constant endeavour and his close collaboration with the artists of these two movements, especially Salvador Dali. My goal is to have this collection presented in the finest galleries and museums throughout the world,”

Argus in color, Individual Etchings, 1963. 57 x 77cm. Original etching reworked in drypoint Japanese paper. © CHRISTINE ARGILLET ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Argus in color, Individual Etchings, 1963. 57 x 77cm. Original etching reworked in drypoint Japanese paper. © CHRISTINE ARGILLET ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

All works in the collection have been authenticated and signed by Salvador Dali and have never before left the Collection. The exhibition will be opened from 22 March to 20 April 2014. 

Portrait of Marguerite Faust, 1968. 38 x 28cm. Drypoint etchings with roulette, ruby & diamond Japanese paper. © CHRISTINE ARGILLET ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Portrait of Marguerite Faust, 1968. 38 x 28cm. Drypoint etchings with roulette, ruby & diamond Japanese paper. © CHRISTINE ARGILLET ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


An interview with Madame Christine Agrillet

Christine Argillet. © CHRISTINE ARGILLET ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

Christine Argillet. © CHRISTINE ARGILLET ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Growing up around Dali: Dali was a very kind uncle for me, simple in his daily life, yet very inventive. Anything at home was subject to turning it into another use, another tool. Dali had a very special way of envisioning or reconsidering things. 

For instance: one day, his wife Gala had told him that their radiators were really ugly. Dali decided to hide them behind a wood panel and painted radiators over it. The most artistic radiators…

There was always this kind of light humor, this way of making fun out of everything with a gentle surrealist attitude.

Dali was at the same time a workaholic and a very free person. He would strive to paint with a one-hair brush or he would throw acid on copper plates to create uncertain smudges that would challenge him to create a very figurative subject next to these abstract shapes. We have exhibiting here in Singapore the series of the Mythology etchings that was created using this process.

Dali’s influence on her: I think both Dali’s incredible work on himself and his total freedom have impressed me and certainly have had an influence on my life.

Behind the public persona: Dali could be very eccentric in public to grab attention, but he could be totally absorbed in his paintings and forget about anything around him for hours or days. I think that the public persona he created was at the opposite of his real character.

Have her impressions of Dali been changed since childhood: No, there was a very charming Dali, elegant, simple, and creative that I knew and there was this opposite: the public persona. For me, they were two different persons. My father used to say that Dali was shy and that he was exaggerating everything while facing a public.

The collection: Many works in our collection mean a lot for me. My father had a passion for Dali’s drawings and he would often meet with Dali, speak of his projects with him. The Aubusson tapestries became something extraordinary as Dali wanted to cover the walls of his museums with this traditional technique. We have a film where we see Dali discovering these hand woven pieces in my father’s castle. There were also watercolours, drawings, sculptures, incredible telegrams between Picasso and Dali. All these constitute a part of my childhood.

On bringing the collection over to Singapore: This collection has never been seen in Singapore. My intention is to the show the wonderful collaboration of an artist and a publisher. The strong friendship between both Dali and my father allowed wonderful artworks to come to light. This is at the same time a tribute to Dali as a great etcher and a tribute to my father as a talented facilitator.

Individual Bullfight, Individual Etchings, 1966. 51 x 66cm. Colour-printed heliogravure with stencil, Arches. © CHRISTINE ARGILLET ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Individual Bullfight, Individual Etchings, 1966. 51 x 66cm. Colour-printed heliogravure with stencil, Arches. © CHRISTINE ARGILLET ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


About Pierre Argilllet:

The 1914-18 War Apollinaire (Secret Poems), 1967. 39 x 28cm. Original etching reworked in drypoint. Japanese paper. © CHRISTINE ARGILLET ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

The 1914-18 War Apollinaire (Secret Poems), 1967. 39 x 28cm. Original etching reworked in drypoint. Japanese paper. © CHRISTINE ARGILLET ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Pierre Argillet was an avid collector of works by futurists, dadaists and surrealists, and very early on, met the major artists of the 20th century. In 1930, at the age of twenty, Argillet was deeply impressed by the “Les Chants de Maldoror” of Lautreamont. He began a spiritual journey along a path that was originated by Rimbaud and later pursued by Lautreamont, Marinetti, Andre Breton, Tzara and Chirico. He counted Duchamp and Jean Arp among his acquaintances, but when he met Dali, complicity led to a life-long friendship that lasted until the painter’s death in 1989.

Be it luck or fate, Dali’s delirious vision led to a long and fruitful collaboration between artist and publisher. They produced nearly 200 etchings. To name a few: la Mythologie (16 planches), le Christ, Sainte-Anne, l’Incantation. In 1966, Dali reworked 7 pieces of the Bullfight set of Picasso, giving them the Dali touch. In 1968, Dali illustrated “ la Nuit de Walpurgis “ of Faust (21 pieces) using rubies and diamonds as engraving tools, a technique that lent an incomparable delicacy to the design; next came the “ Poemes “ of Ronsard (18 pieces) and Apollinaire (18 pieces) . In 1969, Dali created “ Venus a la fourrure “ after Sacher Masoch (20 pieces), and between 1970-71, the Suites of Don Juan (3 pieces) and Hippies (11 pieces).

In 1974, artist and publisher parted their ways. Pierre Argillet would only accept etchings done in the traditional way, on copper, and refused to go along with Dali’s desire to make photo-based lithographs. But by using this process, Dali went on to produce a large number of works that appealed to a more widespread audience than ever before, but they were also subject to more criticism.

Piano under the snow Surrealist Bullfighter, 1966. 51 x 66cm. Heliogravures reworked in drypoint hand-coloured with stencil, Japanese paper. © CHRISTINE ARGILLET ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Piano under the snow Surrealist Bullfighter, 1966. 51 x 66cm. Heliogravures reworked in drypoint hand-coloured with stencil, Japanese paper. © CHRISTINE ARGILLET ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


 





In a beautiful mess of her own creation

1 06 2013

One of the things I was able to do during the recent Indie music festival, Music Matters Live with HP 2013, was to catch a few of the local acts. One act which came at the recommendation of a friend, was that of singer/songwriter Natalie Hiong, who I also had a chance to have a short chat with after her performance on the final evening of the three day festival.

Natalie Hiong

Natalie Hiong

Blessed with great looks and a great voice, there is probably nothing about Natalie not to like. I did find her music very likeable as well. Simple, bright and cheerful, her melodies and lyrics are easy to listen to and I enjoyed every bit of her brief appearance at Beer Market during which she performed songs which featured in her second EP, Beautiful Mess.

Natalie and her band at the Beer Market during MML 2013.

Natalie and her band at the Beer Market during MML 2013.

It is in the title track of the five track EP where Natalie speaks of the beautiful mess of her “own creation, awash with colours of fear and excitement”, which she does find herself in. It is a mess she got herself into a little more than two years back, quitting a two year investment banking job in London she found herself bored in, admitting that she would have quit earlier if the bonuses paid at the end of the first year had been better.

A graduate of the London School of Economics (LSE), Natalie does admit to being something of an academic high-flyer – which does make it a lot more unlikely for her to take the path she has. Trained in classical music, it was her involvement writing music for a student produced musical, “Excess Baggage”, in her second year in LSE in 2007 which provided her with the yearning to pursue a career in music – again admitting to wanting very much to quit her studies there and then to allow her to do just that.

In her beautiful mess.

In her beautiful mess.

With two EPs under her belt, Natalie is now working towards her goal of recording a full album – which she hopes to complete next year. It is also her dream to get into the musical scene, having had acquired a taste for it with Excess Baggage, as well as in her writing the lyrics for the recently concluded magic themed musical Incanto which played at Resorts World Sentosa. I did also have the chance to ask Natalie if her parents were supportive of the choices she has made. “They are”, Natalie says, “they always knew I was going to go into music, it was only a question of when”.


More of Natalie:






The Singapore Blog Awards 2012 Interview

28 05 2012

How do you feel about being one of finalists in Singapore Blog Awards 2012?

I am smiling from ear to ear! What I actually am feeling is a mix of emotions that include being excited and extremely ecstatic, at the same time, I am also deeply honoured to be picked as one of the finalists in the Photography Category!

When did you start blogging and what drew you to it? Where do you get inspiration for your blog content?

I started blogging in 2008 as an attempt to document my life. At that time, I was doing a stint in Penang, and in wandering around the streets which were very reminiscent of the Singapore of old, I was transported back to that Singapore. It was then I started to realise how different life for me was, and how much Singapore had changed, and I thought of documenting that part of my life as well as what went on around me, partly to help me reminisce and partly to keep a record of what the world around me was seen through my eyes – what essentially had left an impression on me along life’s long and winding road (hence the blog name). The blog has over time evolved to much more than that and I have included photographs that I have taken as a means to help the reader connect with my writing. In the process of that I have developed a strong interest in photography.

What has inspired my blog content has very much been my readers and it is through the generous feedback I have received that I realise that it is more than nostalgia that draws readers to my blog, but also the snippets of history and heritage, the interest the blog has generated on the passing of the railway and the Green Corridor, the mix of the old and the new and the cultural aspects of Singapore, as well as my use of images that I am told speak to the audience. This inspires me to seek new experiences as well as look back at older ones. The interest and attention the blog has received has also benefited me in offering opportunities to further my experiences in the areas I am interested in and document them in my blog.

How do you feel about the other Finalists in your category this year? How do you think you will fare compared to them?

As with the previous year, I have found myself amongst some very accomplished photographers in the category. These include another previous winner, and several who ply the trade. Going through their stunning and mouth-watering sites, the level of competition provided is certainly very high and it will certainly be very hard for me to repeat my feat last year of winning in this category.

Give a reason why readers should visit your blog and vote for you?

If there was to be one reason why readers should visit and vote for The Long and Winding Road – it will have to be for the images that I’ve used on my blog that I hope has been able to paint a thousand words, images such as the few that I have included in this post.