Double Portrait – Zoran Music & Ida Barbarigo

From 13th April to 12th June the intertwined artistic lives of husband and wife painters Zoran Music and Ida Barbarigo will be explored in an exhibition comprising some twenty-five works as well as photographs and ephemera at the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art.

Zoran Music and Ida Barbarigo met in Trieste in the spring of 1944, when Barbarigo was persuaded by a friend to visit an exhibition of paintings by an artist whom she described as ‘a handsome chap’. After this, Ida found that she kept on bumping into him and soon ‘very shyly he plucked up the courage to ask for my telephone number, to call me sometime’. However, romance was soon put on hold. The area was, at the time, occupied by Nazi forces and in October 1944 Music was arrested – reputedly taken as a spy and accused of collaborating with dissidents. He was questioned and attempts were made to recruit him to the SS. When he refused, he was sent to Dachau.

Zoran Music Canale Della Giudecca
Zoran Music Canale Della Giudecca

Zoran Music (1909-2005) was born in Gorizia on the Italian-Slovenian border into a Mitteleuropa world shaped by the Austro-Hungarian empire. In his youth he spent time in many different countries. The family was evacuated during the First World War to the Austrian province of Styria. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in the 1930s, then travelled to Spain in 1935, where he stayed until the civil war broke out, copying works by Goya and El Greco in the museums. He also spent time on the Dalmatian coast, where the rocky hills of the Karst would have a profound influence on his palette.

Music moved to Venice first in 1943 and he returned there in 1945 after his internment in Dachau. He found on his return that he was ‘dazzled by the Venetian light, by the cast sky and the huge horizon around the lagoon. I couldn’t believe I was free and that I could work freely without having to cut up my drawings and hide them under my shirt’. The lifelong effect of his experience of a concentration camp was not immediately obvious in his painting – ‘when I came out of the camp and went back to Venice, I painted pictures that were full of light and happiness and gaiety’. However, the effect was there indirectly as he found, when he came to paint the bare hills around Siena, that ‘these whitish mounds reminded me of the piles of corpses that had been part of everyday life at the camp.’

‘Without Dachau,’ Music felt, ‘I would have been a merely illustrative painter. After Dachau, I had to go to the heart of things.’ Music had drawn secretly during his time in the camp, but only a handful of the 300 drawings he made there survived and it was not until the early 1970s that he approached the subject again. ‘All of a sudden,’ he explained, ‘I had to return to Dachau. What emerged was the series We Are Not the Last. The jumbled landscapes of corpses in these works are harrowing, but also reflect the ‘terrible beauty’ and ‘tragic elegance’ that Music found in such scenes, and which was to haunt him for the rest of his life.

Ida Barbarigo (1925-) was born into a family of Venetian artists stretching back to the 16th century. Her father, Guido Cadorin, was also a successful painter. Barbarigo (although born Ida Cadorin, she later adopted the pseudonym Barbarigo) studied at the Academy of Fine Art in Venice, an experience she found ‘both useful and useless. Those who naturally know how to draw do not need to learn, and those who go to learn are not born artists.’

The couple married in 1949. Although Barbarigo did not believe in marriage or want to start a family, she ‘simply wanted to establish a noble, true bond with a person I truly admired’. They remained happily married, a relationship based on mutual trust and respect, but continued to lead quite separate lives. They maintained separate studios and, until shortly before Music’s death, even separate apartments, meeting to dine together and to discuss the day’s events each evening. Barbarigo was Music’s muse and the subject of many of his paintings; the sharing of ideas and techniques is also clear in their work, but this degree of separateness allowed them both to develop and flourish as artists in their own right.

For the first time, the story of these two connected yet distinct artists, which provides a fascinating reflection on their tumultuous times, will be told in the UK. The exhibition is accompanied by a book of the same title by the curator, Giovanna Dal Bon, available from the Estorick shop for £35.

Double Portrait – Zoran Music & Ida Barbarigo

39a Canonbury Square, London N1

13th April to 12th June 2011

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It’s Time to Think About Tallinn

The annual European Capital of Culture Award has done wonders for tourism in cities across Europe including Istanbul which received the award last year.  This year’s winner, Tallinn, is particularly special, as Estonia celebrates its 20th anniversary of Soviet independence.  To celebrate both the award and the country’s independence Tallinn will be hosting daily art, music, literal and cultural exhibitions throughout the year.

During the year an impressive 251 different events are planned, with one large festival each month, including the Jazzkaar jazz festival in April, Tallinn Old Town Days in June, the Youth Song and Dance Celebration and Tallinn Maritime Days in July, the Birgitta Festival for opera in August and the Black Nights Film Festival in November.  This, the largest cultural event in the history of Estonia, will attract some of the world’s biggest names in art, literature, music, film and culture.

Tallinn Old Town

Tallinn has chosen for its Capital of Culture theme `Stories of the Seashore’, to tell the story of Tallinn and Estonia’s spiritual and cultural associations with the seashore, as the city continues to re-open the city to the sea.  As part of the seashore development the new Estonia Maritime Museum will open in July in the re-developed vast concrete sea-plane hangars, located on the coast to the west of Tallinn centre.  The route to the museum will be along a specially marked walkway, enabling visitors to walk the one kilometre route from the city to the Museum.

A full programme of events has been scheduled and information about the daily events in the city can be found at www.tallinn2011.ee with a `What? When? Where?’ event planner and search engine to help visitors plan the date and itinerary of their visit to Tallinn.

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The International Festival Sarajevo – Sarajevo Winter 2011

This year the 27th Annual International Festival Sarajevo, “Sarajevo Winter”, a traditional cultural and artistic event will take place in the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina between the 7 and 28 February.  The programme will consist of theatre plays, concerts, films, fine arts exhibitions, panel discussions, literary events, videos, programmes presenting cultural heritage and children programmes.

The first “Sarajevo Winter” Festival was held from 21 December, 1984 to 6th April, 1985.  In the course of twenty six years of its existence, the Festival has become an inseparable part of the city life.  More than 3,250 performances and exhibitions with over 30,000 participating artists from all parts of the world took place in the 1161 festival days.  Thee festival was attended by more than 3 million people.  The “Sarajevo Winter” Festival was not even prevented from taking place even in the times of war and has become a symbol of freedom of creativity and a place for familiarising with diverse cultures and civilisations.

For more information visit Sarajevo Winter 2011

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Battle for Belgrade Souvenir Collection

Today the new collection of souvenirs in Belgrade Window, based on illustrations of Dusan Petričić will be revealed to the public. The new souvenir programme was named after a well-known Petricic poster Battle for Belgrade, which was made in 1983, as a result of his collaboration with Dusko Radovic, in one hand, and the City Bureau of Environmental Protection, on the other side.  The centre of the painting revolves around the blue enemies of the city and its red defenders.  Petričić even used the image of the then mayor of Belgrade, Nenad Bogdanovic, who was kidnapped by the blues and taken in a boat down the muddy Sava river. Petričić main idea was to actually draft one recognisable and most frequently used theme in Belgrade – the view from Zemun and New Belgrade side and to add it little events.  The collection will be on view until 31 August 2011.

For more information visit KCP.org.rs

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Karel Škréta Exhibition at National Gallery in Prague

Today the National Gallery in Prague has opened an exhibition celebrating Karel Škréta, his work and era (1610-1674).  The exhibition will be held until 10 April 2011 in the Wallenstein Riding School Gallery and the Prague Castle Riding School Gallery in Prague.

Karel Škréta (1610-1674): His Times and Work will be the largest exhibition ever of the work of this major artist and founder of Baroque painting in Bohemia. In addition to Škréta’s artworks, the exhibition will also present works by Škréta’s son Karel Škréta the Younger, his students and workshop collaborators, selected works by artists whom Škréta met during his stays in Germany and Italy, and paintings that inspired Škréta in his own work.

For more information visit the Prague National Gallery website

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The Cologne Fine Art & Antiques: From Antique to Modern

Cologne Fine Art & Antiques FairThis November the Cologne Fine Art & Antiques 2010 will meld modernism with tradition. It will bring together a rich mix of rare and exceptional objects spanning two thousand years of cultural and artistic history. Ninety leading international galleries and dealers have been selected to show highlights of European and non-European art from a broad range of collecting fields spanning classical antiquity to the 21st century. The Vintage Design sector, launched in 2009, will be expanded to include Contemporary Design.

The Fair’s sleek new design and elegant ambience provide a handsome setting for galleries and dealers to show high-end collectibles in all disciplines. It is a treasure trove for cognoscenti and collectors looking to invest in genuine quality and solid value.

The 2010 edition of the Fair is set to build on the success of its new formula. The exhibitor list features top dealers returning after the successful 2009 Fair. They are joined by an exciting mix of high-profile newcomers whose exhibits broaden the spectrum of disciplines and enhance cross-cultural interaction. Five unmissable, art-packed days for every collector’s November diary.

The Cologne Fine Art & Antiques Fair will run from 17 to 21 November 2010.  For more information visit www.cfaa-fair.com

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From Russia with Nostalgia Exhibition in Turin

This winter has seen Turin’s Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo play host to Modernikon: From Russia with Nostalgia – an exhibition including installations, videos, performance and photographs by 20 artists, which recount the world of Russia.  In many of the exhibits modernity and the legacy of an era that still does not seem to have found its end have been reappraised. Both in “Post-post-modern” and the more recent “Altermodern” period, modernity has been seen from a Eurocentric perspective, excluding the realities that, although under a regime, had developed precise ideas and forms, among these, the former USSR.

What emerges from this early season exhibition at the Fondazione Sandretto is a geography of contemporary Russian art, which contemplates a rare vivacity for times of repression, considered by most as times of darkness. In Modernikon there is continuity with tradition, but in terms of a conceptual, formal and expressive re-evaluation of the past based on full awareness of history.

It’s not too late, take a trip to the exhibit now and explore Russian culture.

Modernikon. Contemporary art from Russia curated by Francesco Bonami and Irene Calderoni Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Via Modane, 16 (Borgo San Paolo) – 10141 Torino runs until 27 February 2011, Tuesday to Sunday 12 – 8pm; Thursday 12 – 11pm. Admission: € 5; concession € 3; free entrance Thursday from 8 – 11pm.  For more information visit www.fondsrr.org

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Hungarian Inspired Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Mason

I was rather excited to hear about the Royal Academy’s latest art exhibition straight from Budapest and to coincide with this celebration of art from the former Eastern Bloc Fortnum & Masons has launched a Hungarian inspired Afternoon Tea.  This fabulous afternoon tea, with a distinct Hungarian twist, is served on exquisite  Herend porcelain, made by Hungary’s historic premier porcelain maker.

Immerse yourself in the Hungarian experience with delectable warm Hungarian strudels and traditional Hungarian cakes, as well as a selection of open afternoon sandwiches in the St James’s restaurant at £46 from 27 September to 29 October, Monday to Friday. Or for the duration of the exhibition, Monday to Saturday, with dinner in the Fountain Restaurant at £38.  For reservations call 0845 602 5694.

After enjoying the Herend Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Masons wander a few minutes down the road to see the Treasures of Budapest Exhibition, featuring glorious masterpieces from the Museum of Fine Arts and the Hungarian National Gallery, at London’s Royal Academy. The exhibition is open to the public until 12 December 2010.

The St James’s Restaurant, 4th Floor, Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, London, W1A 1ER www.fortnumandmason.com

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Treasures from Budapest Exhibiton at The Royal Academy

On 25th September an exhibition entitled Treasures from Budapest: European Masterpieces from Leonardo to Schiele will open at The Royal Academy.  Running until the 12th of December, the exhibition showcases the breadth and wealth of one of the finest collections in Central Europe. The exhibition comprises works from the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, with additional key loans from the Hungarian National Gallery.

The exhibition features over 200 works and includes paintings, drawings and sculpture from the early Renaissance to the twentieth century. Selected works by artists including Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, El Greco, Rubens, Goya, Manet, Monet, Schiele, Gauguin and Picasso are on display, many of which have not previously been shown in the UK.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest houses the state collection of international art works in Hungary and includes the Esterházy collection, acquired by the Hungarian state in 1871. The collection began in the seventeenth century but expanded during the rule of Prince Nikolaus II Esterházy (1765 – 1833) who was responsible for developing the fine collection of Old Master paintings and drawings which will be showcased in the exhibition. One of the highlights of the exhibition will be Raphael’s ‘Virgin and Child with St John the Baptist’, 1508 (known as The Esterházy Madonna).

For more information visit www.royalacademy.org.uk

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Horizon Field – Antony Gormley in Vorarlberg, Austria

Antony GormleyThe British artist Antony Gormley is creating a unique project in the mountains of Vorarlberg in co-operation with the Kunsthaus Bregenz.  Gormley explains:

“Who are we, what are we, where do we come from and to where are we headed? Those are the basic questions which the project “Horizon Fields” asks us. The whole point of this work is to make a connection between that which is palpable, perceivable and imaginable. It’s a field of relations between mind and body, in which some of the bodies are surrogates and some are real.”

Horizon Field will be the first art project of its kind erected in the mountains and the largest landscape intervention in Austria to date. The opening will be on 31st July. Horizon Field consists of 100 life-size, solid cast iron figures of the human body spread over an area of 150 square kilometres. The work forms a horizontal line at 2,039 metres above sea level. This height has no specific metaphorical or thematic relevance in the placement of the statues. It is an altitude that is readily accessible but at the same time lies beyond the realm of everyday life.

The individual sculptures will be mounted at intervals ranging from sixty metres to several kilometres, depending on the topography, looking in every direction but never facing each other. Some of the figures will be installed in locations only reached on foot or on skis in winter. Others will be unapproachable, visible only from certain vantage points. The works are neither representations (statues) nor symbols, but represent places where a human being once was, or where any human being could be.

Horizon Field engages the physical, perceptual and imaginative responses of anyone coming within its relational field. Over the two years during which this installation will be in situ, the work will be exposed to the elements, to different lighting conditions, and to the changing seasons, thus enabling constantly new perceptions and impressions.

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