The Line / Children’s Labyrinth | Saul Steinberg, 1954

 The hallmark of Saul Steinberg’s art is the inked line, always drawn with a spare elegance that expresses the semiotic richness of the line itself. As it shifts meaning from one passage to the next, Steinberg’s line comments on its own transformative nature.

The Line, the original a 10-meter-long drawing with 29 panels that unfold, accordion fashion, is Steinberg’s manifesto about the conceptual possibilities of the line and the artist who gives them life. His drawing hand begins and ends the sequence, as the simple horizontal line that hand creates metamorphoses into, among other things, a water line, laundry line, railroad track, sidewalk, arithmetic division line, or table edge; near the end, the curlicues etched by the iceskater’s blade remind us of the role calligraphy plays in Steinberg’s art.

Saul Steinberg, The Line, 1954. Ink on paper, 18 x 404, The Saul Steinberg Foundation, New York

The Line was designed for the Children’s Labyrinth, a spiraling, trefoil wall structure at 10th Triennial of Milan, a design and architecture fair that 
opened in August 1954. The drawing, photographically enlarged and incised into the wall, was one of four Steinberg conceptions used on the labyrinth.(.)

The Children’s Labyrinth, a spiraling, trefoil wall structure at 10th Triennial of Milan, 1954

The Children’s Labyrinth, Milan, 1954

Saul Steinberg, The Line, 1954


The private secretary of Auguste Rodin | Rainer Maria Rilke, 1902

In the summer of 1902, Rainer Maria Rilke left his wife, Clara, and daughter, Ruth, and went to Paris, where he worked for a time as the private secretary of Auguste Rodin.

On August 1, he wrote to Rodin: 
Your art is such … that it knows how to give bread and gold to painters, to poets, to sculptors: to all artists who go their way of suffering, desiring nothing but that ray of eternity which is the supreme goal of the creative life.”

On September 2, 1902, the day after first making Rodin's acquaintance, Rilke wrote to his wife Clara describing the meeting:

"Yesterday, Monday afternoon at three o'clock, I was at Rodin's for the first time. Atelier 182 rue de l'Universite. I went down the Seine. He had a model, a girl. Had a little laster plaster object in his hand on which he was scraping about. He simply quit work, offered me a chair, and we talked. He was kind and gentle. And it seemed to me that I had always known him. That I was only seeing him again; I found him smaller, and yet more powerful, more kindly, and more noble. That forehead, the relationship it bears to his nose which rides out of it like a ship out of harbor...that is very remarkable. Character of stone is in that forehead and that nose. And his mouth has a speech whose ring is good, intimate, and full of youth. So also is his laugh, that embarrassed and at the same time joyful laugh of a child that has been given lovely presents. He is very dear to me. That I knew at once."

  Rilke, Rose Beuret, Auguste Rodin >

This fine letter from one of the greatest German poets was the starting point of Rodin’s relationship with the Hôtel Biron, which would lead to the founding of the museum, in 1916. Rainer Maria Rilke was not yet 30 when he met Rodin in 1902. From the outset, he devoted himself to the man who had just been proclaimed the latest master sculptor. Rodin’s genius, combined with his rare capacity for work and instinctive originality, so fascinated Rilke that he made him his mentor. He constantly sought to translate Rodin’s poetic creations into words.

In 1905, so as to help the writer financially, Rodin invited him to stay at Meudon in exchange for some secretarial work, before abruptly dismissing him eight months later. Deeply hurt by Rodin’s overly cantankerous attitude towards him, Rilke nevertheless remained attached to the sculptor’s oeuvre, while his “intellectual admiration” fortunately prompted him to forget this misunderstanding.

Rainer Maria Rilke, Letter to Rodin, 31 Aug. 1908

It was Rilke who happened to find the Hôtel Biron, then divided into rented apartments, in 1908. He moved in and immediately told Rodin how charming it was. A few weeks later, Rodin installed his studio there for the rest of his life. ( Musée Rodin)

My dear friend, you should see the beautiful building and the room I live in since this morning. The three windows open to an abandoned garden where, from time to time, you can see innocent rabbits jumping through the trellises like in an old painting.

Rilke in his workroom at Hôtel Biron, 
Paris, during the time he was writing 
The Notebooks of Malte Laurid Brigge. >

Circus performers: Zelda Boden

 Frederick W. Glasier, Zelda Boden, 1910

 Frederick W. Glasier, Zelda Boden performing her act for the the Ringling Circus, 1924

People & Birds (II) | Saint-Pol-Roux / Francesca Woodman / Martin Munkacsi / John Albok / Raymond Voinquel

John Albok, The Truth About You, 1935                                                  Abbott Handerson Thayer
                                                     -                               Raymond Voinquel, The boy and the dove, France 1948

Τα μάτια που φεύγουν απ' τα μέτωπα των τυφλών, γίνονται πουλιά.
- Τα μικρά πουλιά μπορεί, θα πείτε - μα τα μεγάλα;
-Τα μεγάλα πουλιά, δε βλέπετε σ' αυτά παρά μάτια υπέρμετρα σκορπισμένα απο αμνημόνευτους χρόνους.
Ποια δύναμη, εξ' άλλου, θα μπορούσε να εμποδίσει τα μάτια να μεγαλώνουν, μια και βρίσκονταν στον ελεύθερο αιθέρα;

Saint-Pol-Roux, Πουλιά (1861-1940) 
μτφ: Σταύρος Καρακάσης

Francesca Woodman                                                     Martin Munkacsi ,The Lark Lover, c.1930
     Tippi Hedren, The Birds, Alfred Hitchcock, 1962                                                                                  -

People & Birds (I)  Solitude of Ravens / Masahisa Fukase

The Roaring Twenties | Raoul Walsh (1939)

The Roaring Twenties (1939)
Director: Raoul Walsh 
Writers: Jerry Wald, Richard Macaulay, Robert Rossen
Stars: James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Priscilla Lane

(in voice-over): 1929. As the dizzy decade nears its end, the country is stock market crazy. The great and the humble... the rich man and the working man... the housewife and the shop girl. All take their daily flyer in the market, and no one seems to lose. Then like a bombshell comes that never-to-be-forgotten Black Tuesday, October 29. Confusion spreads throught the canyons of New York's financial district. And men stare wild-eyed at the spectacle of complete ruin. More than 16 and a half million shares change hands in a single day of frenzied selling. The paper fortunes built up over the last few years crumble into nothing before this disaster which is to touch every man woman and child in America.

(in voice-over) First to feel the effects of the economic disaster which sweeps the country are the nightclubs, the speakeasies and the bootleggers who serve them. With the falling off of profits in the illegal liquor industry, the mobsters have difficulty in paying protection, and the number of raids, arrests, and convictions double and quadruple. Then, in the depth of the economic despair that has gripped the country, Franklin Delano Roosevelt is elected President, partially on the basis of his promise to end Prohibition. In New York City, thousands of jubilant citizens march in a great beer parade, and shortly, 3.2 beer becomes legal. Finally comes the national referendum on repeal. Tired of years of violence, corruption, and loss of personal liberty, Americans go to the polls and overwhelmingly rout the dry forces. After thirteen years, Prohibition is dead, leaving in its wake a criminal element used to wealth and power but unable for the most part to cope with a new determination by an aroused public that law and order should once more reign.

Jack Dempsey vs Jess Willard (July 4, 1919)

This marked the end of James Cagney's cycle of gangster films for Warner Bros. Cagney wanted to diversify his roles and would not play a gangster again until White Heat >>>(1949), ten years later.

James Cagney's character is introduced while the soundtrack is playing the song "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" - the same song that is playing at the end of his star-making film, The Public Enemy (1931) (made eight years earlier and also set in the 1920s), when his corpse is delivered to his family's home.


Mickey Mouse | screenings 1931-38

During an LCC (London County Council) election campaign run by Sir W Ray, Mickey Mouse
 is showing on a small screen in a city street. The sign above the screen says 
'Vote for Moustardier Ray', 1931
 A meeting of the Mickey Mouse Club, early 1930s
A Mickey Mouse race during the Mickey Mouse Club Sports Day in Guildford, 1938
Two young passengers settle down to their comics as their train leaves London's Victoria Station, 1930s

Στο ναό της Αφαίας | Στράτης Μυριβήλης, 1958

''Εκεί πάνω στο ναό της Αφαίας τους βρήκε το σούρουπο. Τους τύλιξε μέσα στη μαγεία του χωρίς να το υποψιαστούν. Οι σκιές τους επλησίαζαν από παντού κι έκαναν τις ομάδες των πεύκων να σμίγουν στ’ απόμακρα. Το νησιώτικο μούχρωμα έκανε τα χρώματα πιο τρυφερά. Τα χρώματα της θάλασσας και των ανάγλυφων βουνών. Όλη αυτή η ειρηνική ατμόσφαιρα της ώρας και του τοπίου μέσα στην απόλυτη ησυχία έκανε τις καρδιές τους να συνεννοούνται μ’ ελάχιστα λόγια. Με ένα ναι, με ένα όχι, ένα «νομίζεις;». Κουβέντιαζαν καθισμένοι πλάι-πλάι στο αρχαίο μάρμαρο, που κρατούσε ακόμα μιαν ευχάριστη, ελάχιστη θαλπωρή από το ολημερινό χάιδι του ήλιου. Μιλούσαν με μια περίεργη ηρεμία, που ποτέ πριν λίγη ώρα δεν μπορούσαν να φανταστούν πως θα κυριαρχούσε πάνω στις επαναστατημένες των συνειδήσεις, που ειρήνευαν τώρα με τις αμοιβαίες των εξηγήσεις, γεμάτες από αυθόρμητη ειλικρίνεια. Δεν ύψωνε κανένας από τους δυο τους τον τόνο της φωνής, σα να μιλούσε ο καθένας με τον εαυτό του, ή σα να διηγότανε τα γεγονότα που συντάραξαν τη ζωή τους σε κάποιον τρίτο. Κι αυτός ο ανύπαρχτος τρίτος, που άκουγε τη διπλή αυτή εξομολόγηση, ήταν και μέσα στους δυο τους. Δε μιλούσε, μόνο δεχόταν τις ανακοινώσεις τους χωρίς αντίλογο, σα να ‘ταν τίποτα παλιές ιστορίες χωρίς σημασία.

Υπήρχε στη συνομιλία αυτή ένας τόνος συγκρατημένος κι από τους δυο. Ένας τόνος σκεπασμένης τρυφερότητας, που κρυβόταν μέσα σε μια διάθεση μειλιχιότητας και τρυφερής ευγένειας. Κάπου-κάπου σταματούσαν να μιλάνε. Κοιταζόντανε μόνο στα μάτια αυτές τις ώρες της σιωπής, και στα μάτια τους δεν υπήρχε τίποτ’ άλλο εξόν η πίκρα του παιδιού που πόνεσε πολύ, που τιμωρήθηκε πολύ για άγνωστο φταίξιμο. Ένα τριζόνι άρχισε να τρίζει τα έλυτρά του κρυμμένο στη ρίζα της κοντινής κολόνας. Ήταν σαν κάποιος να χούρδιζε ένα ρολόι της τσέπης.''

Στράτης Μυριβήλης, Το Μυθιστόρημα των Τεσσάρων, 1958 

 * Andreas Georgiadis, Ο ναός της Αφαίας III, 2012
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