How to know reality?

Colour, Connections, Relationships, Soul searching

To follow last weeks post about the sculpture ‘Mademoiselle‘ and my memory of Paris, I will keep with the Paris theme. This week’s sculpture is The Woman in the Red Hat.

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‘Woman in the Red Hat’, Sam Shendi 2017

 

Are Memories are identification? Our mind is made up of our thoughts and what we are thinking and believing.

When I was in Paris in February many years ago I was by myself. I wonder now if I had an image of Paris in the spring but it was really still winter and I didn’t have enough warm clothes with me. I rang my husband home in England who told me to go and purchase a jumper. I don’t know why that thought hadn’t occurred to me. Too often do I not realise that money is a tool to be used to our advantage. I am not sure I made a particularly good choice. Why didn’t I buy a lovely warm coat? Whatever money I had then or not doesn’t serve me now. So I came out of the shop with a rather thin pink hoodie and a brown skirt. I went into places to keep warm, museums, shops and boutiques. Bought some perfume and a pair of earrings. Took lots of photos and then decided to go to the hairdressers and dye my hair red. So with my splattering of French I communicated to the hairdresser who didn’t have much English that I wanted it short and red. I can visualise the small shop, myself sitting on the left hand side of the salon and there I spent a few warm hours and some more money. Back then I was young, had no responsibilities, no ties but I wasn’t as calm, content and settled as I am now.

Sometimes when we look at a snapshot in time we can project an idea, a thought, a reality that is or isn’t true. Today with all the social media tools and images people post we can start to easily believe that others have it easy, more care free, happier, better. Whatever. It can create jealousy, resentment, anger, mistrust.

It all begins with our own thinking. We make a moment, with what we think and feel at that point in time. Someone else’s photograph may capture smiles and sunshine but it doesn’t capture what that person is thinking and believing in that moment and it could be their version of hell.

Imagine a woman walking down the Champs Elysee in a red hat. Audrey Hepburn springs to mind. She walks confidently. Self assured. She knows what she wants and how to get it. Her mind is clear. She is free of all negative thoughts which could constrict her. She is free of worry or concern. Everything around her is there to serve her. She is happy and healthy. She wears her red hat unconcerned about what any one else thinks. She has black stilettos and a colourful dress which she choose that morning. She is going out for coffee and will probably have a croissant.  She is unconcerned about her appearance. She is happy with how she looks. She will sit at the cafe and read a while, watch the people walking past. She is happy to be alone. Alone with her thoughts. She questions constantly what she thinks and what she believes.

How to understand the mind of a sculptor

collections, Colour, Making

Mademoiselle 1

How do you see this sculpture? What do you see?

An abstract form? An insect, some kind of creature? An Alien? A landscape? Or something from your own imagination?

Whatever you see, you see something, you think about something, you remember something?

Frank Stella famously quoted that, “Sculpture is just a painting cut out and stood some where”. This quote I think could sum up my husband’s work. They are like three dimensional canvases. This piece particularly feels that way.

The other evening at the kitchen table, we had finished our supper and were chatting over a hot cup of tea. The last few days had been hot but the cool evening breeze had lowered and the hot tea felt magic.

It’s those little moments, subtle but memorable. When I asked my husband about this piece and he spoke and I wished I had recorded it.

For him, he has the idea, a shape, a concept in his mind. It is completely carved from every angle. He turns it around in his minds eye. Once complete he sets to work. The form then inspires the colour and like a painted canvas he then wraps it around the sculpture like gift wrapping a present , tight to the edges of the shape.

“Mademoiselle” 2017. Rudimentary Collection. Sam Shendi

This piece is a female form, a young woman experimenting with different hues, finding her true colours. She struts her stuff, thin not yet shaped by life or motherhood. It reminds me of A few days I spent in Paris in my early twenties by myself with my camera, taking back and white photos, not really appreciating the time, the freedom and the vitality I had.

For most of us our minds work in thoughts, ideas, imagination, maybe each one of us thinks different. Perhaps we all are the same. But to go that next step and create something not seen before is unique. That’s why (following on from my last post about SATS and Education) what we learn in school or the test scores don’t relate to our true potential.

Artists don’t need to create a realistic version of something these days. We have cameras and videos for record. To create something inspiring, memorable, colourful yet captures movement, form, beauty is the skill of a true sculptor.

Witnessing today

Galleries, Philosophy, Steel

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This collection represents 10 children aged between four and nineteen. Either standing individually as sculptures alone or as a collective in one large sculpture.

In this concept the presentation is the human body as a vessel. Living in the 21 century we are now able to replace human parts, organs change our physical appearance but this doesn’t change the essence of who we are.

Our bodies are containers filled with emotions that have an impact on us. The colours used on these pieces are inspired by American minimalism in the 1900’s. They symbolize the emotion and the individual.

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The sculptures are made from steel pipes used for building construction. The pipes sat in the studio staring at the sculptor and then the concept appeared. They were witnessing his actions. They are the human figure in the simplest form. Each piece has a name from the continents around the world, representing children who suffer directly or indirectly from the decisions and behaviour of adults. Which in turn affects them and their own experiences. What we witness or don’t witness in life shapes us and then make us who we are.

These columns are the bases of something, the foundations, pillars that hold up the building. Our children are the next generation, the future. What are they witnessing today?

The modern day is the witnessing of troubled times, but today specifically is a celebration of a legacy for millions around the world and a message for all of humanity.

“Witnesses” by Sam Shendi

Currently in exhibition at the ‘Adrien-Kavachinina Galleryreview of the exhibition and article to read in ‘Paris Match’ which the photo below was taken from.

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Transporting transformation

Exhibitions, Galleries, Soul searching
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‘Witness’ by Sam Shendi. In show at Adrien/Kavachinina, Paris

There is a bite in the air, the season is changing. As my eldest son and I drove to swimming lessons the other night we spotted trees turning from their summer green into autumn shades. We saw a miraculous site of birds glistening in the sunset like pieces of glitter floating in one contained space. My son described them like ticks using his hands and saying it’s how Baba makes birds, he was transfixed. The shift from summer to autumn always feels more significant to me then any other season. It’s a reminder that all things fade away. We also had news this weekend of a family member in Egypt passed away. Deeply saddening, life changing news. But, there is always change. A kind of transportation, from one realm to another. Transformation.

“When change visits your life, you can be sure things are turning for the better. It may not look that way in the very moment change arrives, but if you will wait a while and have faith in the process, you will see that this is true.” (Taken from someone-lost the reference)

I have been thinking about this as my link to the transportation of sculptures. We’ve done so many trips to London (I write we but it’s the sculptor, the sculptures). I just sort out the congestion charges and ‘wo’-man the shop. Over the summer ‘we’ ventured into Europe with ‘a man with a van’ for exhibition in Germany. The sculptor flew out to meet them and then back out to pack them up. In a quick turn around ‘we’ then had pieces going to Paris.

I had a whimsical fantasies of going as well. In fact with this trip the sculptor didn’t go. We relied on the driver taking them to the gallery and the unload and unwrap happening without my husband. The exhibition opened last Friday. But really that is much more cost effective than having to fly out to meet the sculptures on the other side. It’s amazing how memories can take us to a place though. Thinking of Paris transports me to a time in my early twenties, still searching for myself. I took myself off with a black and white SLR and not enough warm clothing for a February weekend in Paris. Consequently the cold somehow lured me into a ‘Coiffeurs’ and I came out with my hair red.

‘The Girl next Door'

‘The Girl next Door’ by Sam Shendi now showing in Paris

Well as I reminisce, the reality of this trip was that the driver had problems finding the gallery so I had to practise my very rusty A-level French with a hotel reception staff which our gallery contact number went through to. I couldn’t ‘unlock the language’ and was a little disheartened, when he asked me if I preferred to speak English and he continued to speak in received pronunciation.

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‘Aphrodite’ by Sam Shendi

Yesterday the sculptor was  down to London and back to take ‘Aphrodite’ to Passion of Freedom. At the end of the week he will be back down again for the opening and picking up other pieces to then go somewhere else. At the moment my husband is almost constantly on the road. I am loosing track as to where pieces are! The difficulty with sculpture is the cost and space of moving them from place to place. Transporting them.

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Setting up at Mall Galleries, London

There is something about the space that transforms the sculptures. Having space around them to be able to view from different angles makes all the difference to sculpture. Space, dimensions and time all have connections both in sculpture and thinking. Which links me nicely back to this autumn days which have come around so fast again. This year has past by me again making me reflect that I am still waiting for that moment of transformation. When I am totally in the present and not wishing away time or clock watching, waiting for the next milestone or event. I am definitely better at it than I was. The best of thinking is to reflect on creation ‘How am I’? Taking ourselves into account, especially when we don’t know what the future holds. If poetry, art, sculptures helps to give us those gentle remind us then it’s a useful vehicle. The chrysalises gradually transforms into the butterfly. Transporting us from one way of thinking to the next.

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‘Madame Butterfly’ currently at Newby Hall, Ripon

‘Art Swap’

Colour, Connections, Relationships

Sat at our kitchen table an evening after he returned from London we were catching up and chatting, we spontaneously posted the idea ‘ART SWAP’ on the sculptor’s Facebook page. I wasn’t too sure if it should be ART SWOP – does it depend where you come from? Anyway, we made the suggestion that artists could offer a piece of their work in exchange for a piece of ‘The Keyhole Man’ collection.

Nibbling dried fruit and dark chocolate I suggested that it would be interesting how long the process would take. By Midnight, fuelled by the 85% cocoa consumption we were still receiving messages, seeing which design other artists were interested in was intriguing and by the following day all 11 little men had new homes. It was wonderful being flooded with choices of works to pick from. Excitingly we realised we will potentially have 11 new art works. We need to build that modern shendi house!

It seems like a novel idea, and its a great idea at that, f or so many reasons. However, it is not a completely unique idea artists in the past were always intermingling, interchanging ideas and works. Picasso and Braque worked together, Monet and Renoir, Pissarro and Degas set up their own exhibition, Jan Lievens shared a studio with Rembrandt, Ben Nicholson introduced Barbara Hepworth to artists in Paris such as Brancusi, Arp, Mondrian and Naum Gabo. Together they became involved in a new international crusade for abstract art. Artists have always worked together.

In today’s modern world twitter, Facebook, pinterest and all the other forms of social networking all influence a digital exchange of ideas and connection globally. But generally Artists aren’t as friendly as they used to be there is more competition and backbiting.

To swap the actual art work is a fabulous way of making the world a bit more physical and real and for artists to appreciate each others work, to be able to receive pieces within a means they can afford.

Hopefully ART SWAP makes the connection and relationship between artists better, less competitive and more about a shared sense of camaraderie.
Keyhole family

‘The Keyhole Men Collection’