About a week ago my old (old being the operative word), otherwise trustworthy DELL pc finally decided to crash on me, and go out with a bang. I work with a laptop plus an external harddisk, attatched to a docking station, and have a large screen on my desk, as well as a traditional keyboard, a cordless mouse and a pen + pad thingy (which I am in the process of learning to use, by the way). The particular way my workstation is set up, is a very personal thing to me - I'm not saying I can't work anywhere else, but it's like an old favourite overcoat, where everything is just right. The perfect number of pockets, not too warm, versatile and timeless, and you always know exactly in which pocket your keys or your phone are. You get the drift. And as to the interior of the pc itself, oh my, everything is just customized and arranged in the very particular ways I like to organize things - and I am fiercely protective of my pc, nobody gets to muck about in it, or install or reinstall or what have you, without my being very wary about it.

The thing is, I am not a nerd who knows just everything about how to maintain equipment. I guess I'm a typical old school creative sort of gadget user; I know just enough to keep out of support's way - but when the shit really hits the fan, I am lost.

So the other day, I just sat there, in my good old office chair, having a jolly old time with some work, when the display started to zig zag in some rather pretty, pink hues. The fan went whirring like crazy, and the whole thing sounded like an old microwave oven. My husband - the software engineer - told me to lock down, carefully vacuum the fan through the lattice, let rest, and reboot.

I did, and I all I got was this. Green, fluttering pixels.
Not exactly as pretty as below, but I will show you this instead, because it looks much cooler.

And gone it was. That is, all of it's everyday, vital functions. Apparently this is what an overheated, overstuffed old pc with a smashed graphics card looks like. Enter the husband - software engineer and life saver - with a gizmo, in which you could insert the disk from this stranded whale, and sort of make a transplant of its brain contents, into a new, fresh body. I was lucky, and lost no files, as far as I can see. Phew.

So now I am in the painstaking process of moving thousands of files into a new pc, and everything is just white and empty and smells like paint. I don't know my way around the neighbourhood, so I can't find a supermarket or the short cut to the metro station. You know the feeling. But I am getting there. Today I restored my hundreds and hundreds of organized and categorized bookmarks from Firefox (I've never tried that before, and it was really easy!), and it's starting to feel like home again.


While longing for snow and some proper winter

It is so wet, grey and damp here in Copenhagen. I normally try to see the beauty of all kinds of weather, but it's a bit of a far stretch, these days. The other day I came across a bit of snow, while browsing away in my coffee break. Oh, man, do I long for some actual snow, and perhaps a bit of sunshine! But in the meantime, one might enjoy looking at these fragile wonders.

More than two years ago I wrote about some fantastic snowflake photographers, so I felt like including this guy in the company. His name is Alexey Kljatov, and he lives in Moscow - a nice place to live, if you love doing technically amazing close up photographs of snowflakes, I guess. 

All the photos here, are taken on the balcony outside his Moscow flat - and for the nerds, he explains his work method and his equipment in detail, at his website (where you can see even more snowflakes)!

I just think they are almost unreal and very beautiful.


Not quite finished with Frida

Since my blog post about the Frida Kahlo exhibition a few days ago, I have been circling the subject a bit more, and a few innocent google fact-check missions led me to a lot of articles, reviews of the show at Arken, and so on. This was really interesting, as I hadn't really followed any of this, and the reviews were quite mixed. Some were enthusiastic, as I was, because of the collage like quality of the exhibition - based on the curatorial notion, that the many aspects of Frida, including Frida the myth and Frida the image (aka Frida the poser), could form a sort of interesting whole, I guess.

One review in particular, in the daily paper Information, criticised this with passion - saying that it was very diminishing of Fridas work as an artist, to include Frida the self image creator as much as this show does, and even elaborates on, by inviting the audience to participate on Instagram, Facebook etc. She sees these platforms as vehicles of vanity, and finds the parrallel between Fridas self portraits and todays selfies, vulgar.

I just had to follow up a bit on that - and then I met  #instafrida - as you might call her. 

Turns out that the 'upload your own interpretation of Frida' thing that has been going on at Instagram during the show, has been quite a hit.

So lots of people got their Frida on, and I love these images - they are homages, parodies, silly, narcissistic, stunning - all sorts of things. Some are just plain dressing up and having a good time, and so what?

I can absolutely relate, and I heartily disagree with the critics that somehow finds Fridas endless study of  herself (she painted 55 self portraits and posed for hundreds of photographs) so completely different from todays selfie-mania.

I don't think it is all together that different, and anyone who dismisses all selfies as dumb flexing of muscle and strutting of tit / wealth / success, has not understood the function of the selfie, in my view.

We are all drawn to that mirror, and we all pose and we all wonder. We play and we put ourselves out there, for a moment. Anything might happen.

It also makes me more certain of the way I see her; as a fine painter, yes, but also as a pioneer performance artist, someone who was truly avantgarde in her open and yet mysterious investigation of herself, or the self, years before artists like for example Cindy Sherman was born.

I made a little instafrida-collage for you - and yes, I am there, in the lower right corner, with the monkey. A monkey was absolutely essential, I felt. 


Frida Kahlo exhibition at Arken

Since I was a teenage girl, I have been fascinated with Frida Kahlos particular beauty and fantastic sense of dress - and she is a very gratifying subject for a girl crush, because of her life long love affair with the camera, and some of the best of her contemporary photographers. There are simply so many images of Frida Kahlo, and for me, as for so many others, her visual persona definitely stood in the way of her art.

Nickolas Muray for Vogue, circa 1939
I never used to care much for her paintings, and knew them from only from endless reproductions in magazines and such. I felt about them, as I do about certain South American novelists: too many parrots and pineapples, too much madness and pain - and not for the temperate Scandinavian (not this one, anyway!).

But the stunning, colorful style and beauty of Frida, the photographers subject and style icon, has kept on intriguing and inspiring me. And that too was art, in a way, and about so much more than looking excentrically pretty. In her clothing she told stories of her ethnic roots, the newfound freedom of her nation, of her views on being female - just to begin with.

Nickolas Muray, Frida in New York, circa 1946

What she was like as a person, seems to be a well established myth as well: I remember seeing the Paul Leduc film in the eighties, and I don't remember much of it, but I do remember Frida as a pained, hysterical teqiula bottle tossing kind of madwoman.

I guess I liked the Hollywood version better: Salma Hayek as a tough, sexy and feisty Frida - not only about terrible physical pain and loss, but about living to the full, in spite of it. It also captured a bit more of the new, liberated Mexico, and of the wild optimism and idealism of the revolutionary set she belonged to - whereas the eighties film was more quiet and dreamy.

The Hollywood film actually got me around to getting a bit more curious about her art, got me to see more nuance, I guess. I thought how great it would actually be to see some of her work, up close, some day.

And for the past months I have had the chance, at Arken, a museum for contemporary art, south of Copenhagen.

They have a very interesting and highly entertaining Frida Kahlo exhibition, focusing on both her art, her endlessly photographed self styled image and her world, so to speak, particularly of course her husband, Diego Rivera. And I like that they have made the exhibition about all of these aspects of her, because with her - it really makes sense.

Giant photo wall at Arken / photo is by Nickolas Muray, Frida at the Casa Azul, 1939

It ends on Sunday, and I finally got around to it yesterday. And it really was an experience to stand in front of those canvases and drawings, and feel them. Because you did. I know I did.

And I could see that I was not the only one. The exhibition has been very popular, and it was crowded as well yesterday, but people were not crowding it in that absent minded cocktail-party-manner you sometimes see at 'must-see' art exhibitions. People (and the guests were really all ages - and the children were genuinely interested) were gathering in front of the canvases, discussing them, discussing  her.

A crimson red wall at Arken

Much praise to Arken for a vibrant and varied exhibition - various walls and rooms were dedicated to different themes that intermingled with her own work; Diego Riveras work, other Mexican contemporaries, displays of her wonderful dresses, her antique jewellery, the many, many photographs of her and her circle - and so on. Some walls were covered in crimson red, green or cobalt blue fabric, and you felt invited to get really close to the objects. There was a relaxed, chatty atmosphere, and you were most welcome to use your camera - really nice for a change. Most exhibits I go to has 'NO PHOTO' stickers all over the place (which people more or less ignore, anyway).

I also noted that an Arken-guide, walking a group of adolescents round the exhibit, used iPads and asked the young people to photograph the works and make their own compilations of images and comments, as some kind of school project. I like that way of getting kids in touch with art.

How children see Frida; from the childrens art room at Arken

Reference to Frida Kahlo's famous house, the 'Casa Azul' in the Arken reading lounge

So all in all a rewarding experience and Frida really did grow on me as an interesting historical character and a truly fine painter.

I started to look at other details in her self portraits than her own mesmerizing face, and were especially taken with her animal portraits. I also loved Diego Riveras pencil drawings, and Fridas portraits of other people than herself - powerful and thoughtful renderings, where she looks for the same - at least that's what I think - in other people, as she did when depicting herself: strength, honesty and mystical clues to the personal myth.


Hellig Tre Konger / Epiphany / Twelfth Night - and goodbye tree!

Today is the very very last day of christmas - Epiphany or Twelfth Night - and in Denmark we mostly remember this date because it is, traditionally, the last day you are allowed to enjoy your christmas tinsel. On January 6th it has to go! I guess lots of people get rid of it much sooner, and we too put away most of the elves and advent candlesticks and such, but I tend to stick with the tree - if we have one - to about this day. We always buy one just a few days before Christmas Eve, and christmas trees are ridiculously expensive if you life in a big city in Denmark (and cost next to nothing if you live in the countryside) so I cannot bring myself to throw it away. Plus, of course, it looks festive.

This is what ours looked like about three days ago....
It got stuck in a strange and messy corner this year, and does its very best to cover up our semi stowed away CD collection. 

Yesterday it got to the turning point of its lush looking greenness - it just kinda lost all of its needles at once, so today it just looks sad and creepy. I de-tinselled it this morning, and when my son is back from kindergarten, he gets to see it thrown over the balcony all of four stories down! Mustn't miss that.

Thank you ALL for following my blog this December, there were visitors from the most exotic places, from Egypt to Japan, hope you will check it out again. I just started on Pinterest, so you can find me there as well. Not much happening there yet, I have to say, but it will grow, I'm guessing.

The very last christmassy thing I will do this time is to show you this years edition of My Favourite Window!

I have shown you this window the two previous seasons - see the one from 2011, and see the one from 2012 - and this year my friends down the street, came up with yet another twist on their beautiful annual holiday paper snowflake window.

And it looks lovely again this year. With this I will wish you all a Happy New Year!