Yesterday I was at the Guggenheim Bilbao experiencing Richard Serra’s Exhibition The matter of Time. The forms are strong and imposing, allowing us to feel and experience space in a new way. What was unexpected, to me, is the way the forms are delicate and subtil, despite their rough appearance.
Serra discovered what is now known as his sculptural language, when, one day, he got annoyed with his own creations ( which at the time consisted mainly of abstract paintings) and threw them all away, burning them to ashes by a river. It was his way of setting himself free (free from pre-conceptions, judgments, expectations and many other conditions). From then on he began to ‘play’ with forms in space.
” I think if you want to make art, at some point you have to suspend judgment, and you have to involve yourself with play and not worry about the outcome.” Richard Serra
The Jardin Majorelle, located just on the outside of the old medina, was designed and envisioned by the painter Jacques Majorelle (1886-1962) over the course of forty years. The garden is composed of a series of narrow pathways, filled with large trees, exotic plants and many different cactus that seem to stretch out to the heavens brought here from all corners of the earth. There are cacti, palm trees, bamboos, weeping willows, carob trees, jasmine and agaves, to name a few. As we wander, we hear the sound of water, smell the fragrances of beautiful flowers (maybe jasmines), the twittering of birds and feel the rough dry textures of the desert in our skin. On one side of the garden there is a large pond with gorgeous huge koi fish, that not only provides a moment of stillness and solitude, but makes it seem as if we are immersed in a Monet painting. Between the cooled pathways, the beautiful fountains and the colours that surround us, it makes it seem as if we are in a sort of paradise.
At the far end, emerging in between the beautiful pathways, a ‘house’ appears painted in bright blue. The building, which was Jacque’s art studio, is a sort of Moorish charm painted in blue because Jacques wanted to capture the bright blue he had experienced in the Atlas mountains. This shade of blue, which later became known as Majorelle blue, is a strong ultramarine, cobalt blue that enhances the green of the plants surrounding it, making it seem as if the garden is alive. Although the Jardin Majorelle only opened to the public in 1947, it was already widely known and revered for its beauty.
‘’ Jacques Majorelle used to say: “The painter has the modesty to regard this enclosure of floral verdure as his most beautiful work.” He referred to the garden as “ vast splendours whose harmony I have orchestrated… This garden is a momentous task, to which I give myself entirely. It will take my last years from me and I will fall, exhausted, under its branches, after having given it all my love.” ‘’ Source
Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé discovered the Jardin Majorelle in 1966, during their first stay in Marrakech, and instantly fell in love with it. After spending countless days there, they ended up buying it in 1980, saving it from being destroyed by a real estate project. They moved into the villa next door (Jacques previous house) and restored the gardens to their previous glory. Today the garden boasts of over 300 species and 20 permanent gardeners always keeping in perfect condition for its visitors. A haven, an oasis, a little paradise on earth, this garden truly is a wonder.
Because I have been thinking so much about the soul… here are some quotes and ideas that I found really significant.
1. The soul has to be grown and developed.
” The soul is placed in the body like a rough diamond, and must be polished, or the luster of it will never appear.” Daniel Defoe
2. It is deeply connected to truth.
” Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.” Walt Whitman
3. It is moved by beauty… and love.
” Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.” Edgar Allan Poe
4. it demands to be heard, even when we don’t want to her what it has to say.
” Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.” Anne Sexton
5. It has to be kept and protected.. whatever it takes.
” To sell your soul is the easiest thing in the world. That’s what everybody does every hour of his life. If I asked you to keep your soul – would you understand why that’s much harder?” Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead
6. It is the soul that knows everything.. understanding both the past, the future and the present moment in ways that our minds never will.
” Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey.” John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
For now that’s it…. but this is just the beginning.
To be continued.
While the Carnaval is going on somewhere in the streets of Funchal… We have dinner, talk and laugh in a little secret spot. We are cousins, good friends, we both have cat eyes and we are both in love with the beauty and magic of life, but our connection runs muchhhh deeper than that. Laughing until 3 and still… never enough time !
What is life without amazing ( both light and deep ) conversations?!
When I am finally alone, in the corners of the night, there is an overwhelming sadness that comes over me. This wave of emotions just creeps in, with no warning at all… I welcome it softly, as I have learnt to do. The masters call it melancholy… I have learnt to love it too, just like they did. No matter how deep and heartbreaking this tearful existence of my longing soul takes me into, I have learnt to let it sweep over me completely. There is no hiding from these deep feelings at all. They have to be felt and experienced. And by now, since they happen often, I am used to it. Again and again, I am taken into this high flight of sorrow, or into the depths of this longing of the soul. I sigh… I let it take me wherever it wants.
Outside, I can feel the vast unknown world swirling and shifting ever so slightly to the hollow sounds of Claire de Lune that have been playing on repeat… that’s the only song I feel like listening to, when these emotions come gushing in. I hear those sweet chords I have grown to know so well and somehow, as if by magic, they make this empty feeling of longing (that comes from my soul) completely spin on itself, shifting it around into something even deeper and stronger. They complement each other… my melancholic mood and those beautiful chords. It’s like they are made for each other. Whenever the song plays, I feel like this is its purpose, like it was created to understand this emotion, and only this emotion… like Claude Debussy, knew, that without it, it would not be possible to overcome such feelings. I wonder how many nights of melancholia and longing he must have felt, to create such a wonder. Tears stream down my face softly…. I look at the window at the rooftops of all those lonely buildings, and I notice that on top of them, there is no moon, just some distant ever fading glittering stars. After a few minutes that seem more like endless hours, finally, sleep takes over me and I drift myself into bed.
The following day I wake up in soft spirits. As I open my eyes and curl out of bed, there are butterflies flying in my veins. Whatever had taken over my soul the day before has long gone. My heart whispers: I am alive…