Richibi’s Weblog

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Month: August, 2014

Études, opus 10 and 25 – Frédéric Chopin

 Henryk Siemiradzki - "Chopin Performing in the Guest Hall- of Anton Radziville in Berlin In 1829" (1887)

Chopin Performing in the Guest Hall- of Anton Radziville in Berlin In 1829” (1887)

Henryk Siemiradzki


no sooner does one inveigh against an
attitude than that attitude turns around
and slaps you in the face, my, however
brief, enrolments at art school, musical
conservatories, and creative writing
classes, were not, I think, without some
merit, some would even say much merit,
despite my short disparagement of them
in my last blog, there are tools for every
art, schools have the machinery to
channel inspiration

Hans Hofman must’ve believed he was
painting a Poème d’amour when he
painted it, why otherwise would he
have painted it, despite myriad
objections, and general
incomprehension, could he have
known that no one would get it, did
he care, who called it art

did Chopin know when he wrote his
first set of “Études”, opus 10, a
theoretical set if there ever was one,
a set of fiendishly challenging
technical exercises, that they would
define the Romantic Period, an era
given over to the very heart, he was
23, having fun

what is art, art is what works, art is a
consensus, sometimes you’ll get it,
sometimes you won’t, sometimes I
get it, sometimes I don’t, art is in the
eye of the beholder, just like beauty
and love

Chopin, the theoretician, produces a
resounding argument for the technical
side of composition, the cerebral, this
is perhaps why they are my favourites
of his compositions

but he hasn’t left out the very centre
of music, how it connects, how it can
carry you along, even to enchantment,
he hasn’t left out the enchantment,
these to me are poems of love

he calls them études, opus 10 and 25

who’d ‘a’ thunk it



a reply to BookInhabiter, a.k.a. Brain (2)

Wolf Kahn - "Orange Cloud Over the Adriatic Sea" (1996)

Orange Cloud Over rhe Adriatic Sea” (1996)

Wolf Kahn


a reader writes, about “Poème d’amour“,
Hans Hofman

“This is a bizarre painting. It bewilders me. I can’t make sense of it. But maybe that’s the point.”

below is my answer



with the invention of the camera, Brain,
representational art became irrelevant,
unable to present the accuracy a
photograph would it had to discover
for itself an alternate purpose, which
is to say, reinvent itself

the medium became the message,
as Marshall McLuhan would’ve
put it, art began to study itself, it
reached for its sinews, arteries,
its colours, textures, its planar,
dimensional, limitations, limits

its form, in other words, was
becoming its substance

Abstract Expressionism was the
nadir of this movement, after the
less ethereal, more visceral,
German Expressionism, and up
to Andy Warhol, who brought us
back down to earth again with
pictures of Campbell Soup cans,

more matter, less theory

note the residual attachment to flat
colour fields nevertheless

that said, what part of Hofman‘s
Love Poem is indeed a love poem,
search me, I think it’s just pretentious,
failed Miro

but do read the sidebar on the upper
left at the site for less partisan perhaps
insights, just click “Show details” there

I don’t either much like Schönberg,
who did the same kind of thing to
music, eviscerated it, I want to see
the body, not the entrails, these
should be studied at art school,
the conservatory, creative writing

but that is of course just what I think

Schönberg and Abstract Expressionists,
however, have left their indelible marks
on art history, commendable marks for
their theoretical underpinnings, rigours

see for instance the marvellous Wolf
Kahn above
for the evolution of these
ideas, you get it in less than a minute,
and delight in it

that is what real art does

thanks for asking


psst: Wolf Kahn was a student of
Hans Hofman, incidentally, he
just put everyday references
back into the picture, I call it
heart, something organic

“Anything Goes”‏


Anything Goes


‘nough said

just click


“Poème d’amour” – Hans Hofman‏

Hans Hofman - "Love Poem" (1962)

Poème d’amour (1962)

Hans Hofman


this “Love Poem“, Poème d’amour“,
challenges our preconceptions

is this painting a poem, what does it
say about love

you tell me


finding poems

Jennifer Bricker

Jennifer Bricker


you look for poems, you find poems

this morning a friend sent me this one

can a person be a poem

you tell me


“Morning Poem” – Wojciech Siudmak‏

Wojciech Siudmak  - "Morning Poem"

Poème matinal (“Morning Poem“)

Wojciech Siudmak


looking for a poem this morning among an
array of poem paintings, I came across this
morning one
to start my day, evidently also
to share

this could be any street in Vancouver right
now, where the trees overwhelm the streets,
where branches like arms bless even the
very pavement, where magic lurks in every
indentation of the leaves

you look for poems, you find poems, I say,
even in paintings, even in innocent trees


“Six Pictures for Piano” – Arno Babajanian‏

Paul Gauguin "Poèmes barbares" (1896)

Poèmes barbares (1896)

Paul Gauguin


if you thought that Arno Babajanian was
done with synesthetic investigations,
seeing sounds, hearing colours, here’s
his Six Pictures for Piano“, which he
plays, all of them, himself

can a piano paint, take pictures

you tell me

something else interesting is happening
here, the six are individual pieces despite
being part of a common whole, as the title

this is the opposite of trying to integrate
movements to a continuous and unfolding
conception, something Beethoven, for
instance, pursued, indeed ardently, in his
own sublime music

dissociation seems a context, a XXth-,
a XXlst-Century, context, in our presently
more polarized world, according to, of
course, Babajanian

what might hold us together then

maybe music

incidentally, the movements to the
Six Pictures here are

1 – Improvisation
2 – Folk Song
3 – Toccatine (a little toccata)
4 – Intermezzo
5 – Choral
6 – Sasoun Dance (don’t ask),

should you not be able to read Russian

note, none of these themes are

don’t either miss Babajanian‘s
Sonata for Violin and Piano
as played by, here again,
himself, it’s rapturous


psst: see Gauguin above paint poems

“Tonight You Belong to Me”

Antoine Pesne - "Self-portrait with Daughters" (1754

Self-portrait with Daughters (1754)

Antoine Pesne


for fathers, especially, and daughters

and all those who love them

just click


psst: in the spirit of Brain,
worthy contenders from

before my time


“Poem for Piano in C# minor” – Arno Babajanian‏

Corneille - "Music" (1949)

Music (1949)



in the spirit of unusual juxtapositions,
the very stuff, let me suggest, of art,
here’s a Poem for Piano, in C# minor“,
by Arno Babajanian, an Armenian
composer, 1921 to 1983, played by a
countryman of his, Armen Babakhanian

a Poem for Piano begs the question,
what is a poem, can a poem be devoid
of stanzas and words, can music be a

you tell me


psst: can music, incidentally, be a painting,
see here, or above

“Essay on Wood” – James Richardson


Piet Mondrian - "Woods Near Oele" (1908)

Woods Near Oele (1908)

Piet Mondrian


if my last entry was about an Étude
in the Form of a Waltz
an unlikely
combination, here’s an essay in the
form of a poem, kind of like my
own stuff



Essay on Wood

At dawn when rowboats drum on the dock
and every door in the breathing house bumps softly
as if someone were leaving quietly, I wonder
if something in us is made of wood,
maybe not quite the heart, knocking softly,
or maybe not made of it, but made for its call.

Of all the elements, it is happiest in our houses.
It will sit with us, eat with us, lie down
and hold our books (themselves a rustling woods),
bearing our floors and roofs without weariness,
for unlike us it does not resent its faithfulness
or question why, for what, how long?

Its branchings have slowed the invisible feelings of light
into vortices smooth for our hands,
so that every fine-grained handle and page and beam
is a wood-word, a standing wave:
years that never pass, vastness never empty,
speed so great it cannot be told from peace.

James Richardson