Sunday, November 14, 2010

Zurich, Switzerland: Picasso & Giacometti Exhibits

Today was good practice in living in the moment.
We reached Zurich midday, from Vienna. Bored and restless, now settled into my hotel room, in an instant, I hopped up with the intent to venture nearby to purchase a few needed toiletries, when I ended up in the city center instead. I was spontaneous and adventurous, a bit intimidated by my foreign surroundings, and with no direction on where to go, I took a chance and boarded the local above ground train into town to roam the streets. I had planned to walk aimlessly in search of new discovery when I stumbled upon the Museum of Modern Art. Before leaving the hotel, I had briefly looked online to see what there was available to do in town, when I learned of the featured Picasso exhibit at the Kunsthaus Zurich. I was in need of a dose of art and culture and today seemed perfect. The weather was wet and gloomy, so it felt appropriate to be indoors.
The exhibit interested me, not because the featured artist was Pablo Picasso, but because the artwork displayed was that of his first retrospective museum exhibition in 1932 at this actual venue. It was a very significant show for 2oth century modern art, and a first for a living artist. My footsteps were virtually reliving a moment in history.

Above, video images of the retrospective exhibition of 1932.
Below, is Picasso in Zurich in 1932.

When first entering the show, displayed on the walls were framed black and white photographs of the actual opening from the 1930's. The paintings displayed throughout showed the evolution of his style from the first three decades of his career as a painter. It was interesting to see his paintings transition from his early Classical work to Cubism. In actuality, I'm not a big fan of Picasso, though I respect him as a painter. I find it educational and inspiring to take in original artwork, dispite my feelings of the artist. After slowly gazing the display of paintings, and few drawings, I went downstairs expecting to leave, when I noticed a showing of work by Alberto Giacometti. For as long as I can remember, well,.....since college, Giacometti has truly been one of my favorite artist. I can remember being instantly impressed with the power and expressiveness of his understated elongated figures and portraits. There is a stillness about his work that speaks volume. I walked through the five rooms of sculptures and paintings feeling hightened and in awe of this body of work. The Picasso show was worth seeing, but the Giacometti collection of work moved me. I left the museum inspired and spiritually lighter than when I walked in. There has been one other time that I recall being particularly moved emotionally by an artist work, and that was at an exhibit by Gerhard Richter at the Art Institute of Chicago a few years back. "Art should be more than just a pretty picture, it should evoke emotion and inspire, having the viewer leave feeling better for having experienced the art".

These are some of the Picasso paintings I observed at the exhibit, and below, are sculptures and artwork displayed by artist, Alberto Giacometti.

I left the museum, heading back towards the city center, before making a detour on a nearby street lured by the cute boutiques and restaurants. I was now hungry and had an appetite, but cluless about where to eat, when I noticed a cute cafe restaurant called Henrici. I sat at the sidewalk table overlooking the square, covered awning sheltering me from the rain, when I ordered a nice cucumber dill soup and Irish coffee to warm the soul. I don't mean to sound sappy and ethereal, but it was at that time that I basked in the moment, being very present in my surrounding. I soaked up the environment, moved by the sounds of distant church bells and the rythm of passerbys,.....moms pushing baby strollers, couples toting umbrellas, shop keepers dumping garbage and cigarette smoke curling past my nose. In that instance, I was tickled emotionally by my unfamiliar setting. It was a moment that I wished I could capture and bottle, only to relive again.
Fastforward to real time, my phone text alerted me that my friends were headed to town and wondering of my whereabouts. We arranged to meet in the area once they were situated. As it was, they ended up at a Mexican restaurant just around the corner. I joined them, having a caipirinha before we carried on cruising the active streets. We found another watering hole called U-turn and had one more drink before deciding to call it a night. It was yet another unexpected great day. As usual, I have no complaints....

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