Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Unzipped Humanities (2) : Learn about - Jorg Immendorff

Welcome to the collection of The National Museum of Art, Osaka.

This post is about Jorg Immendorff, a German artist who has lived rather intensely. His "aesthetic experience of life" covers painting, sculpture, cocaine, trial court, probation, disease, religious enlightenment.

Jorg Immendorff photo (2005)

Unzipped Humanities (1) covered Marcel Broodthaers and his work La signature. Serie 1. Tirage illimite (1969), also in the museum's collection.

We have contributed to the collection catalogue, which is expected to be published in March-April 2012. For updates and texts in the Japanese language authored by The Bosa Bosa Review, please check again around April. Cheers.

Welcome to the museum's collection:

Jorg IMMENDORFF Das Bild ruft (letztes Selbstportrait II) (1998).

We have been working on Immendorff's second "last self-portrait",  Das Bild ruft (letztes Selbstportrait II), for the collection catalogue 

image & text

image & light

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Jorg Immendorff was born in 1945 in Bleckede, Germany. It is well known that he was taught by Joseph Beuys at the Art Academy in Dusseldorf. Most known work of his is without doubt, the Café Deutschland series (1977~). He died in 2007 in Dusseldorf.

Jorg Immendorff Cafe Deutschland (1984)
© Saatchi Gallery London


Second self-portrait:
 Jorg Immendorff Das Bild ruft (letztes Selbstportrait II) , 1998

Curatorial night beat @ The Bosa Bosa Review

We apologise that the quality of the image uploaded here is rather poor.
We shall try to explain in words that which cannot be properly seen. 

Das Bild ruft (letztes Selbstportrait II) is an artwork from 1998 (oil on canvas, 250x210cm. Courtesy The National Museum of Art, Osaka). It is the second self-portrait Immendorff has painted in 1998, year he was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). These two self-portraits, Das Bild ruft (letztes Selbstportrait III), bearing the subtitle "the last self-portrait", can be regarded as the “last” trace of oneself, the bringing into consciousness of an imminent threat become close reality, that of the end of existence. We have not yet been able to find other self-portraits apart from these two.

Have a look at the first self-portrait, below. It is rather colourful, and certain elements attract the eye: the artist hiding in an eagle's "outfit", see the bird's beak, head and wings, then on the left side of the burning candle, a golden Tower of Babel placed next to an image of war and attack aircrafts. Behind the candle, perhaps an image of the earth, whose just or unjust fate is decided by Roman-like divinities holding the libra (balance scale).

Should you be able to have a closer look, you will notice that there is a worm crawling on the character's finger.

First self-portrait:
Jorg Immendorff Das Bild ruft (letztes Selbstportrait I) , 1998

The NMAO Osaka Museum owns the second self-portrait, an artwork where in a rather dark space, the candle is still burning in the middle of the table, Tower of Babel has been replaced by a different golden shape, the pattern on the walls turns erotic, and the artist abandons the carnival approach to fashion for a dark suit. The worm is still there.

The candle is one frequent symbol in Immendorff’s work. You can find it in the “Painter’s Friend” (1985) artwork, showing some of Immendorff's most frequent elements, an ape, a candle and a brush. It is a typical symbol of mortality, of the time consuming itself. So is the worm crawling on his finger present in both images, a symbol of death, of nature destroying the human body. Both self-portraits come about as Allegories of Vanity.

Let us consider other works where the elements mentioned above, the erotic pattern on the wall, the worm, and the golden shape have been previously used.

Erotic pattern on the wall. The following image reveals the same erotic pattern used for the walls behind our character in Das Bild ruft II.

Jorg Immendorff Ohne Titel
(Studie: Buhnenprobe 1, The Rake's Progress), 1993

It is a sketch for Igor Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress opera, performed by the Vienna State Opera Chorus at the Salzburg Festspiele in 1996. Immendorff was in charge with the set and costume design.

Check out the pattern on the floor.
Salzburg Festspiele ©1996
video uploaded by naxosvideos on 14 June 2010

See the pattern on the floor and walls in this video
Salzburg Festspiele ©1996
uploaded by TheGreatPerformers on 17 September 2007

The worm. This is an earlier artwork, from 1992. Most elements, including the table, candle, meditative pose, dark suit, and crawling worm are present.

Jorg Immendorff Bild mit Geduld, 1992

The golden shape. In Der Weltlauf, a work completed the same year, 1998, a shape resembling our golden shape is to be seen on the central axis of the image. It does not look very different from an udder.

Jorg Immendorff Der Weltlauf, 1998

This golden udder, replacing the golden Tower of Babel in Das Bild ruft (letztes Selbstportrait I), may very well be seen as a pornographic symbol of Lust, though we would not insist on it. The tiny dark dots spread all over this golden surface make us think rather of a beehive, please note that the name "Immendorff" itself refers to a "bee village".

Das Bild ruft (letztes Selbstportrait II), with its Durer-like Melancholia image, can be regarded as an artist's contemplation on life and death, a representation of consciousness, of its intentionality and transparency, where sexuality is central to his life and to his body. Whatever choices have been made and aesthetic experiences lived, the dynamic flow of actions is abruptly halted by the vanity of life and body, both endangered by a burning candle shedding light and darkness on the growing hunger of this nasty worm called death.

Useful German-Japanese-English glossary

Jorg Immendorff Das Bild ruft (letztes Selbstportrait II)
ヨルク・インメンドルフ 《絵が呼んでいる (最後の自画像 II)》
The Image is Calling (last self-portrait II)


Der Weltlauf
The Course of Things

Ohne Titel (Studie: Buhnenprobe I, The Rake’s Progress)
無題(習作:舞台リハーサルI, 放蕩児の遍歴)
Untitled (Study: Stage probe 1, The Rake's Progress)

Related links 

Learn about the Immendorff/Lupertz exhibition at the MdM (Museum der Moderne) Monschberg, Salzburg, Austria, 9 April - 3 July 2011 from the official website or from heatheronhertravels' photostream on flickr.

© MdM Monschberg, Salzburg
Read his artistic profile on the Saatchi Gallery website.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Beautiful image from Esmee Fairbairn Foundation - 50 years: 9 stories

Now this is what I call real. Love, passion, work. This is I want to see every day.

Dancer creating her own choreography
See Patricia dancing here

© The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation

Thank you for the beauty of your work, Patricia Okenwa from Rambert Dance Company, the oldest dance company in the UK.

Back in 2004, the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation granted Rambert Dance Company Ltd  20000 pounds towards the costs of a programme to develop dancers' choreography skills. Then again in 2010, no less than 151,770 GBP have been invested in the Choreographic Development Programme over three years.

This beautiful video has been created by the Foundation in 2011, on their 50th anniversary.

Wikipedia Blackout Day

Today, 18 January 2012, Wikipedia is asking you to imagine a world without free knowledge.


 Wikipedia is protesting against SOPA and PIPA by blacking out
the English Wikipedia for 24 hours

We regret that we are too far to be able to call US senators, but hope you will.

The Bosa Bosa Review

Monday, 16 January 2012

Yayoi Kusama and the dots obsession - Osaka 2012

The National Museum of Art Osaka is now hosting the works of Yayoi Kusama, avant-garde "artist and novelist", born in 1929 in Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture, Japan. View her works on her official website, on NMAO museum's site and on Asahi Shinbun Daily Newspaper's site (main sponsor).

After curating Renoir, tradition and innovation (2010) and The Complete Posters of Tadanori Yokoo (2010) exhibitions, Masahiro Yasugi, a museum-profit record-breaker at NMAO, has taken charge once again.

Taking photographs is permitted in most exhibition rooms.

With all my love for the tulips, I pray forever by Yayoi Kusama, 2011
草間彌生 《チューリップに愛をこめて、永遠に祈る》
Courtesy of The National Museum of Art, Osaka (current exhibition)

Whether polka dots make you think of Dexter's blood spatter, or are reminding you of Brigitte Bardot's femininity, it is fair to say that they have become Kusama's signature.

Dots: Brigitte Bardot vs Dexter

In terms of style, one cannot fail to notice the resemblance to Takashi Murakami's works. Murakami has displayed his works at the Versailles Palace in 2010, stirring controversy among critics but not so much among young fans. You can see more images in the Guardian.

Takashi Murakami @ Versailles (2010)

Both of them also enjoy a business collaboration with Louis Vuitton.

Many of Kusama's monochromatic works using manga-brush for silkscreen printing on canvas or acrylics on canvas, display women's broken features, which, even though lacking the emotional heaviness of the subject, make us think of Picasso, and his work Weeping Woman (1937) from the Tate Collection.

Women in a Dream [TWZSA] & First Love [SWTUE] by Yayoi Kusama (2005)
草間彌生 《夢の中の女たち[TWZSA] 》&《初恋 [SWTUE]

Pablo Picasso, Weeping Woman (1937)
© Tate Collection

Patterns like the one below remind of Gustav Klimt's style from the mural painting The Tree of Life at the Secession in Vienna.

I Who Was Looking Hard at God, by Yayoi Kusama, 2011
草間彌生 《神をみつめていたわたし》

The Tree of Life, Gustav Klimt, 1909

The explosion of stickers on white surfaces at Brisbane Gallery of Modern Art (Australia) reveal even more Yayoi Kusama's playfulness, she makes differences vanish and dreams unify all edges.

Installation views of The obliteration room 2011
as part of ‘Yayoi Kusama: Look Now, See Forever’,
Brisbane Gallery of Modern Art, 2011
© Yayoi Kusama, Yayoi Kusama Studio Inc.
Photographs: Mark Sherwood

YayOi Ku$ama and the dOt$ Ob$e$$iOn - O$aka

Welcome to the Osaka exhibition !

Yayoi Kusama Eternity of Eternal Eternity at NMAO 2012
catalogue, flyer, list of exhibited works, museum events

Exhibition banner stand

Polka-dotted space

more dots

dots are a medium, an equalizer, a standardizer

everything becomes absorbed in this obsessional dotscape

dots reach the upper floors

shapes resembling Miyazaki's Kodama-s show up

they get round & take flight

dotscape trying to escape

The exhibition space ends with a dazzling experience inside Gleaming Lights of the Souls, a Steppenwolf - like gigantic mirror-space of a Magic Theatre (mixed media, 2008).

Related links:

Yayoi Kusama exhibition at Serpentine Gallery, London, 2000

Yayoi Kusama: Flowers that bloom at midnight, by Evelyne Politanoff, Huffington Post, 12 December 2011

Interview Yayoi Kusama, by Helen Sumpter, in TimeOut London, 2012

Love Forever, Yayoi Kusama 1958-1968, MoMA exhibition web page, 1998

There has been a boom in Yayoi KUSAMA major exhibitions in 2011-2012:


Eternity of Eternal Eternity, The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan, 7 January- 8 April 2012 (curated by Masahiro Yasugi, supported by Asahi Shinbun Daily Newspaper)


Tate Modern, London, 9 February- 5 June 2012 (curated by Frances Morris and Rachel Taylor, supported by Louis Vuitton, see press release here)

Centre Pompidou, Paris, 10 October 2011-9 January 2012 (supported by KENZO Parfums, see press release here) - see an one-hour video created by the Centre Pompidou here.

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 12 July- 30 September 2012

Gagosian Gallery, Rome, 25 March - 7 May 2011

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, 11 May - 12 September 2011

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Tadao Ando - Losing Battle After Battle

On 2 June 2011, at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the Tadao Ando lecture tickets were sold out. Eighteen days later, the Osaka University Convention Center was full and cheerful. Everywhere he goes, young people crowd round him (check out the video with Bono in Dublin, below).

This is Tadao Ando, an Osaka-born genius. We are most honoured to have met him. Tadao has signed for us his Losing Battle After Battle, a book about architectural competitions which Tadao Ando has not won. About ideas, concepts, courage, failure, and the strength to keep going.

Tadao's proposed design for Museum aan de Stroom (1999)

The museum was finally designed by

It opened in 2011. View it on the museum's website.

This was Tadao's vision of what Tate Modern should look like (1995)

The building was designed by
Herzog & De Meuron (Switzerland).

It opened in 2000. Check it out on the Tate official website.

You can get more information on this book in English and Japanese here.

We have written in the past about Tadao events here and also published a short post on his fundraising efforts in the aftermath of the 11 March 2011 Tohoku catastrophe.

Related links:

Watch Tadao Ando on CNN:

Tadao Ando © 2006 CNN Talk Asia Program part 1/3

 see also parts 2/3 and 3/3
thank you danone19 for the videos

Watch a short video many Tadao fans love, with Bono from U2 introducing Tadao Ando in Dublin, 2007, here.

Then watch a skillfully-composed video on Tadao Ando's works, Conceptos, which is available on youtube here.

You can buy books on Tadao Ando on, here.

Buy Du beton et d'autres secrets de l'architecture by Tadao Ando on here.

Enjoy !

Sunday, 8 January 2012

E-book Review: How to find a career with your humanities degree in 126 days

This is a review of How to find a career with your humanities degree in 126 days, an e-book which can be purchased from here

E-book Review © 2012 The Bosa Bosa Review 

How to find a career with your humanities degree
in 126 days : $20 

 It takes guts to buck the system

Old and new, ancient and modern, your dreams yesterday and your reality today, they all equal conflict.

While recognizing the value of who we are as individuals, full of dreams and poetic memories, the author of this e-book became aware of one important aspect: once dumped by the academic system, we lack vision to rebuild our own lives. We prefer to give up on ourselves so that we do not have to renounce our dreams. Our reveries. Our somnambulism. Our hallucinations.

In order to increase the number of choices you have at present from zero, should that be the case, and help you plan, organize, build relationships, self-manage, enhance your potential and eventually get yourself a job, James has written this e-book. It has humour, truths, emotional and practical benefits.

Take this e-book as a rehab programme. It is getting you back on your feet. There where you were supposed to be from the start. But somehow you ended up someplace else. You can say NO, NO, NO, but that will not help. Tomorrow will not feel any better.

Humanities are hard drugs. They are interesting. The more you advance in your studies, the stronger the addiction. A PhD is an overdose. Post-PhD unemployment afflicted on you is murder. Premeditated. Defend yourself, dammit! Do not allow in your life emotional distress and damage to your self-esteem. The academics are actively involved in the production, smuggling, trading and trafficking of this happy dust called The Humanities. They know it is not good for you. But that will not stop them. Still sniffing?

Unhappiness is the first sniff of trouble. Not sleeping much. Dandruff. Eating instant noodles over the computer’s keyboard. Smelling bad. Many of those of you graduating in humanities who do not manage to sort out your lives, to get your dream job or any other job, are perhaps not too thrilled to admit that you need help. You might have expressed this need several times, only to be told “Don’t you worry, you’ll do fine. Gotta go” (friends), “Wow, you really don’t know what you want” (careers service at the university union), “Oh, stop moaning and get back to work!” (professor Smith), “So proud of you…You’ll make a splendid scholar. Cupcakes?” (mum).

On the other hand, you do not really want to be helped. That happens when you are still somehow strangely addicted to a path you had previously chosen: all because of that high-level degree expected to lead to an esteemed career in the humanities and the classy activities associated with it: teaching, researching, publishing, conferencing, debating on The Culture Show on BBC2. The fact is, as long as Professor Smith is teaching, researching, publishing, etc., chances are that there is no room for your dreams to ever come true. Waiting for a new wing to be attached to the main building?

I am afraid that this e-book might be the only way for you to save your skin. Quickly. There is no point in insisting on living unhappily, really. How to find a career with your humanities degree in 126 days is a methodology book. It systematically takes you out of a system that does not work. Not written by an arse-hole who wants to make money out of your misery, but written by a young mate whose name is James and who has been where you are right now. This e-book takes you step by step, guiding you back to zero and helping you re-launch in a different direction. It is thoughtful and respectful. I bet you have not been shown much respect recently. So, come on, get out 20 bucks and learn how to get high the right way.

It is not easy when you feel let down. You will find many stories on the net, true stories. And not exactly stories of success. Rather sad stories written by smart people like you. People who have not yet overcome failure, not even today. The question is, after we tell our story, laugh and cry, what comes next? I have now on my desktop How to find a career with your humanities degree in 126 days. I read it because I choose to survive. So, how is this e-book helping really?

I graduated in humanities. I speak four languages, have been awarded four full scholarships, and studied in four countries. Four, four, what for? None of these has been good enough to get me a full-time job yet. I have been left no choice. I have to reinvent myself. Following the steps and monthly charts from this e-book, I reorganized my whole schedule. I started 5 days ago. I am still clumsy in my approach, but hope to improve. I started polishing my CV, moved the education section to the bottom of the page, deleted the scholarships section, brought back the details of my DTP part-time job. I decided to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator and InDesign, found a massive arts fair and two galleries where I can go get more part-time experience so that hopefully, next time I find a job I want, I have the guts to set my foot in the door and get it.

I have sent job applications for years, without getting any result. Now I see that my approach was not the best. So yesterday I gave up applying for a job at the Barbican (London) as Exhibitions Manager and one at the Metropolitan Museum (New York) as Online Community Manager. I hate to admit that my skills are still halfway there. Experience, not enough. But I got the person specification, experience required, core behaviours, and am slowly filling the gaps. It is not a magic number, just a new courage to try things, plan, organize, understand, build relationships, self-manage. I woke up already feeling better. Emotional benefit, tick.

Do you want to survive? Say YES, YES, YES and get the e-book. Quickly, before your partner gets sick and tired of your instant noodles.

The best of luck !

The Bosa Bosa Review

…trying to move to , what an adventure …getting new skills, though !

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Japanese ARTS and BUSINESS - New Year's Cards or nengajo

Have you ever seen New Year’s Cards made in Japan? Now here is an idea for business, if you are thinking of starting one from the scratch. Like we are.

New Year's Cards Promotion 2012
© ShashinBako

Check this out: New Year's Cards, as many as 4.1 billion are printed and mailed by the Japan Post every year, according to wasabipress blog. For a population of about 130 million people, we get to an average of 31 cards purchased by each person. Individuals buy packages of 50 or 100 cards, corporations get much more for their partners and employees. Photo and Printing businesses are in charge of personal information, databases of names and mailing addresses. They do the digital input, the editing and the printing. The Japan Post delivers.

We can think of a few reasons why this system would not work as nicely someplace else. But maybe you can bring a change. Think about it. Get your numbers right. Multiply 4.1 billion cards by 90 yen per card, and you get a nice amount of 369 billion yen, a rough 306 million GBP, 369 million EUR, or 480 million US dollars turnover, or revenue. Dare say that profits are not bad. Interested?

We got a bunch of leaflets in the mail these past few weeks and we did not pay much attention to any of them. They were actually all headed for the rubbish bin this morning when we discovered the promotion for New Year’s Cards, a belated discovery. Why does any of these matter? Well, it is all related to practicality, inventiveness as opposed to a humanities degree. Or better: how to use your knowledge on arts and poetry to make business.
The launch of 2012 is for some of us just the right time to get practical: we decided to show you something quite Japanese: practicality. For a little while we are going to set aside How to find a career with your Humanities degree in 126 days, a relevant, smart, straightforward book written by James from , and start storytelling about New Year’s Cards, also known in Japan as the nengajo 年賀状. We scanned some stuff for you and searched some important arts databases.

First, is there a need for improvement in the greeting cards industry? We started getting a bit tired of getting e-cards that will not open, and when they do, they can be rather impersonal. We searched google for Western rivals to the Japanese cards. We could not find any. Instead we found these Jingle Bells greeting cards and we thought of them as boring: 

Google Images search for
"greeting cards" (today)

The home-made cards are obviously a step forward, yet something is still missing:

Google Images search for
 "homemade greeting cards" (today)

In order to engage into a comparative, interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, multimodal Intermedialitaet approach to Greeting Cards Studies, we are showing you first a sample of Japanese envelopes, as a sign of exquisite taste. We reckon that previous research in Envelope Studies has ignored many important aspects of a field that should receive proper attention in the analytic tradition. Have a look.

Japanese envelopes with financial gifts
 for the bride and groom

The Japanese Greeting Cards do not need envelopes, because unlike the Royal Mail, the Japan Post can be trusted. But you have got to understand the taste first, since without it, there is no 369 billion yen result. This is the promotion from Fujifilm for this year:

New Year's Cards Promotion 2012 © Fujifilm

What you can see here are various examples of cards, calligraphic, photographic. And a form to fill in should you be interested in any offer (the image on the right side). We have got more samples from ShashinBako Printing:

New Year's Cards Promotion 2012 © ShashinBako

Ink-splashed writing is still very common. Sweets, too. Noticed the Japanese cookies? Those pink little flowers in the middle. You can promote a cookie business with these cards. Children can choose their own cards to send to friends, see image No.4. Do children send cards anymore these days? There is plenty of room for improvement in children's lives and adult lives as well. Call it tangibility.

Naturally, Japanese calligraphy cannot simply be replaced with alphabet. Is there anything that can be done to make English text look beautiful?

Is seems complicated, but perhaps it is easier than you imagine. Japanese Calligraphy is a form of art, and like any form of art, it could have stayed behind locked doors in archives, museums and temples. But no, Japanese Art escaped from Archives and National Treasures and moved forward, to why not, BUSINESS. This is a National Treasure from Kyoto, see the poems transcribed on paper, these handscrolls look beautiful, but they do not bring money to businesses. Nevertheless, these handscrolls made the New Year's cards 369 billion yen business possible. Bloody brilliant !

Poems from Wakan Roeishu
read more on the e-museum website

Ink has a long history, just like charcoal does. 15th century painter Sesshu reduced the whole landscape to an ink-splashed primordial Breath, and this is not totally unrelated to that card in the middle image of the Fujifilm promotion above, the fleeting ideogram containing the whole space within. Ideas are there where you do not look.

Sesshu, Broken-ink Landscape, 1495
see the entire scroll on the e-museum website

Ideogram or Kanji for "Dragon"
New Year's Cards Promotion 2012 © Fujifilm

And when you find them, you have got to put them into practice. Master Shuseki (1946-2007) spent his life making a business by carving ideograms into wood. If you have a better look at Sesshu's painting above, you will notice a red seal in the lower left corner. These are seals with ideograms pressed on paper, and there is no paper in Japan without them. They are replacing signatures and represent proofs of identification. 

Master Shuseki engraving a square seal
virtual tour of his atelier here

This story was about New Year's Cards in Japan. This might inspire you to start a business. It might not. Let us figure it out together. Leave a message, get in touch.  

And if you went all the way to the Degree Zero of hope due to a humanities PhD that messed up your life and killed your dreams, visit SHM-ltd, a company based in London, where humanities grads teach business to businesses, and you will find people like Sarah Tyler from Goldsmiths (fluent in French and Italian), or Nigel Shardlow, who holds a doctorate in Philosophy from Oxford, and works as

an experienced consultant and senior manager with a broad skill base encompassing qualitative research, marketing communications, new product development, strategy and planning, and change management.

SHM-ltd, a company based in London
humanities grads teaching business to businesses

Learn from them. Learn from James. There must be something we can do to have the life we always wanted.


The Bosa Bosa Review