Anu Tuominen is a Finnish artist with an eye for colour and form and the magical ability to turn everyday objects into beautiful works of art. I picked up a postcard with her pot holder masterpiece from the Centre Pompidou in Paris years ago. At the time, I had no idea of the scale of the actual work, or even that the items were pot holders. I just new that it was beautiful and I loved it. The print has since sat on my desk in Los Angeles, on my dresser in London, and on my fireplace in Vermont. It turns out the original work was an installation that covered an entire wall. Check out Anu’s website to see a gallery of many more of her works and just try to not feel inspired.
I must have been 15 when I first saw this piece. Immediately I was struck by the contrast between the luxurious blues and vibrant gold, and the eerie, otherworldly atmosphere. I soon realised that it wasn’t the woman and her instrument that attracted me to the piece, but the statues behind her, glaring at the viewer. That these two inanimate objects are the faces addressing the viewer and not the woman makes you feel as though she isn’t playing for herself or us, but for something that human eyes don’t see. Klimt didn’t need to paint who or what she was playing for to show there is something else there. The flowers in her hair almost look like a crown placed upon a corpse. (Especially when you see how white her skin is!) Klimt created La Musique two years before his work with the Vienna Secession and long before his Golden Phase, so it’s interesting to view this as part of his evolution. Compare it to the equally creepy The Kiss or Virgin.
Belgian painter René Magritte was one of the leading figures of the Surrealist movement. Many of his works combined technical skill, tongue-in-cheek silliness, and the odd thoughtful musing, which can be found in his most famous works, The Treachery of Images and The Son of Man. Perhaps my favourite work of Magritte’s is Golconda, where again it is easy to identify those three traits. But everything else, like the men (or just man?) in the painting, remains forever very much up in the air.