Something White

It’s a beautiful sunny day. The snow-capped Alps is showing off its crisp elegant lines.
Long nights are already here and it gets dark already at around 5 o’clock in the afternoon.

When I was walking in a hurry, looking at the roast chestnuts vender out of the corner of my eyes, I notice that one Christmas illumination has just been turned on. Where this small full light came from was deep in the cobblestone lane. The street in front of the station where the tram runs changed to a sort of blueish light of modern art 4 years ago.

Ladders were placed against the humongous tree in front of the huge bank building, and you could see many shadows moving, carrying big red or gold balls.

Since it is time for occasions that you dress up more frequently, the evening gym is getting more and more crowded. The festive season with continuous heavy meals is just around the corner.

I am getting nervous again, as I fear of my ritual failure. It seems to happen just before I am ready to go out, when I put on the clothes I have planned to wear, and they look something different than I thought would look.

The gym I go is just an ordinary one, but it is convenient as it is located in the center of the town. Furthermore, it is the area where many ethnic groups of people live like a compacted Zurich, in which environment I feel comfortable as a foreigner.
As a variety of people from various parts of the globe gather together here, you will hear many languages such as English, with various accents, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Swiss German.

Zurich is a city I expected to be conservative and low-keyed. However, once I started to come and go through this locker room, my impression has dramatically changed.
Especially this time zone, it is totally different from daytime. The age group becomes much younger, which adds some sort of glamour.

A fashionable madam is getting ready to leave by looking at her watch. A young woman who looks like a model, is looking at herself, standing in front of the mirror, with her chin up.
As the neighborhood is the financial district, some of the members may be working for such institutions. Sooner or later when the weather gets colder, it is quite a site to see all those fur coats lined-up on the hangers.

While every visitor from Japan says this is a sophisticated town, just looking at some fragment like this, might be convincing enough for you that it is a rich town.

As I had a little shopping to do, I rushed into one department store just before its closing time, carrying my half-finished bottle of Evian.
Some modest little present to my friend.

Many people seem to have decided on the color or design for this year. So I hesitated a bit, but I picked up for my table one cubic candle in the color of off-white, among the Christmas ornaments.

Winter rain has started to fall now.

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Lace of winter colors

My Swiss female friends are very good at wearing scarves.
Simply tying a scarf around your neck over a white blouse or a cashmere sweater is a standard style that everybody knows. I don’t recall exactly when, but once I saw a woman simply spreading a large pink Hermes scarf over a dark brown jacket, which really impressed me with the interesting color combination. It matched very well with her blond hair.

Although I know it will cheer you up when you wear something in vivid color on a cloudy day, I always tend to pick up something very dark.

As we are expecting a long winter now, I went through my closet to find some colors for accent.

There is one scarf that has been left at the same place since last year. Although it is true that I have been treating it as something special, it has become difficult to put it on once you lost a good timing. So it has never been outside my closet.

There is one nice shop that deals with good quality textiles along the lake. I casually drop in each season as they carry or produce something unusual.

That was surely one afternoon of early winter. The antique room must have been at least 150 years old. When I was talking with the designer at one corner of this room, I just realized this scarf was simply placed by the windowsill.

It was a mysterious lace that revealed many colors though the light. When I got close to it, it was a cloth just like the wind.

When I picked it up to take a look, she happily smiled at me.

She said, “It is a lace from St. Gallen. I, myself, found it. It is really a great piece of work. I believe how you use it, is just like how you wear a piece of jewelry”.

St. Gallen. If you hear this place name, a meddeval town comes to your mind right away.

It is located in the east of Zurich, about 1 hour train ride. Up to the area around the monastery, which is believed to be the masterpiece of baroque architecture, the town has a splendor scenery and is designated a World Heritage Site. While it is well known as a town of academics, it is also once a prosperous town with long history of textiles, laces and embroideries.

A lace of winter color sent from such a town.

There were enough reasons to purchase that.

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Tracking Happiness   Mircea Cantor Exhibition

Tracking Happiness, 2009 Production still © Mircea Cantor

The image of the women walking slowing carrying brooms has been stuck one corner of my head. That motif has been appearging and disappearing. Now it seems like I am trapped in the trick of this artist.

Mircea Cantor.

Things that have crept into our daily lives before we know it, and that have become our patterns unconsciously, but make us suddenly wonder why or bring some uneasiness.

Our everyday common scenes disturb our daily lives.

Tracking Happiness is also the title of the film that Cantor created for this exhibtion.

Wearing pure-white clothes, they move slowly barefoot in the soft sand like dancing.
We are not sure what the purpose is. They walk endlessly like wandering in a dream, and the footprints are erased clean by the brooms.

Strangely blight with the grainy light exposing the empty space, the women link to the image of angels, in a dimension different from the present.

They chase things left somewhere unnoticed, or things that have been erased. Or they trace their footprints in a different way.

It reminds us of the present age that we are under the control of communications by computers or electronic devices. He tries to establish a different reality, against the world where private information is accumulated, multiplied and disseminated, which he says is also his bewilderment.

The work includes various media such as video, photographs, objects, installations, etc. Cantor also takes advantage of the media incorporated more in the society, such as newspaper ads, as one method of expression.

Born in 1977 in Rumania, he currently lives in Paris.
His solo shows at Camden Arts Centre in London and Pompidou Centre in Paris were sensational and stole the scene of Europe. Now for the first time in Switzerland, his one-man show has opened.

Until Nov. 8, 2009

Photo: Kunsthaus Zürich

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