Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Vintage 2011

Not only has it been a rough year in the vineyard, high rainfall , cloudy weather, mildew, but when we thought we may pick a few bunches what happens! Wasps, ( insect type not human) thousands of them, everything looked fine nice round bunches of grapes suddenly an attack of European wasps' .They swarmed from bunch to bunch pumping dry  every grape leaving but an empty shell. Whole rows just disappeared in a matter of hours. So who said growing crops was a piece of cake, But to end on a more positive note the sugar content was an unbelievable 22% sugar. I fear we shall have to drink the few bottles salvaged with great care lest we finish up like the proverbial Chinese sage in his tea house.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Istanbul Carpet Seller

While inspecting a number of Persian carpets at an auction house recently a rather amusing incident experience a few years ago came to mind. While walking through the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul where every merchant seemed intent on selling me a carpet. It did not matter that I had said ten times already that I had no need of a carpet.This however did not interfere with the colourful sales pitch of stall holders.
Q.  "Where you from? "
Meaning Canada, Australia, USA, Germany and so on.He wants to establish your purchasing power and what your attitude towards carpets will be. Turks for some reason don't like the Dutch as they  are deemed to be too money conscious to buy carpets. European jokes do travel this far!
Q.  "Where you from?
 By this means he wishes to establish his concern for your welfare. He will always have a brother, cousin or best friend living there. This is to assure you that he is to be trusted as he is friendly towards your country and therefor 100% honest and will sell a  carpets to you at the very lowest price because he is your friends.
"If you buy carpet I can explain all you need to know about carpet so I no cheat". .
Q. "Where you stay."
This establishs your purchasing power and at what his opening price should be. It is best to keep in mind the name of some run down dump but it doesn't always work. If you are still not interested.

Q.  "Why you no buy, no obligation you my friend."

At this point the apple tea ceremony begins, there are no shortage  of tea boys on the streets of Istanbul and you hail them as you would a taxi. The drinking of tea has become a national past time since the fall of the Ottoman Empire and Turkey lost control of the Arabian coffee trade resulting in  price of coffee being prohibitive.
"I will tell you all about carpet because you my friend?"
No matter how many times you explain that you have no need of a carpet he will respond .
"I understand , but when you know all about carpet you will want to buy."
After a further hour of dialogue and more apple tea he will say.
"You no use carpet in Australia I make half price."
This  price  is generally somewhat near the correct price if you are lucky you tell him you may look up his brother on your return home .  He may not like this and offer even a better price .What ever the out come you have filled in an amusing hour ,apple tea anyone.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What have chess & fine art have in common?

In order to address the problem of short time-span viewing of paintings in Art Galleries & Museum (appox.3 sec), I decided to embark on a small series of chess problem painting. Other means will need to be found for non chess players, perhaps bridge or crossword puzzles. It must be apparent to any serious viewer that 3 sec is no where long enough to view,analyses the content and structure of a work of art. By presenting the viewer with some direct involvement  ie a chess problem ,they would be forced to look and spend a little time on analyse . No doubt the degree of difficulty would need to be increased from time to time, but then all these a
activities require time and thought.

Peter Kreet "Mate in  Two"  2011
                                              Acrylic on Board. 800 x 700    $1200      2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

Poxed at the Royal

Both actors & audience entered into a high state of animation at last nights performance of "Poxed" at Hobart's Royal Theatre Backspace .  To discover this little gem of a theatre you will need to find your way down a dark lane and up several flights of stairs.    The venue being very small   (120 to 140seats) brings the performance right into your lap whether you want it there or not.    The Tasmanian Theatre Co. should be congratulated for putting on this difficult play written by Stella Kent.    The play deals with the life of Lady Mary Montagu , a fabled beauty in 18th Century London, who as the British Ambassadors wife, discovers in Constantinople , while attending a "pox" party, a child could be inoculated from the disease by placing a small portion of puss into an open wound.
On returning to London she inoculates her own daughter by this method .  This action is met with hysterical reactions from both those in power and the public at large. 
The first half of the play moves between a farce and serious dialogue, while the second part brings it all together, sexism, racism and straight out bigotry all show their ugly face.    I particularly liked the way Guy Hopper handled the role of Colley Cibber in almost a Shakespearean dialogue, while Mel King as Lady Mary was outstanding.   The repartee between the two moved beautifully between humour , sarcasm and the serious.    Mary unfortunately had to wait until 1979 before being recognised as the person who introduced smallpox vaccination into Britain.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Further reflections on Animal Farm

On further reflections after seeing Wild Rice's performance at the Theatre Royal Hobart, I would be interested in the Singaporean reaction in Singapore.Listening to Ian Woodridge's talk on ABC radio I gathered that as far as Singaporeans are concerned Farmer Brown is identified with the British Colonial rule and the Singapore Government as developed by Lee Kuan Yew as symbolic of the tight control exercised by Napoleon.
As an outsider it is not for me to comment one way or another as to the desirability of such a course. However one important question needs to be addressed namely where is the line between individual freedom and responsibility towards the State. Singapore is not alone in this ,it is a question being asked by many countries in this WikiLeaks' age. Admittedly the play ends in a sort of comprised solution that does not seem to be in the best interest of all concerned.
No better solution to this question would be to revisit Socrates' last days in Ancient Athens condemned to death for corrupting the youth of the city by his encouragement to seek the true nature of all opinion. Socrates argues in Crito that as he has spent his entire life (some 70 years) enquiring into the nature of truth this being the guiding principle of his discourses. It would be impossible for him change direction now and escape into exile rather than accept his city's verdict. He argues that as a citizen of Athens his first loyalty is to the state before any other considerations on the grounds that it gave him life,education and security.By living in the city all his life he confirms his respect for its laws. Athens as we know moved between democracy and oligarchy which resulted in its defeat by Sparta and eventual conquest by the Romans.
Unlike the west ,Singapore operates on what I like to think as a Chinese family with specific divisions of responsibility and loyalty between its parts.In the past there has been an assumption that Westernisation of Asian countries would lead to some sort of abandonment of their inherited culture. This naturally has not been the case, just look at the Chinese family as against a western one.
Some will argue that this is all very well, but if laws are unjust a citizen has an obligation to challenge them even though such a course of action may lead to anarchy. Socrates at no point encouraged such a direction , rather he felt ill fitting laws needed to be modified through reason.
George Orwell's "Homage to Catolonia" deals with his experiences during the Spanish Civil War and his disillusionment with all the competing factions is laid bear. Their failure to come together lead to the loss of the war and the consequence that followed.
Finally there is no such thing as perfect government only ones of half truths ,all we can hope for is the best outcome among the competing ideas, the same may be said about families.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Wall (in homage to the packaging industry)

I have attempted to draw peoples attention to the huge waste of physical material used by the packaging industry. Every thing seems to be prepacked whether needed or not. In the construction of this wall I have reassembled various packing parts to form new molds and then cast them in concrete. "The Wall "is the result to date ,a multi faceted textured relief sculpture. Everything has been used when it comes to hand, egg containers, computer molds, biscuit boxes, wine storage boxes even containers from lamp shops. I hope you like it, the only reason likely to halt its progress is if the world runs out of packaging and that seem highly unlikely. At first the earth bank was retained by laying hundreds of wine bottles on their side.

However when my small grandsons started eying a bottle retaining wall with a glint in their eye that said ,"lets see how many we can hit and break with stones", I realised that a more permanent surface was needed, hence the birth of the "The Wall". I had been working with concrete making sculptures casting and reassembling them into free standing forms. It seemed to be an obvious solution to cast panels to encase the bottles. This was four years or so ago ,' The Wall" has been growing ever since depending on the weather and finances. Now standing two metres high in places an running some fifty metres in length and still growing.

Looking west

Computer& washing machine

Egg and biscuit trays

Freestanding sculpture

Looking East

Freestanding sculpture