Although the Quatre Caps are a group of architects, their project I want to talk to you about has nothing to do with architecture. It’s called Not Longer Life and it’s a series of six paintings that revisit in a contemporary way one of the subjects of classical art, still life.
If Monet or Caravaggio, painting a still life, depicted baskets or vases full of fruit, from grapes to oranges, from pears to apples, but not only, the Four Caps asked themselves: what would they look like if they were made today?
The six paintings always represent baskets of fruit, but, since we are in modern times, they are all packaged in plastic boxes or in the typical bags of the supermarket.
In a historical period in which the topic of pollution/waste is a very hot topic, Not Longer Life seems to be almost a criticism to governments that do not take a position, but also to people who are reluctant to change their habits and continue to make a disproportionate plastic.
Gian Paolo Barbieri is one of the giants of fashion on film, a member of a group of photographers who have been able to depict the world of models, fashion shows and product by going beyond any superficial narrative. An exhibition by the great master of photography Gian Paolo Barbieri opens in Milan today, Nov. 29, and at the 29 ARTS IN PROGRESS gallery at 13 Via San Vittore, Milan, he will present a series of never-before-seen, full-color works.
The title of the exhibition is ‘Gian Paolo Barbieri: Unconventional,‘ and it is indeed unconventional how the artist has approached photography and fashion, reworked based on the many experiences and celebrities with whom he has woven relationships and direct contacts. In the shots of Barbieri, known mainly for his black and white production, provocation and history chase each other, taking up poses from art history, citations to design and architecture, a symbolism that is connoted by an ultra-personal and authentic vision. The new elegance and eroticism that Barbieri has been able to represent in his career can be seen at the 29 ARTS IN PROGRESS gallery, in an exhibition that comes a few days after the cinema release of “L’uomo e la bellezza,” the first docufilm on Gian Paolo Barbieri and already awarded at the Biografilm Festival 2022 in Bologna.
What happens to society if suddenly the status quo changes? Swedish director Ruben Östlund‘s answer is called Triangle of Sadness.
Triangle of Sadness was presented during the 75th Cannes Film Festival, where it was awarded the Palme d’Or for best film. Since then its success has crossed all borders. From Sweden to France, from France to the world, abetted by a trailer that in just a few seconds already manages to capture the viewer’s attention and catapult them into this critique of modern society watered by champagne and vomit.
Carl and Yaya are two models who decide to take a luxury cruise. During the vacation they get to know the other passengers, without ever really relating to them, until at one point the ship sinks and the survivors find themselves on a deserted island. It is at this point that a role reversal begins, and those who were previously at the top of the social pyramid now find themselves having to work for the only people who really know how they can survive in that circumstance. Some will be able to forget the luxury and adapt to the new status quo, others less so, but the more days go by the more the transformation from human to beast takes place.
Ruben Östlund, however, decides not to take sides and leaves it up to the viewer to decide whether this process of decivilization will be finished or whether there is still hope in human consciousness.
In sharp contrast to the brutality and cynicism of the plot we find a clean and elegant aesthetic, also the child of the work of Fredrik Wenzel, a Swedish cinematographer who also collaborated with Luca Guadagnino on the miniseries We Are Who We Are. Thus, the more critical the situation becomes the more beautiful the image becomes, mesmerizing the viewer.
One piece of advice, however, I will leave you with: watching Triangle of Sadness after dinner may not be the best idea.
The female nude body in the photographic shots of AlinaGross becomes an element far from any erotic representation, or rather the language of photography facilitate the attempt to evoke the ambivalences of sexuality and gender. The Ukrainian photographer and now based in Germany brings to mind erotic elements through the associations of natural shapes and elements, combining them to create an imperfect beauty, the “Beauty of Imperfection” that is also the title of her latest artbook as well as the project the artist has been pursuing for the past four years. Alina Gross does not show a univocal beauty – and figure of women – to be told only through traditional canons of beauty, but expands the meaning of forms, thanks also to a pictorial rendering of bodies, aided by the use of color that often sprinkles the skin. The disturbing effect of viewing naked parts is not masked, Gross however invites the viewer to review the mental process of analyzing reality and its definition, which leads to breaking down dizzying barriers.
Don’t Worry Darling is one of those cases where one watches the film more out of curiosity than healthy interest. The film, which arrived in theaters last Sept. 22 and was presented at the Venice Film Festival last Sept. 5, began to be talked about long before the trailer, teaser and first photos from the set.
In fact, the controversies began right at the beginning of filming, when Olivia Wilde, who signs off as director, fired Shia LaBeouf, justifying this decision to the actor’s method of working, which according to Wilde did not fit her modus operandi. Olivia Wilde’s problems also continued with the leading lady, Florence Pugh, with whom she seems to have had several tensions (never publicly confirmed). Rounding out this complicated production phase came the director’s choice to replace LaBeouf with then-partner Harry Styles.
Inevitably, all these events also took their toll on the promotion phase, which, however, shifted the focus from the actual film to pure gossip.
A shame? Perhaps not.
Alice and Jack Chambers are a happily married couple living in Victory, an experimental 1950s community where the men spend all day at work, while the women take care of the house, and then spend their free time with their neighbors. Something suddenly changes, however, and Alice begins to feel constrained in that life, with an increasing desire to discover what lies beyond the city limits. This is the plot, which in itself also hides something potentially interesting, unfortunately it is the development that is lacking. It’s like when teachers in school used to say “he has potential but he doesn’t apply himself.”
Of all that Don’t Worry Darling puts on the table-which seems more like a need for redemption on Wilde’s part-something is saved and it is the reason why the film lets you watch it to the end: the aesthetics.
In fact, the director used the work of Matthew Libatique, an American cinematographer and regular collaborator of Darren Aronofsky, to take care of the photography. In nearly three decades of work, Libatique has handled the cinematography for such films as Requiem for a Dream and The Black Swan, experience that led him to be prepared for the eerie reality brought to the big screen in Don’t Worry Darling. It is immediately noticeable how the warm light that illuminates the entire town becomes cold and gloomy when Alice is alone with herself, and becomes colder and colder as time passes. The use of light, then, goes hand in hand with the colors of the places: for example, the bathroom tiles are green, reminiscent of hospital uniforms.
For this reason, it was particularly difficult to select only 10 frames from the film, which perhaps focused heavily on aesthetics and too little on content.