Saturday, June 16, 2018

A Grin Without A Cat

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“Well, I’ve often seen a cat without a grin, thought Alice; but a grin without a cat! It is the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!”
(Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, 1865)

I suspect that even most people who never read the book are still more or less familiar with this quote. What you may not yet know, though, is that A Cat Without A Grin is also the title of the 2018 International Sculpture Biennial in Borås, Sweden. (But now you know!)

The brochure tells me that the theme was chosen “because of its relation to the surreal, and the interest in nonsense”.

Hmm… In other words: an excuse to mix and display a number of odd art exhibits without taking any responsibility for them to make sense… ; )

The exhibition was opened at the end of May, but it wasn’t until Thursday this week that I found a good opportunity for myself to go and visit the Art Museum, where most of the contributions are displayed this year. Some new or borrowed sculptures are also to be found here and there in the city centre – and some old ones have been temporarily moved to other locations. I made no attempt on this occasion to try and find them all – after all, I have all summer to go looking for them :)

However, walking through the Town Park on my way to the art museum, I happened to notice this new addition to the sculptures there:

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It is named Stub or Yggdrasil and is here on loan from another town in the area, for the biennial. The name of the artist is David Myrvold. Yggdrasil is the name of a holy tree (ash tree) in Old Norse mythology – kind of representing the centre of the world, with its branches extending far up into the heavens, and its roots far into the underground. Various kinds of creatures live in or by this tree, and it is also connected to the main god Odin sacrificing himself there. What Myrvold wants to say by showing it as only a stub, I don’t know. But there is a glow within it (from LED lights, I suppose) to suggest there is life in it still… I think the spot to display the sculpture in the park has been well chosen, as it has been “planted” close to two older stone sculptures that also remind of ancient times and unknown mysteries (reminding of old stone monuments like Stonehenge and similar).

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Along my way uphill to the art museum from the city centre, I also came across this piece:

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This made absolutely no sense to me until I got back home and read the brochure I picked up at the museum. Quoting what the brochure says about the artist, Iman Issa: “Issa takes inspiration from historical works of art and objects and the way they are displayed in contemporary museological context. By creating new and minimalist sculptures with a resemblance to the original artefact and pairing them up with texts describing the object that inspired the new work, new interpretations arise. The presentation mode challenges our memory, our values and the importance we ascribe to language in this context.” (You may have to read that quote more than once – at least I did!)

There were also some photographs by the same artist on display at the museum, pretty much on the same kind of two-faced theme. I took some of them to be paintings, but the brochure says photographs.  I’ll have to go back for a closer look, I think. (There is no entrance fee for this exhibition so I can go as many times as I like.) I only snapped a photo of one that appealed to me because I like the objects as such (books, pens, papers…):

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Iman Issa: “Replica For Illustration”, 2018 (C-print)


The biggest work of art on display indoors at the museum was this one:

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▲ Seen from the ground floor.
▼ Looking down on it from the floor/balcony above.

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La dépossission - Artist: Latifa Echakhch
A collapsed theatre backdrop  painted like the sky.
(”The sky is literally falling down on us”, the brochure says…)

My favourites exhibited at the museum were probably these two, though – playing with light and shadows, and kind of relating to that Yggdrasil stub in the park.

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(I don’t find these in the brochure so don’t have the names of the artists)

There were also quite a few works of art in the exhibition that on this occasion did not “speak” to me at all… Remains to be seen if they will if I go back again!


Shadow Shot Sunday 2




Friday, June 15, 2018

Weekend Postcards – Clocks / Time Tellers

Astronomical Clock, Prague, Czech Republic

Astronomical clock, Prague, Czech Republic
Postcard sent by Ginny from the US, June 2018

When this card arrived (this week), it seemed oddly familiar to me… Flickering through the postcrossing cards received over the past few months, I found that I had actually received another image of the exact same clock back in April (not previously shown on this blog, I think):

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Postcrossing card sent from the Czech Republic,
April 2018

The sender adds the following info on the back:
”This clock is on Prague Town Hall. It is 608 years old. At the top of the clock there are two windows with figures walking around. On the left and right are Misery, Vanity, Lust and Death.”


On the same day as Ginny’s card, I also received this time-related card from John in England:

Chester's Town Criers

“Chester’s Town Criers – David & Julie Mitchell, the world’s first husband and wife Town Criers.”
Postcard sent from Chester, June 2018

In the past, when most people could not read or write, town criers were the means of proclaiming all kinds of news to the people of the town. And in some places, evidently, they are still keeping up the tradition!


Also this week, yet another time-telling card found its way through my letter-slot:

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Postcrossing card from Poland, showing a timepiece from the History Museum in Kraków.

I don’t know Polish, but with the help of Google Translate I managed to decipher some of the printed text on the back of the card. It seems to say that this is mantel clock with a Cupid figurine, French, made of bronze, and from the end of the 19th century.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Weekend Postcards – Flowers

As followers of Maria’s blog already know, she has had to discontinue her ‘Postcards for the Weekend’ linkup for now. However, I’m thinking that I might continue for a while to share some of my incoming postcards anyway, here on my own blog. (I’m not setting up a linkup, but if others among my readers are doing the same, you can mention it in a comment below if you like.)

This past week I received two postcards with lovely flower arrangements on them:

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This one was sent to me by Maria; posted in Japan.

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And this one came from Ginny in the US


I wish them both good health, and…

“May your troubles be less and your blessings be more
and nothing but happiness come through your door.”
(Irish blessing)

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Skywatch Friday

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Sunset skywatch from my balcony


SkyWatch Friday

Thursday, June 7, 2018

6th June – National Day Celebrations

6th June is the National Day of Sweden, also known as Swedish Flag Day. The Flag Day has been celebrated for about a hundred years, but it wasn’t raised to the status of a national holiday until fairly recently (2005). Historic events related to this day go back to 1523, when Gustav Vasa was elected king of Sweden. In 1809, an important change of constitutional laws was also introduced on this date (something to do with the balance of power between King and Riksdag/Parliament).

Anyway, the public celebrations of the day seem to be growing. Here they include a special ceremony to welcome new citizens (inhabitants of our city who have been granted Swedish citizenship over the past year), and also a performance by the home guard music corps. When I arrived at the park around 3 p.m. it was absolutely crowded, I think probably the most people I’ve ever seen gathered there. It was hard even to find anywhere on the outskirts from where I could take photos showing the crowd! ; )

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Against the odds I happened to meet a friend and together we joined the queue to the ice cream bar, and even more miraculously managed to find two free chairs in half-shadow outside that place when we came out. So we sat comforably for for a while and ate our ice cream, had a bit of a catch-up chat and listened to the music from a little distance.

In the evening, on TV at home, I watched some of the celebrations held in Stockholm, including the presence of the royal family.

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Photo from my TV screen: The royal family outside the Royal Palace in Stockholm
The Queen and the princesses are wearing the official national costume ‘Sverigedräkten’
From left to right:
Crown Princess Victoria and her husband Prince Daniel
Queen Silvia and King Carl XVI Gustaf
Princess Sofia and Prince Carl Philip
Princess Madeleine and her husband Chris O’Neill


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Read in May

As I have already mentioned a number of times by now, the month of May was hot and dry, and the air filled with various kinds of pollen. Being allergic to pollen, this also means it’s not been a good month for reading for me, as my eyes get itchy and tired. So I have mostly been listening to audio books instead.

First, after writing my review of it last month, I decided to listen again to The Fifth Doll by Charles N Holmberg. It has kind of an intricate magic/fantasy plot and it did come together a bit better for me when I listened to it a second time… The background setting is definitely Russian, by the way, and relates in time to the period around the Russian revolution (1917).

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To Die But Once by Jacqueline Winspear
(14th in the Maisie Dobbs series, 2018)
Audiobook narrated by Orlagh Cassidy (10:29 hours)

(I read the previous book in this series on Kindle back in February.)

Spring 1940. With Britons facing what has become known as "the Bore War" - nothing much seems to have happened yet - Maisie Dobbs is asked to investigate the disappearance of a local lad, a young apprentice craftsman working on a "hush-hush" government contract. As Maisie's inquiry reveals a possible link to the London underworld, another mother is worried about a missing son - but this time the boy in question is one beloved by Maisie. (Publisher’s summary)

I liked the audio narration by Orlagh Cassidy, a good performance which was easy to listen to. As for the story, I believe it catches a lot of the spirit of the early years of the war: the general pressure felt by both men and women to “do their bit” in various ways – but also some people (as always) keen to look out for their own interests first, and caring less about the effect for others.

(I bought this audiobook with my monthly membership credit at Audible.)

The Mistake audiobook cover art

The Mistake by K.L. Slater (2017)
Audiobook narrated by Lucy Price-Lewis (8:26 hrs)

This is the kind of thriller that keeps the reader in suspense by going back and forth in time to tell the story. In the past, eight-year old Billy goes missing one day, flying his kite – and two days later is found dead. Someone is convicted of the crime; but Billy’s elder sister Rose still never stops blaming herself for not looking out more for her little brother. As a grown-up, she has a good job and is helpful to her neighbours, but her thoughts keep wandering back to those days of her youth, around the time of her little brother’s death; and her own teenage priorites and relationships back then. And one day, sixteen years later, while doing some cleaning for a sick neighbour - she makes a discovery that shakes her, and that might turn history upside-down…

Not the best novel of its kind that I’ve ever read; but the outcome did turn out less predictable than I suspected at times during the reading.

It is also a story that makes you consider the tricky ins and outs of manipulative and controlling relationships.

(I bought this one cheap at ‘Daily Deal’ price.)



Sunday, June 3, 2018

Rhododendron & Sunshine

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The sun keeps on shining, the temperature keeps rising, and Nature is still “ahead of itself” here…

These photos were all taken between 1-2 weeks ago. The rhododendrons are losing their petals already; and the lawns have lost their freshness too (looking dry and burned in many places).

My flat (as well as the Outdoors) gets very hot in the afternoons and late into the evenings. I don’t want to complain (it’s not all bad and could be sooo much worse!), but I do have to “adjust”. The problem is that the morning is really the best time for everything right now: whether catching up on lost sleep, going for a walk, shopping, cooking, cleaning, using the computer…  All activites ideally need to be fitted in like between 9-12 am (which is not really possible).

So far, not much change predicted in the weather. Might possibly get a a few degrees cooler some time next week – but who knows.

Borås has a reputation for being the rainiest city in Sweden. Well, at the moment we’re not living up to it. We hardly had any rain in May. Last week we had one quiet rain shower on Monday afternoon, but that was it. On Tuesday we officially reached the highest temperature in Sweden that day: 29,8’C. 

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We’re in the south-west part of the map. Not much use trying to specify by saying “close to the sun”… ; )

Shadow Shot Sunday 2


Saturday, June 2, 2018

Postcards for the Weekend – Anything You Wish

Sharing four postcrossing cards which all came “flying in” during the last week of May.

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From Finland – a Postcrossing Fairy postcard
(Artist: Virpi Pekkala)

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From Turkey – a beautiful butterfly

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From California, US – an intriguing piece of art named “Between the wings”
(Artist: Sulamith Wülfing)

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From Germany – A fairy dance
(Artist: Gertrud Dieckhoff)


Postcards for the Weekend

Postcards for the Weekend 88: Anything You Wish

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Shadow Shot Sunday

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This month of May seems determined to go to history as the warmest, sunniest and driest since anyone started keeping records. At this rate, we may have Autumn by Midsummer!

Actually, this weekend I had a sense of autumn already, as it was windy (although still hot and dry), and all the elm trees around town seemed to have arranged to let go of their seeds all at once… Whirling around in the air like snowflakes; and then rustling along the streets with a sound reminding of dry leaves in autumn.

(If anyone is wondering about the lollipop shadow behind mine – it’s a traffic sign.)

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Quite a few of these seeds also land on my balcony; and even seek their way indoors through open doors and windows… Well, at least - unlike various tree pollen! - they’re too big to inhale… ; )


I have sooo many pictures, and soo little time that I can comfortably spend in front of the computer in this kind of weather… I was out at the lake Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon. On Monday I stayed two hours, the other days only one hour. On Tuesday it felt worth it, but on Wednesday it felt almost hotter out there than back at home! - and nowhere to sit in the shadow. I think these horses in their paddock found it a bit hot as well.


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However, out on the little peninsula, in the half-shadow under the trees there, I was happy to find some lilies-of-the-valley growing.

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Shadow Shot Sunday 2

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