Saturday, December 13, 2008

christmas is upon us.

Dear sisters,

I am sprawled across our king size bed with one child, still fully clothed, snoring lightly next to me. The other is convinced he is going to stay up until I go to bed. We have already watched Harry Potter 3 and the Space Chimps and he is ready for sleep but he is adamant. He shall stay up so he can tell his friends he did so. His words. It is 8.51 p.m. My husband left today for a few days back to the homeland and the routine has slackened somewhat. We ate a self made pizza in the hand and the remains of the chinese take away out of the boxes. I don't think we will bother putting on our full pyjama's tonight.

I keep checking my e-bay account which I have rediscovered after years of absence, in the search for items for the themed new years party. Party like its 1929. I have become obsessed and after a history of never winning anything it looks like I am putting that right now. Sorry, honey, I think a lot of feather hats, capes and dead animal wraps are coming our way! Authentic. But as the sisters and mother need to be dressed too, it is alright, no? I also bought a quilt for the new house. So you know.

What is this new house, you speak of?

We don't know yet, but we will be in a new house 50 days from now. We have been given a 60 day eviction notice. The owners are returning from London earlier than expected. Financial services. We are waiting to hear if we can rent one particular house. Keeping the fingers crossed.

It is 9.30 p.m and Jip is out like a light.

In the meantime Christmas is upon us. What a difference a year makes. We are nearly ready to welcome you all into our house, sisters. Just a little organizing here and there. The Christmas tree is up and because A bought it, it scrapes the ceiling. He did that for you. The weather has turned colder. Bring your layers.

(our neighbors have lit up again.)

And the next day has been and passed. We did not get the house we wanted. The owner still wants to try and sell. We went to one of the three compulsory church services of the school year, and I spent the rest of the afternoon consolidating the e-bay purchases with the host of the party and a glass of wine. It is now done. I am no longer allowed on the site. Or maybe just for the auction of the outrageous 1920's pink ostrich feathered evening cape? It ends on Tuesday.


so many ways to dazzle

Dear Sisters.
Outside in Antwerp the ice was crisp this morning on my view, like a coat of frosted sugar; it dempened the scene, the colour greenish grey. Wispy bits of mist, now replaced by luminous sunshine. The pool is now frozen. There are white traces of frost smeared on flat black rooftops, frozen grease.

The opening of the exhibition went well; one gets into a different gear. Good people helped me. Now there is some kind of rest, as in, you get into a theatre, it takes three songs on the accordeon, cello and tuba for your chest to open up to what it is that you are hearing. Musicians must remember that it is not only they who need warming up and to get into the fully conscious listening mode. The trio Floorizone, Massot, Horbaczewski went from predictable to the most refined musical intercommunication. The cellist, the youngest of the three with the longest name, so young, Marine, at the end played a surprising flight of a bird on the strings near the bridge, it was magical. At times I imagined they switched between each other and were playing each other's instruments; that's how close their playing is.

I also saw this week a naked man come onto another stage, he was rummaging in a pile of earth for things, he was eating bananas and had a striking way of licking his thumbs before turning a page and when he wanted to read something he would hold the object very close to his eyes. Out of the earth he pulled clothes, champagne, out of a floor cupboard podium he would pull cassette tapes, bananas. The way he read things is with me everyday; the gesture is a miniature picture, his voice was unusual, he had a resonant wail. I don't know what the matter with him was; with his many strands of tears streaming down his face he looked like a Flemish primitive jewel. And when he came onstage 'buck naked in the eyes of the Lord' as David Byrne would say, he embodied, astonishingly, the painting of Adam, on the outer panel of Adam and Eve in the Ghent altarpiece which was in fact only a couple of hundred metres away from the national theatre in Ghent.

This I found most chilling. And the tears. More Van Eyck in the Arnolfini wedding green silk jacket which he touched like it contained a dearest person in the world but which was empty. The slits of eyes which needed some shade to fully open and let him in.

Then there were the words, which were saying one thing and sending a wholly different thing through; it is unnerving when people speak that way, I saw all kinds of images in front of my eyes, which were different from what the words were saying and this discrepancy also truly gets under your skin, or out of your skin and into another sense of space and time. It does something to your sense of gravity and time. I will have to go and see it again. Since this was the striking, lead-in-your-shoes performance of Steven Van Watermeulen in Krapp's last tape by Samuel Beckett at NTGent, which has its axis on the idea of repetition, this will be most apt. Also to see what the "genie in the bottle" (that's a better word here for actor)conveys to me next time. As the character rummaged in the pile of earth chips there was an illuminated cloud of dust that got into our mouths and eyes. Talk about sharing. The dust frankly upstaged the dazzle of my Swarovski purse that I had brought along for the occasion. There are SO many ways to dazzle and be brilliant.
Love, S2

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

sick with desire

Dear Sisters,

Hope this message finds you well.
You can usually tell how exciting my life is by looking at my studio floor. Here you see the vortex of inspiration with silence in the middle, for it is here that I am working. Opening this Saturday of my soloproject "Sailing to Byzantium" at the amazing Verbeke Foundation (more about that later), from 6pm onwards; everyone welcome!! There is lots and lots going on, more than 100 artists involved in the G58-G59 Mass Akker group show...and I find the other solo projects by Saskia Van Imhoff and Jacobus Kloppenburg (both from the NL) hugely interesting. There is SO much to see, I haven't even seen half of what is going on yet... as I have been preparing the labyrinth in which I am to exhibit the work. The title comes from the poem by W.B. Yeats.

It's on for 6 months, so maybe you'll get to see it all.
Must dash, and, for example, clear the floor.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The clinical laboratory

Regularly I have blood drawn to monitor the coagulation of my blood. The lab, next to the elevator on the ground floor of the hospital, is overseen by Natascha, a Russian woman and Jamal, a big black man who, when it is quiet, is often hunched over his desk whispering and laughing into his cell phone, his hand cupped around his mouth, much to the annoyance of Natascha.
When it is very busy, early morning on Mondays for example, David will be there to help them, a pygmy with a friendly scrunched up face and spiky hair, his white coat looking more like a cloak. We share our date of birth, he has told me happily.

Natascha has a tough job, going by the loud sighs she lets out and the way she brusquely brushes back her long blond hair, outgrown at the roots, as she looks through the files trying to find my standing order. She wears a white plastic apron, which fits ill and is tied tight around her round belly. On her feet she wears sensible shoes.

“Zee last one”; she triumphantly holds up my form, shaking it at me, and laying it under the photocopier. “Room won” she says in her thick Russian accent. I sit in the chair and wait for Natascha, taking her time to print out labels with my name on it and prepare the test tubes, laying them out on the counter. I stare at Natascha’s name badge, which shows a picture of Natascha looking younger and fresher, smiling at me, her hair blown dry and lips painted crimson, perhaps on her way to the xmas office party.

“Please give me your name and date of birth” she orders. I comply and she rubs my arm clean, ticking the veins in my arm, with the tips of her fingers. “You relax now”.

I have had so many needles stuck in my arm it should no longer bother me, but more out of habit than fear, I never look as the needle goes in. Conveniently, a picture of a green valley in Yosemite national park, torn from a magazine, is stuck to the wall with tape, directly opposite the chair.

Natascha does not like doing my arm. The one good vein in my right arm (left is out), is by now so covered by scar tissue, that she sometimes does not get through and has to withdraw the needle, mumbling and sighing. In that case she may try lower down my arm, where it is more painful and more skill is required, or call Jamal to take over, muttering under her breath that she is too tired, having been on her feet since seven am.

Jamal will shuffle over and calmly, with his big broad fingers, push the needle a little deeper, through the scar tissue, until the blood slowly comes dripping through the tube.

“Keep pressure on for two minutes”: he says as I get up with my fingers pressed on the bandage. “Yes”, I say, but never do.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

YES TO ALL: Trickle Up Time!

Here's me looking at the brand new day.

Dearest Sisters,
A better birthday present than what the world received yesterday cannot be imagined. Tears and happy yelling in the kitchen, laughing, thought, action, ripples through our existence. Our lives may seem small compared to such momentous events, yet I cannot help feeling that what we do in the small scale can mean as much and is as significant as, yes, complementary to, what is done on the greater scale: it is all connected. This is the time for active idealists, in a general fashion, rather than as deviations from the norm. I can only imagine the elation felt by people in Africa, the United States, and what trickle-down effects it will have all over the world. Trickle-up effects! Europe in any case, or my little pocket of it, is elated and relieved. With thanks to the US citizens who voted for this change.

And it is so good to have good news coming out of my radio alarm clock, which since September 11th 2001 was consistently shaped by harsh news. Such items won't go away quickly, but how delightful it is to be able to shed new light on them: the light and determination of incontrovertible hope! All I can say is YES! or, as Sylvie Fleurie puts it, by way of Oscar van den Boogaard, 'YES TO ALL.' YES WE CAN. If we are looking for life-affirming mottos the above are great.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I am glued to the screen. In a minute I will go for a walk and look at people voting. I am already worried about the black hole, the day after election day.


Monday, November 3, 2008


Every week I go to Meranda’s dry cleaning. It is not too far, but not within walking distance, a remnant from when we lived on the other side of the neighborhood. I park the car right in front, five minute parking for customers, sometimes with a pile of washing so big (I let it develop again), I cannot see where I am going. Awkwardly, I will push the doorbell from behind the pile and Meranda rushes out from the back room to take over. At this point I usually need to run back to pick up the stray garments that are lying in a trail on the pavement. I take the dry cleaning, the shirts to be ironed (no starch) and the king size duvet covers (with starch), all at a fraction of European prices, a luxury I will surely miss one day. When we have had a lot of guests or after vacation, I will also bring her bags of washing to catch up. I get it back all clean and folded and wrapped tightly in blue paper, nearly too good to use again. Meranda also does little repairs when necessary, taking up Jip’s school pants, patching his jeans and fixing loose buttons.

I am a loyal customer and as a reward Meranda has softened up a bit since I started going. Meranda is Vietnamese and talks in mono-syllables; “yes”, “no” and “when you pick up?” She nods her head profusely when she has understood my request, but never a smile. Just business. That hasn’t changed, but now I get a “how are you today?”, with feeling I believe, especially when I have skipped a week. And I no longer have to tell her what I want, because she already knows, including my name. Lately, she will already have brought my dry cleaning from the back room to the front, ready for pick up, as she sees me arriving through her window, struggling with a new load, which I see as an indication our relationship is deepening.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

a magic peacock and a swan

These are a gift for you S2 but i let S1 enjoy them too ! Happy birthday ! Hope you had a lovely day and night and above all i wish you many happy unbirthdays and birthdays to come !
Lots of love

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Approach by Eva Koch

Dear Sisters,

Here finally is the website of an artist that I have mentioned before, who has made an impression on me, eva koch. She makes beautiful video works, sound and light sculpture embedded in the landscape.

I can't yet put my finger on what it is that makes it so enthralling, but something tells me it is the underlying current of humanism it exudes. Her precision.

In particular I like The Approach, when you go to works it is there in the list. It palpably expresses translational processes for me. The artist has been generous to allow us to view it online. I love the crisp English of the Danish actor.

It does not compare with having the full sound and viewing experience of the real installation; it does give an insight into what she is doing for those who cannot see it in-situ. Greetings from Antwerp where it is dark and drizzly.
love !


Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Today Cleopatra helped me at the check out desk and banana man was taking out the trash at Starbucks. People close to me were wearing furry hats with ears.

Scary stuff.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

balloon man

Every time i look at the beautiful Prague view scape i see this balloon man floating in the sky as if he is a permanent kite .
No matter where i am in Prague in the centre i can see him floating. Its quite strange. I wonder if he ever comes down to earth or if he just stays there all the time. This picture is taken from a secret garden in the old town where there are real peacocks walking around. A little girl of about three was on her tricycle and when she saw the peacock which was bigger than her, crosssing her path she started peddling very slowly and then as she said the word ' peacock ' ( 'paf' in czech ) she slowly fell over onto her side on some soft grass and her daddy was ther to put her straight on her path again. I understand that a peacock can have such an effect.
All my love and lots of peacock luck

A suny sunday autumn afternoon

have a lovely week
peace S3

Friday, October 24, 2008

The wig man

This was his home.

I drive past the bus stop on Laguna @ Hayes every day on my way to Rosie’s school, and for months he would be sitting there, relaxing on the corner bench, his arm resting on his thigh with a thinly rolled cigarette between his fingers, his black slits for eyes watching the cars go by. A shopping trolley would be standing close, parked under a tree, filled to the brim with plastic bags and colorful fabrics, a plastic flower garland draped around the side. Sometimes he made a provisionary table in the corner of the bus shelter, making the people waiting for the bus look uncomfortable, as if they were invading his space, Sometimes he would be hunched over his trolley, headless, as he rummaged deep into his grey rubbish bags.

He first caught my eye because he was sitting on the bench wearing a big red curly clown’s wig, with not a twitch of emotion in his face. Other times he wore a slightly less obvious Afro wig in black. Sometimes he would just be wearing what I think was his own, a head of limp plaits, finished with a few colored beads, framing his shriveled brown face. I would look and see the red and black wigs stuffed underneath his trolley, parked under the tree as usual.

I wondered if he would break into a big smile if spoken to. I had plans to stop and ask to take his portrait, hoping my then hairless head and purple turban would prove to be a common talking point. I planned to ask about his wigs, hoping it was a form of artistic self-expression. More likely however, I think it was a good way of keeping his head warm.

I never stopped of course, and now it's too late. Since the start of the new school year, and my daily commute down Laguna has resumed, I haven’t seen him once. I still look out for him every day, hoping the wig man will return. Or at least that he has found a better spot.



xx *S2*

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

blobs of light - as usual

Dear sisters
Yes, it has been too long. I am translating and singing and painting, doing all the right things, I believe, and walking in my dinky new space cadet MBT shoes which make me walk like a true homo erectus, with a straight back and a bounce in my step. It doesn't matter that they look like moonboots in shoeform.

an image unrelated to this post but as we are visual people I thought you might like some visual distraction. It is a raspberry that I ate this summer, it was very sweet. I photographed it for its remarkable colour. My painting tutor in Bath told me the secret of how to mix it on my 21st birthday so now I always remember it as my birthday colour.

I have been climbing in trees and looking into pools. I didn't fall in like Narcissus did - and besides, what I saw there through my reflection was far more interesting than the flat rippling shadowy blob that was supposed to be a picture of my face: all kinds of plants and then little red hairy things and other creatures floating in the water like there is a whole three-dimensional universe down there that we haven't yet explored. It was sunny and comfortable on the grass, so much so that I almost fell asleep.

The birds sang all around, sounding from different heights like a gracious soundscape and then I lay on my back on a bench with sharp yellow light reflecting in yellow hesitant patches off the pool onto the bark of the trees making them seem to wobble and there was the sky shining through the leaves above. Pretty. Possibly one of the most beautiful things in the whole world and it is just ten minutes away from my palace.

I shall write more and more structuredly when my projects are properly taking form, much to get initiated right now, you shall hear from me in a few weeks.
big kisses!!!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

sitting inside a Hopper painting whilst moths are in my cupboard

Two days ago i was in Vienna on a school trip for the first time.

And the day before that we were in south Moravia ( thats the east of Czech Republic ) about one and a half hours by train from Vienna , visiting a monastery and hospice for whom we will each be making a painting. It was a bit akward meeting the patients but then again it felt very normal and part of life. It was a bit sad and we werent really prepared, all of us were sitting in the corridor with a crumpled expression on our faces or running to the nearest door to get a gulp of fresh air. We have all decided to make landscapes and put them on the ceiling for the people in the comas. Even though we did ask one man what sort of painting he would like to look at and he said a painting of a naked woman. And one lady wanted to have a landscape of south Moravia with a nice frame. We will see how the ideas develope.
In any case it was a good and positive experience going there.

That's me inside a Hopper painting by the way , which is the reason why i have been absent from blogland for so long.
In Vienna we were looking at Van Gogh drawings and paintings. His drawings are absolutely beautiful ,landscapes drawn in brown ink with pencil and reed pens he made himself. My schoolmates and i were all looking at them very intensly that we somehow felt we were inside of them, travelling. It was very nice indeed. Then we went to the Edward Hopper exhibition and there were only five of his paintings there and all the rest was contemporary artists work inspired by his work. The painting i was swallowed by was an installation by Jeff Wall and we had a lot of fun posing infront of the camera.
Im now back in Prague sttling back into my little nest trying to sort out all my stuff and get rid of the moths that took a liking to my cupboard this summer. They have been very rude and eaten little holes into my nice teeshirts.
But to keep smiling and singing i hereby send you a little song that i would like to sing at my next puppetshow at christmas.
And maybe we could sing it together as a carol on christmas day. Please learn the text by heart for it to be more convincing.
Thankyou and hugs

Friday, October 10, 2008


Dear sisters,

I'm sorry girls. I was forced to suspend my blogging activities to watch the financial meltdown. Besides, Barack has been sending me e-mails everyday asking for my support and in between I have been filling out my points in the Weight Watchers daily point tracker.

With only 25 days to the US election things are heating up and getting nasty. And as a legal, but non permanent resident, I can do nothing but watch and keep my fingers crossed. And that I do. After more or less 30 months in this country, I thought I was slowly starting to get my head around it. Until McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate and half the country cheered.

In theory, great that a woman is ' a heartbeat' away from the highest elected office in the world, I just would have hoped it would not be someone who may believe that the planet is four thousand years old and global warming is mostly a natural cyclical thing. Or someone who winks at me. Or even someone who could answer questions by a reporter in a coherent manner, would be a nice thought, at least showing she has thought about the arguments.

This is the Saturday night live version for you across the ocean, who may not have seen it.

When I am not watching politics, my weight, or staring at an empty page, I am photographing windscreens for my latest series called "windscreens':

or listening to Elvis:

What is your excuse? Moths in the cupboard?

With love,


Friday, September 19, 2008

absolutely nothing wrong with being *cute*

Two children having some made me smile today anyway. Other than that, I had a beautiful day singing, and then walking by the sea: a silver sun and swirling sea. Got my feet wet. Again. Delightful as ever. Rainbows emitting from my glass, rainbows shining through my pen, and a big fat orange setting sun to round it all off. Perfect. Got to do these things in style.