31 August 2011

Joana Vasconcelos 'Fairytale' - Loft

It might be a little difficult to display Joana Vasconcelos' art in your living room.

Here she uses lace, crochet, knitting, plastic and leather to create her bizarre range of strange objects. In the last photo, you see ancient pieces of fabric from Portugal where she now lives and works.

'Vasconcelos' sculptures and installations reflect feminine sexuality, the role of women, and the consumer society.'

This is part of an installation called 'Loft.'

30 August 2011

Joana Vasconcelos 'Fairytale' - Fruitcake

The Monaco Project for the Arts (MPA) summer exhibition is currently on at the Pavillion Bosio on le rocher. Called 'Fairytale' the works are by Joana Vasconcelos, an artist born in Paris in 1971 and now living in Portugal.

Two students from the Ecole Superieure d'Arts Plastiques (Monaco's Art School) worked with the artist for three months to create some of the works.

This one is called fruitcake and absolutely fills one of the rooms.

You can read more about the art of Joana Vasconcelos HERE.

29 August 2011

The Bosio Pavillion

This is the Bosio Pavillion, part of the Art School in Monaco. It's on the rocher and is named after Francois-Joseph Bosio, who was the premier sculptor of the Emperor Napoleon. Bosio was born in Monaco in 1768.

28 August 2011

La Turbie - Street Sign

Don't you love the carved street names...

27 August 2011

La Turbie - Ancient Gateway

A 13th century entrance and gateway in La Turbie - charming, apart from the graffiti.

26 August 2011

La Turbie - Climbing the Stairs

Ever wondered why the old people live so long in France? Maybe it's the good food and red wine. I think it's all the walking up steep stairs to their homes. Imagine living here and knowing that everything you need has to be lugged up and further up.

It would keep your heart well exercised, wouldn't it?

25 August 2011

La Turbie - Pick up after your Dog!

This poster, fixed to an old gate, says 'Me too, I love clean sidewalks when I'm rolling.' You'll see many posters like this in towns and villages, encouraging people to clean up after their dogs. Quite right!

24 August 2011

La Turbie - the Walk

'When I walk with you I feel as if I had a flower in my buttonhole.'

~ William Makepeace Thackeray

23 August 2011

La Turbie - Take a length of rope...

Take a rope and an old log and you have a great game. This hidden corner in La Turbie has been transformed into a children's play area.

An improvement on video games, wouldn't you say?

22 August 2011

La Turbie - Sun and Shade

It's incredibly hot in Monaco at the moment. In fact, the French Riviera is under a 'canicule' (heatwave) watch - which means everyone needs to check on any elderly neighbour at least twice a day to make sure they are alright and importantly drinking enough fluids. There is also a speed restriction on the autoroutes which is an attempt to lessen air pollution.

And so let's leave the coast and drive up to La Turbie, slightly cooler and certainly less humid.

21 August 2011

40 Years of Graffiti - Love...

The exhibition was beautifully mounted and as so often happens at this gallery, opposite the Grimaldi Forum, they don't last for long - as you can see by the dates on the last photo. In fact there was a brief extension of a couple of days but that was all.

20 August 2011

40 Years of Graffiti

There's an exhibition on the Art of Graffiti (and tags) at the Grimaldi Forum at the moment.

It's a very much an in-your-face exhibition and fascinating. The first graffiti artist to be recognised (1971) was a young Greek called Demetrius from Washington Heights who signed himself Taki 183, after the number of the street where he lived. More tomorrow...

19 August 2011


If you are in doubt after yesterday's photo, summer - that real hot humid summer of August - is finally here and you might prefer to be sitting under one of these parasols on the terrace of Café Llorca in the Grimaldi Forum.

18 August 2011


August in Monaco and bodies galore on Larvotto Beach. Reports tell us that both in Monaco and the south of France, we've never seen so many tourists as this year. The main reason seems to be that the French, who would have gone to north Africa - for instance Morocco and Tunisia - are not going because of the current unrest there. Result...no parking places, queues at the markets, crowds everywhere but of course good news for the local economy.

17 August 2011


One of le rocher's narrow streets where the strong sun creates deep shade and smokers smoke...

16 August 2011

Monte Carlo or Bust... (Guest Photographer)

This is what happens when four young Scottish guys, passionate about the 1920s and 1930s lifestyle (the clothes, the music, etc) decide to drive from Glasgow to Monte Carlo in a very old Morris Minor. Their names: Rory, Eddy, Neilson and Andrew. They stopped off in Burgundy and, once they got to the south of France, stayed in the medieval village of Gorbio - (Neilson is the nephew of a friend of mine who lives in Gorbio village - the second photo shows them driving down her track).

They then drove to Monte Carlo - their aim, of course, the Casino. Not difficult, you'd think except they drove right around the square, ignoring the No Entry sign in front of the Hôtel de Paris...naughty, naughty. After that, a visit to the Loire Valley and then home to Glasgow.

Today - a guest photographer - these shots were taken by Carla Castañeda who is the beautiful Mexican fiancé of my friend's son. Thankyou, Carla.

15 August 2011

Carnival 'U Sciaratu' - Streamers

The carnival is over. A child gathers streamers outside the Oceanographic Museum. You can see an old yellow submarine in the background.

14 August 2011

Carnival 'U Sciaratu' - les Guignols or French Punch & Judy

It looks a bit like a Punch and Judy show, doesn't it? (see 3rd photo too) And so it is except Guignol is the main character in this French puppet show which has come to bear his name.

I've cut and pasted the following long explanation for anyone interested in the fascinating history...

'Although often thought of as children's entertainment, Guignol's sharp wit and linguistic verve have always been appreciated by adults as well, as shown by the motto of a prominent Lyon troupe: "Guignol amuses children… and witty adults".

Laurent Mourguet, Guignol's creator, was born into a family of modest silk weavers on March 3, 1769. The certificate of his marriage to Jeanne Esterle in 1788 shows he was unable to read. When hard times fell on the silk trade during the French Revolution, he became a peddler, and in 1797 started to practice dentistry, which in those days was simply the pulling of teeth. The service was free; the money was made from the medicines sold afterward to ease the pain. To attract patients, he started setting up a puppet show in front of his dentist's chair.

His first shows featured Polichinelle, a character borrowed from the Italian commedia dell'arte who in England would become Punch. By 1804 the success was such that he gave up dentistry altogether and became a professional puppeteer, creating his own scenarios drawing on the concerns of his working-class audience and improvising references to the news of the day. He developed characters closer to the daily lives of his Lyon audience, first Gnafron, a wine-loving cobbler, and in 1808 Guignol. Other characters, including Guignol's wife Madelon and the gendarme Flagéolet soon followed, but these are never much more than foils for the two heroes.

Although nominally a silkweaver like much of his original audience, Guignol's profession changes, as does his marital status; he can be in turn valet, peddler, carpenter, shoemaker, or unemployed; at times he is Madelon's husband, at times her smitten beast according to requirements of the scenario. What remain constant are his poverty, but more importantly his good humor and his sense of justice. The use in French of "guignol" as an insult meaning "buffoon" is a curious malapropism, as Guignol is clever, courageous and generous; his inevitable victory is always the triumph of good over evil.

Sixteen of Mourguet's children and grandchildren continued his tradition, and many of the companies performing today can trace their heritage back to him. According to the era, the region, or the performers, Guignol's original caustic satire has often been watered down to simple children's fare, and has even been used to parody grand opera, but his original spirit still survives in his hometown of Lyon, where both traditional and original contemporary performances are an integral part of local culture. In addition to his social satire, Guignol has become an important protector of the local dialect, the parler lyonnais.'

13 August 2011

Carnival 'U Sciaratu' - Face Painting

First choose your face, sit back, enjoy and then check yourself out in the mirror.

I wish there'd been Face Painting when I was a kid...

12 August 2011

Carnival 'U Sciaratu' - the Fairy

'The fairies went from the world, dear,
Because men's hearts grew cold:
And only the eyes of children see
What is hidden from the old...

~Kathleen Foyle

11 August 2011

Carnival 'U Sciaratu' - the Medusas

These helium-filled méduses (jelly fish) were beautiful. Several young girls, clad in blue and green, led them around the square in front of the palace and every now and then one would dip in the breeze, its tendrils caressing your face. Children would give it chase, but too late, it was up and away again...

10 August 2011

Carnival 'U Sciaratu' - the Big Brôzeurs 2

Scary when you look out of your first floor window and see this face...

09 August 2011

Carnival 'U Sciaratu' - the Big Brôzeurs

These guys - the 'Big Brôzeurs' - had me laughing out loud. They are 2.5 metres tall - 3 metres when they extend their telescopic necks - and slightly scary at times.

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