Thursday, 25 September 2014

Gothic Art in Spotlight: Salvador Dalí and his museum in Paris and a bit about de Sade

During my trip to Budapest I saw an exhibition of Dada and Surrealism in The Hungarian National Gallery. Once again there was no possibility to take photos but I wanted to mention it, because it reminded me of the Salvador Dalí Museum, l'Espace Dalí, in Paris. I visited that museum of Dalí in May and there it was ok to take photos! I have completely forgotten to write about it!

L'Espace Dalí is situated in Montmartre, Paris. There nearest metro station is Abbesses (about 500 meters) but those 500 meters are uphill and long steps. When I visited the museum, it was a nice spring day and on my way I also admired the buildings, the architecture and some cute sticker street art.

When I got to the museum I noticed I did not have cash. That was actually rather lucky, since the minimum purchase with a card was 10 euros or something, I had to take the audio guide with my student ticket. I usually don't take audio guides but this time I was positively surprised. Firstly, the machine was easy to use and the voice of the narrator was clear and pronunciation very good.

In a way, that audio guide gave me an illusion of having some art expert with me, because it was rather concentrated on surrealism and Dalí's own personal symbolism. I did not agree with everything that voice told me, for instance I think one major thing about surrealism is that it is not always comprehensible, the logic is twisted and you'll just try to enjoy the ride. Like Salvador Dalí has said; " I don't do drugs. I am drugs".


I had forgotten that Dalí had made illustrations for an edition of Alice's adventures in Wonderland. In the museum I saw for the first time all those pretty and light artworks. The audio guide pointed to me, that Alice has a skipping rope in every picture, which I did not notice by myself, since in some pictures Alice was small and rather twisted form and not very visible. Alice in Wonderland has been rather popular among goths for the past few years but Dalí's illustrations are not so sinister and spooky, not straight away at least. Some of them are pretty but I did not get that "I want that on my wall!" feeling when I watched them.

I took some own photos too in the museum, and I can't remember but I think using flash was prohibited. Therefore the photos are not of good quality, besides I took them with a phone. Also it would've been stupid to try to photograph a thing that is inside a glass box.

As you can see from this photo, the shielding glass was very reflective and there were numerous little scratches. This is the famous Lobster Telephone and my little paid voice in my ear told me it is significant, that the lobster's reproduction areas are laying on the microphone of the telephone. Now, the hand set of the phone is resting, meaning the lobster is not rubbing its genitals against the mic as a conversation starter to somebody at the other end of the line. Basically, the usual way to interpret this work seems to be sexual but I consider it mainly as a slightly grotesque design. Dalí and other surrealists have some dark notions in their work which I think mostly suits the taste of goth people.

Many of the works categorized as dada or surrealism are object collages and since vintage is hot among goths too, they can be suitable for the gothic taste. Another thing that might interest gothlings, is that Salvador Dalí and other surrealists considered Marquise de Sade as an inspirational character. If you do not remember, de Sade is the person whose name inspired the word "sadism". He has written several books that are basically violence and porn with occasional episodes of moral philosophy. Most famous books are Justine (or The Misfortunes of Virtue) and 120 Days of Sodom. Justine is highly repetitive with everything, the violence, the pornography and the moral speeches of characters. The 120 Days of Sodom is a satire, in which a group of rich perverted guys try to make a nice "holiday" for themselves but almost everything fails and it is really grotesque stuff.

Marquise de Sade was a sick person who was and who would still be out shunned of the society. He lived during the French Revolution and was in and out of prison and the surrealists thought he was rather cool, opposing the mainstream, writing things that were censored, being a libertian. I might remember wrong, but I believe the first half of the 20th century was the time when Marquise de Sade became a symbol of freedom of speech and of more liberal way of seeing premarital sex. That is rather funny since de Sade hardly respected other human beings and his books were censored mostly because they were appallingly badly written. If you have not yet seen, I recommend watching a movie called Quills (2000). That is a rather neat fictional representation of the Marquise de "Liberty of Speech" Sade. That should definitely be something a goth would enjoy!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Mid-Month Status Report: Suits you (Sir)!

The Mid-Month Status Report is here again! Trystan from This is CorpGoth has asked us to show our more official suit jackets. Unfortunately I have not used a suit jacket in ages, partly because the one I am going to show you no longer fits that well and I have not found a jacket that would fit. I would love a suit jacket I could use closed, which is not the case with the one I am showing.

These pictures was taken 2010 by my friend, when we had a little photo shoot. As you can see, that jacket is one of those one can not wear closed, unless one is several inches smaller from chest and waist than what I am in that picture. 

Still it was a nice suit jacket I found from a flea market. It seems to me, that all my favorite clothes are from flea markets, so I guess I should stop even to go to clothing stores.

Now, thanks to this Status Report I really need a new suit jacket! My style has evolved into more casual lately and I would love to wear more office-like clothes.

Thanks for reading and do check other participants too! Just click the Mid-Month Status Report logo in the beginning!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

A Goth Tourist in Budapest: The museum of contemporary art

I intend to hold on to my words, which I stated in the previous post about writing next about an art museum I liked really much in Budapest. 

The museum is one of the youngest attractions of the beautiful city of Budapest. Ludvig Múzeum, a museum of contemporary art, moved into its current location 2005, when the whole building The Palace of Arts was opened. The Ludwig Museum takes only a part of this huge building, although the museum has exhibitions on three floors. 

Since other forms of art too take residence in the building and the architecture is very airy, people who have no ticket to the museum have an access to the floors too, so you must take good care of your ticket, because you must show it in every floor to the staff before you can go to the exhibition rooms. 

In one of the halls in front of the exhibition rooms there was a model of the Palace of Arts. 

Next to this model, shielded by glass, was a note saying this: 

Not sure what the blind are going to get, while touching that glass shield...

Unfortunately one could not frolic around the actual art museum with a camera, so I have no photos from there. I shall shortly tell about the exhibitions I saw in there and why they were so interesting. In general I find contemporary art very rewarding for the viewer, because art often reflects the world, time and place, in which it was created and that way offers a valuable "second opinion" of the world. If one tries to comprehend the world just by science, he or she is going to miss a lot about being human in the world. 

Now, about being human we have a nice little bridge to the exhibition that is still in the Ludwig Museum till the end on this month: [silence] - A Holocaust Exhibition. If you happen to live in Budapest or are visiting it before 29th of this month, I recommend to visit this exhibition. A piece of art, whether it is a painting, a video installation or a novel, can sometimes represent and pose questions and find answers a scientific document of history can not. 

I was extra interested of seeing the holocaust exhibition for one reason. During last spring I attended a course at the university of Tampere and that course was about cultural memory and the ethics of telling a story. It was a literary class and it concentrated on literature that has been written about holocaust and theories were from philosophy, culture studies, literature studies and other areas which fit the theme of how historical events can be represented in fiction and who is allowed to represent them. Jonathan Littell's novel The Kindly Ones (original title Les Bienveillantes) tells the story of a former SS officer who manages to keep himself alive while the Third Reich collapses. On our course we pondered all kinds of questions like "Is it ethically problematic if the narrator of the novel is a person who took part in a genocide and walks seemingly without punishment?" I was very interested to see what kind of questions and answers might be given when used other forms of art instead of literature. 

 To be frank, some of the works of different artists were not that interesting. I did not see them challenging the common ways of representing holocaust or saying anything else than "well, it was so hideous a thing and beyond comprehension". When I watched photos and mute videos I started to wonder, if we are still too tied into language, when we try to construct different stories (aka. representations) of history. Language is a vital tool to communicate and to ponder ethical questions so I guess I as a viewer am not that experienced to instantly understand the language of an artist, whose works I have not seen before.

Long story short, I still enjoyed that exhibition and in the museum's shop I found the postcard of Ciprian Muresan's work "Communism Never Happened" from year 2006. You can see it in the bottom part of this photo. 

When I saw that postcard in the quiet shop I instantly started laughing aloud. My mind linked it straight to the holocaust exhibition, because like holocaust, communism and especially the effects of Soviet Union to its small neighboring countries is something that is hard to represent. Also, Stalin had his own genocide in the Soviet Union and people do not tend to talk about it as much as about the genocide of Jews in Nazi-Germany. I could go on and on about this, the cultural memory and how for some reason people tend to think compassion is a limited natural resource, like one could only sympathize a limited amount of people who have been through unspeakable horrors and therefore those horrors must be compared and all the compassion is going to go to the "winner". Well, that is enough and back to art! Here is an interesting article about Ciprian Muresan, if you are interested. 

Although the [silence] - A Holocaust Exhibition ends soon, I am sure there are future exhibitions in the Ludwig Múzeum that are interesting to see too. I'll be back in two weeks with Gothic Art in Spotlight, this time probably with something surreal. Thanks for reading! :)

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Memetime: 30 cool things about me

I first saw this meme at two blogs, Trystan's This Is CorpGoth and Sylvia's Little Corp Goth Girl. I decided to do this meme of 30 cool things too. Firstly because I learned so many cool things about these lovely ladies and I would love to read more lists from other people, especially those who read my blog too and secondly I think it is really important to participate in these sorts of memes that promote healthier self-esteem. Without further ado, here are my 30 cool things about me:
  1. I have traveled to Paris, France all by myself for a holiday.
  2. I was in a theater and creative expression group for young from a 6-year-old till I was 18.
  3. I have cleaned a march-hare's skull for decorative purposes from flesh, brains and eyes.
  4. I got into university and am studying comparative literature, which was my dream.
  5. I know several languages: I am good in Finnish, English and Swedish. Every day I learn more French and I understand written Norwegian and Danish. I also remember quite a lot of Italian, because I studied it throughout high school. 
  6. I have dyed my hair dark emerald green.
  7. I've had three piercings on my eyebrows but alas, one of them was almost ripped off and the rest grew out.
  8. When I was 14, my theater group won a national competition with our own play.
  9. I've had ten piercings in my ears (five and five) at some point.
  10. One of the ear piercings was accidentally ripped off (so that I had a cut through my earlobe)  when I was 16 and I did not even twitch.
  11. I have a 4th Kuy (purple belt) in Shukokai Karate, next would have been brown but alas, I have not practiced since high school. I am thinking of starting to practice kickboxing or Thai boxing. 
  12. I got a 5 (the highest grade) of my Bachelor's degree dissertation.
  13. I do not use illegal drugs.
  14. I have a really strong and loud voice and I know how to use it.
  15. I have been as an interviewer at an international book fair and interviewed several novelists at a fair stand. I shall be doing that again this autumn! 
  16. I have been the president of my student association.
  17. For the past two years I have been really close to a burnout but I have fought to keep myself able to function. I have succeeded in it.
  18. I have traveled to 17 countries and I am visiting the 18th during next winter.
  19. I have also dyed my hair pink and before that it was blond with bright blue stripes. 
  20. I have been a zombie extra on a heavy metal band Lordi's music video This Is Heavy Metal I am seen on the left at 2:12 for example.
  21. I have had a habit of driving too fast but I have never had a speeding ticket.
  22. When I was 19, I had a 10 week internship at a mental health day centre. The people who attended there mostly had chronic schizophrenia. It was rough but I learned a lot.
  23. Some of my joints stretch more than normal, for example my knees bent way too much back and some people can freak out when I suddenly do it and it is so funny! :)
  24. One winter night me and my friend took a sled and went down a local ski slope (strictly prohibited). We could not control the speed and in the end we hit a wire-netting fence and my foot went right through it. Good thing I had proper army boots on!
  25. I have been larping (rather occasionally nowadays) since 2005.
  26. I am sort of writing a manuscript of a graphic novel and my friend who is an artist (she has studied art for many years and got a degree from a university of applied sciences so she is officially an artist) is designing and doing the pictures. Don't know if we try to get it published but it is fun doing it. 
    Me as Big Bad Wolf
    at a friend's bachelorette party
  27. A year ago I finally learned to knit socks. Now I have twelve pairs of cute goth-y woolen socks to keep my feet warm. I am NOT a DIY person but I am trying to become one. Slowly.
  28. I am witty with words and I have a vivid imaginary and I am often great company in a party.
  29. I like to host parties with cool themes, like "Doctors & Drug Addicts". Now I am planning to have a party with a theme "Lycantropy" but alas, the next time a full moon is on a weekend is in December!
  30. One of the cool things I am most proud of myself is that I am a feminist, which means I believe all people are equal and there should be no discrimination because of a person's sex (male, female or anything else), their sexual orientation nor because of their skin color or another physical aspect. I am a feminist, which means I oppose all stereotyping based on person's sex, sexuality etc., whether it is that "women are better cooks" or that "gay men are sissies". That is complete bulls***.

I hope many of you have time to do this 30 cool things meme too! :)

Monday, 1 September 2014

A Goth Tourist in Budapest: where to shop and what to buy

The next episode of a not-so-fictional goth tourist's (also known as me) escapades in Budapest is about what funny or weird things I bought there.

As I mentioned in a previous post, a little white rabbit led my travel group of two into a big flea market on Saturday. The flea market is held every weekend (at least during warmer months) in the city's park Városliget. According to all tourist guides one is sure to make great finds in that flea market but I was rather disappointed. There were some sellers with nice old things but nothing really weird or creepy that would fit a goth's taste. There was also many people selling their clothes and unopened everyday products like toothpaste in big bulks.

I still managed to find something to buy. Two dead old watches and some small metallic plate. I intend to do some DIY and make a steampunk inspired brooch or a hair accessory or something.

Me and my companion also wondered around a regular shopping center and I found some casual and smart shoes for this fall. Though they are fake suede, so they are not good if there is any rain. From another shoe shop I found these gorgeous green legwarmers and stockings. The stockings were on sale and 990 FT is about 3 euro.

A shop I really adored in Budapest was Szputnyik Shop on Dohány utca 20, in the centrum area. They had interesting second hand clothes, accessorizes, hats and other stuff and a huge amount of clothes, jewelry and what not by local designers.

I had my eye on several really cool print tops but alas I am not the right shape for them! They look good on more flat people and with my curves there was no chance. My companion bought one I wanted to buy too. It did not look half as good on me as in this pic.

If you are interested of design and local artists, I must recommend Magma, a Hungarian design and contemporary art gallery in the centrum, pretty close to the river, on the side of Pest. I bought this cute little fox from there!

Unfortunately this print is on a slightly shimmering paper so trying to take a good photo of it was quite frustrating. Here is a link to the artists webpage. I cant remember how much I payed for my little fox but it was not too expensive. I also bought three postcards from the museum shop of Ludwig Museum, of which I am going to write the next post, since it was a great art museum. Here are the three works of art on postcards:

I shall tell more about them in the next post, why ruin the content of it now! Finally the last three things I bought from another design shop. These are more goth-y too.

A skull of coarse. This is the perfect size and if I am any judge, it probably belonged to an European roe deer. It was the first thing I saw in the design shop. The place is Szimpla Design Shop, their webpage is under construct but here is their facebook page

When I saw the second object that interested me the conversation between me and the salesperson was this:

me: That's pretty. What is it and how much is it?
salesperson: To be honest, I do not know what it is but it costs 10 euros.

A short silence. 

me: I'll take it.

So, if any of you know what that thing is on the right, please tell me! I do know that the thing on the left is a ballpoint pen, I put it there to show you how big that other thing is. Me and my entourage of one soul pondered this for a while. We wondered if it might be a part of a door handle. But where could one grab it? We saw those metallic middle parts by themselves of the flea market I mentioned earlier.

 The last thing I bought and am going to show you is this.

This too costed only ten euros. It is made of porcelain and it is exactly the size you might think it is. 

It is a vase for flowers, though I am not going to put real live flowers in it. The shape might be cool but it is inconvenient if one tries to actually clean it well from inside. I predict it would soon start to smell, if there was water and organic things like parts of plants in it. I shall buy a black fake flower to make this perfect.

This porcelain gun has so far been the most fun thing I bought. Since it is of such delicate material, of coarse I had to take it back to Finland in my hand luggage! I must say it was rather fun at the security check before we could go to the gate area. No surprise, my bag was taken for a more thorough inspection than mere translumination. The inspecting person asked me to open the bag and started to go through it. To make things speedier I said something like "What you are probably looking for is in that small pocket on the lid part of the luggage. I mean, if you are looking for a gun shaped object, there is a designer vase that fits that description". I was as nice as it was possible and explained how I really could not have put a delicate object like that in to the cargo bin. In the end the inspector said it was actually rather cool a gun and let me proceed to the gates.

I hope these recommendations of shops have been helpful if somebody is planning to visit Budapest and that this post has been at least entertaining! Next time, some culture tips, an art museum and some museums of specific parts of history.