The liberation of colour.
Henri Matisse revolutionized the use of colour in art. He started the Fauvist movement which stemmed from the Post Impressionist movement. He manipulated colour to create the 3D effect of his art instead of drawing lines or shading.
For the first time ever, Matisse’s works were exhibited in Africa this year. The exhibition was in Johannesburg, my hometown so I was incredibly privileged to go and see it.
It’s a common opinion about Matisse’s works that anyone could do it. But the point is that no one else did. Matisse was so conceptually innovative and he broke down barriers in all of his works. He gave future artists inspiration and the courage to reject everything conventional.
I had chanced upon a spacious window ledge on which to plant myself. It belonged to a quaint coffee shop that rimmed the pavement of a street that is always crawling with unfaltering, lively activity. Even then, when the moonlight had painted the world with a milky glow, a steady stream of humming cars filled the cobblestone street. My eyes lost focus as my mind wandered, causing the lights of the audacious, neon signs to blur together in patterns of red, purple and sapphire. I was drawn back to reality by a passing couple talking in tones that complimented the smooth jazz that was playing in the café.
Only then did I notice the diversity dancing around me: two gentlemen sit outside the restaurant across the street in a stern discussion and wearing suits to match; a long haired musician crosses the road with his psychedelic guitar case to meet two women modeling unruly hairstyles and rebellious eyeliner; a neat, but nervous teenage boy approaches a shy young lady who is scented of the flowers in bloom; and an old man, wearing a coat of what was once pure wool but now mirrors the rugged texture of his unkempt hair and beard, sits alone on a bench beneath a traffic light. The night was pulsing in an unsung rhythm, harmonising with the flickering stars above. I watched them slowly melt into the sky as clouds crept onto the canvas. After a fleeting moment of pure emptiness above, the clouds burst and millions of tiny crystals cascaded across the suddenly misty sky.
Each drop was like an oasis. As they fell they seemed to collect and bottle up specks of light that skated around them. A sudden wave of cool air ruffled my hair and whispered in my ear but I couldn’t decipher their tales because a distant rumbling started to crescendo. The thunder sang songs of foreign places as wind hissed softly at my bare ankles. The rain gradually gained confidence and each splat competed with the next to be the hardest and loudest, shattering the kaleidoscope of lights inside themselves to create wide puddles like splintered mirrors.
Umbrellas erupted all around me and added a treble tone to the tropical melody the instant the rain began to beat on their heads. No matter who, every person caught in the shower raised their arms for cover and sought shelter; some would help, some would laugh but all would run. Various haircuts began to frizz as the surrounding air drank up the water; boots, sneakers and stilettos all became waterlogged as they splashed through puddles and every car whose tires further crushed the glassy water was frosted in water droplets.
The traffic lights cycled through green, orange and red a handful more times until ripples ceased to roll over the puddles’ reflections. It was as if I had witnessed time turning back because the water mirrors had been repaired and reflected the solid stop lights. They were reminiscent of pomegranate seeds surrounded by other smudged colours from the flourescent logos and dim street lamps.
Now the two men in ties wiped the water from their hair and draped their dampened jackets over one arm; the musician and his friends dripped into the café that I was neighboring; and the old man hopped in the puddles next to the young couple who sat on his bench, cherishing the last few raindrops on the their cheeks.
As an art student, I am always on the lookout for interesting, artsy events. If you were to take me to an art gallery, expect me to disappear into my own world like a kid in a candy store for a few hours. So last night I was in my happy place.
There is a cinema in my town, called the Bioscope, that shows all of the artsy, local films of South Africa. It is in collaboration with a pizza restaurant and the cinema chairs are old car seats. It has a really chilled and hipster vibe.
Last night the Bioscope played host to some of the most beautiful and artistic short animated films from talented animators all over the world. The Annual Animation Show of Shows is a selection of 11 of the best animated shorts and I feel so lucky to have seen them and learnt about their background through short behind-the-scene’s.
I can’t pick a favourite but there were several that really touched me. There was a beautiful story of loss between two astronaut best friends and another about rejection that is interpreted as hope that was set in Amsterdam.
All of the films were elegantly artistic and I feel really inspired by the different ways of conveying emotions and opinions. I could not take my eyes off of the screen.