I want to explain before you dive into this blog post, dear readers, that this post is a bit different that the previous ones.
This time I’ve had a lot more time to myself. What sometimes happens, when I have a lot of time alone, is I start thinking. Then if I have more time on my hands, I start thinking about thinking. If there is time enough I might even start to think about how I thought about thinking.
Because of this habit of mine, the following stories include more of my meta-reflections upon what I’ve done and why than previous posts have. For example I’ve spend a lot of energy contemplating specifically the subjects of art, my specific creativity as well as how I’m concretely doing or should be doing this blog.
Therefore you can expect this post to be longer and with a few digressions from the chronological tale. I’m still going to tell you my week’s story relatively chronologically – but just so you know; there will appear longer passages were I reflect.
I hope you will all enjoy following me on these next descriptions of my journey, that this time around will also feature a few guided tours in the corridors of my mazy mind.
Ibiza – Breathtaking Views & Busy Builders
Backstory: The Urge to Swim
As mentioned at the end of my last post, I had this idea in the back of my mind already before travelling to Ibiza, that I wanted to swim there somehow. This turned out to be a challenging desire to fulfill, since I met quite a few challenges in my attempts; these I will describe later on.
Before that, I find it fitting to elaborate on just why I so stubbornly insisted on swimming somewhere. The reasons for which I were myself puzzled by initially, until I started touring the before mentioned corridors of my mind, where I believe I found some reasons.
By way of touring my mind, I traced the urge to swim’s creation all the way back to my time with K in Tangier. During those days, he often talked eagerly about going swimming, but this didn’t really seem like a real possibility. All the beaches we visited had no people in the water – except for a solitary man in Speedos we saw one day, who looked to be a tourist.
Furthermore the beaches, in particular the beach closest to the city center, were full of all types of trash; ranging from sharp broken glass, orange peels, cigarette buds, car tires, tuna cans and different food wrappings. Not exactly very inviting to go swimming in or lounge on the beach by.
I doubt the beach was meant to be inviting to people wanting to strip down and sun bathe or swim though; and I don’t only think this was because it was winter there and relatively cold (not compared to Denmark).
As mentioned in my previous posts, I sensed a world of difference in male attention wearing my head scarf. I can only imagine, with dread, the attention I would get if I ventured onto the beach in a bathing suit – even with K by my side. In short the Moroccan culture didn’t strike me as very welcoming to a free display of in particular female bodies.
Also there might be a law or an unwritten social law against bathing. The reason I suspect this, is after an encounter with a local family K and I did in a mall while in Tangier.
K and I were in an elevator heading for the exit. Hanging down the middle of the mall in front of the transparent elevator were a bunch of huge red hearts; along with other decorations put up in celebration of the fact, that at this time Valentine’s Day was closing in.
We had the elevator to ourselves and started kissing. Then the elevator stops and as we stopped kissing, I see a mother and father come on with a baby-stroller. The doors close and the mother, a young beautiful woman wearing a headscarf, told us in good English, that it was illegal to kiss in public in Morocco. A kiss on the cheek was alright, not on the mouth – but we could hold hands and everything else, just not kiss on the mouth, she further explained.
This was new to me, and I was a bit shocked. Ever since K arrived some days earlier we had been kissing most everywhere, being happy about finally being close enough to do so again. I apologized explaining we didn’t know this – we were from Denmark.
She just nodded understandingly, and added that she knew it was different there, but Morocco was a Muslim country. I thanked her for telling us about this law, since we hadn’t heard of it, but it definitely was very good to know such things. In response to this she stayed silent, while making some arbitrary movements backwards even though she couldn’t really go more backwards due to the crammed space in the elevator. At this point it seemed clear that she wanted the conversation to end sooner than later.
However the elevator kept going up and down. It appeared to be caused by people on upper floors who kept calling for it. This way we were stuck for a few minutes awkwardly inside the elevator, until the family got off – onto the same floor where they got on.
As K and I left the mall soon after, I was feeling uncomfortable and perhaps guilty; guilty for possibly having broken a law and in the process made people really uncomfortable in various places where K and I had been kissing, which to them might have been painful as it was an indecent exposure of, I assume, sexuality.
Before I ventured out on the art travels, I had already reflected on how I wanted to respect the cultural norms in the country I was in. My ambition was to travel to Morocco to be incognito as the observant artist, doing sketches in the barely visible corners. For these reasons I didn’t travel out to be me and enjoy myself just as I like to be.
But when K arrived I shifted my focus from the art projects to enjoying myself with him while I had him with me. The situation in the elevator was the first time, after deciding to consequently wear the headscarf, that I had experienced trouble regarding fitting in as anonymously much as possible.
At the same time I remember the feeling after the elevator talk, as K and I walked hand in hand away from the mall in silence, both processing what the mother had told us in the elevator. I then felt like having been denied some freedom of expression, that I had taken for granted before. Even despite my ambitions to be the incognito artist, underneath my intellectual ideals of cultural respect and ideas of diplomacy, I felt fairly childishly annoyed.
The next days both K and I kept forgetting that we were not to kiss on the mouth in public. I really tried to remember, not wanting to make any locals uncomfortable again. For this reason I tried to think to turn my cheek, if K forgot and came close for a kiss; or if I forgot and started for the mouth, I tried to kiss K quickly on the check instead.
We didn’t check online whether there was or wasn’t a real law against mouth-kissing – or swimming on the beaches for that matter; but even if there wasn’t any actual laws, with the cultural experiences I had made the first weeks in Tangier, I wouldn’t feel comfortable going swimming or kissing in public either way.
Anyway, my point in relation to Ibiza is the following: my stubborn insistence on swimming was enforced by the feeling of being unable to swim in Morocco.
The stubbornness might also indirectly have been amplified by the childish annoyance I had felt, when wanting to kiss K freely but feeling unable to while acting respectful according to the cultural sensibilities in the country I was visiting. Both factors had somehow created a great need in me to finally get into my bikini, swim around and sun bathe in peace, without it being uncomfortable or in any way out of the ordinary for anybody.
One, two, three swim!
Long story short: I was excited and impatient to finally get into some water and swim around.
I had decided to book a single room in a hotel with a pool and located only 200 meters from a beach, so I could just go there whenever. I treated myself, feeling deliciously spoiled while it still being relatively financially liable due to O’s kind couch surfing hospitality in Valencia.
The first slight obstacle to my desire to swim was the fact that the hotel’s rooftop pool was closed during the winter season. They even locked all entrances to the roof so I couldn’t even sun bathe there. No matter, still motivated to succeed in my swimming-quest, I put my bikini on beneath my clothes, packed a towel and on my very first morning in Ibiza I headed directly for the coast.
After turning the corner near my hotel’s front door, I headed down towards the beach. Soon after I noticed the entire end of the road in front of the beach was blocked of by a fence. As I get closer I saw cranes and yellow digging machines and workers in plastic helmets doing some kind of construction work on the beach front. There was no way to get across to the water, since they had also put up an orange plastic net everywhere the fence didn’t go.
Although slightly disappointed, still optimistic I started going along the coast in the direction of the Ibiza city center, hoping that the construction work on the beach would stop sometime soon so I could find a place to rest in the soft sand. Sadly this never happened.
Before I knew it I had come to a rocky area filled with stones and cliffs dipping into the ocean. They were beautiful, but not exactly a beach. Continuing further I spotted a narrow path that went down towards what looked like a small lagoon. I walked carefully down it, passing many empty beer cans, which told me this was a drinking spot for locals. When I arrived close to the little lagoon, I found an elderly couple filling large plastic containers with sea water for some reason.
‘Maybe it’s for watering their plants – or filling a fountain or pool at home?’ I thought to myself, as I walked slowly past, considering what to do next. The small rocky lagoon area was occupied and I didn’t feel like stripping down and proceeding to lie down on the bed of rocks and seaweed close to the water in front of them. Also I had envisioned a sandy beach like the ones in Tangier, just without the trash. That dream the pretty lagoon did not fulfill.
However, while looking further along the shore back towards the direction I had come from, I did notice a small rocky path along a white wall surrounding a hotel park and pool area. The wall and path seemed to lead back towards the coast that was blocked by orange plastic nets from the other side earlier. I decided to try and go around it via the rocks, to see if I could sneak onto some sandy beach area on the other side of the construction work.
As I turned a corner near the end of the hotel park wall, I saw a partly sandy, partly stony beach further on that was not framed by a fence. Instead it had some orange net on the far side of it, leading to the construction work area. Feeling like I had cracked a code or something, I ventured on. Honestly I wasn’t all that certain I was permitted to be there, as there were huge trucks backing down a driveway right behind me only a few meters away. But the trucks didn’t go directly to the beach, so I couldn’t see what trouble I should cause them.
While I found a nice soft space on the sand, I noticed some of the workers looking my way, but I just continued to put down my towel and acted as if using the beach with a backdrop of construction work was perfectly normal. The sand turned stony close to the waves and completely stony when in the water, but I was just happy to finally be on a beach. I took off my clothes and put on sun cream calmly, so I could start with a relaxing sun bath. When the wind blew it became quite cold, but the sun was out and as long as I laid down flat it felt wonderful.
After feeling pleasantly relaxed, I check the water temperature. It was cold; probably around 15 degrees Celsius. Yet this didn’t scare me all that much. When it was late spring last year and early summer was closing in on Denmark, the local Copenhageners, me included, started trying out the Danish waters even though they weren’t far from as cold as the water in Ibiza – or even colder.
What I learned then, was that as long as I kept moving and kept swimming, my body would get used to the semi-cold temperature with time and then swimming could become enjoyable despite the water not being exactly warm. Also I just had to go in the water, however cold, I had decided this even before dipping my feet in for the first time.
So I ventured into the cold water. Stepping carefully, trying not to cut myself on the stony terrain. Goosebumps spread like wildfire and I started shaking slightly, but then I just began to carefully do some dance moves in order to warm up my muscles.
Scanning the surface of the water I tried to avoid the bigger rocks. Since the water wasn’t very high, I had to walk far before it reached my stomach and I could start to gather courage to jump under water and maybe swim a bit. I was still cold, but the temperature felt a bit more okay at this point.
Suddenly I noticed a sea urchin. It looked scary, frozen passively in place, like a mine in the game minesweeper. Then I saw another one and they were both seemingly staring back at me with all their black pikes, majestically striking like sculptures, but not at all something I would enjoy touching.
Once I started looking around me, I saw them everywhere. The sight made me pretty nervous. The waves wrinkled the water, making it hard to survey the sea floor for the urchins. The movements in the water also kept pushing me slightly, making it hard for me to completely control where I walked. Upon seeing all the urchins I completely gave up on swimming and carefully walked back in.
Luckily I didn’t step on any urchins. I did, however, cut my left foot on a shell or stone, but I considered this a lucky break considering the colony of sea urchins I had just traversed. I had survived being in the ocean, and I decided I would just have to find another place one of the next days, to actually swim. With this decision made I stretched out on the sand and started to sunbath again.
Some moments later, one of the workers came close to the fence near me and shouted something in Spanish. ‘Sorry! I don’t speak Spanish!” I responded, and then he just made motions like he was freezing. I understood he just wanted to ask me if the water wasn’t cold. I responded that the water was indeed cold. To this he just laughed while nodding and headed back to work.
The Little Lagoon
The second time I tried to swim was in the little lagoon where the elderly couple had been. The second day I went there and found the place empty. Thinking this would be my chance to try the waters there, I got quickly undressed to claim the space. The waves were quite violent, except for in the most sheltered corner of the lagoon blocked by a large rock.
Fearful of being swept into a sea urchin possibly hiding somewhere, I mainly sat under water on a stone in the calmest area trying not to get swept away. Freezing as I held frantically onto the rocks both with feet, hands and my butt. Higher up from the lagoon, on the other side of the road close to it, some guys where painting terraces. I noticed them earlier before turning down the path to the sea, because of a row of cars in front of the apartment terraces that had been covered in plastic.
When I heard them talking very loud sometimes, like they were shouting at someone, I occasionally turned away from the sea to look up at them, only to see them looking back in silence with wide grins on their faces, seeming amused by my fight with the water.
Maybe, like the construction worker on the beach the day before, they were entertained by my stubborn insistence on going in the ocean – even if it was cold and the waves where pushing me about, or as the day before, when it was full of sharp rocks and sea urchins. As you know, I had my reasons to want to swim – as well as just being naturally very stubborn.
A New Lagoon
The third place I ventured into the ocean was also in a stony terrain by a kind of lagoon. This time it was bigger and deeper though, so I could finally swim around! Instead of just either walking carefully and frightened over stones or sitting on a rock holding on best as I could not to get swept away.
It was a beautiful area on the edge of what seemed to be a nature reserve of a kind, where people came and went with their dogs and couples strolled around hand in hand. I had the lagoon to myself except for one time, when an eccentric looking man, wearing a colorful bandana on his forehead came and sat close to me.
I was sitting in my bikini doing a sketch of my view of the shore and sea. He then pulled of his beige ragged shirt and revealed a very suntanned, bordering on sunburned, skin and lots of tattoos. Then he proceeded to smoke a joint while washing his head bandana in the waves. Afterwards he put it back on while it was still wet. When his joint was smoked he walked on along the coast. He seemed like a mysterious modern day pirate of some kind.
After having finally been in the water, swimming around stretching all my limbs to their full length, my need for swimming, which started during my days in Tangier with K, was finally fulfilled, and I could focus on exploring the city of Ibiza a bit more.
Generally my impressions of Ibiza were affected by things being under renovation or construction. It seemed doubtless that I had arrived during the low season. Along the beach and along the roads into the center, in the city center and in the old town as well as on the harbor, inside shops, restaurants, bars and clubs they were building something somehow. Sounds of things being hammered or drilled either in the distance or just beside of me followed me everywhere I went. It was rather like being inside a closed amusement park.
I enjoyed the fact that there seemed to be close to no other tourist. Sitting in restaurants and cafes observing people, I got the impression that the people I saw were probably locals maybe finally actually having their holiday season on the island. During summer it was everybody else’s fun festive time, but that was the locals’ time to make a living of the visitors; but now, I imagined, the locals were enjoying some peace and time to relax without all the hustle of tourists. Yet the hustle of construction work seemed eminent and the people in that line of work must still be rather busy. Being busy in the low season did seem like a good deal, though, if it meant they would have the time of in the summer when everything was spic and span again.
To Party or Not To Party
Regarding the rumor I had heard about the young jet setters partying on Ibiza, I must admit I didn’t really find out whether or not this was true. The first reason is that so many things where closed – though I did see an open Rolex store, a large yacht harbor area and a fancy looking restaurant which had more than half of it reserved for ‘members only’, which did indeed seem like signs that people of great wealth were spending some time in the center of Ibiza.
I can imagine Ibiza being fancy in a very much alive way during summer – but while I visited it seemed asleep, or in some transition; maybe in a state of resting and repairing for ‘the real thing’. I didn’t really meet any rich kids as far as I know – and more importantly, I have actually no real clue about the party part, since I didn’t go to any clubs.
I had the need to chill out in my private hotel room, finally alone for the first time in a real long time. It felt great to have my very own space, were I knew I wouldn’t have to deal with neither people entering the room because it was their dorm too, nor people living in the apartment where I was staying, that I wanted to act respectful towards seeing as they were my kind hosts.
In the hotel I had paid the money and so for those days that space was mine and mine alone, and I didn’t have to think about anybody else – a wonderful individuality was possible in that freedom. What was also wonderful was to video chat with K in the evenings. I wanted to chat with my boyfriend and eat snacks in my private room, much more than go to a dance party alone in some open club somewhere, having some local guys maybe spot me as a tourist or at least as fresh meat and try to chat me up. I also spend time doing some sketches after another selfie K and I did in Tangier.
I realize me staying in my room every night on a renowned party island, might seem boring to some of you. I also asked myself, if I weren’t being boring. Not getting the most out of my time, not getting the best story for the blog. Then I told myself that doing what I felt was best for me was exactly what I should do. This art journey was started completely by my own incentive with my own budget and in my own way; and so I didn’t have to put any weird pressure on myself to do this or that for the sake of a story, since the main purpose was to pamper my creativity and sense of well being in that. Spoiling my creative welfare was most important.
Well, so I didn’t party even once. I walked along beautiful coasts, looking at the waves, cliffs and studying flowers, cactus plants and palm trees. One of the days I had a lovely walk along the old town wall, from which there were great views of the ocean, harbor, city and mountains. I did a fast sketch during a lunch after a photo of one of the entrances through the wall surrounding the old town.
Sole Visitor at a Museum
One of the days in Ibiza I had a weird visit to a contemporary art museum in the outskirts of the old town. I was the only guest there. When I asked if I could bring something to draw with and a block of paper, she got very serious and said that was not allowed at all.
However in the part of the exhibition located downstairs there was a drawing area with paper and pencils, and I could draw there, but not anywhere else. Well, alright, I started walking around the first rooms. The art was quite interesting. I liked over half of the things, which was a lot for me in a contemporary art context.
I find that some contemporary art gets too conceptual for me. If I have to read a page long explanation before I can get exited or even bothered to study the art piece further, I get bored. I think it’s great if an art piece has a complex concept that has a lot of depth and talk about important issues, but for me it is only really great if it also successfully captures my attention and curiosity.
If the art piece has a good concept and also looks interesting aesthetically at first look, that’s when I’m motivated to learn more – whereas something at first random and not very pretty, like, I don’t know, a dirty sock in a corner with an empty dental paste tube beside it, doesn’t really excite me just like that. Then the scene should have been designed somehow – like if the sock was unusually large and made of transparent plastic, and the dental tube was made in pretty shinny cobber! Then I would want to know the story! Whether there is one or not with the sock and dental paste tube I’m not sure, I just made it up off the top of my head.
It might be because I have studied an aesthetic art form (film), and know how to make something interesting, pleasing, surprising and beautiful visually, that these aspects are a must for me. Even if you have an intellectually complex and interesting point or concept, then I can’t see why it should be anything but a plus, if the concepts and thoughts are combined with curiosity-sparking beauty or weirdness or excessive ugliness to the point of abstract beauty – or some kind of enchanting aesthetic like that. Bare minimalism as I’ve met sometimes at contemporary art exhibitions frankly just bore me half to sleep.
Coming back to the contemporary art museum in Ibiza; the weirdest thing there, however, was not that I liked most of the art, nor that I could not bring my things to sketch as I usually do – it was that a blonde middle-aged woman in a black suit was stalking me while I strolled through the exhibitions.
From the top floor to the level below where the sketching area was, she was like my shadow. At one point I went to the toilet – here she didn’t follow me in, but she did wait for me right outside on a chair, staring at her phone as I came out. She quickly put her phone back in her pocket to continue her stalking of me.
In all the other art museums I’ve visited the guards usually have a room or two each that they walk around in, but not a whole museum, however small. In my experience they might go a bit close to check what you’re doing from another angle, but regularly they stay at a distance in a doorway or corner and observe the room from a place with great outlook. This woman just walked a few steps behind me all the way.
It made me feel awkward. It made me walk faster, afraid to somehow bore her, if I stayed too long in one place or something, even though I wasn’t exactly visiting to entertain her. I felt like I somehow had a bizarre companion, that I wasn’t sure how to treat. When I came to the sketching area, it was right beside a series of black and white photos done by an artist. I don’t remember who.
Even though I wanted to take a photo of the name tag and some of the photos, I didn’t want to take pictures in case I wasn’t allowed to and had to, for the first time, actually talk to my companion, with whom I didn’t want to start a conversation going forward. Half the pictures on the wall was just the artist, I assume, doing some weird big movements like he was describing a story featuring a big monster or something equally big that needed detailed description.
The rest of the photos where more interesting to me; one of them had some people in a café. In the front left side sat a pretty woman with big sunglasses on, and then a whole row of people sat beside her down along a row of seats. I spend a long time sketching this, feeling my blond companion trying to keep a respectful distance, but still looking over every once in a while. When I was almost done I showed her the sketch, tilting my sketching board just a bit. She smiled and looked simultaneously surprised and impressed.
Motivated by her reaction I decided to do a quick sketch after another photo of a man walking smoke in mouth wearing a big sweater, looking like something out of an old Marlborough commercial. The man, even though much thinner, reminded me of the actor Tommy Lee Jones, that has often had the same air about him in some of the 90’s movies my mother loved to watch when I was young – like ‘U.S. Marshalls’ or ‘The Fugitive’. Maybe due to this association, the man in my sketch turned out more like a mix of the guy in the photo and Tommy Lee, than the actual guy in the photo.
After having sketched I went through the rest of the exhibition fast, feeling tired – both from studying the artworks and from worrying about my blonde companion. Again I liked more than over half of the art works in the rest of the exhibition. But the floor in that room was actually my favorite thing – it was made of glass and beneath it there were some ancient ruins that looked like some roman walls. All texts where in Spanish, so I didn’t figure out exactly what the ruins were, but they sure were beautiful beneath my feet as an epic scene for the contemporary artworks to appear near.
After having seen it all, I was really craving a coffee – so I asked one of the women at the reception desk, if they had a café somewhere where I could buy a cup of coffee. She just said no. Fair enough.
I got my bag out of the locker. Then she told me to wait. Actually there was a coffee machine somewhere. Alright, I waited in a sofa area nearby. Some moments later a red haired lady came out of a hidden room for employees, smiled at me and headed for the museum’s shop. I hadn’t noticed the shop before – it mainly contained cool but expensive shirts and pillow covers made in transparent chiffon, but with delicate embroidery details of young naked men on. The shop also turned out to have a small coffee machine on the counter, and here she made me a tiny espresso in a cardboard cup.
Thanking her as I received the coffee I settled down in the sofa area and flipped through some art magazines that where displayed in a fan shape on the coffee table in front. I took my time savoring the quite bad tiny coffee, letting the caffeine kick in. As I get up to leave and want to pay, the two ladies behind the reception tell me its 50 cent and one of them holds out her hand.
Since I had forgotten my wallet in my hotel room, I hadn’t any cash on me, but I had my credit card. Both the ladies by the reception shook their heads synchronically – ‘not for only 50 cent’ they said. ‘But I don’t have any cash on me… I’m sorry, I didn’t know this’, I explained.
In the end one of the women just said that then the coffee was on the museum. I thanked them and left feeling strange. The exhibition had been very interesting, but the stalking and the coffee situation were odd.
Ibiza Airport: More Views & More Emptiness
The atmosphere of visiting an ‘off season’ location continued at the airport. As I arrived via bus in good time before my flight, the departure terminal entrance in front of the bus stop, turned out to be completely closed off.
Instead I had to walk to a second entrance, only to trail back the same direction to get to the staircase leading to the airport security area. It was clear that this was an airport used to taking care of a sea of visitors on ‘on seasons’, but right now over half of everything was closed off and some places construction work was also being done.
At security only two of what looked to be twenty security areas where open, and on the other side half the gates were closed. I imagined when it was summer all the areas would be buzzling and how noisy that must be, but right now everything was rather empty.
Rows and rows of seating areas were left empty. Sadly even the Burger king was closed. I felt quite hungry and had a craving for fries; instead I ate a banana and an orange I had taken from the breakfast buffet at my hotel that morning, thinking forward in order to save money on lunch that way.
I almost regretted this decision but got distracted by the lovely views from some of the large windows, showing the flight take off- and landing areas, but most importantly the mountains in the skyline behind. Also they had some cool boss-like chairs that had a high back, red leather and spun all the way around. Those chairs were also movable, so I could sit right next to one of the large windows and look at the mountains while eating my fruits.
Since I’m always fearful of getting to my flight too late, I like to arrive at least the recommended two hours in advance – and since the airport was basically empty, everything went fast, and I had good time to later wander around and have a coffee and then wander a bit more. While wandering through the empty spaces, I noticed a weird club at one point. It was completely deserted, but advertised free entrance, free wifi – music, cocktails and sushi.
Again I imagined, that in summer, when all the clubs were open and people came to dance all night, then they could just go directly to the airport and go into that club and have some cocktails before their flight. They probably never needed to sober up, if they were pro enough at that kind of party life.
Right then though, the airport wasn’t so party. The most liveliness I saw was a queue of elderly grey haired couples getting on a flight to somewhere in Spain, each of them holding a hexagonal shaped box containing some local Spanish pastry, that I saw cost about 50 euros for a box, which made me totally forget what the pastry was called in sheer chock.
Before I knew it I was on my flight back to Valencia and shortly after I was leaving Valencia airport on the metro. Though exhausted I did a sketch of my own tired reflection in the window in front of me and of the woman to my right. Soon I was back in O’s apartment with the cats and dog.
Back in Valencia: Art & Dance
So the first whole day back in Valencia, I decided to continue my museum-crawl and head to an art museum I hadn’t visited yet: IVAM, the modern art institute of Valencia. The museum was wonderful. Just as interesting to me as the museum in Ibiza – just without the stalker and with much more art and a real working café for me to fuel up on coffee afterwards.
I was especially excited and inspired by an exhibition with Julio González sculptures. They had a wonderful mix of minimalism, for example in representation of the female body, and cubist expressionism and abstract art, for example in representation of faces. There were also many tall thin abstract figures reminding me a bit of Joan Mirò’s drawings. These were beautiful too, but didn’t touch me as much as the ones mixing minimalism and abstraction, since I feel I have seen many statues of that thin tall kind before. With Julio’s statues of females reading books, made out of thin rusty metal plates cut and twisted, I felt I saw more of his ‘eye’ in the minimalist lines and the cool way of exposing the material so obviously at the same time; as it was basically just a plate of metal shaped and cut a bit. I made a bunch of sketches after his works.
I also made a sketch later after a photo of a bus stop with two people in the middle of nowhere in Armenia, by a German artist named Ursula from a photo serie called Transifsites.
When I left the museum that first time, I noticed a poster for an event two days later, where some dancers from a French dancing company lead by choreographer Boris Charmatz would come and dance among the artworks.
Naturally there was no way I was missing that, so I went back and it was fantastic. I spend the longest time staying inside the Julio Gonzàlez exhibition, enjoying seeing the dancers move about in unnatural positions mirroring some of the shapes in the statues.
First I did a sketch of a curly haired dancer wearing a shirt with flowers. She had a very energetic and fast dance, so it was hard to capture her, but I tried to find a way to only do little pieces of the sketch at a time, and try and see what movements came back repeatedly, so it gave me more time to study her shapes. This became my procedure during all my sketches going forward.
Next I sketched a black dancer with a short afro dancing a deep-felt and dramatic dance to some gospel music.
After that I sketched an elegant French dancer. His moves were near impossible to predict, so I tried to just focus on his face and mainly his hair-do that I found very chic.
Then I travelled on trough the exhibitions, meeting different dancers on the way. For example a guy dancing on the floor while singing sometimes.
And another guy with a very serious frantic facial expression while he danced aggressively.
Lastly I sketched a woman inside a room with an art piece in the middle of the floor that I had liked the other day I had visited – it was some fake wood and axes made in what looked like dark amber-colored resin.
Epilog: Valencia & a City’s Soul
At this point, I’ve written far more text than in the other posts, and I’m honestly feeling like I’m taking forever to express myself, so in describing the last few days back in Valencia, I’m going to try and tell the things I want to faster – maybe a bit more staccato, to use a music term.
Because of course I’ve seen other wonderful things in Valencia than the things at IVAM.
For example I enjoyed walking to the train station Enpalme and taking the metro every day.
I also walked around Valencia’s beautiful architecture with orange trees on almost every street and square.
And loved discovering cool street art in different areas of the city.
But since I’m exhausted after trying to write all these thoughts and experiences in a week, and I’m sure you, dear readers, are getting to feel like this post is a bit long. I’ll try and wrap up next as best I can.
Mazy Mind Wrap Up
It might have something to do with my messy mind, and my habit of thinking about my own expectations for the blog, but for whatever reason, this week has been demanding intellectually and emotionally.
I’m slowly learning how to be okay with not always having a ton of experiences to write about in an awesome way – like a wild story from the winter club life on Ibiza. At least the feeling of not having the best stories possible, anyway, is something real that I have to learn to deal with. I’m teaching myself that it’s okay to take it slow sometimes, and that doing the blog in itself is the goal of my journey.
Another important point is that it’s my own rules and ambitions, so I can bend and transform them by being aware and trying to find the best way to do it all – my way. This way I’ll be able to tell myself that it’s okay that I didn’t meet so many people this week; that I didn’t socialize as much. It’s also okay that I didn’t see every single interesting thing in Valencia during my time here.
What is the ’right way’ to see a city anyway?
It’s like I have this subconscious idea that each and every city has a soul and if I venture out correctly and really search for it, I will be able to grasp it and then put it into words and images; an idea of a ‘real way to see the real city’.
Of course this is completely bonkers when I think about it consciously. How could I ever truly see the ‘real’ city, whatever that might be? I’m one person and if I should really know everything the city encompasses and get ‘the real sense of the city’, not only would I in theory have to see every road, house, room, park and such specific things; I would also have to meet every single person that lives there and talk to them enough to know how they are part of the city.
It’s impossible, it would take a lifetime. What I can do instead, is to see the things I can see in the time I have here and then describe that specific experience. But then I ask myself if I did it right – did I go to the most significant landmarks did I see the real important things?
Here I’m also trying to teach myself to think differently. Since I’m the one seeing the city, and I’m the one travelling to follow my inspiration, the places I go at the time I go there because I feel like it, is the right place to go then – even if I go back to the same places a lot and might not see ‘the bigger picture of the town’.
I wonder why I have this weird search for the ‘real city-souls’ anyway. Whatever it is, then I’m certain an experience of a city’s soul is something very personal to every single individual experiencing a city at specific times. Why am I in such a hurry to really ‘get a place’ – like I’m getting to know a person? Why not get to know the part I get to and be content with that?
Even an alleyway with some sloppy graffiti in nice colors behind a dumpster in Valencia – is none the less Valencia. By seeing that dumpster area I’m seeing that Valencia, remembering that, maybe even taking a photo and writing about that. These experiences are also part of getting to know and sharing my explorations of the city. Also in ‘the right way’ for me.
Although my busy mind’s creation of weird ambitions and then questioning those ambitions at the same time is not always for the best, as it can frustrate and fluster me, I’m still thankful for it since it continuously fuel my curiosity and passion for understanding big as well as small things, inside and outside of my field of perception – often with an aim to find a wonderful way to tell the story of things, through drawings or words or maybe even in music if I get the chance. I also love to sing.
Anyway, I’m going to really wrap it up with this final news: for my next stop I’m going back to Morocco, namely to Fez!
Until next week, dear readers.