Gregory Pages gathered twenty international artists in the picturesque Swiss village of Crans Montana for his first edition of the Vision Art Festival http://visionartfestival.com/ I was re-reading the invitation email over and over again; Crans Montana, august, streetart, Festival …huh, maybe? Considering that not long ago Neville Wakefield and Olympia Scarry organised Elevation 1049 in Gstaad during the winter season the idea of going to look at some open air art in good weather was an offer I could not reject. I was just not quite sure what I was in for but curiosity is a maddening vice unless properly fed. After a delayed flight and the success of bringing as carry on luggage a bag full of liquids and razor blades I began my train journey to the fairy like Alp peaks. The road taken was definitely not “less travelled” but a much frequented one in my teenage years. I would have had a face velcroed to the window in adornment of natural polished beauty that only Switzerland can provide but I had every tree memorized from my numerous previous trips. Lake Geneva, Montreux, Lausanne, the hometown of Charlie Chaplin Vevey, Chillon Castle and that famous landmark the city of Aigle. As the train flew past it I could not avoid all the happy memories that flooded back. This was the station that I would arrive to and take the car to my boarding school in the mountains which was situated on 1300 meters. What a cocoon it was in those years. Daydreaming is suddenly interrupted by my designated driver and good friend – Tiffany: ” We are very late, we have 5 minutes to drive up the mountain to the inauguration dinner and that involves you changing in the hotel as well. Vincent said that he does not care if get tickets for speeding”. Just do it, I said out loud. Those familiar three words. It was literally like that. Done. Like robots we managed to just make it in time and hear some of the inauguration speeches which took place in an imposing Bond like location on 2600 meters. This is where I had my first encounter with one of the art pieces of the festival, a giant 20 foot unicorn by Gypsberg and Goguesev.
I remembered that I had seen it looking ravishing in a beautiful location on the lake Geneva. Giant unicorns travel light because they are inflatable unicorns or Little Ponies with a horn. How come I did not think of that when I was pumping my water bed , well when the beach boy was ….well I always hated water beds and was their number one enemy. Useless neither here nor there invention. Yes…on that note I saw that unicorn in a picture from Greg’s house in Geneva.
Gregory Pages, as the director of the Geneva based family gallery Frank Pages has always been closely involved with the art world. He would spend his winters in Crans and look at the empty grey walls of the departure and arrival car stations. I guess that is where the idea for this Festival came from. I have to admit that they do look gloomy, especially in summer as they are juxtaposed against the glorious and happy green grass and shiny blue skies. I guess Greg was thinking that he needed to give it some life and he got the village mayor to agree. With an impressive list of sponsors under the belt the festival’s first season is open! The works will be on display in town and also along the cable cars that stretch on the ski pistes up to 3000 meters above sea level. This is quite an amazing location for artists to create their pieces on walls of local buildings as Crans Montana overlooks the Rhone valley and the Valais Alps. I felt like I was on a treasure hunt. You are simply given a map like the one below
and you are off on your journey of discovery. Your hike takes you from the level of polite 1400 meters to a lung gushing 2600 meters! I have to admit that my lungs and my hearts would not co-operate during the 75 angle hike. It was so steep and my toned goat like body was not on friendly relations with my heart. There was a high risk of heart attack but luckily I avoided it by slowing down. In October , the final touch from artist Vihls happens on 3000 meters Glaciers Plaine Morte. I think I have time to quit cigarettes and work on my lung capacity by then and arrive to the top with a more pleasant facial expression.
Interesting finds on the way include all the incredible artists: Angry Woebots, Cedric Kesa, Dan Acher, Greg Mike, Hebru Brantley, Issam Rezgui, Leza, Toz, 2Alas, Felipe Pantone, Rodrigo Branco, Chorboogie, Nevercrew, Reka One, Icy Sot, Rustam Qbic, Okura, Remed that took their time to paint this visual feast. Some images are below.
Spanish Felipe Pantone creates hypnotic imagery using acid colours, unstructured graphics and shadows. The black and white grids work so well with the roof of this parking lot building!
Brazilian Rodrigo Branco‘s clown is stretched on a wall in the village of Crans Montana. Much like his drawings it depicts his view of the world as a young boy that was impaired by a serious sight difficulty. Also living close to a circus his earliest memories would be clowns.
PHOTO BY IAN OX
Swiss Nevercrew artistic development through painting, which later evolved to other expression forms like sculpture, illustration, photography and video. Their polar bear ( in making here) plays with three dimensional concepts.
Russian Rustam Qbic has been painting this surreal story on the top of the Bellalui peak. I particularly love the imagery of the heart as a fountain. I was soon to find out that the hike to this location was surreal itself.
I truly have to say that I was amazed with the Atelier part of the collection. I want to wear Haute Couture Lingerie, love to feel lush around the house in . Loving the street vibe – bad ass pull ups that are cut like leggings. There is the street with luxury craftsmanship. Perfect. The more elegant pieces also had an edge to it – hoods and a fantastic play on the transparent. Well done for the collection! You can get it at their Flagship store 9, Old Bond Street, London.
Wearing La Perla bra and lace body
Situated in the Berner Oberland, Gstaad is home to one of the largest ski areas in the Alpes. When you Come up to Gstaad you Slow down. This is the way I like to see my time spent there. You run away from the big cities to come here and really take care of yourself, with good organic food, lots of sports and where you can replenish your lungs with pure mountain air. We challenge to cult of speed here! Gstaad has many beautiful villages that surround it and are equally interesting. One of them is the village of Saanemoser which is home to the lovely Saanenwald Lodge Hotel. The hotel was built in 1963 and acquired by Paul Peyer and his brother in 2011. The owner says that this the place where you can practice Active Slowlife- a concept that tackles the misunderstanding about Slowness. It forces people to stop and challenge their lifestyle, which is good!
This post is dedicated to people that have not been to this lovely ski resort and not to all my friends and followers that have been coming here since they were born. Please do bear with me the detailed descriptions of certain locations. And the ones that have been here, why not keep on reading , maybe you discover something new.
“Last paradise in a crazy world” is how Hollywood and Broadway star Julie Andrews described her holiday home in Gstaad. Completely agree with this view. In fact no matter how international Gstaad is it has remained truly Alpine. The atmosphere is quiet and discreet and that is precisely what its visitors and residents have come to appreciate. Some of the home owners in Gstaad were/ are Roman Polanski, Sir Roger Moore, Elisabeth Taylor, Jeanne Moreau, Julie Andrews, Bernie Ecclestone, Yehudi Menuhin, Prince Rainer and Grace Kelly, Balthus, Gunter Sachs. The middle of the village features a cosy picturesque promenade reserved for pedestrian use only bundled by many shops, restaurants, galleries and hotels. I popped in quickly into the multibrand boutique Lorenz Bach to try out some fur hats and coats. This is usually where we would all come to get some traditional laderhosen and Austrian jackets too. It is not only in winter that Gstaad is a popular destination- there are events such The Menuhin Festival Gstaad of classical music, The Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad of classical music, Swiss Open, The Hublot Polo Gold Cup, Bonhams auction of Ferraris and Maserattis and Davidoff Saveurs Gstaad which is a celebration of authentic kitchen and cellar flavours.
How many times have you asked yourself- why can’t I just roll out of bed and hit the slopes directly from my hotel? Well, here you surely can. You can ski or snowboard straight out of the front door. 220 km of pistes and 53 liftes await you.
I would like to introduce you to a little 60′s gem, hidden in Swiss Alps, located close to the village of Gstaad. http://saanewald-lodge.ch/I dare say- finally something different to the usual Gstaad glitzy, expensive offering. A retro mountain lodge with clean lines and a hint of Barbarella.
The three muses, moi, Princess Tatiana and mummy all wrapped up in fake fur long coats that the hotel gives you in case you want to step outside for a naughty cigarette. All girlies wearing Zanzan sunglasses. The boots are by Ikkii.
Have I talked about the food at the Saanewald Lodge Hotel? It must be the best burger in Gstaad, well apart from the little kiosk on the Promenade. Do make sure you stop here if you are skiing in Saanemoser
And onto the milk maid. Gstaad is one of the world’s leading cheese producers, with nearly 500 varieties available. It comes as no surprise that Swiss national cuisine is based around this delicious dairy product . Raclette is something I always eat when I come up here , also the cheese fondue and the inoubliable emince de veau a la Zurichoise. Also can we not forget the chocolate. The Swiss produced chocolate.
Gstaad is famous for cattle breeding, milk and meat production. I went to Rossinieres, a village next to Gstaad to see a farm. I was worried that the the local farmer would be standoffish but he was very appreciative of our visit.
Etivaz cheese is the local delicacy that I eat the most of when there I make sure I buy a large quantity of it to take back home with me. It has fruity, nutty flavour and it is similar to Gruyere.
Above is a shot how these lovely supermodels will look in the summer. Each of their heads will be adorned with beautiful flower crown.
On the way back I had lunch at my favourite spot, The Olden. It takes a genius to make adelicious tomato sauce and they do it so right here .
I had to stop at the institution as well, the iconic Palace Hotel It was opened in 1913 as Gstaad’s first luxury hotel and since has earned an unrivaled reputation for discreet, refined hospitality.
check out the long version here http://videos.hola.com/ver/making-of-las-novias-del-siglo-xxi/2877246964001
Today… in fact to be a little more precise- this morning- a little miracle happened. A pastel bouquet from The Flower Company in Belgrade. The colours radiate harmony and their softness just realigned me by putting a warm smile on my face. Nothing less, nothing more. It was and it is bloody worth it. Flowers are such a simple thing but so important in our daily lives. A quick fix of beauty. Nothing is forever anyway.
The shop is located in the street Strahinica Bana, 27, Belgrade and if you would like to have a quick peek at the fabulousness online check out http://www.flowercompany.rs/
The owner, Katarina Kostic is a striking and talented woman. After many years engulfed in the world of marketing and communications she wanted to give a voice to her very lively creative side. Ignoring the usual cliche of finding her “new self” in the role of yet another fashion designer she decided to pair up her creativity with the love of nature. After obtaining the certificate from the world famous flower design school McQueen Flowers in London we now get to purchase some of that talent too in the heart of Belgrade. On your marks, ready, set… gooooooo….as we have the Sveti Nikola slava tomorrow …hurry before all the flowers make their way out of the cooling cave. And do not forget to wake up each day…to a new bouquet.
A great play by Edward Albee that is unmissable and immortalised as well by Elisabeth Taylor and Richard Burton on the silver screen. It gives us a sneak peak into one night of a middle aged couple whose marriage is not going well by all means. The alcohol on this particular night does not help either it just inflames the issues at hand. A young couple is invited to their home and I am sure they regretted it the day after and not only because of the hangover.
Quotes: Martha: I swear, if you existed, I’d divorce you.
Nick: Who did the painting?
George: Some Greek with a moustache that Martha attacked one night.
George: You can sit around with the gin running out of your mouth; you can humiliate me; you can tear me to pieces all night, that’s perfectly okay, that’s all right.
Martha: You can stand it!
George: I cannot stand it!
Martha: You can stand it, you married me for it!
George: Martha, in my mind you’re buried in cement right up to the neck. No, up to the nose, it’s much quieter.
Martha: Well, you’re going bald.
George: So are you.
To this day one of my favourite reads….the story each and everyone of us had- the story of our first love. It starts by a couple of middle aged guests at a party remembering their first loves and when it is the protagonist’s Vladimir Petrovich time to tell his he promises to tell it by writing it down. It is a sad story as his love was never returned- even though he believed that the feeling was mutual. A quick read and another wonderful work of a Russian master.
An incredible artist from Belgrade , a musician, painter, dj, photographer who sadly passed away in 1998. He perhaps was lucky not to survive and see the degradation of Belgrade due to the years of war and the negative aftermath this created culturally. He studied a couple of semesters at Beaux Arts in Paris in the class of Vladimir Velickovic . Jean Marc Barr made a film “Lovers” about his life in Paris starring Elodie Bouchez and Sergej Trifunovic. He aslso lived and worked in New York where he exhibited his work.
Certain women use their intelligence for their flirtation. Upon meeting her Friedrich Nietzsche said: “From which stars did we fall to meet each other here?”. Liliana Cavani’s film Beyond Good and Evil (1977) was inspired by their relationship and is a must Russian-German novelist, essayist, psychoanalyst, and a muse, colleague, and companion for such authors and thinkers as Nietzsche, Rilke, and Freud. Lou Andreas-Salomé wrote widely on literature criticism, philosophy and psychoanalysis. With her indifference to moral conventions and insatiable intellectual curiosity, Andreas-Salomé challenged the gender roles of her day. She was one of the first female psychoanalysts to write on female sexuality, in fact she wrote her book Die Erotik before she met Freud with whom she developed a close relationship. Freud said of her that she was “a woman of dangerous intelligence” but that “all the tracks around her go into the Lion’s den but none come out.”