Friday, March 16, 2007

Split Personalities

Apero cheeses - my favorite kind.

He smiled and his eyes went around the gallery. I'd spent a semester of late night sessions at the ComArt facility manufacturing an installation of 180 identical black boxes, set in an architecturally inspired row around the white cube gallery, an indirect hommage to Donald Judd. I'd hand-pulled the ink across the screen to serigraph every individual copy of the invitation to the opening myself on hand made paper and had written a 23 page treatise to explain the work, but he didn't want to read it or hear it. He looked and simply said - "You have arrived".

We sipped wine, me in my burgundy colored velvet dress, Rodger in his signature jeans and turtleneck. I didn't believe him. Looking back on that time, I sometimes think it was probably the biggest mistake of my life to hold out with the naive idea that life deliver more content before a person can take themselves seriously, and sometimes I think that there was some precocious wisdom at work there.

There is a certain syntax at work as a person pieces their way, one by one, billet by billet, voyage by voyage, into the creation of a body of work that can be called life work. A vocation is found, sometimes early, sometimes late, and it is in that siren's calling that we find our passion. As the pieces fit together for me, vignettes summarize the activities that nurture and sustain me spiritually. At a point in a person's life, any person's life, they can suddenly name it. The choice presents itself and sometimes it is easy to ease it in among the rest.

The kitchen is the most basic studio for creation - I can find the perfect cyclical patterns arising on a life-sized scale, no monumental accomplishments or revolution at play here, and no single edition miniatures labored over by teams of artisans, but stories that slide naturally into our lives and our minds, like playing cards in bicycle spokes, ideas that repeat, make rythems, fill us, recharge us. I can put some mindful effort into practice here, day after day, every side of me.

We are repeating what has been done for thousands of years, everyone to their own degree and within their context. The aesthetic and ritual of nourishment. It is ageless and can be classed in so many subcategories and styles, but when it is all amassed together, it encompasses every single individual human memory.

We all associate food rituals intimately with the experiences that form us, eras that shape our personalities, our memories, memories of our mothers kitchens, and stories of their mother's kitchens. We accumulate it all into our senses. Sometimes we gather it like cotton wool to be spun into threads that will be used to suspend or support other activites or ideas, and sometimes we can take it simply like a wide open spring Saturday that leaves us happy and tired by the heat of the fire. When we can abandon ourselves to the light and the air and then turn our attention to our collective work suspended over the hearth, without ever having the need to suspend our hopes beyond what is right before us - I know we have arrived.

The month of March here in Lyon has been particularly balmy. Loic and I remember the chill of the dark months and we appreciate the sun on our skin and the sun's first products still now pushing from the earth, yet we also appreciate the warmth of the hearth like no other time. Spring begins with putting up and putting out. It is a time when light fills our mornings and evenings again, opening new doors for creation. The new vegetables, in France called légumes primeurs, are on their way. We remember and talk about last spring's salads and the delicate flavors that await us as the bitter greens make their last show at the market, and we rub our hands together in anticipation of what we know is coming.

Fran goes out to dig in her garden, and my little irises begin to pop out of the soil in my window box. What color will they be? I've forgotten what she said, the lady who sold me parsley roots and iris bulbs to push into the window box last autumn. They'll be blooming soon. I'll see then.

We had a taste of something completely different today. It got me really thinking because of it. For that, I thank La Vache qui Rit. My dining companions all seemed get something amusing out of the experience of unpeeling these little babies. These have been around since the 70s and have made a comeback on the French market. Looking at the illustration on the wrapper, what do you think is at play here?

Apericubes hold a strange appeal for many of the French people I know.
I don't understand it.

Today we had lunch at Aude's and she presented us with some Pop Art at apero. My heart still lies with the minimalists, I must say, although we did enjoy a great afternoon.

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Blogger Mimi said...

Exquisite, Lucy! As always.

I've always wondered why the cow is laughing. Personally, I think it's those crazy earrings. Too, too much symmetry in that look. . .

9:17 PM, March 18, 2007  
Blogger wheresmymind said...

I always ponder if the cow is laughing all the way to the glue factory *grin*

4:31 PM, March 19, 2007  
Anonymous ann said...

oh god I adore laughing cow cheese! it's the perfect road trip food. At one of the Polish delis in our new neighborhood here in Brooklyn they sell mushroom, herb and sausage flavored variations on this creamy, foil wrapped cheese theme. It makes me very anxious for summer to get here so I can jump in a car and drive far away to some place oceany...

1:49 PM, March 21, 2007  
Blogger Betty C. said...

We haven't bought these for ages, but I remember we used to buy them when the kids were younger -- they loved them, even though they didn't like the normal "Vache qui Rit" cheese...

1:36 PM, March 25, 2007  
Anonymous jennifer said...

The photo's of the cheese are adorable!

3:09 AM, April 04, 2007  

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