Sunday, November 29, 2015

Gran Canaria Day 8: Art, Walking along the Port and Gelato--A trifecta!

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.”
Albert Einstein, The World As I See It

Interior view of CAAM (Central Atlantic Art Museum) decorated by Paul. This was formed from the "bones" of an 18th century building. Very modern. There is a small interior courtyard that still pays homage to the old building.
Today, I swore I refused to rise prior to 10 AM. Wrong....but I did make it until 9am which is a personal best so far for loafing this vacation (if you don't count the initial jet lag allowance.) After breakfast at our hotel, we ventured out to the Vegeuta area of Las Palmas. The town seems to be divided into about three sections. The La Cantera beach area where we are staying (and home to supposedly the best beach in Europe), the Vegeuta area which is the true downtown with its aged edifices and winding, narrow streets and La Isleta at the far end of La Cantera. You can go there, but you need a permit,since much of it is a military instillation.

A good thing is that Sunday is the Spanish day for the family, so some of the museums were closed. But the Central Atlantic Art Museum (modern art) was open with abbreviated hours. A modern art museum nearly always suits us just fine. This museum does not have a permanent collection, but keeps several temporary exhibits. Today, they had an exhibit by Juliao Sarmento (who has a permanent collection at the Tate Modern in London as well), Abraham Lacalle, a Spaniard, and Santiago Ydanez, a quirky Spanish artist who was probably my favorite of the three. Lotsa humor on this last guy, whom I was not familiar with at all.

This exhibit was called below my breasts. There were a number of these sketch-like paintings with typed words and book passages.

A film by Sarmento from about 2003. The lady in the film walks into the studio, stands dressed in front of a white wall and undresses, then dresses. Not a lot of fanfare, but the film is pretty interesting because it is run in reverse and has obviously been spliced and sped up/slowed down in segments to create some fascinating visuals, especially with her long dark hair.
Sarmiento is Portuguese and apparently, this is his first exhibit in the Canaries entitled, Guest or Host. This is said to relate to his the artist hosting to the scenes for you, but stays outside of them as well. The exhibit was designed to walk through the repetitive themes of Sarmiento's works: eroticism, memory and desire with cultural allusions of film and literature. The above pictured film was really fascinating, but my favorite film was one in which a model read the work "the House that Jack built" and used plastic figures lined up to represent the house, the malt, the rat, the cat, the dog, the maid, the man, the priest, the cock and the farmer from the old Mother Goose nursery rhyme. I doubt many people know this rhyme anymore and someone a bit younger probably associates The House that Jack Built with Metallica, but this was the Goose! Really funny video and classic Sarmiento.

This exhibit basically used only the plume from atomic test explosions OR the Niagara falls to reinterpret them in a number of ways. Above, as a hairdo or cotton candy. This was in the student section of the exhibit.

A section of the museum is dedicated to the students of the University school of art. I loved the exhibit above. That area is the only surviving portion of the old building which was also nice to see.
The courtyard of the very modern art museum pays respect to its predecessor by preserving the courtyard area. Student art is displayed here.
The next artist on exhibit is an unknown to me, Abraham Lacalle. I really liked his work however and it was entitled War Paint. He has some prior series I am unfamiliar with called Jail, Landscapes, Battlefields,and A Place Where Nothing Happens. This series is meant to be A Place Where Dreadful Things Happen and explores death, loneliness and devastation. Most of the paintings were on bare, unframed paper and were with black/white/grey themes or else bursting with color. It was quite a contrast to see these different works.
A room of works by Abraham Lacalle meant to represent the "darker elements of life."

Abraham Lacalle. I love that he let the paint run with gravity.

A much different and perspective from Lacalle with brilliant colors captured on plain paper and also reflected on the marble floor of the museum. The couple seen in intense study of the work seemed to be a part of the mystery of the art itself.

The last artist on display was another unknown to me, Santiago Ydanez. This gent was born in 1969 but didn't really burst onto the Spanish art scene until the late 1990s. He has a really great sense of humor in his painting.  His exhibit was entitled Side Glance.
Santiage Ydanez shows us some humor.

This was a wonderful series of knife sets that are boxed. He has painted the inside lids with a variety of diverse images including baby pictures, women diving, birds, fencers. Let's not talk about the dogs second from the left....bad boy Santiago!

Apparently he likes to paint eyes onto sharp objects.
I have to say a special word about Ydanez next painting which is of a German sheperd. We talked to a docent specifically about this painting of a German sheperd which was literally painted onto the wall of the museum. She told us he painted the entire thing in 2 hours and used the wall itself to mix the colors. It was quite spectacular.
Ydanez painted this directly onto the wall of the museum. The foreground is the floor and you see the corner of the wall near the dog's front paws.
After seeing this wonderful series of exhibits, Paul and I were able to do some Canarian Christmas shopping in the art gift shop. And then, Mr. Parris needed sustenance.

I can't say cheese because I am eating cheese.
We were able to make a visit inside the church, but since mass was being spoken, no intensive perusal was possible at this time. We will likely go back later.

Interior view of Cathedral Santa Ana. Yes, we prayed for your house to sell AGAIN!
From here, we walked back to the Playa Cantera area along the waterfront. This is a pretty busy port. We passed many docks, container ships anchored at the dock and in the harbor, cruise ships, many yachts and pleasure boats and a bustling marina area. It was about 4 miles back to the hotel. I needed the walk, because I want to eat a nice dinner tonight!

Container ships and the dock area

Someone besides us is having a good time in this area!

After completing about 7 miles of walking for the day, my husband asked the obvious question: Where is the closest gelato shop? We found it about a half mile away on the beach.

Gelato on a beach at sunset? Count me in.
We enjoyed watching the sunset over La Isleta.
Not too shabby.
On our way back to the hotel, we found a shop that was the equivalent of everything's a dollar. We needed some tape to bring our wine purchases which we hope to make later in the week back in one piece. So we went in for duct tape, but they had the world's weirdest collection of items.
And you thought you had never seen a purple cow.
We usually send my mother in law a postcard, but that seemed inadvisable here.
Or she might like them....what happened to pictures of sand dunes and such??? :)
We were also impressed by some really wonderful sand carvings which included an insect farm, a Christmas tree and this wonderful carving of Brahms.

Wonderful sand band.
Our last project of the day was getting an outstanding meal. For this, we referenced the Michelin guide. Paul was telling me how the Michelin guide was a "happy accident" generated by the tire company from France generating a list of places to eat along the highway.  No restaurant here has even a single star, but several have a recommendation. Tonight we chose the Hotel Santa Catalina's kitchen at La Terraza. The chef, Thomas Leeb, hails from Austria and has a definite golden touch. We had lovely gin and tonics in the "piano bar"--there was a piano with no one playing it. :)  Gin and tonic is something of an obsession and art form in Spain which is right up Paul Parris's alley. WARNING to the undereducated: FOOD PORN ALERT! Do not view this while hungry.

Gran Canarian Crazy American tourists preparing to chow down

Gintonic (yes, they run the two words together here) ala Canaria. Really pretty.

Our Canarian wine selection

Scallops in lemon foam with coriander sauce, lemongrass pearls and trout roe.  Amazing. Thank you Michelin guide!

Paul's entree: Deer steak and pears with chestnut puree

My entree--beef tenderloin with Bernaise. Too delicious!

The Hotel Santa Catalina. We swear everyone else there was British and at least 60+ but it seems to make for an outstanding menu selection. Thank you British Colonies. Something went right. We won't mention the rest...mostly because we have no room to criticize. :(
So another lovely day on Gran Canaria. A little art, some great gastronomy (even that was artful)  and about 7.5 miles of walking about to make item #2 possible,

“Art and love are the same thing: It’s the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you.”
Chuck Klosterman, Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story

Paul's Ponderings:  Slow day in Las Palmas, which we think we deserved!   We did enjoy the art museum and a bit of light dining here and there prior to our dinner.    Then, the main event, a Michelin listed restaurant at the Hotel Santa Catalina, which was fabulous all around.   Keep in mind that most food here is imported, putting aside fruits and a few odds and most of our meal was "not from here".

The weather here was overcast and cool all day, which mean no beach time, but still warm....around 70 degrees Farenheit all day.   We still ended up walking about 7.5 miles on level ground, regardless of the off day!   

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