Category Archives: Art

The entrance halls of Tbilisi


Whenever I was in Tbilisi before, I had an urge to push doors open. «There must be magic to discover behind its enchanting doors », my inner nudge was saying. And so it is. .

The magic of stained glass by Italian masters, on doors crafted by Georgian carpenters, framed by unique patterns of metal shaped in laces by Armenian blacksmiths, leading to halls adorned by Renaissance or Moorish style paintings on walls and ceilings … all this beauty as a celebration of our diversity giving birth to something amazing.

There are so many wonderful buildings in Sololaki through which German, Italian, Georgian, Armenian and Russian architects expressed their love for the beauty of this city.

Teleworking week 3: view from home


While teleworking, I discovered that routine is queen. Yet, I remember that it is a constitutional monarchy. Dancing and crying and hugging and feeling sad are not under her rule. I can do any or all of that, if I feel like. No permission from the queen-routine required.

At the first walk-around-the-block since this started: « Mom, I have an impression I am walking with a toddler…». I was beyond myself from the sun and air and river view. Never in my life the view of a swimming water rat excited me to levels I never knew. I promise, my child, I’ll grow swiftly back into your mom.

As we cannot go and greet the spring, the way we used to, we turn to art. Thank you Conny Famm for your “State of soul”.

My shopping patterns changed. I cancelled orders. That’s a first for me. Instead, I redirected the money to a local initiative of chefs cooking for hospitals’ staff in the region – Des repas pour les anges gardiens. And in my home country through Diaconia

The fight for internal resources – the one and only laptop in the house – ended with a gentlemen agreement.

I “went” to a ballet performance. « LAC » by Jean-Christophe Maillot at Monte Carlo Opera, courtesy of Monaco plus.

I seriously upgraded my emoji use skills. From novice to intermediate. I am still very far from the emoji-master in my house. I’ve got something to aspire to.

We welcomed a new precious member into our family and thank him for reminding us of the gift of life. We wish him a happy and long life! And we promise to be more conscious of what we do to mother Earth and how we treat each other.

The queen of French cuisine, Anne-Sophie Pic, by BBC reel


From “I was not the chosen one because I was a girl” to the queen of French cuisine and one of only a few women to ever receive three stars since the Michelin Guide began giving them out to restaurants in 1926 – Anne-Sophie Pic. BBC made a wonderful video where she does not stay shy from narrating her path and shedding light on the unseen aspects of the life of a restaurant.

Behind the perfection we see on the outside there is relentless work and dedication to find the balance between “being bold and maintaining harmony”. Truly inspirational for cuisine and any line of work where divine creativity and excellent service are a royal couple.

Monaco’s open-air art


What I love about discovering Monaco is that it offers more than meets the eye. The art on street and in public spaces is not scarce in a place of exclusivity. I also love the art in the open on trips with my kid, when patience to visit museums is at its low. And you can continue to enjoy that ice-cream 🙂

Here is a selection of only a few art items on display in Monaco:

Sky mirror, by Anish Kapoor, a British artist

The sculpture “brings” the heaven on earth due to its special lenses. It was a gift by Lily Safra to the Principality. You can find it in front of Monte Carlo Casino.

Adam and Eve, by Fernando Botero, Columbian artist

Botero is known for mixing harmoniously naive primitivism, grotesque, kitch, folklore, Italian renaissance and colonial Barocco. “Adam and Eve” is a 900 kg, 3 meters high sculpture, placed behind the Casino.

Woman smoking a cigarette is another of Botero’s sculptures you can find in The Roses Garden of Fontveille.

Woman snake, by Mateo Mormar, Croatian artist

Mormar is a world renown sculpture who lives and Monaco. This sculpture depicts harmony between humans and animals through difference (mind the contrast of lines). The sculpture was created in 2010 and it took 2 years of work.

Hexa Grace, by Vasarely Foundation

It symbolises the sky, sea and land and was installed on the roof of Fairmont in 1979, to delight the visitors eyes.

Last but not least of my favourites, is the Jean-Baptiste le Monégasque bronze sculpture by Rachid Khimoune, French sculptor. You can find it behind the Gremaldi forum. img_1560

One of my favourite in Jardin de Paris – Homage a Lao Tseu by Marino di Teana:


Wonderful encounters


Sometimes all you have to do is open a door. 

Last week, I opened the door into the world of a French artist. His name is Rachid Madani. His studio is in Strasbourg. I often passed by his studio and admired the pastel, warm colours of his creations. I wanted to buy some of his wonderful cards. I love to have a stock to give them to friends to say thank you or just mark a moment. 

I pushed the door and was greeted with a warm pastel voice. My daugher joined me so he spoke to us about the book he wrote "Le turban du sultan" and about his culture. 

I did not have cash with me so had to borrow some from my kid's pocket money. "I did the same this morning", he told us in a moment of complicity.  He offered her one of his cards "Le jour se leve". 

If you are in Strasbourg, open the door to l'atelier d'Art MADANI, 16, rue Sleidan. 

More info on the artist, in French

What I love about Italy


2 of 3 kids at the play ground are with their daddies.

The internet connection knows it’s Sunday and there is no need to hurry.

Poetry on receipts: caffetteria -pasticceria Dolci Penseri, Caffe Diemme, Coronelli, gelateria Dovesi, cafe Pascuci, Sbagliato, sbagliatissimo, Gianduoso, Montebianco caramel, café Medaglia d’oro, café saccaria, La Scintilla il gelato di classe, ….

mondayTwo platforms number six in a railway station.

Waiters asking for my kid’s name every time we come for dinner.

Best risotto marinara by a handsome chef

You can never tell for sure whether two Italians argue or simply talk

Large terraces for an espresso to enjoy for an hour.

A seventy something waitress serving you an amazing cappuccino and flirting with your husband at the same

A cook speaking your language.

Italian mood like weather.

Almost deserted beaches/bagno in mid September

Piazze and piazzale that take you by surprise around the corner

No need to speak Italian to play football on the beach with Italian kids and have great fun

Vero gelato: best stracciatella magnum wrapped in a huge owner’s smile. And the owner is a vero gelato award winner!

The joy they meet you at the coffee shop the second and third and forth time you come back for the best latte macchiato

When strangers you meet call your daughter bellissima and you know it’s a compliment to mothers as well

Open air theater performances in piazze and piazzale on Sundaysperformafis

Mondays are naturally days off

3 hour lunch breaks

Wifi free beaches

Italian style breakfast: espresso with newspapers. Well, we also ask occasionally for a croissant to add it a personalised touch

My first vegan ice cream: panna riso

Flower terraces on every roof

The sounds of marcato / markets

Train connections to every corner you wish

Italians name their Ville & Villette

italiansLadies in evening slim dresses and yellow Valentino high heels on a bicycle

Wine producers selling their wine in an open air market and insisting that you taste it first. How can you refuse to buy it afterwards?!photo-29

Love advice on sugar packets: “Se ami una persona lasciala libera, se poi torna da te e tua per sempre.”

Same goes for my love for Italy 🙂

Great on the street, great on the stage: artists create a flash mob


The country I work and live in at the moment is modest in cultural events. Premiers are rare and are usually met with moderate enthusiasm by the public. And it’s a pity, as local artists would probably be the winners of ‘most devoted’ category in an Oscar’s world.537090_265622570238085_1474290529_n

So I wouldn’t have left the flash mob created by local actors unnoticed. Look at these pictures! What do they tell you?… Is it how much colour a person can bring to a dull afternoon in the middle of an apathetic crowd? Or how much devotion artists may demonstrate by going to the public instead of waiting for the public to come to them in one of poorest countries in Europe, where the salary of an actor is about 200 Euro/month and the most expensive theatre entry ticket is about 6 Euro? …

548692_265622603571415_1781967754_nI wish there were interviews with actors and people who witnessed the flash mob to gather its effects. I would have been ecstatic by such a close contact!

These pictures made me pushy on all my local friends urging them to go and see the play. And praise the artists, the play director and the author for persevering with the mission of enriching hearts and souls of an apathetic crowd, which does not know it needs the love and devotion of these humble servants of art perhaps even more than artists need it.

The play is called “Invisible photographs and clowns” by Val Butnaru. It’s the story of a betrayal, disappointment and emotional investment in a profit-free industry (Photos by Aurel Obreja).

Martha Argerich: when music talks


I love to talk about non-lady-gaga people of our times. Sorry, Lady Gaga, nothing personal.images

Martha Argerich is one of greatest pianists of the 20th Century. I “met” her at my gym, on the screen of one of those treadmills connected non-stop to Euronews. It was one of her rare interviews. She is charismatic when she talks, with her fingers painting in the air. She is even more charismatic when she plays piano. She seems to become part of the piano. Or is it the piano that becomes part of her? The critic Alex Ross put it best in a 2001 article about Martha Argerich for The New Yorker : “her unerring naturalness of phrasing allows her to embody the music rather than interpret it”.

I wondered what is her native language, as she did the interview for Euronews in German, just to realise a minute later that music is her language.

She was born in 1941 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A cancer survivor, her belief is „music makes sense only when shared’.

Same goes for writing, my take.

Enjoy! Ravel Piano Concerto:

Recycled Orchestra


“The World sends us garbage. We send back music” Favio Chavez, Orchestra Director

This is how the teaser for the upcoming documentary “Landfill Harmonic starts.

Simple words. Powerful love message. Anything can be recycled with Love.

” The film introduces the town of Cateura, a slum in Paraguay built atop a landfill where residents have created music from the trash heaped upon them. Scouring the rubbish, the determined music-lovers have built violins, cellos, and other classical instruments, resulting in the “Recycled Orchestra.”

This kind of happy encounters warm your heart and produce a mental shift into better at a time when you most need it.

Think about it: what is worth it and what is not: the orchestra plays in a place ‘where a violin costs more than a house” 🙂

Orsay’s new exhibition about Félix Thiollier


If in Paris, go to the Musée d’Orsay’s new exhibition about Félix Thiollier, a 19th-century French photographer. The exhibition displays more than 150 photographs and is divided into two parts: the country and the town. The first is more uneven than the second. As a landscape photographer, Thiollier had an eye for cloud effects and the light cast by a low sun, but many of his shots of fields, woodland and rivers feel competent rather than revelatory. His pictures of farmers, fishermen, shepherds and hunters, on the other hand, hum with life and personality. In the 1890s, he took a series of portraits of rural people, which are wonderfully informal. An old lady with wrinkled skin and rheumy eyes sits on a bank of long grass. Two cows haul a wooden cart, spontaneity emanating from the blurry flick of one of their tails. He captures a shepherdess and her son in a misty field through a clearing between a hedge and a tree’s branches. It’s a lyrical moment, and the impression is of Thiollier walking the countryside, documenting life just as he found it.
his exhibition is a fascinating window on a time of change; half elegy for a way of life passing away, half record of another in its infancy. One photograph in the last room sums up the flux. A man stands with a flock sheep on the edge of town while chimneys smoke behind him. Nearly 100 years after his death, this is Thiollier’s first exhibition. He deserves others.

“Félix Thiollier (1842-1914), photographs” is at the Musée d’Orsay until March 10th