Thursday, May 7, 2009
Museums and Escargots
Another museum. Actually, they are all different and very accessible in this tiered city. The next museum to find (2 buses for this one) was the Le Brute museum with exhibits of artwork by people who might not otherwise be noticed: those with brain disorders, developmentally challenged, ADHD and any other special ed. term that comes to mind. Sounds like this would be a really wild and crazy exhibit. Au contraire.
These were self taught people who used art to express their feelings, kind of like Grandma Moses who was also self taught. Some art pieces were very intricate line drawings of people (schema averaged about age 10), repetition was prominent, artwork could be very small or very large covering a big wall. Color played a big part and the use of crayons were obvious. The art was aesthetic and easy to look at. Nothing wild and crazy here.
The most unusual was a collection of line drawings by a woman who was a Holocaust survivor. (not all artists had brain injury) She had survived two concentration camps and saw many people die, including her own family. She felt that those who died needed some dignity to their death and in Jewish death rites (I could be wrong on this, please correct me if you know differently) a shroud is placed over the face or the body (i.e. Jesus Christ, a Jew, for instance was shrouded in the tomb) She has line drawn weavings that would fit on the face for over 500 people at last count. EAch shroud is different in drawing. It's an amazing exhibit and certainly pays respect to those who died in the camps.
Much of the artwork in the museum reflected a developmental level of 9-12 yr. olds. Some were retarded individuals who have lived way beyond what was expected and spent most of their lives in an institution. Doing art was a way of "explaining" how they were feeling, just like kids that age would do in art class. Some of the artwork took weeks, months to do and the artists truly labored over their pieces. Interesting.
I spent a long time in this museum. To be able to "read" the right brain of a person who has no other way of expression was very interesting to me. I vowed to read more on it.
Then, it was time for lunch. I had passed a German/French restaurant and decided I would go in.
Bonjour - bonjour. Proper etiquette. The waiter asked - "Une?" Oui I replied. Repas? Oui monsieur. Un menu? Oui. Boisson? Du l'eau s'il vous plait. Dans une botteille s'il vous plait. And then - Attendez!- vin. Ah,Vin rouge madame? Oui monsieur. Little glass of red wine, water for the afterthought.
I contemplated my menu, recognizing lots of great stuff. And then the ESCARGOTS. Lunch in tiny shells. Parfait! So I ordered my garlicky olive oil snails - and the waiter looked at me and said "sixe!" Oui I said, SIXE. He held up six fingers. Well, yeah, I want all six of them! -- It's tough being a foreigner!
So I had my escargots, bread, wine - happy camper. Read my book and sat next to the window. It was a delightful lunch. I paid in Swiss francs. I'm getting really good at this money stuff here. But the weight of 5 franc coins is incredible. The sooner I can spend these babies, the lighter my bag will be. Not to mention my wallet. Not a problem spending them!
Time to head back to the apartment as I didn't want to be caught in 5 o'clock rush on the buses. The other consideration is that between 2 and 4 you have all the kids coming home from school and the buses are loaded with teens. They were more interesting than any of the museums. Between the makeup, the hair (spikey, colors like a watercolor box), face piericings, nose, eyebrows, lips, all over - and constant chatter. Not loud, but constant. And polite.
The bus always stopped in front of the COOP where I could get some provisions for dinner and of course - a bottle of wine. No bad wine in this supermarket! And certainly not your regular supermarket wine like in the US. You could even get Chateau Neuf de Pape, mon farovite.
Christopher had a long day that continued into a rehearsal that night for the "OZ" a theater group that he belongs to. He graciously invited me along and my drama influences couldn't resist of course. AFter riding the bus to the end of the line, we alighted in a suburban area where the theater group met. Christopher introduced me to some wonderful new people, all English speaking. After a day of my very lame French - but it got me what I wanted! - it was nice to speak English. The theatrical production is so much fun - I was the only audience. The participants were all self taught singers and they sounded so professional. The woman in charge could have played Broadway with her beautiful voice. Another singer did "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" - my favorite song. She was good.
It was a long day - buses back to the apartment late at night. Surprisingly it is very easy and safe to travel alone, as a woman even, on buses and trains at night here. I would have no problem going out at night if I wanted to. The mind was willing, the body wasn't --- I was still in training for stairs and hills.
Photo: Bus stop for St. Francois in Lausanne