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A Japanese company is selling Spain’s botched art restorations as keychains

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Spain’s botched art restorations have found a niche in Japan thanks to a series of keychains dubbed “Failed restorations” or Shufuku Shuppai in Japanese. These items are distributed in plastic capsules called Gashapon that can be found in vending machines in train stations, airports and recreational centers.

One of the works that has been turned into a keychain is the infamous restoration of the Ecce Homo painting inside the Sanctuary of Mercy in Borja, in Spain’s Aragón region, which was disfigured beyond recognition by a local amateur artist in 2012. The painting of Jesus went viral on social media, turning into a social phenomenon, with international journalists traveling to the small village to see the work, and artists in the United States creating an entire opera in its honor.

The advertising for the keychains, which are made by the company Rainbow, features a caricature of a woman holding a spatula in tribute to Cecilia Giménez, the elderly woman from Borja behind the Ecce Homo restoration. The caricature is also a nod to an amateur artist from Rañadoiro in Asturias, who in 2018 painted wooden figures dating back to the 15th and 16th century in lurid pinks, purples and greens. This botched restoration is also included in the Japanese keychain series.

In total, Rainbow has made keychains out of four failed restoration attempts – the Ecce Homo and the 15th-century wooden figures, as well as the failed attempt to fix a copy of the famous painting The Immaculate Conception of Los Venerables by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, and the cartoonish work on a 16th-century sculpture of Saint George in Navarre. Hideyuki Toyoda, the president of Rainbow, says that his company usually makes around 10,000 copies of each keychain image, but in the case of the Spanish works only 1,000 copies have been made of each.

Rainbow had never before worked with Spanish cultural references, nor does the company have business in Spain. Toyoda explains the idea was to do something different. “We wanted to make an unusual product,” he tells this newspaper. “That someone without any experience could deform an artwork from the past is unthinkable in Japan. The public reaction has been so good – the 4,000 units have sold out and the company has even received requests from abroad – that we have been encouraged to do a second series.” The new series, which will be available from January, will include more recent failed restorations, like the sloppy workmanship on a statue in Palencia.

The irreverent humor of these unfortunate restorations makes them perfect for Gashapon collectibles, which also include images of miniature manga characters, art parodies, as well as real and imagined animals. A Japanese manufacturer came up with the idea for the plastic capsules in the 1960s, in response to the first US vending machines, which were considered unhygienic because they dispensed toys and candy simultaneously without any packaging.

Although the toys were initially targeted at children, Gashapons have become popular with all ages and are now found in train stations and airports. The business is estimated to make €270 million a year and around 150 new figures are created every month.

 

Read from source: https://english.elpais.com/verne/2020-12-17/a-japanese-company-is-selling-spains-botched-art-restorations-as-keychains.html

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Bryan Adams dedicates Pirelli’s 2022 calendar to ‘the great stars of music’

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cnn– Pirelli has unveiled “On the Road,” its 2022 calendar starring some of the music industry’s biggest names, including Iggy Pop, Cher, Grimes and Jennifer Hudson. This edition of the renowned calendar, which was put on pause last year due to the coronavirus, was shot by Canadian singer-turned-photographer Bryan Adams and is dedicated to the “greatest talents in the world of music,” according to a news release.

“On the road is where I have been for the last 45 years,” Adams said in the statement, “because the life of a musician is made up of roads, travel, waiting in hotels, hours backstage.”
Since 1964, the Pirelli Calendar has been interpreted by a total of 37 photographers — including Annie Leibovitz, Mario Testino and Herb Ritts — and has featured an impressive roster of talent, such as models Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell and actors Sophia Loren and Maggie Cheung. For the 2017 calendar, Peter Lindbergh captured a throng of Hollywood actors, including Uma Thurman and Kate Winslet, in a series of stripped-back, black-and-white portraits.
The 2022 version, which is the Italian tire company’s 48th edition, is a curated glimpse into the life of a touring artist. From the glamorous multi-story billboards that tower above street level to the remnants of room service: silver cloches strewn aside, half-eaten salads and empty water tumblers. The photographs follow a playful narrative arc: each month, Adams introduces not only a new star but a new scene.
For May, the phrase “entering backstage” introduces three images of Cher strutting through an unnamed venue’s labyrinthine hallways like a stage manager. In November, only the word “aftershow” accompanies several photos of Rita Ora posing inside a bathtub, absentmindedly pouring liquor over the edge. Each month is timestamped, too, meaning Adams’ story of life on the road is neatly packaged to represent the span of a single day: beginning in January at 7:45 a.m. and stretching into the small hours of a December morning at 4:12 a.m.
It’s rockstar iconography at it’s finest, drawing on the beloved — if not slightly clichéd — imagery of smashed lipsticks, abandoned microphones and stars perched atop pianos. The entire calendar was shot in just three days, with most celebrities photographed in Los Angeles at the Chateau Marmont or the Palace Theatre, while photos of Saweetie were taken from Hotel La Scalinatella in Capri, Italy.
Adams’ himself closes the calendar, with an aviator-clad self-portrait and the wistful kicker: “On the way to the next show.”

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The Great British Bake Off crowns its 2021 winner

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bbc– Spoiler alert! If you do not want to know the result of the Great British Bake Off final, please look away now…

Giuseppe celebrated victory on Tuesday after what judges on the Channel 4 show described as the closest finale yet.

The 45-year-old Bristol resident pipped this year’s fellow finalists Chigs and Crystelle, who all had to make food for a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

“There are no words, I am speechless for once,” said the show’s first Italian winner.

In the final episode, he made dough filled with chocolate and hazelnuts, shaped in the form of a giant mushroom. He also produced mango and passion fruit panna cottas, orange and fig heart-shaped muffins, and asparagus and pea-filled choux pastries shaped like a caterpillar.

Series 12 of the show saw a dozen bakers initially enter the Bake Off bubble at the start of the competition in September, before judges Paul Hollywood and Dame Prue Leith turned the heat up on them with a series of knock-out challenges over 10 episodes.

They set the final three bakers three tasks: to make carrot cake, produce Belgian buns and recreate a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, while showing four different baking disciplines.

The victorious Giuseppe dedicated his win to his parents. “All I can think of is the reaction from my mum and dad,” he continued.

“The fact is that everything I have done to deserve this comes from his [my dad’s] heritage, it’s the best thank you note I can possibly send him.

“He is going through a very bad time health-wise, so I think this is going to be a great boost.

“I don’t say often or lightly that I am proud of what I do, but in this case I am really proud of what I have done. It’s unbelievable!”

Italian job

Giuseppe’s achievement arrives in the same year that his compatriots won Euro 2020 and Eurovision. “I feel it’s been a great year for Italy,” he noted on the show.

“I truly can’t believe it or take it in, this has made me so incredibly happy to be a Britalian. Dell’Anno is my surname which translates in English to ‘of the year’ – and I feel this has certainly been my year.”

Hollywood said he had “done an incredible job”.

“The first time I walked into the tent and in the first signature I saw his mini rolls, I thought that looks like our winner, you could see the heart and soul going into his baking,” declared the judge.

Fellow judge, the recently-honoured Dame Prue added: “He is such a classic beautiful baker and he represents a long tradition of classic Italian baking. He has done it brilliantly all the way through.

“I am going home to make much more Italian cakes because they really are good.”

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Provocative art exhibition opens in Italy amid Chinese embassy protests

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cnn– At a museum in Brescia, northern Italy, Shanghai-born artist Badiucao is making final adjustments to an exhibition that has enraged Chinese officials.
Images of President Xi Jinping and Winnie the Pooh — a tongue-in-cheek comparison now widely censored on Chinese social media — hang alongside a tribute to Wuhan whistleblower Li Wenliang and a depiction of riot police pursuing a protestor. Mock posters for the forthcoming Winter Olympics show a snowboarder sliding across a CCTV camera and a biathlete pointing a rifle towards a blindfolded Uighur prisoner.
Badiucao’s provocative new works will be unveiled to the public on Saturday, despite protests from Chinese diplomats. In a letter to Brescia’s mayor, the country’s embassy in Rome said the artworks are “full of anti-Chinese lies,” and that they “distort the facts, spread false information, mislead the understanding of the Italian people and seriously injure the feelings of the Chinese people,” according to local newspaper Giornale di Brescia.
For the dissident artist, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Australia since 2009, the spat comes as little surprise.
“It’s almost impossible (to) avoid offending the Chinese government these days,” he says, showing CNN around the exhibition ahead of its opening. “Anything could be sensitive; anything could be problematic.”
Since the embassy lodged its complaint last month, museum officials and local politicians have framed the show — titled “La Cina (non) è Vicina,” or “China is (not) near” — as a symbol of free speech.
“I have to say, I had to read the letter twice because it surprised me,” Brescia’s deputy mayor, Laura Castelletti, recounts, calling it “an intrusion on a city’s artistic, cultural decision.” The request to cancel the show, she adds, has only “attracted more attention.”
The Brescia Museum Foundation’s president, Francesca Bazoli, meanwhile says that going ahead with the exhibition “was a matter of freedom of artistic expression.”
The Chinese embassy in Rome has not responded to CNN’s repeated requests for comment.

Ongoing censorship

A thorn in the Chinese Communist Party’s side for more than a decade, Badiucao has established a reputation for poking fun at politicians and prodding at sensitive topics, from the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre to the treatment of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo.
Last month, outspoken basketball star Enes Kanter — who has called out the Chinese government for alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Tibet — was pictured wearing several pairs of custom sneakers designed by the artist. The shoes, controversially worn on court during various NBA games, carried messages including “Free Tibet” and “Made with Slave Labor.”
The once-anonymous Badiucao came to prominence in 2011, when he began posting cartoons about China’s handling of Wenzhou high-speed train crash to the microblogging site Sina Weibo. The images were repeatedly censored, and even though he is now an Australian citizen, the country’s authorities have clamped down on his work ever since.
In 2018, a planned exhibition of his art in Hong Kong was canceled due to “safety concerns.” Organizers attributed the decision to “threats made by the Chinese authorities,” and the artist later revealed that members of his family in China had been contacted by officials ahead of the show. Admitting that his cover “had been compromised,” he unveiled his identity in 2019 after years of anonymity,
Badiucao says he is regularly harassed — and occasionally threatened — online, where he posts a regular stream of searing cartoons to Twitter and Instagram. “It’s like a battleground and that’s how you can use visual language and internet memes and that’s how you can dissolve the authority of censorship,” he says.
Given the political and commercial pressures facing his collaborators, the decision to proceed with the show makes Brescia “a role model for the rest of the world,” he adds.
“As an artist I have experienced censorship so many times, for so many years and in so many places — not just in China or Hong Kong, but also in Australia and in many other countries,” he says. “I rarely have an opportunity like this, to show (my work at an exhibition), because all the galleries, curators and museums worry that if they showcase my art … then they’re jeopardizing their Chinese market.
“China is very good at using its capital and money to control, manipulate and silence people’s criticism — and this is how it’s reflected in our world, the art market.”

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