Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Can you see how light from the lamp reflected on the wall looks like a dental x-ray?

Flowers and nightlight

From Johan.

The flowers, I mean. The nightlight I bought off a guy in the street for $10.

Napoleons and Cream

How's this for a Monday night dessert? It's our fellow gourmande Nicole who's back at our place, spoiling us rotten:O)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Gamle hugorm og krigsinvalid

"Old viper snake and wartime cripple" - that's an improvized translation of a nickname my dad will use for my sister and I on fitting occasions, and a name which I have lately taken to calling Johan as well.

Image from here.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Partners & Spade

Ever since I read an article about this place in NY Magazine, I've been wanting to go. Yesterday we did, and jesus, Johan and I were like kids in a candy store in there! I think I could have taken just about everything with me home, including a miniature felt suit, the want of which I've been suffering from since yesterday afternoon. Who would have known that's what I've been missing all this time;O)

It's only open to the public on weekends, but do check it out if you get the opportunity.


I have made two Elvis related observations within the past couple of days. One was in a restroom where someone had tagged "Elvis was a god to some, but he never meant shit to me" on the wall. The other was a cook book featuring Elvis' favorite recipes. It was for sale somewhere on 1st ave and the asking price was 3 bucks. And now I regret I didn't get it.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


I really am a materialist.

A nice one, I'd like to think. The kind that cares about the "right" material things (heh!), but still. I'm a materialist. I find such great comfort in having my stuff. And building a household. Which is why it pains me that I have to part ways with so many of my things, as transporting it across the Atlantic isn't very economical to say the least.

Yesterday I posted my sewing machine and all my sewing gear on craigslist. Admittedly I haven't used it as much as my mother has when she has been here visiting, making me curtains and pillows and upholstering furniture. But perhaps for that very reason it kind of came to embody something very social, a relation. Not just as a souvenir. When I sat there sorting through all the things in my sewing box, I wound up feeling I was parting ways with something almost animate.

It reminded me of a text I once read by a Paul Tapsell on "Taonga" - a within Maori culture treasured thing, which can be a piece of land, an artifact or even a language. He describes is as “threads from the past, acting as here, or guides” that “link up the interconnecting relationships within the genealogically patterned universe of (Maori) society”.

Perhaps I'm going a bit high faluting here. Cos it's just my sewing machine after all (or was my sewing machine, as I just sold it to a gay guy from the West Village, mid-blog-post-writing and all). But still. There's something very comforting about the idea of something material not merely representing social relations but somehow...hmmm, Embodying seems like such a lame term. Perhaps manifest serves my point better? Or perhaps "the sewing machine" becomes a very present articulation of my mother sitting in my half finished apartment, sewing away, doing everything in her might to help me make a nice home? That it actively makes the past act as here? Somehow.

I guess this was a bit much for a Saturday afternoon, especially seeing I should really be doing so many other things. But in any case, I made this dress yesterday as a farewell to my sewing machine. I guess it will have to be my new Taonga.

Provided Taonga can be transferred, of course. I should probably have looked that one up beforehand;O)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Someone, ├╝bermench me please!

Yours truly is a bit stressed out. It's not really a word I like much, but I think it's nonetheless a pretty accurate diagnosis. For the next couple of months, this is what I have lined up:

*Work (in multiple arenas).
*Write the final thesis for my master's program in art history.
*Apply for scholarships to fund my MPhil.
*Pack down the apartment and find a way to ship my belongings to either London or Copenhagen.
*Fix up the apartment through various paint jobs here and there.
*Rent out the apartment.
*Find a place in London.


Seeing I've never been a multitasker, this all feels a bit much, especially considering that there aren't really any of these things I can wrap up and finish in an afternoon. They're all longterm projects that need to be dealt with concurrently over a couple of months.

So I've been thinking it would be nice if some little fairy would drop down to our bedroom at night and sprinkle some superhumaness on me. Sprinkle, sprinkle, sprinkle, so that I could convince myself it can all be done without any stress. I think believing in it is really step one.

In my forth semester in University, back in what, let's see, 2004, I was that superhuman. I remember finishing the courseload of two semesters in one, writing my bachelor's thesis, and balancing two student jobs, one working at a museum and one babysitting slash cleaning gig. Granted, I didn't have much of a social life for those six months, and probably went into a semi-catatonic coma right after, but still. I did all those things.

But I'm starting to think I can't really manage it all. Moving from one country to another feels really overwhelming when you're a domestic dweller like myself. So I'm thinking a) either I should try to defer my admission to Goldsmiths to the spring semester or b) I should convince myself that the one masters I already have is really enough, and skip writing that thesis for the second one.

Now, of course, the repercussions of both a and b may have so many unwanted effects, that I'd rather be without.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Day We Lost to Japan

I'm sure the Japanese are so much better than the Danes, at so many different things - electronics, mechanics, raw fish, suicide by sword, and selling Scandinavian dance records, just to name a few. But seriously, soccer? How the hell did that happen?

Anyhow, I'm going to make sure that my discontent is felt on the Danish-Japanese trade balance. No more illegally slaughtered fine quality tuna, no more heralding of the Toyota Prius, and nothing, absolutely nothing, green tea flavored. At least till the end of this week.

An Oak Tree

Did you ever hear of British artist Michael Craig-Martin's piece "An Oak Tree"? I hadn't until very recently. Actually, not until I read that he's in the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy in London, which, incidentally, a certain Johan Hybschmann is in too. As is his partner in architectural crime, Mags.

In any case, let me quote Wikipedia's writing on the not so woody plant:

The piece consists of two units; an object, a glass of water on a glass shelf, and a text. The text takes the form of a Q&A about the artwork, in which Craig-Martin describes changing "a glass of water into a full-grown oak tree without altering the accidents of the glass of water," and explains that "the actual oak tree is physically present but in the form of the glass of water." Craig-Martin considered "the work of art in such a way as to reveal its single basic and essential element, belief that is the confident faith of the artist in his capacity to speak and the willing faith of the viewer in accepting what he has to say.

(You can read the Q&A here.)

Despite all its conceptual wit, which is usually not really my thing, I like it. I really do. Not least because my research project for Goldsmith's revolves around the assertive artist's statement/artifact rather than the negating ditto. But that's a whole other story.

But wait. There's more. Let me quote wikipedia again, as its ghost writer puts it so well there's no need to rewrite it:
It was once barred by Australian officials from entering the country as "vegetation". Craig-Martin was forced to inform them that it was really a glass of water. He said, "It was of course a wonderfully funny incident, particularly because it extended into 'real life' the discussion about belief and doubt, and fact and fiction I was addressing in the work."

How funny is that?!

But wait. I'm afraid there's even more. Here's what Tate Director Sir Nicholas Serota said: "We may not 'like' Craig-Martin's work, but it certainly reminds us that the appreciation of all art involves an act of faith comparable to the belief that, through transubstantiation, the bread and wine of Holy Communion become the body and blood of Christ."

So poignant, I think. And, for better and for worse, so true.

And so eloquently put. Will I learn to speak that way when I move to London, I wonder?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Grand Theft #2

Grand Theft #1

I found this picture on my memory card and reason that it's Johan who has taken it with my camera when he was in Coney Island. But since he's always so slow when it comes to updating his own blog, I figure I can steal it...until he finds out, at least.

Girls. Social Flies.

We have girls at our house. Maria and Anna. Who's been here all the time that I've been gone.

Having them here reminds of when Maria used to live here back in the fall of '08. Even though she was only here for three months, her social agenda was so jam packed with friends and acquaintances, events and gatherings, you'd think she had lived here for a decade or so. As her NY-friend Christie joked the other night, she makes the lives of the rest of us "look like shit."

But that's just because Maria is da shit. Albeit in that nice approachable way:O)

I'm getting used to this:O)

I'm back in NY, and spoiled little ol' me returned to a perfectly cleaned and tidied up apartment, a fully stocked fridge, clean linens and pretty flowers. All courtesy of Johan:O)

But guess what? I got more flowers. From Matteo's charmer of an older brother who has been in town for a visit.

Italians...Not only can they pull off pink shirts, purple ties and bare feet in suede shoes. They also give flowers to ladies for no apparent reason at all!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Amusement Park. And Dad. With Ice Cream.

I used to live a stone's throw away from this amusement park out in the woods in suburban Copenhagen, and while I loved and adored going there as a kid, I loathed it to bits and pieces as a teen. But dad took my there for ice cream the other night, it felt all novel and exciting again, and I felt like taking photos of everything. Unfortunately my camera has been acting up lately, only being able to store a handful of photos before it claims the memory card is full. Silly camera!


My sister has been in a play this week, and on Tuesday I went to see it with dad and Maj. It was a Royal Danish Theater staging of The Three Musketeers outside in the woods.

My sister was one of the horsemen - isn't there a less gender-biased term one can use nowadays? - and at regular intervals she came galloping through the set, sometimes as one of the bad guys, but mostly as one of the good guys, each time leading her pack with a huge banner fluttering in the wind.

I have one word for you. Goosebumps.

P.S. We weren't allowed to take photos during the play. Because of the horses, I guess, as well as all the other wildlife. In fact, there were roe deer grazing right next to the whole shabang:O)

redhead's delusion

I was sorting through some things today, and came across these old bracelets that I used to collect when I was about 10-years old or so. I bought them from the street vendors in the south of France, and remember thinking that the neon colors made me look so tan. Almost as tan as the other girls from school who were blond and returned after the summer vacation with skin the color of milk chocolate.


This lovely photo was in one of the Danish national newspapers this morning. I absolutely love her slender torso. It's so painterly.

I think it said it was from 1945.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Institutional Approval (or "Big Dealing With It")

On Saturday morning a week ago, I received the news that I have been accepted as a research student at the Mphil/PhD Program at Goldsmith's Department of Art. It was completely and utterly unexpected as I thought the whole application/admission process was way over and done with by now, and even though Johan was so sweet to invite me out for breakfast to celebrate, I think I pretty much sat there with my iced coffee and fruit salad, not quite able to understand that I actually wound up getting accepted. To do art work. Full time.
A couple of hours later I was on the phone with my insurance company arranging a trip to Denmark, and a couple of hours after that, I was on the plane home. Once I landed, my Granny Toga had passed away, and needless to say, after that art was the very last thing on my mind.

Until now, that is, when I'm slowly starting to rework my brain from having abandoned art school as an option to imagining what my life will be like with art practice on my agenda. It feels like kind of a big deal. Not in a theatrical, dramatic, self-glorifying "I'm one of the chose few!" kind of way. It's nothing like that. Rather, it feels like a big deal to change from painting-as-a-hobby to painting as something similar to a profession. Not necessarily a successful profession. But still.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I am. And missing Johan, I am.

I'm suspecting those two kinds of longing might be terribly intertwined.

Perhaps because home is where Johan is? Naaa, that would be too cheesy, right?

Or just plain funny?

No, funny because it's true, I say:O)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

any day now

I know for a fact that it would be in the spirit of my granny to celebrate this soon-to-be bundle of joy! It's my sweet friend Anne who is expecting, and I think she's actually past her due date now. Excitement!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Granny Toga

My sweet and beloved grandmother passed away at 3 am on Sunday, some 25 minutes after I boarded the plane at JFK to go to Copenhagen. She was 91 years of age.

These past two days I've been wanting to write an obituary of her long and wonderful life, creating sentences in my mind as I tend to do when there's a wonderful story waiting to be told. Except, I feel such reverance towards all the things she has gone through, experienced, said, and done, that I don't know quite were to begin.

So for now, and with a promise of soon returning with the story of one amazing lady, I'd like for you to know that I consider myself the luckiest lucky to have had my granny Toga as my grandmother. And for having got to keep her for so long. She has been every bit of wonderful.

Friday, June 11, 2010

"Pork Butt"

At first I brushed the name of this piece of meat aside as yet another engrish translation, but it appears to be the correct English culinary name for, well, a piece of meet from the pig's buttocks.

The Corner Deli

Note Lady Mary in the bay window about the entrance.

this was their view

When Maj and Jo were here, we were invited over for dinner at their relatives' house on Roosevelt Island. It was my first trip over, and seeing the cable cars wont run again until September, we went by car and got lost in Queens on our way:O)

If I had a truck

I'd like it to look a little something like this:

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I'm cleaning and clearing out stuff again - it's crazy how much stuff one can amass within the span of give years! I think I may have to do a stoop sale this weekend. In any case I came across a CD full of images from home that my mom made me before moving to New York. And there I found this picture of her old garden - the one she had in Copenhagen before moving to Stockholm. Doesn't it just look dreamy with all the plants and the sky blue pool?

L.A. Story

One of my absolute favorite movies when I was a kid was L.A. Story (1991). My mother had bought a bootleg copy of it in Bangkok when it was released, and I think I watched it about a hundred times. (Please note that I didn't say 'a thousand times' as that would have been an exaggeration. "A hundred" is actually an honest to god estimate).

I hadn't watched it in ages, but just the other day I was telling my boss about this lovely scene in it when lead character Harris (played by Steve Martin) stops on a Los Angeles highway to converse with a sign post - a most lovely scene. Anyhow, as I was telling him about it I felt the urge to watch it again and made Johan put it directly on our Netflix. And boy am I glad I did, 'cos we just watched it last night, and we were both thrilled with it: The clever portrayal of early 90s Los Angeles, quirky and humorous dialogue, and a really well-written script! In fact, it turned out that Steve Martin wrote it himself, which reminds me I should make a mental note of buying one of his books.

Johan identified loads of Shakespeare references in the script, so even though it's a feel-good movie, that stars a young Sarah-Jessica Parker (well, she was actually kind of cute and human-looking back then), and the soundtrack includes songs by Enya (yikes!) it does have some intellectual panache.

All in all I can only urge you to watch it - not least to be surprised how many trends that are born out of Los Angeles - we're talking wheat grass juice, colonic cleansing, tailor-made coffee. The works!