Now that I’m changing my attitude towards my life, towards who I am and what I represent, this gives me courage and this is because of a foreign city. Maybe this is once again an illusion and just a small blow of inspiration that will not last for long.
A hotel, a modern brick building, a tiny room with no place for a suitcase, white walls, a view on tall buildings and a monitor – a TV hung on the wall showing all the same aquarium with all the same fish (with a distinct yellow one) swimming routinely and continuously accompanied by some ‘underwater’ music. The monitor – the fish – switches on automatically as soon as you enter the room. And this calming ‘window’ into the harmonious aquarium carries in fact a convulsive neurotic movement with all the same calmness, all the same calmness, all the same…
I have been thinking on the way of protest recently with an idea never really coming to my mind. I haven’t been thinking enough or being courageous enough. And there it was - a way of expression by Niki de Saint Phalle, an artist, who had a gun, something like a hunting gun and shot colors instead of bullets at a specially designed wall expressing this or that. ‘She wanted to shoot at man, society, church… all the evils’ - an explanation said.
Art is protest, philosophy, psychology, self-expression, expression of anything, anyone, art is the individualism even put to the extreme. Art is a meaning, not beauty. A toilet seat can be a piece of art if it given a meaning. That was what Duchamp did but maybe this is the annihilation of art and not the opposite. A Spanish artist Pepe Espaliu (1955-93) found art in the meaning of masks. He was intrigued by African masks, which he wanted to see exhibited the wrong way around, so that the viewer would be struck less by the presence of the mask than the absence of the whoever.
A black man sat next to me in an open café and took a book “The Sex Lives of Cannibals”. He did not read it. He read newspapers. The sun was there with occasional clouds. I was reading J.M.G. Le Clézio, a futuristic novel The Flood.
“A world in which all objects, every atom could be expressed by the letter A, and every happening and construct , of whatever sort, traced out the formula of magic square:
A A A A
A A A A
A A A A
A A A A
- this is to say, in which they kept up a constant process of simplification and purification, until the moment (impossible to describe it) was reached at which event and object, chain and link, were merged in a single phenomenon, A. The moped moved along the section of street between corner X and street-lamp Y, with a fading sound and reflected light glinting out from its hubs. But the moped as such was limited to this particular stretch of street, to the sound it made, to a glitter of light. In a moment its motion would be arrested, perhaps for a thousand years, or alternatively it might repeat, again and again, that quick, rhythmic passage from corner X to street-lamp Y, till the movement itself because the expression of its being. The rain would always go on falling here, the sidewalk would stretch away to the right for all eternity, yet both would be something different, rain and sidewalk no longer; there would be no more moped, no more corner, no more street-lamps, either lit or unlit, no more peeling walls, no more sounds of chains or wet tires, no more bleak, chilly smells of dew-heavy smoke-drift hanging in mid-air; instead there would be a small, peaceful, undisturbed picture, a still-frozen image, dead before it had a chance to achieve immortality, part of a game which was no longer understood… Everything would come to this in the end. Meanwhile the water went on trickling down the gutters, and a whole host of small objects floated this way and that in the puddles along the road. It was the beginning”
I adored the idea of such constant repetition that then it turns into nothingness and an existence of a sound is determined by pauses in between.
The existence of me would be nothingness, dead, without these ‘pauses’, without other objects, humans, thoughts, emotions... breaking the constancy of it.
A painting by Francis Bacon (1909-92) – Three Figures and a Portrait (showing his lover who committed suicide)
He described his paintings as looking “as if a human being has passed between them, like a snail, leaving a trail of the human presence and memory trace of past events”.