Blue skies and water hold the key to life. They are not where I live but rather are the domain of insects, birds and aquatic creatures. They hold both fascination and fear and the man in the boat lost his life to the chill of the air and the water, many, many years ago. Still they hold their rare beauty and fascination.
Family and photography are the theme of this image. The dresser, the bed, the aeroplane (as they were called then) contrast the claustrophobia of a kids room with the yearning to fly. Flying where and how are what dreams are made of. Dreams of flying are a recurring theme in the life of a child. When and to what remains to be seen.
This summer during visit to MoMA, I happened to see a video by British artist Issac Julien titled “Ten Thousand Waves. Probably the most stunning video installation I’ve seen in a while. It rivals Christian Marclay’s “The Clock” in power, (but not in length) and is a masterpiece in storytelling. Douglas Gordon’s “Play Dead Real Time”, rounds out the triptych of this year’s best at MoMA. While I applaud the Museum’s efforts the lack of women artists given this impressive showcase is all too apparent.
Julien’s 9 screens envelop you with story, history, tales, fate, humanity, nature and heavenly beings. That’s a tall order but one that he achieves by visual beauty, timing, spacing and a sensory immersion into the narrative loosely woven around a tragedy. A mini-epic in its scope and Homerian in its ability to engage the viewer, it continually pushes you in and out like the tide, while alternately soothed and hypnotizing with its visual pulsations.
Based on the tragic story of 20 Chinese fishermen who are caught in a rising tide…
PS1 was a game changer for me, but it wasn’t until 20 years later that I realized what it meant. I had a great studio on the third floor and across the courtyard from the gymnasium. James Turrell had just installed his Sky Room a short time earlier, and Andres Serrano was stocking urine somewhere else in the building. I had a good view of the exhibition space across from my windows where the Arte Povera exhibition was being assembled by Germano Celant. Such beautiful Italian art, and men, adored the work of Francisco Clemente and Giuseppe Penone. I worked at my PS1 studio almost 14 months, and continued to paint large, black and white paintings, images that I’d begun earlier in Toronto. These were somewhat more complicated and sexually charged, men-grabbing-their-crotch-with-cats-falling type of thing – a typical response to anyone’s first year in NYC, I believe. I had an apartment in Soho for the first few months and then I moved to Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood. It was scary to travel back and forth at the time…
I was listening to a lecture the other day on Positivism vs Relativism. These are age-old concepts, the latter further articulated in the 19th century by the writer Henri Bergson when he questioned the limits that reason can provide. Most of these conversations occurred in academia – an invention of a class “conscious” society to provide distinction and training between the white and the blue color jobs (or the upper and lower classes). The stand that Positivists had long taken, and still do, that science or the scientific approach would answer, could be the only answer, was challenged by Bergson who questioned if this was the only relevant approach? What about intuition? He thought intuition was every bit as valid, particularly in factoring the measures of time and the way we organize our thoughts. The experience of reality is relative and particularly internal and not in “exclusive” existence because of objects outside of the influence of our perceptions. This argument took the conversation outside of the hallowed halls of the European campuses.