Maleri og dansk Inspiration

Jeg gik til en kunstudstilling af arbejdet med den moderne kunstner Per Kirkeby. Jeg var på udkig efter en svensk begivenhed, fordi min ven gik til Sverige, men det eneste skandinaviske begivenhed jeg kunne finde var kunstudstilling på Phillips Gallery i Washington, DC.

Det var åbningsdagen af hans arbejde, og der var 2 samtaler – en diskussion af instruktøren om Kirkebys værk, og senere en snak om 2 malerier – en fra Degas, og en anden af Monet.

We looked at this painting together as a group.  It was apparently left in his studio.  We noted the lack of proportion in the limbs of the dancers.  It was apparently painted toward the end of his life, when his eye sight had started to go.  I did not think that this was the reason for the change in proportion.  His early work was almost photographic in precision.  In my opinion, he was experimenting with form and movement.  He was studying.  One could see where he had redrawn the arm across the back on the second dancer, and also where he had drawn a dark line down the leg (effectively creating a smaller calf which is cut off by the line).  The right arm of the front dancer has background paint across the arm.  He was not a sloppy painter.  He wanted to know what the effect is when a line is not clearly used to separate subject from background.  He wanted to visually convey the effect of crossing or blurring the line.  Impressionism.

Later, when we studied the Monet painting, I noted the dog on the French table having a good time among a group of friends.  Les copains…

I proceeded to do a  little tour of some more modern art and (William Christenberry) photography regarding a tree, a grave, and a desert.

As I contemplated the desert photo (referenced only by its GPS coordinates),

I thought it could be West Texas, or New Mexico with the mountains in the background, but it was more likely Mexico with the dirt road.  It turns out to be Southern California.

We finally moved to the Per Kirkeby exhibit, with its Wagnerian tones illustrated by the museum director.  I briefly watched the movie of the artist painting, listening to his articulation in his native tongue against a backdrop of opera,

and later watched some geological studies in the arctic landscape, next to his painting of sainthood.

He is a writer, a poet, a geologist, and also a painter.  I started with the earthquake painting.  Although not explained to me, I see a bearded man with a bird beside him sitting in a beach-shade like structure and painting on an easel as an earthquake happens.  The staircase crumbles on the cliff on the left, and a very small man below is swallowed up by the crevice.

It’s admittedly abstract.

This was followed by a couple of paintings of uprooted trees, and a head sculpture, that although named “head”, I would have called “headache” or “toothache”.  The face, which requires imaginative effort to synthesize from the mass and an appropriate point of view, is split as if the geologist had applied a bandage to the left side of the head in the form of a slab of rock.

The visual effect on the mind of synthesis from the abstract may be compared to the extraction of meaning from an experiment where the axes of variables (some unknown) are simultaneously and unsystematically explored.  It is not unlike the distillation of meaning from a dialect or a language  of which the listener is not familiar.  Although there are slight differences in written Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish, the spoken languages are articulated differently.  The Danish are said to speak the language as if there were a potato in their mouth, the Swedish as if they had had a few too many to drink, and the Norwegians as if they were drinking and singing.  All of them understand one another pretty well, and the languages, called Nordic (North Germanic as opposed to West Germanic and the extinct East Germanic), are closer to English than German is.  They retain 2 classes: common and neuter, and don’t conjugate verbsClass is an interesting concept in these countries, although the Bille August Oscar-award winning movie “Pelle the Conqueror” (one of my favorites) suggests that some class changes are more recent – at least socially.

Jeg har eksperimenteret med et par forskellige versioner af danske middag.

Senere, da jeg gik tilbage til metro, havde min cykel er blevet stjålet. Denne cykel specifikt arbejdede godt for mit hjerte. Mine hunde vil helt sikkert savne det. En ven havde genopbygget det især for mig fra reservedele cykeldele i hendes kælder.

The bike is pretty easy to identify.  It’s the one with the broken low gear on the pedal, and a frame that says Panasonic.  Not that common.
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