Pecking ways & means of apprehend a work of art

Choose a painting, a photograph, a poem, a symphony. You pay attention. But what are the ways and means of choosing, then knowing, apprehend this work of art?

I wrote an article already about the braid between reason & feeling : you can just “I like it”, or begin to dig knowledge around it, and, of course, weave both.

In French we have a verb for “to peck”, like a hen beaklooking for seeds : picorer. Then it begins to be tricky, because we made other words from it :

  • Picorer : to peck.
  • Picoreur : “the one who pecks” -> pecker.

Well, I checked, and found out that a pecker in something else, right? And that “to peck” means also to “kiss lightly”. I appreciated the English metaphors, but I’m embarrassed now to say that a way to discover art is to be a pecker!

I admire those (I call them the divers) who explore a little square. Instagrammers who takes HDR pictures of beautiful lands (or black and white portraits of homeless people in Alabama). Bloggers about vegan food or cheetah high heels. Callas (or The Beatles) only lovers. Crime novels specialists. They dig dig dig like dwarves in the mine. They’re great!

I’m a pecker (un picoreur). Let’s take a picture of the sky, then a minimalist low angled light on a roof, then a golden swan for sale on a table. Let’s listen to Puccini’s Tosca, then Brian Eno’s Apollo Atmospheres & Soundtrack, then Dave Brubeck’s Lost Waltz. Let’s read a short story of Chekhov, Calvin & Hobbes and a whole book about Duke Ellington’s life. In the same day.

I wonder if it’s linked, this way of microdiving in things, with the appetite to know “how it works”, “when it’s been composed”, “who are other artists around”, “what was he thinking at this time”, etc.

Books and the Internet : you can read about Brubeck’s life, watch an Eno interview, buy a second hand poster about Puccini’s opera.

Some will say it’s my sign : Taurus (patient, artistic, methodical) Gemini ascending (fast, curious, restless). I don’t believe in this, but it’s funny, right?

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Tool/Dial : are you a diver, or a pecker?

 

Thanks for reading!

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Decorticate Genius & Laughing Ferrymen

One of the best things, in the world of books and ideas, is to hear a passionate lecture by someone who knows a style, an author, a field, a book.

Some writers are great teachers. Umberto Eco‘s essays are delicious (so Italian!). The literature classes of Nabokov are fabulous (so Russian?). Some guys have this talent to tell you how and why some classics are relevant, interesting and useful even in your little lives.

Le Misanthrope is a French play from the 17th Century. I just read a book from Fabrice Luchini (“Comédie Française, ça a débuté comme ça”), a French actor who tried to write his autobiography, but offered, in fact, pages of passionate lectures about French poetry (Rimbaud), theater (Molière) or prose (Céline), telling us how and why these authors are so enthralling (giving all details he learned as a skilled actor : rhythm, words, sentences, concepts – we French love words, you know that, right?).

Decorticate and peel genius, and offer the recipe to others.

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Well, I won’t do it for you now, but I have a slicexample. Luchini evokes Le Misanthrope, a French play by Molière, 17th Century, and a dialog between two friends. One is the misanthrope, angry against humanity (the full text translated in English is here). The other one trying to tame… Let’s see :

Alceste…times I feel suddenly inclined to fly into a wilderness far from the approach of men.

Philinte…let us torment ourselves a little less about the vices of our age, and be a little more lenient to human nature. Let us not scrutinize it with the utmost severity, but look with some indulgence at its failings.

Sometimes with are Alceste, grouchy against fashion bloggers, or people with 4879 friends of Facebook incapable of communicate with real people around, and at other times we are more like Philinte, trying to understand that these people… do what they can, that they struggle a lot, they try to live, to love, to stand up alive. Maybe they’re unbearable, but they’re not guilty! It’s a balance, a swaying, wavering between both. Haecceity! This is life…

One of my pleasure these days is to discover these authors, I could call them the ferrymen.

Who are yours? Who do you lecture? Do you remember the way you laughed with jubilation? With who?

Thanks for reading!

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Stalking Curses & Sisyphus’s like Loneliness : Chronicle 5

I already wrote a little article about this question : Why do people blog? Why do people post on Instagram? It was a long list of hypothesis, but at the end, I bet that people post to be loved. I read this week that the worse thing for depression is Instagram (because, as I guessed well, people often want to show to the world that they are “very happy, blessed by life and in love”, which makes the viewers jealous or at least a bit depressed because themselves are obviously NOT that happy, right?).

You click a hashtag, randomly, and you see billions of pictures. Why do people post on Instagram? The key word is “motivation”. Some take pictures and post them to :

  • Get followers
  • Share their work
  • Meet people with same interests
  • Indicate to others how happy and blessed they are
  • Show how interesting they are
  • Make people laugh
  • Show their “beauty”
  • Reveal beautiful places they visit
  • Indicate they are in couple, in love
  • Indicate they are sad, alone, or tired
  • Put a stalker in pain
  • Show their artistic talent
  • Show their project

Etc! One good question is :

When you post something somewhere, are you aware of your audience, or do you work only for yourself, your happiness?

I watched Paterson and I immediatly thought about another movie : Dead Zone : Christopher Walken is in coma for many years after a car accident. His wife remarry. Then he wakes up. His loneliness is then unbelievable (and the actor fantastic at it). It’s a world of ice. And he has a power to see the future…

Paterson (Adam Driver) is terrible alone too, but it’s VERY different. He has a beautiful young wife, a job (he’s a bus driver), some friends in a bar, and he writes poems. He’s quiet, modest in a modest life – he doesn’t talk much about his poems (though he continuously meets other people – a rapper, a little girl, a japanese man – interested in poetry). He writes in his bus, while he has lunch, in his basement. Nobody reads his poems. He sees struggling people around him (two young men lost with flirting, a colleague and his numerous family problems, a broken-hearted black man in the bar) and stays impassive and calm, benevolent. Idem with his girlfriend (who is a sweet dreamer, a dabbler artist). We all see he is not really connected, to anybody. He just goes on with his life, quietly putting words in his little booklet…

Walken and Driver are standing up. They are the loneliest characters I’ve seen ever (well, apart from Tennessee Williams’ plays). Both find something to do, though. They find their “mission”. The first one leads to drama (it’s from a Stephen King novel, after all). The second one is revealing a “way of being in the world” : being there without being very concerned (cf Inside Sidestepping) or affected. It talks about Sisyphus and about the Waldgänger, too…

It broke me heart, yesterday night, like a Chekhov or a Carver short story can do…

Slide, mortals, don’t bear down

 

Thanks for reading! Have a great week-end!

 

(I love this little dances of words too : Walken and Driver/Driver plays a bus driver/Paterson lives in Paterson, New Jersey/etc)

 

 

 

 

Undug Fields of a Second Talent

A few years ago I read a great book by Patti Smith, “Just Kids”, she was a very young woman coming to New York City at the end of the sixties, and meeting Robert Mapplethorpe. It was a surprisingly tender though intense book! There were like two creative babies.

Smith was then sure to be a poet, and Mapplethorpe a graphic artist. They had a love affair, created together “mixed arts” like little totems or dreamcatchers, and the end of the book shows three changes :

  • Smith understands she should sing her poetry
  • Mapplethorpe understands he is a good photographer
  • And that he is gay

The rest is the legend, of course.

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This article is about this mild “Wrong Way Up“, when you’re sure to be good somewhere, ignoring that your golden road is elsewhere, in another life, another art, another discipline, another field.

I remember one day a Russian instagrammer. She was pretty and her main activity was to take selfies, or posing as a model. From time to time, say 5% of her photos, she took pictures of what she saw : trees, people, skies, streets. And well, you can guess : these pictures were AMAZING. Instagram is full of good photographers, but to have a real original sense of photography, color, moods, is very rare. It was so good that I wrote her something like “Okey your body’s great, but you have a fantastic EYE for photography, do you realize it?”. She answered very kindly that it was just for fun, not her field, and that she was a model.

Curiously, I wonder about that “trait” about me. I have this blog you’re reading now (It’s really an exercise (I’m French), a therapy, a way of standing, etc), and also a casual Instagram account. Both are quite unsuccessful because I post with too much diversity.

See : Constantly Random is an Instagram Flaw.

All this is very humble, though this blog is very important for me. A friend of mine has many times tried to convince me that I should focus my energy on my pictures.

This dial is disturbing to watch. What about you? Do you have a field, undigged (OK undug) and opened to the winds? Are you too casual with a hobby you could be better at? Why would we ignore this? Who could we ask? What do we have to do to understand, to wait? To meet a revealing someone?

Thanks for reading!

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Instagram : bodylanguage

Fecundity of Limits

If you’re a creative person, you encountered the “Fecundity of Limits” concept, obviously. Fruition. I’d distinguish :

  1. the limits you choose yourself
  2. the limits given to you by someone in charge
  3. the limits you encounter while you’re building your stuff.

Choosing your own limits is such… a pleasure. It’s about preparing your work. Paint something with 3 colors only. Write a book in a month. Travel, but no more than 5 miles a day.

Limits coming as instructions can be a relief. Many actors talk about the freedom you have while you have to obey strict orders. It’s about unfolding inside a frame : perfect for certain personalities.

The limits you encounter are parts of the building process. Your technical shortfalls is a good example. You then move forward “within” your capacities – trying maybe to push them back. The budget can be a limit. You’ll discover the others while you work : It’s a stream, a current!

Tool : Choose, change them, ask someone for limits (as seeds), think about them while your create, and then… forget your feedback : you’re in the flow, a good one!

Thanks for reading! Work well! Travaillez bien !

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“Consider other doors, gallivanter!”

Sometimes you’re less interested by the works than by the theories, discussions, struggles, articles and letters by those who invented it or studied it.

Imagine you’re interested in cubism, or new wave music. You can study the paintings and listen to OMD’s albums, but you could also dislike all of it, and at the same time discovering plenty of good ideas and concepts in the articles, books, letters around these subjects.

Go to France, but visit other cities than Paris. Read a poet, but not his poetry. Focus on trains when you study WWII.

So what? Well, nothing more than :

“Consider other doors, gallivanter!”.

I’d go further : choose a field you really don’t want to like (pick one : Street Art, Turkish Music, history of the Loire Castles in France, early movies of Brian de Palma, African food, or Nicolas de Stael’s paintings), and you go girl!

You could be surprised. Or find harmonic links with what you like, concepts you could apply to your discipline, or other doors to even more interesting territories.

Thanks for reading!

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Mikhail Vrubel, Russian Painter

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Vrubel

Vrubel (1856-1910) was a Russian Painter.

You can Google Image his name or “Михаи́л Алекса́ндрович Вру́бель” to find his work. It’s haunting, like made of scales, and it’s a perfect example, for me, or strangeization

When you encounter his work, there’s a chance your brain begins to… like… address his case. It’s a very good indication, for me!

After the picture of his Seated Demon, there’s a fragment of the right part, like it?

Thanks for reading!

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