Hopper / Antonioni / Chekhov : Effects of Reality

Roland Barthes explained the “Effect of Reality” as a way to establish literary texts as realistic.

He said that some descriptions, in novels, have no other reason than to make us feel it’s a real place.

“…in one of his novels Flaubert describes the room of his main character and mentions a pyramid of boxes and cases standing under a barometer. These kinds of details are called notations by Barthes; he contrasts them with the main outline of the story, which he labels predictive, probably because on this level we can make certain predictions about the development of the story.”

F. R. Ankersmit

 

  1. We find this “tool” in some Antonioni’s movies, L’Avventura or L’Eclisse for example. A scene lasts a little to much. The camera shows something (a gaze, a street) without “real” reason. No other reason than this : suddenly you “feel” as if you touched reality, getting out of the-dream-of-watching-a-movie.
  2. We find this “tool” in Hopper’s paintings. For me, it’s his main talent, asset. We watch : some people are here, just “being” – they wait or think, who knows? These paintings stop you, wondering what these people do, if they’re bored…
  3. We find this “tool” in Chekhov’s short stories. His descriptions are not here just to “paint the scenery”, but (and very shortly/effectively) make us feel something. So much that I remember plenty of places of these books!

Of course, it’s used in many other art pieces and form.

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I think this is linked to our idea of boredom. In Antonioni we often watch someone doing nothing – breathing, watching something, thinking. It breaks the usual “flow of events” we often see in movies. Or we see a conversation leading to nowhere. Blank seconds. We see people dealing with boredom. And maybe we are hurt, of surprised, or… bored a bit. And it’s an effect of reality, right?

Sometimes it’s just “a place shown”, like in Hopper‘s work. The light on a wall suddenly makes you “feel” the place. You can almost hear the little wind, or the street, the sea. It’s as if your brain suddenly touched the reality he wanted you to feel.

 

What will we do with this? Why and how does it work? Why is it… good? What about photography? One purpose of it could be to “make us touch” reality, instead of amazing us? What do you think?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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Works that create an irrepressible need to express yourself

Works that create an irrepressible need to express yourself

Take music, for example, you can study it in many ways : historically, genres, energy, impact on society, lyrics, etc…

There’s a book I love (Francis Wolff, Pourquoi la Musique ?) which studies the impact of music on human kind. What music does to us.

Any work of Art can be studied that way, a book, a sonata, a painting or a poem.

What does it do?

  1. Emotion
  2. Remembrance
  3. A need to dance
  4. A need to know more about the artist
  5. A need to get more of her/him!
  6. Relief
  7. Calm down
  8. Focus
  9. Meditation
  10. Understandings of the things of life
  11. Knowledge
  12. Beauty sparks

 

Etc…

Some artists are so… peculiar that they can trigger this : “An irrepressible need to express yourself”.

Why? How? How does it work?

I read it about Proust, and I agree : it’s because his huge Lost Time group of books, besides being a fantastic work of literature, is also a big, constant river of ideas, of “tropisms”, little movements of the mind. It touches little parts of your brain you know very well but, well, nobody talked about it to you before. Therefore you have the constant impression that this guy knows you very, very well. It can become a drug (and it is !).

This puts you into a movement. You need to move, to work, to write, to tell. Your well set big trunks of ideas, in your head, begin to move. Things get alive. They want to get out.

Also, there’s the risk of mimicking the artist who triggered it. Get over it. Don’t care : the flow is here, ready to do its flow thing.

Work, work, work. And thank the person who, in the past, had the talent to open your desire to express.

Who are the person who did this to you?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

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Proust crée chez son lecteur un besoin irrépressible de s’exprimer.

Freud, Jung, Symbolism and Fellini

I read some Freud and Jung a lonnng time ago, and I kept ideas from both brains, how sex energy climbs into action, politics, arts – or whatever – from one, and synchronicity from the other, for example

These days I read a lot about Fellini’s movies, and in an interview I read what he said about symbolism in Freud and Jung – so I imagined I could offer it to you now; here it is :

  1. For Jung, symbolism is a way, a medium likely to express an intuition for which one can not find a better expression. Therefore, for Jung, the symbol is a way to express the inexpressible, even though ambiguously.
  2. For Freud, a symbol is used to replace something which is likely to change, which is therefore impossible to express, and which one has, consequently, to forget. The symbol is a way to hide what is forbidden to tell.

 

Hmmm?What do you think, and where to apply this distinction? In a poem? A painting? A story? What are the archetypes, here? Is it a matter of choice? What about the “symbols effectiveness”? To whom?

 

Thanks for reading!

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Joseba Eskubi, Spanish painter

Joseba Eskubi is a Spanish artist, who creates “soft, amorphic and organic forms”.

You’ll find the “Bacon thing” in his work, or find it a bit weird, but you’ll feel your brain searching, turning around with the idea of “what-is-it” boiling. His colors skills are great.

It stopped me. What do YOU think?

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Hurt & Beguiled (by a masterpiece)

The Godfather movies (Coppola) or 8 1/2 (Fellini), Proust or Faulkner, Brückner’s 9th or Puccini, some Picasso or Manet’s paintings, some photographs, a poem…

There are many things we can feel in front of Art, from grief to enthusiasm, by way of curiosity or puzzlement.

(I had to check dictionaries to find the differences between puzzled, confused, or bewildered – it led me to… “beguiled”, which helps me here…)

A good movie or music makes you happy or entertains you. It triggers emotions. Good!

But some masterpieces hurt you, because they install in you a whole living pack of energies. Ideas, but also a big need to achieve something, to move, to act. You are… beguiled!

Suddenly you stand up and you have to do something. You got an understanding, a rush. You have a urgent need to know more about the author, or the piece of work which just floored you. It hurts!

You want to tell everybody about it, then you’re more hurt, because many people you know wouldn’t understand any of it, probably. Then you dream to lecture them, to explain!

It’s an enrichment, but also a great source of energy, which can supply you ideas and needs of informations or creativity – for months.

It happened to me, with many Chekhov’s texts, David Lean’s movies, Manet’s paintings, Eggleston’s pictures, with Visconti’s The Leopard, with Bergman’s Fanny & Alexander, with Wyatt’s Rock Bottom, etc…

This pattern is one of the sources of this blog.

What do you think? What are yours?

Thanks for reading!

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Is the form imposed by… itself?

I asked a writer about the interesting “forms” of his books. One looks like two different territories separated by an event. The other is weaved with “devices” which acts like small intermissions or surprising dreams reports.

I’m interested by forms in literature, from style to tricks with narration or punctuation (who said Faulkner?), and I stay amazed by the american ways of using storytelling (like in Siri Hustvedt’s essays, which mix her personal life with ideas and concepts).

The writer told me that he doesn’t “think” about the form : it comes in the moment, it imposes itself.

That made me think about this photographer, who said :

“A photographer solves a picture, more than composes one.”

Stephen Shore

As if there was just ONE way to take the picture, in a given place.

That’s my tool today : is the form of a piece of work imposed by itself? As the artist, here, of course, only decides : what does that mean? Where do you know this? In other arts? How does this work?

Thanks for reading!

asx-tv-stephen-shore-behind-mythology-2013.htmlPhoto : Stephen Shore

Movies : an in between modernity mess

There’s a funny dissonance I love to feel in movies : it’s when the modernity of a scenario, of dialogs, of directing is seen into what seems an “old form”.

It’s obvious – and very disturbing – when you watch Seven Samurai (1954) or Orson Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons (1942). The sound is old, and it’s black and white vintage, but everything sweats modernity.

It’s as if it was “not OK”, not fitting, and one wonders how the audience could watch that at the time. You feel this with all Welles movies, but also Fellini’s.

But in the beginning of the sixties, you find movies which are between two worlds : Truffaut’s Jules et Jim (1962), Huston’s Night of the Iguana (1964), Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960), but also Lilith (1964) or Breathless (1960), Suddenly Last Summer (1959), The Misfits (1961), L’Eclisse (1962)…

All of them are black and white movies, and you begin to watch them accordingly (“Oh a good vintage classic movie!”). And you are FLOORED by the complexity or modernity of these…

Well, this article is about this “in between” mess. The structure seems to be : “looks like an old form, but modernity explodes into it”.

Where do you find that? In literature? Photography? Poetry?

What if you searched, out of Netflix, “Best films of the Sixties”, and watch them all, just for the pleasure of discovering forms, authors, resonances, happiness? Out of the flow…

Have a nice day!

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