Thursday, 27 November 2014

Reader Against a Black Background

The black is everywhere.  There is a pink table.  A mirror.  A painting.  A vase of flowers bursting out into the room.  There are some sketches.  A woman is sitting on a chair.  She is reading.  Although she could be asleep; her arm and elbow on the table, her fist is resting against her head.

Her black skirt moves as her red legs swing.

The words on the page, invisible to us who can read only a white blank, are revealed by these curious legs.  They look like skittles, and exist half-way between crossed and astride.  The right leg.  In the act of swinging?  Or is it coming to rest on a knee...  Both legs are red with flaming life; as is the face, arms and neck.  This woman is glowing.

Here is movement.

This movement is important.  It dislocates a picture that on first impression appears to be a study in geometric forms.  A second impression is of a balance of decorative motifs; the flat background suggesting an abstract arrangement of paper cut-outs.  Noticing the dislocation we look at this reader more closely.  Her body is pushing the table to the side; and moves the chair slightly to knock the mirror from the vertical.

Everything is slightly aslant.

This movement, we imagine it as a rapid sliding affair - the table pushed to right and the mirror to the left -, is caused by the pressure of a body pressing down upon a hard surface that has no purchase upon the smooth black floor (which we think of as a void).  The woman’s skirt the pivot from which her right leg swings, her torso moves, and her left arm disturbs the balance of this picture.

The untidiness of life. 

And yet…she is a reader.  The woman’s body, its colour and its involuntary movements, is alive with the book she is reading.  Here is the cause of the disturbance.  Art.  Its effects outweigh its form. 

Those flowers expressing their liberty.

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