Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My painting XXXVII

As at 23.9.08

Approaching endgame on the painting. Nervous times. There is always the fear of the image merely falling off the eastward edge it has been surging towards so slowly and for so long. The last elements have to conspire not only to sustain the momentum but to make sure the viewing eye is persuaded to travel back into the choreography of signs.

The analogy with ballet is not inappropriate: the problem on the theatre's dancing stage is to perpetuate the action: the corps de ballet has to command the whole territory. Its larger actions head towards the wings with strategies for return.

Stage, force field, battleground, microscopic slide, astronomical image, book-page, monumental inscription, diagram, weather system, planetary surface, map, musical score... all these and other ways of imagining my picture in its boundaries occur to me. Most constant is the dialogue between the microscopic and telescopic; that I am visually inhabiting either a minute event in the subatomic world or a huge one on the gigantic slow cinema screen of the cosmos. The other analogy most frequently invoked is, as here, the dance.

I once saw the dance of life and death, briefly and by accident. Opening the wrong door in an apartment block in Havana I chanced upon a young couple in a completely bare room dancing the tango to a quiet gramophone. They did not notice my entry and I watched the grey clad figures seeming to flit through each other, merging as they parted, separating as they drew together; all noiselessly with unhurried speed. After a few minutes I quietly shut the door on that entrancement but have been haunted by their magic motion ever since.

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