Wow! What an amazing response to this most confusing image. I must admit I was dumbstruck by it, as with most Picasso. I really struggle to find meaning with it. I usually just accept the confusion and move on. Looking at “The Frugal Repast” there can be no doubt that he possessed the ability to do non-abstract stuff. He wasn’t just mucking around with this bizarre style. All the same I think his art just overwhelms me. It was great to read the way you engaged with this picture.
Ugo Rondinone, Golden Days and Silver Nights
We pass a giant dark light globe and enter the room. Inside there are four large images on each wall. The walls are covered with hessian sacks. All the images, but one, are gloomy and very indistinct. They appear to me to be the woods at night with varying degrees of close up on the trees. Dingy is the word I use to describe this room. The fourth image is of an old cottage in the woods and reminds me of a fairytale. Compared to the other images it is much more discernible and somewhat brighter, but it still evokes a dark feeling. Looking at this slightly relieving image amidst this sombre space, I catch a glimpse of the lightness of the next room and a fluorescent looking circle on the wall in there.
The next room seems to radiate with luminescence and is a most welcome reprieve from the almost claustrophobic drabness of the previous four walls. Three walls are occupied with brilliantly bright multicoloured circles that almost mesmerise you if you stare too long. The fourth is guarded by a mysterious and creepy looking clown who appears to be sleeping on the floor with his back against the wall. To me there is a definite sombreness to him and he seems to be passed out drunk. He is dressed rather shabbily and a hessian sack is draped over his shoulders.
Is the clown meant to be the artist? The hessian sack he wears in this room may mean that the previous room is his interior world. An unhappy world? An unfulfilled world perhaps. Is he the proverbial sad clown? The bright room is the facade he presents to the world, like the clown who appears happy on the outside. Inside he is confused and pessimistic. On reflection the second room’s gloss and shine seemed rather exaggerated. The tragic clown who offers the world fun, beauty and wonder, whilst inside, he is tormented by angst.
As we exit the second room we pass another giant light globe. This one is illuminated. Oh, I get it! Get what?
You have pointed out the two distinct views on war very well. It angers me immensely how the heroic poetry is written by people who have not been in the trenches, yet feel obliged to entice more young men to join in.
We are much more informed nowadays and it could not be done so blatantly. However the propagandist is a cunning creature and the media is a powerful tool. I have a very strong suspicion we are still being manipulated.
Mud, blood, shit & piss. That’s my mate right there. Face down. Dead. He wasn’t a hero. He just wanted to live, like the rest of us. If that meant killing those guys, so be it. I guess to them, we’re ‘those guys’.
He cried you know? He asked me for help. What the fuck could I do? Blood spurting everywhere. His girlfriend, his mother and father. What happens now? I’ve cried, I’ve spewed, I’ve screamed bloody murder. Now I’m just tired…so tired. When will it be my turn?
Are we Russian, German, French or British?
Does it matter?
It really got me thinking too. “You’re taking it quite personally” was a fantastic line. I’m sure most of us will, as if we are the only one who ever lived and died. How often do we look at other people but never truly see the other human being? They have the same desires and frailties as we do, yet we repeatedly forget our kinship.
“Who’s next” is a great reminder that none of us are getting out of this alive. We had better acknowledge that we never know when we are going to run out of time and, rather than using this as fuel for melancholia, we should celebrate the wonder of being here at all. The finiteness adds to the beauty. Infinity could get quite dull and imagine the procrastination.
At first “Everyman” seemed to be a play about morality in the sense of “thou shalt not…” By the end I realised it was more about what we should be doing with our life rather than what we must not do. For me, the greatest sin according to this play is a wasted life.
Everyman believed he was living his life to the fullest, but sadly he was only pursuing material and egotistical pleasure. The remedy to this is not necessarily a life of altruistic devotion to others or self recrimination. The true glory of life is in the moment. The precious instances when you catch a glimpse of how magnificent it is to be here, alive on this planet. You cannot buy those moments and it makes no difference if others know about you having them. We all exist one moment at a time and the tragedy is that we spend most of our lives worrying about the future or regretting the past.
Whenever I recall my own experiences with severe depression I am reminded of just how fragile and wonderful life can be. How to describe depression? Words like misery, angst, pain and torture come to mind. Although I never actually attempted suicide it was a constant dread. Every morning I would wake and wonder if I could handle this for one more day. Was this the day I gave up?
I still fall prey to sombre moods, anger and anxiety now and then, but for me, everyday without depression is a great day and I cherish every moment away from its clutches. “Everyman” reminded me that every moment we are gifted with life on this Earth is to be appreciated. You don’t have to run amok and frantically try to magnify your experience. The ability to enjoy each moment is a skill well worth pursuing. I’m nowhere near there yet, but I’m trying.
Very good point! An inner journey can sometimes be much more profound than an external one. Travel does not guarantee enriched learning. Some people have an amazing knack for travelling the country or the world with a closed mind.
A major life change can force complete paradigms to be shifted without the individual leaving their hometown. A hard earned change of perspective can send you down a brand new path of inner discovery.
“We pounded along, stopped, landed soldiers; went on, landed custom house clerks to levy toll in what looked like a God-forsaken wilderness…”
“Some, I heard, got drowned in the surf; but whether they did or not, nobody seemed to particularly care. They were just flung out there, and on we went”
This passage from Heart of Darkness reminded of the flabbergasting feeling I had when first watching the film “Dances with Wolves”. I was stunned at the haphazard way the frontier was governed. I know now that it was extremely naive of me, but as a kid I really thought things were organised a lot better. The people that ventured out into these uncharted places were truly taking their lives in their hands.
I believe a lot of the city folk thought the same way I did and would have been shocked to see the foolhardiness of these campaigns. Many people would have taken jobs on these expeditions thinking it was well organised by highly trained professionals who would minimise risk as much as possible. Many of these optimistic people would never be seen again.
A lot of us put way too much faith in the people in charge. We believe that just because they put their hand up and want to be the boss that they actually know what they are doing. This is often not the case; a fact that many an employee learns to their own peril.