falling for Abstraction

by richibi

            Morning star  


                                “Morning star”, 1940                   

                                         Joan Miró


                                                                                                                                      to prize Abstraction you need to feel its value, somehow make it relevant to your well-being, your soul, not an easy task for someone who hasn’t grown up with it, I see the same thing ‘s happened for instance for many with computers, the language is entirely foreign

I remember a sigh of relief, and unexpectedly delight, at the Queen Sofia after slogging through the history of art for a couple of weeks across the street at the Prado, before a roomful of Mirós

the Prado had been dripping in art

the Spaniards of course, Murillo, Goya, Zurbaran, were there, El Greco, the transplanted Doménicos Theotokópoulos, his great elongated figures depicting anguish, torment, ecstasies, edged unforgettably in charcoal black

the cheeky Velazquez – looking you straight in the face, where his subjects, the king and queen, also stand, reflected craftily albeit in a mirror at the back where you’d be too were this a real mirror – is a celebrated self-portrait, majesties no less have acquiesced to be merely backdrop here for the artist’s rendering of himself 

and indeed who remembers these once almighty monarchs beside their now immortal subject, their lasting fame assured ironically by virtue mostly of his grace

royal children meanwhile cavort up front, while on the far left taking up most of that side there’s the canvas he’s working on, a brush in one hand, in the other a palette of assorted colours, considering their applicability

a triumph

                                                                                                                                         the Dutch were there, the ubiquitous Rubens of course, the Rembrandts, the van Dycks, the Bruegels, but supreme for me among them was the unearthly rather “Garden of Earthly Delights“, I didn’t expect it there, it was awesome, Bosch representing pictorially the panoply of Christian mythological thought, from Eden to black and ignominious hell through, in the middle triptych, our earth, controversially carnal and cavorting, in pink and azure blue, for our sober edification and delight

and still there were the innumerable, the masterful, Italians

                                                                                                                                       we left the Prado saturated, my mom and I, the Queen Sofia was an afterthought with time left on our hands, we expected nothing other there than baubles, trinkets

but Miró greeted us at the door with a roomful of light, air, fantasy, planets, comets, asterisks swirled in orbits of infinite phantasmagorical invention, fish flew where stars fell, and eyes looked out of spiderwebs, perspective gave way to dimensions

my mom breathed a sigh of relief, simultaneously enchantment, we’d entered another world

just as had in its own time, for that matter, the history itself of art

from there it was just a hop, skip and jump of course to the more abstruse maybe even abstractions of for instance even a Jackson Pollock


                                                                                                                                      yours in the discovery of art                                                                                                                                         richibi

psst: in thinking of Miró I was reminded of Chagall, he could be he for whimsy, I recalled an ekphrastic poem about a painting of his I thought I might’ve lost, all I could remember was the poem’s own mimetic whimsy, and a blue, I’d thought, violin

here it is

by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Don’t let that horse

Don’t let that horse
eat that violin
cried Chagall’s mother

But he kept right on painting

And became famous

And kept on painting
The Horse with Vilolin in Mouth
And when he finally finished it
he jumped up upon the horse
and rode away
waving the violin

And then with a low bow gave it
to the first naked nude he ran across

And there were no strings attached