15 February 2011

Black squares and other stories

Easily the worst thing about giving up smoking is regaining your sense of smell.

This is from Robert Fludd's Utriusque Cosmi, Maioris scilicet et Minoris, metaphysica, physica, atque technica Historia (The metaphysical, physical, and technical history of the two worlds, namely the greater and the lesser) from 1617. The text on each side of the black square translates as 'And so on to infinity' (which sounds like it should be the voiceover end to an epic science fiction flick).

Here, the black square is, I understand, the prima materia, the ground on which everything – both the greater and the lesser worlds – is built.

Then there's the black page from Laurence Sterne's The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman:

Rose and I are still recovering from the fucking music festival we went to over the weekend. It was a lot of fun, but, Jesus Motherfuck, it's not like when I went to the things 15-20 years ago. All I did was watch bands and walk around, and I can still barely walk. And fuck it's nice having some quiet and solitude now. Here's a pic of the so-called quiet zone (the party zone was much larger):

There are only a couple of weeks left in which to see the pictures at Te Papa. Sure, there are a lot of minor artists, and minor works by good artists, and they charge a lot, but there are also some things worth seeing. I love the Redon, particularly the way it completely overshadows the Böcklin and the Moreau on either side of it – even though they are perfectly good pictures in their own right. Redon kicks their puny white arses, then pisses all over them just for good measure. (No picture of that though, no, no. You'll have to go see for yourself.)

Rather than list the things worth seeing, which'd be boring for all concerned, I will highlight two.

I really like the Caspar David Friedrich too, despite its appalling condition:

Then there are the Beckmanns. Backstage, left unfinished when he died, was a revelation:

School starts in a couple of weeks. I had an email this arvo informing me who my supervisors are. Yes, there are two of them – as with the two worlds, apparently, you get both the greater and the lesser.

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