Art: A Relationship; A Portrait in Winter.
Ó Kerry Jones
Art was curiously made up; dressed in a black ¾ length wool coat, under that; wearing a shiny black zip top with yellow female figures running down the sleeves, under that he wore a black v neck top with a white v neck top underneath, wearing mid blue jeans and brown trainers made to look slightly worn, a silver watch worn on the right wrist and two silver necklaces one had a pendant. He was carrying a dark brown satchel. Inside the satchel, he carried two books and a leather notebook. On the London underground tube, he read other peoples newspapers. I mentioned the steal shiny metal underground was clean and a reminder of the metro in Paris. He then pointed out while we then watched a rail serviceman cleaning the underground maps how thoroughly he cleaned them. He talked of Andre Breton,’ Nadja. I wondered, what does that name mean? Was she imaginary and were they an unlikely couple? What was the unlikeness of the two coming together? Or was she really just another part of himself? Perhaps Nadja was delusional by putting an anxiety into objects, and so maybe Andre Breton a fool to think it was art? However, the only person to be fooled is oneself. Art spoke and said, that no- body knew whether Andre Bretons romance with (hope) Nadja was real.
I wore grey I was undecided how I felt about this meeting, first thoughts were he’d sit me down and tell me how crazy I was being.
Instead, He told me to be careful in how I looked going so far in a greyness that I would stand out in some awfulness. I envisioned the items of clothes I was then wearing. The grey jacket, grey jeans, and brown shapeless leather boots tucked under the grey jeans.
We looked in shoe shops the women’s shoes these mostly had matching bags most of which were uniformed in shape, the same with the bags only the patterns and colours were different though all the same tone. I had a problem with these small simple bags. My feet did look clumpy especially while looking at the dainty stilettos and small simple bags.
We looked into furniture windows and model car shop windows. We observed a small house made for one or two people to live in. We walked past theatres. (He pointed out a poster of The Producers musical). We had coffee and walked endlessly. We were supposed to be visiting small independent galleries, but most were closed due to building works renovation or signs stating back in 5 minutes. So, we looked and listened to things, which passed us by where we walked or sat.
Unbidden, I liked what Art noticed, these things and his anecdotes intrigued me, and he spoke precisely.
We walked through London streets. Art pointed to a blue mosaic set with a shifting white horse within the centre, itself fixed within a square frame it was placed in a window two floors up. The shop below was set on a corner in the shape of a triangle. We entered, he pointed to larva lamps and small hand made story books centred on local life, each costing £10.
We came to visit an exhibition. At this point, my mind is swimming; as I don’t even know which street we are on. We enter the exhibition space, the title of which is not remembered. Along the walls were images, something to do with the seasons in the calendar year. In the centre of the space, white ticker tape falls out from a machine above only to join with an already gathered heap of whiter ticker tape. We both walk through it and stand under it. In front of the heap was an arched trellis, also in white. I stand in front of it, while he stands the other side to it. He asks if I have seen enough and shall we leave.
We leave, back to the London under ground, with so many people I get caught up in the throng of pedestrians heading in one flow, He ascends on the escalator, I do not see, ~He calls to me.
Outside it starts to snow, He tells me, I need a hat. We walk the streets to find a café. Too cold to sit and drink out side now, so Art considers and chooses carefully. The café inside has the lighting of Baroque architecture, the air of Paris returns. We wait to be seated. We sit next to another table at the end of the row. He takes his black wool coat off I can now see the yellow female figures running down his sleeves. He watches me. I pretend to unconsciously not notice. We wait to be served. Parallel to our table sits a two-person table touching next to a wall. An elderly couple sits. Art points to them. I am made to think of a life long companionship. I am made to look while their cake is being served at how the male discretely ties a bow on his lovers’ sleeve so for it not to dip into her slice of cake. She acts in return as to hardly notice, while continues in her rhyme to talk and eat. I see Art, his necklaces again and my ordered coffee. The cup is too big. I am so embarrassed, ashamed, I cannot remember how to drink neither how to lift my cup. I felt the weight of the coffee like a cliff edge, the cup slipping between my fingers, its impossibility, and its failure, I had hit a wall.
This art at arms length I have abandonment, however I remain restrained to the embrace. He is the fillip as if to a tricky song and dance, this art has timing and rules, ingenuity yes but insincere pre-thought without feelings that are being lived. Now think in terms of a stalkers dream to kill off the pursuit. Suspicious as Art will show me up. I think it slaps around the face, it will embarrass, give stage fright, show me vulnerable, defensive, and it’s un curtness, uncouth. Its always punctual always reliable this art is fake.
Yet art conditions this human life observe that art is a means of intercourse -this is the activity of art.
PUBLISHED BY CoVENTRY Magazine 2013.
Andre Breton. “Nadja” Trans Richard Howard. (First published 1928, Penguin Books 1999)
Leo Tolstoy. “what Is Art” Trans Alymer Maude.(first published in 1899)(excerpts):
1/ to evoke in oneself a feeling one has once experienced, and having evoked it in oneself, then, by means of movements, lines, colours, sounds, or forms expressed in words, so to transmit that feeling that others may experience the same feeling.
2/ art is a human activity consisting in this, that one one consciously, by means of certain external signs, hands on to others feelings he has lived through, and that other people are infected by these feelings and also experience them.