Monday, 28 November 2011

The Portrait

* Egon Schiele, Seated Woman with Bent Knee(1917)(Portraitures are often deemed pale in comparison to other more elaborate forms of fine arts. Even the most quotidian can flourish into something wondrous, such fact is however sadly overlooked. Schiele was long notorious for the zigzag strokes when delineating human’s distorted forms. Striking a rather impertinent pose the viewers are invited to gaze at the woman’s intimate parts. The salient point of this portrait seems to be focused on the reveal or the disguise of the woman’s thigh, either of which the viewers are uncertain of what the woman is intended to act. There are still so many to be plucked out of Schiele’s painting- besides the thigh, the steely gaze of the eyes and the sketchy handling of the feet. The monstrosity of a statuette existence looms.)

She stares into the front and falls silent. Gaze exudes no sentiments nor expression, both eyes resemble stones rather than flints that obstruct stubbornly anyone who wishes to observe to the profundity. The only one who attends to her knows no cause of her muteness, yet informing everyone that such condition is temporary. Little do the curious know how the person also shivers in like fashion when merely taking a glance at her eyes, for they are seized by some formidable power ensuing from the two hollow sockets. Everyone stares down the pits and pines for a peak of the nadir.

The next time the curious ones see her, the figure’s contour blurs like myriads of little angels holding golden fleeces and dancing. A stark contrast to her divine periphery is the dire destitution that besieges her. Now her persisting silence has evolved into a spikiness that scares anyone who draws near. It is almost like passing by a cobweb-entangled statue and feeling its aura emitting although it remains immobile. Deep down her heart and mind she might be, secretly and unobserved by the others, nursing the wounds that incite the trauma of ruling out words and actions, or plotting a scheme that can avenge herself successfully. Spectators throng around her to judge, the situation she has adamantly mired herself in. Some throws a coin and bets on the continuance of her silence. “No more than another six years,” they contend.

Dear you, how another day comes and sunbeams sift through the heavily mucous curtains, shining on your bare self like spirits descending from heaven. I see you cringe at the sight of light, bury your head in your flea-bespattered shawl and mumble a curse. But your eyes, emotionless though like the sea that is ever tranquil, stares unwaveringly into the front even when the lights threaten to penetrate. You refuse to disarm yourself even when someone tames you and strikes your tender cord. When all possible noises cease outside and dusk veils half of your face, you finally succumbs to fog that gradually encroaches your eyes, and the sob that is barely muffled.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

The Lost Boy

* James Tissot, A Little Nimrod(1882) (Tissot’s paintings are often overshadowed by a veil of disquietness despite their seemingly idyllic setting. The innocent child-play depicted slowly creeps into a Lord of the Flies-esque malice. Three children feign prostrate under the defeat of the victor, who draws a sword ready for another bout of ruthless slaying. The distorted body of the child on the right makes the game seem more realistic than playful, the mother, however, is moved to a rear end to prevent from witnessing the imminent dreadful outcome.)

Little Jim dreads to tell everyone that he has left little John on the playground. A surprise little Jim initially intended to plan yet when the dusk sets in his fear rises, rises like the sunset-red that seems to emerge amid the coming darkness, only one knows that the redness is doomed to fade away. Little Jim could feel the dusts gathering around his feet when he sped away from little John, who was obviously too engrossed in his picture books to notice any anomaly. Little Jim escaped from his escapade astonishingly easy- his folks welcomed him with outstretched arms and questioned him everything except little John’s questionable disappearance. There comes moments when the crimson encroach the egg-white on the sky, and other days when the colours just mingle and each thus diluted. Time whiles away like particles of dusts that one can surely assume they wear off gradually from a larger object. Little John is eternally forgotten.

There is a place when one fears to tread upon. Memories build a monument that ever stands erect on the exact place Jim, now a grown man, fears to set foot. That place, however, haunts incessantly the most fitful dreams of Jim. The monument just stands there motionless, wherever the dreams tend to. Perhaps one day Jim will go back to the playground and prepare himself to discover nothing but masses of dust. Those dusts have been swirling all over the place, washing over him without noise. The only hindrance is when a pellet of dusts chokes his breath, prevents him from furthering things he has yet to say. So what motivated Little Jim to leave Little John behind? What happened later when Little Jim announced his brothers’ disappearance? In his bouts of dreams Jim can still hear Little John leafing through picture books, the sound swishes just like walking on leaves. Leaves scatter in compliance to the winds, which also sweep along the gathering dusts. Dusts caress the leaves tenderly.

A little boy basks under the sunshine, burying his tiny head in a picture book. The boy is obviously seized by the pastel pictures of a young knight, who kills all the most horrible monsters and returns with glory. The book tells the traditional story of battle, defeat and victory. Dusk approaches yet the little boy is ever intrigued by the still next page. He studies each picture with great attention, being careful not to miss even the most inconsequent detail. The dense darkness gradually erodes the pages, and the little boy pulls the book closer before his very eyes with his little pudgy fingers. Now a shrill breaks out in the wilderness where the young knight is all-armoured to face his most testing enemy. The little boys’ wondrous eyes flicker when the knight raises his scintillating sword. Before long the battle will be won and the commotion will be appeased. Someone walks through the erect steles and remember the sound, the sound of the day when the dusts and the leaves call home.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

The Story

* Johannes Vermeer, Officer and the Laughing Girl (The unconventionality of this painting lies in how the viewers can only get a partial view of the man, who is suggestively in depth conversation with the smiling woman. The window is ajar while lights flood in the room, encroaching unto everything except the viewable part of the man's face. Whoever is trying to surmise the man's facial expressions will remain a doubtless fool.)

What makes a good story sound if the world is already packed with sounds? He seats her cosily in a room robbed of all possible noises, except the regular pendulum-swings of the man, who promises the girl to tell the tale no sooner. The tale unfolds and speeds faster than the gusts lilting on the man's tongue, spanning widely from the child who was lost from the rose that ailed. An excellent tale needn't veer too far from its quotidian matter to make it exciting. The man has traveled far enough to dismiss the chimerical account of amusements, for every knowledgeable people will know the most abnormal incident spawns from the no anomaly. On a balmy day like this I used to hear a woman cry, yet no matter how painstakingly I hunted down the sound the woman was ever-invisible to me.

You can feel how the building now trembles along with my every syllable, the every sound. The stories awaken them and they reverberate in assent, in expectation. My lady, do sit down and dispel your ghastliness, and listen to the proceedings: the man was once imprisoned on an island, less sadly though he was attended by a hoary old man, who in return asked for the man’s undoubting devotion in reading, eternally reading to the old man, until the land was no longer compliant and he lost his name. Died a posthumous artist the man’s family chalked on his grave.

The map on the wall wrinkles an edge in response to the man’s tale. The island was then vanished from the map, marked merely by its story that afloats upon and sways into the horizon of ocean. They will wait until the hubbub settles outside of unknown reasons, when the rare silence returns he will whisper to her ear, to beg her stay and be his prisoner, for ever is a story untold or unfinished, and the story craves for the fidelity of a good listener. The man forbids the woman from going, the besieging walls, as well, makes her escape futile.