Skip to main content

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.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Honore Daumier

“If you shut up truth and bury it under ground, it will but grow, and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through it will blow up everything in its way.”- Émile Zola
Exited HonorĂ© Victorin Daumier, 10 February 1879, in an impoverishment that many of his contemporaries, especially his foes, would have thought was his long overdue retribution- the painter was blind, heavily in debt, and later relegated to a pauper’s grave. His friends, upon visiting his resting place, would, I imagine, see it a chance to admonish their children: “Now that’s a lesson for you cheeky devils whose tongues rattle off things that should better stay unspoken.” But Daumier devoted his life in revealing those “unspoken things.” His lithography ink proved sharper than most writers’ pens. He vented his rage and stigmatised others’ infamy in his satirical and, oftentimes, side-splitting cartoons. The tone was relentlessly acerbic but only because Daumier was exposing truths that, in the time…

Review: Late Spring (1949)

As a storyteller, Yasujiro Ozu insists on an implausibly objective stance that refrains from direct commentary or criticism; his camera customarily assumes the role of a detached observer, to whom the characters in the film, staring or talking straight to the camera, occasionally address, with an intimacy akin to that between a host and his guest, a closeness that is underpinned by a mutual recognition of the psychological distance that separates the two. The audience, whose perspective, in this case, conflates the camera’s (the director’s), an invisible character’s in the film (to whom the other characters address) and their own, is thus situated amidst this spatial complexity which, as a rule, every work of art necessarily creates.
In Late Spring (1948), the camera serves in part as an underlying comment to the story, which is noted by its economy of details. A prolonged shot of a departing train, on which the father and daughter travel to the city for a one-day excursion, prefigures…

Review: Gaslight (1944)

Despite its varied forms or narratives, all Gothic fictions revolve on a fundamental contrast: that between the tenuous comfort of an isolated self and the dangerous fascination of an intrusive otherness. The Victorian is an age characterised by its obsession with the supernatural – poised on the verge of modernity, with scientific advancements like Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species inspired missions to unlock the myths of the natural world, people began to take notice of what lay outside their limited knowledge of things, of anything that is external to the closed domain of humanity. This curiosity for the unknown provoked an appraisal for the known – the immutable social system was revealed as hostile to the cultivation of individual minds, and time-honoured ethics such as that dictating a woman’s role in a traditional domesticity a menace to the preservation of personal integrity.
The negotiation between the old and the new, the internal and the external, is the dominant theme of V…