25 September 2013

Susan Sontag on Howard Hodgkins #3

Venice: once, again. Imagining the imagined. When you want to see Venice again, and you have seen it many times, rising out of the sea, in winter perhaps, semi-deserted, what you appreciate is that it will not have changed at all.
  Or you stand at the railing of the boat going up the Nile, a day's journey from Luxor, and it's sunset. You're just looking. There are no words you are impelled to write down; you don't make a sketch or take a photograph. You look, and sometimes your eyes feel tired, and you look again, and you feel saturated, and happy, and terribly anxious.
  There is a price to be paid for stubbornly continuing to make love with one's eyes to these famous tourist-weary places. For not letting go: of ruined grandeur, of the imperative of bliss. For continuing to work on behalf of it, in praise of, beauty. It's not that one hasn't noticed that this is an activity which people rather condescend to now. 
  Indeed, one might spend a lifetime apologizing for having found so many ways acceding to ecstasy.


  1. I really like this ... it seems to encapsulate much that I love about just "looking", which so many people don't do these days; too busy now with their I Phones and instant cameras. Passengers will film their whole balloon flight without ever having looked.