30 November 2020

so there's no brandy? there is always Morandi


When life becomes too difficult to manage, - not that it is ever manageable, say the Buddhists - there is always Morandi to savour. So there is no desert? There is always Morandi! 

There is a book on his life and work resting on my very large coffee table so he is never far from my eye.

I have seen many shows of his work, some small, but others, like the retrospective in Paris back around 2008 at the Musee d'Art Moderne were fairly inclusive, full like a bulging wallet.

"Too many at once reveal his limitations", said a painter friend to me many years ago. I understood what he meant but I didn't agree. Small is quite beautiful even in large doses, especially when it comes to Morandi.

Speaking for myself alone, it seems evident that all painters (artists) are obsessional, and Morandi's interest in the continual arrangement of all these bottles and cups,  borders on an erotic obsession. It's as if he lived in his own harem, where an unlimited variety of shapes and sizes could be possessed by him, and him alone. 

He made landscapes too, though he is really known for his sensual take on the still life, everything made in his studio in a comfortably bourgeois family home which he shared with his sisters in Bologna. His small studio was a room at one end of the home on the second floor. To access it he had to pass through all of his sister's rooms' like what used to be called in New York, a railroad apartment.

This is the one anecdote about him I love the most. The intimacy of a family home inhabited by the adult children who had grown up in it. The intimacy of Morandi, the soft-spoken gentleman he was known to be, gently knocking on each successive door to arrive at his small workplace each day.  An arrangement of such  delicate coziness no doubt found its way into his pictures. 

And when I feel that restlessness coming on I usually reach for any book, but the Morandi seems to always be close at anxious hand.

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