05 August 2021

Venice! beauty and the beast! unsettling the settled.


I saw this on Instagram recently and found it so insane, so beguiling! It's the kind of photo which makes most well-intentioned and cultured folk cringe with disdain. It offends their well-educated sensibilities, and of course I can understand their horror! But at the same time I am so amazed by the photo that I am filled with a strange and perverted kind of joy. But you should have read the thread of comments on Instagram! My grandmother would have blushed!

It is a riotous and sublime juxtaposition of so many elements that it almost possesses all the qualities of what I deem superior in Art; That is to say; a maximum number of relationships  constructed through abstract means. And let's not forget irony.

Could one imagine a film wherein Time has been turned upside down, inside out, and the great Venetian painter, Titian, steps out of his studio and onto a terrace to find this strange white beast of unimaginable origin drifting gently up through the green lagoon of Venice like Moby Dick! 

I do have a friend, François de Asis who has been going to Venice to paint every Spring since the 1970's. That'a a long time, and it is a lot of work because he churns them out rapidly, (sort of like Monet but at high speed scrubbing). He always stays at the Pensione  da CiCi in the Dorsoduro quarter not far from La Saluté (which is figured on the right side of the photo). He awakened one morning many years ago to see a line of tourists peering into his bedroom. He stepped out on the small balcony giving off the back side of the Canal facing the Giudecca to wave at the people, who themselves, were waving back from their private decks, hundreds of them, stacked up one upon the other, symmetrically, like a beehive.

So being the painter that he is, he began drawing the scene from inside of his bedroom. There were done rapidly in bright pastels, simple, and abbreviated. But when he showed them to me just a few years later he seemed like someone showing off baby photos with exuberant pride and excitement, (Aren't they crazy?) (Comme ils sont fou!) he exclaimed with abandon). And they were, at least to me, who knows his work, and his excitement.

So, this photo is so very extraordinary that I do not know where to place my own excitement! Secretly, of course, I love also that it will infuriate almost everyone of my 'cultured' friends, a little like when I send weird photos of Donald Trump to my liberal friends who always write back telling me how awful he is. Ha Ha, like duh! for of course he is! That's the point of all these weird photos of him! Alas, too many people (friends included) lack enough irony to find the absurdity of it all, except of course, my brother Mark, with whom I often trade these kinds things. But he is also from New York, where Seinfeld comes from. And it's true that I like to unsettle the settled.

No comments:

Post a Comment