Dance of ideas for a woman with a blue guitar

Is this BLOG an experiment? I doubt it. It’s not a reasonable, predictable space. Words can be heavy. Stones, they were called. How to love them?

A place of pleasure, that’s my goal. Encounters and exchanges about art and life. A selected group of people will come and play the thinking game. They will send their thoughts by e-mail. We might be read by the global village. Let’s give them pleasure! Let’s learn to be light. Fleeting and temporary, at least for one year. Personal, fearless, bringing out uncertainties, pauses and hesitations, conflicts and doubts. Most of the artworks reveal idiosyncratic states of mind that are not allowed to writers: no smoking in the toilette during the flight! Unless they are poets.

I was an Eighteenth-century philosophy scholar who turned into a journalist and a maker of hand-sewn books. So my hands give the books a body as the secluded princesses of the old tales, making their lovers’ body with flour and water. None of them have a beating heart. Lack of love makes me sick. Lack of confidence, same effect. Plaintive commentaries about climate and institutional collapse are a black mask on my eyes. Reality is painted black. But The Arts keep me alive. Meredith Monk sings without words, only voice and feelings. I wish we could write like she sings.

No yes, no, I like, dislike, no evaluations. Intelligent kindness. No aggression nor rivalry. Reading, writing, “an exchange of desire becomes possible, of an enjoyment that was not foreseen. Games are not done, let’s play.” (Roland Barthes) Wind and earthquakes shake our landscape. Los Angeles is luminous in the middle of April. We can wear the on-line dress, all the possible colors and shapes, because ideas have colors, if someone cares. The kite needs hands holding the thread as well as the winds and the sky; it needs tension, inside and outside.

“I play them on a blue guitar / And then things are not as they are. / The shape of the instrument  / Distorts the shape of what I meant, / Which takes shape by accident. / Yet what I mean I always say. / The accident is how I play./  I still intend things as they are. / The greenish quaverings of day /  Quiver upon the blue guitar. (Wallace Stevens)

MASAOMI YASUNAGA : THE BEAUTY OF NATURAL IMPERFECTION

Masaomi Yasunaga: THE BEAUTY OF NATURAL IMPERFECTION

Nonaka Hill Gallery — September 2020

photos: Peter Kirby & Rosanna Albertini

 

 

WHEN EMPTINESS PREVAILS

by Rosanna Albertini

We have grown weary of the man that thinks.

He thinks and it is not true. The man below

Imagines and it is true, as if he thought

By imagining, anti-logician, quick

With a logic of transforming certitudes.

It is not that he was born in another land,

….

He was born within us as a second self,

A self of parents who have never died,

Whose lives return, simply, upon our lips,

Their words and ours…

WALLACE STEVENS, Owl’s Clover

(Try this: We have grown weary of the woman that thinks…)

 

Holes, holes! As I stepped out of the art gallery my brain didn’t hesitate. Holes like a whisper through my brain for no clear reasons. I had seen exquisite sculptures that one would call vases, cups, bowls, animals, beautiful objects. But for me holes as ideal bodies, almost an obsession, were not replaced by the physicality, the layers of petrified skin giving them a shape. Honestly, holes can’t be separated from their skin. At first, it was hard to even conceive them in words.

These notes about Masaomi Yasunaga, a Japanese artist ceramicist, are a bush of associations. Starting from the fact that his pieces are holes indeed, holes shaped by a temporary, soft skin of glaze rather than clay —combined with feldspar, glass and metal powders—  that melts and transforms during the firing in the kiln, absorbing or refusing sand or rocks or dirt that completely fill the container. Cracks and more holes define the finished work. The real sculpture starts when the artist liberates the new creature from incrustations, deciding what will stay and what will go. At least, this is what I have been able to understand from second hand descriptions, I wish one day I can meet Masaomi and ask more. 

 

Crawling through the mud:

Yasunaga studied ceramics under Satoru Hoshino, a second-generation proponent of the avant-garde ceramic group, Sodeisha (in kanji, 走泥社 literally means, crawling through the mud). Founded in Kyoto in 1948, in the aftermath of WWII, Sodeisha broke away from long-established conventions of Japanese ceramics, resolving to create non-functional sculptural works.” Art Viewer 2019.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My obsession with holes, nevertheless, goes beyond the making process or historical roots. Why do I love those holes. Ten years ago Masaomi’s grandmother passed away. He collected the fragments of her bones after the fire and mixed them into the skin of some urns. The chemistry of life and death is the same for living and inanimate beings. Still, to move to art making, the artist needed to deal with holes. And we need them as well, when we have to deal with loss, deception and acceptance of all things we don’t understand, most of our life. 

“My Mother” is an installation Ko Nakajima made in the late 80s. I saw it in France. Two monitors were covered with two small mountains of dirt. Only the screens were visible, each of them a living luminous hole. In one of them the new life of the artist’s daughter, from birth to the first steps. In the other, the remains of his mother on the table, after the fire. Slowly and gently, the family including children collected them and put them in a vase. A group of children during a school visit set in front of the two mounds that vibrated with sounds and images unfamiliar to say the least. They stayed still, sitting on the floor beyond any reasonable watching time. I also stayed, behind them, waiting for their voices. They did come. “I’m scared” a girl started to say, “the baby girl could be suffocated by all that dirt.” A boy answered (they were 9, 10 years old): “No, nothing to be afraid of, look at the two mounds, look at their shape, they are the mother’s breast.” 

I had to talk in the evening about the installation, each invited writer was asked to do the same in public, free to pick a favorite. The artists in the room. I reported the children’s reactions and words. Ko Nakajima openly cried. 

 

 

Something more: a book in which every day I spend time digging my own holes, adapting to a slow pace. The book doesn’t know rush, doesn’t resemble a tumultuous streams jumping on rocks. It’s a journey into the cruel coming of age and life of a group of clones conceived like shells around organs they have to donate…until they are done, completed, says the book. As if death wasn’t conceivable for entities who didn’t have a birth. Growing up, they become aware they are not different from humans, with soul, inner life…aren’t humans today, at times, becoming as the clones were supposed to be, complying with social orders planned for absurd goals or worse? Obedient servants…

It’s an unpredictable world we are living in. Maybe we should linger in the emptiness of holes and wait, enjoying the beauty of natural imperfection, getting lost among nuances of colors, and surprising forms generated by heat and melting matter, curled up inside the many niches covered by skin we have inside, where the self disappears and we are only one thing with our body from birth to ashes, only one grain of sand, maybe this is the secret of happiness. 

 Thank you Masaomi Yasunaga, thank you Kazuo Ishiguro, please, never let me go. 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go, First Vintage International Edition, March 2006. Published in the US by Vintage Books, Penguin Random House LLC, New York.

Wallace Stevens, Collected Poetry and Prose,  The Library Of America: Volume compilation, notes and chronology copyright © 1997 by Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., New York, N.Y.

LIKE WIND IN MY BRAIN: about DAWN KASPER

and her online art piece: 

THINGS MOTHER USED TO MAKE

produced by ISSUE Project Room, Brooklyn NY, 2020

by Rosanna Albertini

In the middle of June Things Mother Used to Make had its first online presentation in the evening, like a regular movie, or a performance. Brought directly into my home, I was excited. Dawn has few equals: she is her art. Over the last twenty years I saw her performances like wind in my brain. To tell the TRUTH? A way of speaking…not for Dawn Kasper. She branded the five letters one by one in the inner part of her right arm. On the left arm she bears the word LOVE, also branded. 

 

DAWN KASPER, Uncle Jimmy or TRUTH branding, 2008 1 hour site specific performance installation. Anna Helwing Gallery, Los Angeles. photo: Micol Hebron

Her thinking is movement through the whole body. For years she spent hours exposing her body as if she had been killed, every time a different character, a new situation, and preparing for the performance by drawing in detail all the components of the crime scene. We used to talk in my kitchen while, a knife in my hands, I was peeling potatoes and chopping vegetables. Dawn still remembers the wooden handle of my knife. I was all ears. Especially to the intensity of her respiration.

Yes, but my pieces are not about wanting or being prepared to die, they are about feeling life more. I become more myself through the work. Is it bad to admit it?

Short-circuit for my brain; I had the sense that a mysterious monster was petrifying Dawn temporarily for reasons unknown.

As I said in the kitchen earlier, I am consumed by curiosity in finding the meaning of life. But, I am dwelling so much on horrific imagery, asking myself why I am so attracted by this aspect of my existence. Perhaps I am already dead, I don’t know when or why.” 

 

DAWN KASPER, Evil Series #12 ‘the Pond’ 2003. 3 hour live site specific performance installation. Mount Washington, CA Photo: Mark Golamco

 

One day she stopped dying. New performances were sometimes dangerous, other times delightfully absurd: like painting on white paper with clear water and telling stories of daily life during the work. Always around her there was a palpable emotional field, a physical tension stronger than intellectual description. Coming out of the performing effort she was at times bruised, wounded, the very portrait of failure. And yet, she had made visible something that words express in a different way, with a rigidity we must force and penetrate to grab the movement of thoughts, or poetic visions. 

With Dawn, we face the power of a struggle with no guidelines, no safe edges, no idealism, for the soul is lonely, so desperately deserted in front of the task of living, that humor steams out of her body, while laughter and tears bring the spectators into the same tragicomic disorder. Art making disintegrates in her hands as does consequential thinking: if an action is planned, Dawn’s body makes it — her mind doesn’t know how emotions will play until the action starts. What comes out is a collage of circumstances, observations, reactions to place and people and the mood of the day Objects are simple tools, her body language the powerful center.

 

DAWN KASPER, Clues to the Meaning of Life part 6 (first time) 2008 1-hour site specific life performance, Echo Park, CA photo: Christopher Kreiling

A friend of her took his life and the artist had the strange privilege of being the first to find him. “The blue rope was strung through the rafters over two different points in the ceiling. Then came down and met David around his neck.” I’m wondering now, after so much time, if in her terror and despair facing this real death she had a tender wish hidden in her mind, like to give her dead friend a teddy bear. A few days after she made herself a bear, covered by mask and skin, and told David’s story reading a sheet of paper she had written on. Curiously, death goes with words: no more change.  

History repeats itself.

The movement exposed.

Turn into another.

And into another.

And another.

Over & over again.

Observing.

These are words from the online piece. Twenty years after my first shock in front of her performances, Dawn Kasper keeps dealing with the tragicomic quality of the living. Things Mother Used to Make is a presentation of ingredients for the art piece. Spectators must put the pieces through their paces, discover and absorb their scent before the immersion into the peculiar flavor of the whole piece. The ingredients are:

—  A long musical piece, sounds of the “recording of a recording”

—  A group of words

—  Animations or old film images and sounds turning into another composition over and over during the collage performed by Dawn’s fingers

— The title comes from the title of a 1922 cookbook

—  One recipe more than 100 years old

Stills from the collage in motion: https://vimeo.com/426299213


I would add that Mother’s ghost hovers on the whole pile. And, like any good food, the piece needs to be eaten to exist; art pieces are not different from food. Except, senses here are stimulated without physical objects. Like Pessoa, Dawn Kasper leaves their real bodies for dead and instinctively picks up their souls, merged with her dreams and ours. Ronawave defeated by art.

Two hours after viewing the piece I wrote an e-mail to Dawn:

Cara Alba, (Italian for Dawn)

I liked your piece: it was puzzling in an interesting way,  music bringing an inward lack of expectations and high pitch listening of the same inside.

Probably helped by the sequence of subjects you had listed separately, insisting in separating words from images and sounds, you made me think of your mind and mine and everybody else’s revisiting what mother used to make through her own life, and yours, and mine, and others’. 

In this way the piece was a moment of separation from the constant violent mess around or mental confusion. It was a clean time of light feelings, and cartoon like memories, they flatten, don’t they?

I’m probably dreaming, as usual, but I felt your beating heart in your fingers making the visual collage. Another experience I already had with you in person, when you made the little books at my house. You think through your body.

Rosanna

DAWN KASPER, Collage on paper 2007, in the hand-made booklet Dawn Kasper life and death, Circus Gallery Los Angeles.

Bibliography

Dawn Kasper life and death, essay by Rosanna Albertini, booklet Circus gallery, Los Angeles, 2007

Rosanna Albertini, Life Piercing Art, a book of portraits and self-portraits,  Oreste & Co. Publishers, Los Angeles, 2013

Fernando Pessoa, The Selected Prose of Fernando Pessoa, Edited and translated by Richard Zenith, Grove Press/New York, 2001

Lidia Maria Gurney, Things Mother Used to Make, Macmillan Publishing 1922

KATE NEWBY : As far as you can

at Feuilleton  Los Angeles, July 2020

TIME BECOMING ART    DEVENIR DU TEMPS    OUT OF HER HANDS

by Rosanna Albertini

the printmaking process – Marfa 2017

and this is the printed piece:

KATE NEWBY, I’m glad we’ve done it just to see 2018, Soft ground etching, 22.8 x 18.2 in Ed. 7/10. Printed at Hare and Hound Press, San Antonio, TX
Courtesy of Feuilleton, Los Angeles

Time itself, not the idea of it, brings these art pieces from a non-state to a presence, from the sculptor’s mind to a dusty, arid spread of the ground. I think the place sculpts her mind with smells and winds and infinite distances, her whole body could be altered, I don’t know, it happens to me in the desert. In this case, for sure, Kate Newby has asked the place to give her back the prize of her trust in a limitless space whose nocturnal life she can feel, rather than see. 

Each art piece comes from a physical relationship with something living, in the air or in the ground, something that disappears as the sun rises. During the time it is exposed outdoors, the sensitive body of the flat metal is entrusted to whatever can happen around and on its surface. Animal life, likely. 

Loneliness is its condition, along with freedom from instructions. Kate prepared the scene on the ground, the flat plate with bird seed around, some other food. Then left  for one or two long days and nights. The art piece yet to be born is detached from her decisions, taste, or control. The physical little theater belongs to the desert, dwelling in a world without humans, and a population of things with no names as they have been consumed and transformed by rolling and drying. It is an anonymous field of existence.

KATE NEWBY, Just be prepared (backyard, birds, Southtown) 2017. Soft ground etching, intaglio, 22.5 x 23.7 in. Ed. 5/10. Printed at Hare and Hound press, San Antonio, TX
Courtesy Feuilleton Los Angeles

KATE NEWBY, New Guy, Shadow, Carrots and Carrots Two, 2018. Soft ground etching, 22.8 x 18.2. Ed. 7/10. Printed at Hare and Hound Press, San Antonio, TX
Courtesy Feuilleton Los Angeles

Kate withdraws, avoids to be vigilant. Her awareness – a philosopher would call it consciousness – goes to sleep. Paradoxically, she flees into the fullness of the unknown. (thank you, generous Levinas)

After a day or two of rising suns history is written on the plate. Language? Impossible to decipher. Understanding is a vanishing effort. On each piece signs are different, Sparse little marks near the edges, and emptiness in the middle are the outcome of a big desert storm. The printed piece is proud of its clarity: a beginning is undeniably there, you can touch it.

KATE NEWBY, Between Flavin and the Horn 2018. Soft ground etching, 22.8 x 18.2 in. Ed. 7/10 Printed at Hare and Hound Press, San Antonio, TX
Courtesy Feuilleton Los Angeles

The artist looks at the spectacle on display, she doesn’t need to draw attention to herself. “Life is impoverished, it looses in interest, when the highest stake in the game of living, life itself, may not be risked.” (SIGMUND FREUD) It doesn’t matter her life as an artist is at stake. The physical universe teems with wildlife, her plates are pregnant with traces of intelligent actions, surprisingly intense, formally well organized.

Their formation cannot be questioned, yet there is rhythm and precision in each set of ‘drawings?’

KATE NEWBY, But still LOVE this 2020. Porcelain, silk thread, handmade wool rope, 13.5 x 10 in.
Courtesy Feuilleton Los Angeles

C’est là voir de la musique — There is a sight of music  (VALERY)

A visual music following her own time. What about if Kate Newby is a bird, a unique species making her nest with pebbles. She doesn’t pick them up. She sculpts them and paints them, secret treasures for pockets. I can imagine her flying over Brooklyn in the night, looking for directions on her portable phone. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

KATE NEWBY POCKETS WORKS, a project for writing, Portland, lumber room, 2019

Emmanuel Levinas, Le temps et l’autre, Paris, PUF, 1979

Sigmund Freud,”Thoughts from the Time on War and Death” 1915, quoted by Adam Phillips in Equals, Published by Basic Books  ©Adam Phillis 2002, 

Paul Valéry, L’homme et la coquille, Paris, Gallimard, 1937

 

ERASURE ART – GIVING PRAISE TO EMILIO ISGRO

 

 ITALIAN ARTIST EMILIO ISGRO and UNEXPECTED DEVELOPMENTS: 

THE RONAWEAVE REVOLUTION

by Rosanna Albertini

 

 

Emilio Isgrò, GRANDE DIZIONARIO ENCICLOPEDICO / GREAT ENCYCLOPEDIC DICTIONARY, 1969, Indian ink on printed book in box of wood and plexiglas 100x41x67 cm  Photo: Cristian Castelnuovo Courtesy Studio Guastalla Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Milano

Remaining words: “passando da  312.000 a 314.000″ ” going from 312.000 to 314.000″

“riprendendo le dottrine platoniche della reminiscenza e della trasmigrazione delle anime” “bringing back the platonic doctrines of reminescence and transmigration of the souls”*

Words, and the arts, he says, are the essence of democracy. Emilio Isgrò started erasing printed pages and images around fifty years ago. Lines and lines obnubilate the words that had covered the paper like legs of insects, calligraphic bodies of the most movable and fleeting of human activities: thinking and writing thoughts to reach other people who are not in the room, and never will be. 

A few words remain. Some fragments of images still visible. “A word is a petal of the soul”, wrote Jabès. Isgrò saves very few of them in his garden. He plays with them and with language, art needs space, renovation, a long way of discoveries: words and images testing their limits, replacing each other, hiding, sometimes pretending an imaginary game: if you have two red squares, in which one is Trotsky going to fall, when he wears a red suit? 

Emilio Isgrò, MANIFESTO COMUNALE / MUNICIPAL POSTER 1974, Indian ink on printed poster in box of wood and plexiglas, 100×76 cm Photo: Cristian Castelnuovo Courtesy Studio Guastalla Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Milano

 

Emilio Isgrò, DOVE CADE TROTSKIJ / WHERE TROTSKY FALLS 1974, Acrylic on canvas mounted on wood, 59,7×104,5 cm  Photo: Cristian Castelnuovo  Courtesy Studio Guastalla Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Milano

IN WHICH ONE OF THE TWO SQUARES DOES LEV DAVIDOVIC TROTSKIJ FALL WEARING A RED SUIT?

I have never met Emilio Isgrò, I wish I could. I want to talk to him.  If, inspired by him, I erase the enormous volume of words and voices that try to describe and reasonably explain what’s happening today all over the world, I’d like to stop the flood, but I can only see something that is terrifying and spellbinding. A potential of liberation … spread by the ronaweave. And I am not able to send away the image of a gigantic specter made with numbers of sick or dead real humans. My daydreaming has the lightness of unreal things. When I see doctors at work in emergency rooms, and I am face to face with them, then I am in the belly of the monster. Nobody expected that nature herself might start erasing. “Natura matrigna,” wrote my grandchild from Pisa, determined to become a doctor. But your erasure is different, dear artist, it opens space for thinking as the art of desire, and art as the desire of a journey beyond codified ways of thinking.                                                            

Emilio Isgrò, HENRICUS KISSINGER, EX 1974  Emulsified canvas  125×160 cm Photo: Cristian Castelnuovo Courtesy Studio Guastalla Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Milano

“HENRICUS KISSINGER, EX URBE PECHINO ADVENIENS, EX AEROPLANO DESCENDIT. SUB VESPERUM PRAESIDEM NIXON CUNCTA EDOCEBIT”

 

Emilio Isgrò, NEGLI OCCHI DI BEATRICE / IN THE EYES OF BEATRICE 1979 Acrylic on canvas
79×79 cm  Photo Cristian Castelnuovo  Courtesy Studio Guastalla Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Milano

 

Emilio Isgrò, PURGATORIO XXVI /PURGATORY XXVI 1983 Acrylic on printed book in box of wood and plexiglas 40×50 cm  Photo: Cristian Castelnuovo  Courtesy Studio Guastalla Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Milano

“SODDOMA E GOMORRA!”; “VACCA”      “SODDOMA AND GOMORRA!”;  “COW”

 

Emilio Isgrò, BERTRAND BARERE DE VIEUZAC 1979, Acrylic on canvas 80×80 cm Photo: Cristian Castelnuovo  Courtesy Studio Guastalla Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Milano

“Bertrand Barère de Vieuzac, detto l’Anacreonte della ghigliottina, muove un dito nel rosso vestito di rosso, con molta nostalgia del verde. Tarbes, 1841.”   “Bertrand Barère de Vieuzac, called the Anacreon of the guillotine, moves a finger in the red wearing red, with acute nostalgia for the green. Tarbes, 1841.”

 

The past is a quite recent shadow, a pillow left after the night, we can still feel it touching the skin. As I go out my steps are counted, I say hello to the dogs, my face is covered. Cars are back, two fire engines scream like red elephants, birds still fly in formation. Humans avoid contacts. Smog. The careless freedom of going and doing has been erased. It was nice to be spensierati. No equivalent in English. More or less: out of the cage of thoughts, bipeds with wings. 

We live under the tyranny of not being too puzzling, both to ourselves and others … But above all it is when the pressure to understand is taken off that the most valuable words are spoken or written; the act, the struggle to make oneself intelligible must therefore be some kind of distraction; in psychoanalityc terms, some kind of defense. The words that matter most are the words we don’t understand. ADAM PHILLIPS

When you mentioned Pasolini, dear Isgrò, and it was about revolution: “Only the revolution can save the past,” and you added that today there is no past anymore because we don’t have a real revolution of habits, customs, of the living, you were right… a few years ago!  Here we are, a revolution is happening, so far rather a scarecrow with shredded clothes, but the wind blows.

Democracy, al least in the US, where I live, has become the home of institutions fermenting on their foundations, desperately trying to respond to this natural challenge of life or death. I call it ronawave like the chicano members of the LA community. It’s a word with flesh. The whole country quivers with emotion once more dipping fingers into fundamental, violated, human rights. No more quietly appeased. 

Erased, erased, erased is the silence. 

Every day brings new yellow butterflies on a small tree with yellow flowers. 

Los Angeles is home to me. So are Milano, Pisa, Napoli, Venezia, Paris, whose smell I can feel at the distance, just while thinking of them. The ronawave erased borders with no ambiguity: there are none in our souls. History, maybe, could be pushed aside. If a future remains, this present will be a revered past.

 

Emilio Isgrò, SPINOZA 2002, Acrylic on canvas 120×190 cm  Photo: Cristian Castelnuovo
Courtesy Studio Guastalla Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Milano

A RED STORY     by Silvia Guastalla

Heart, imagination, reason. Let’s ask for their help in this time of uncertainty. They’ll listen to us.

This red story by Emilio Isgrò reminds us that life is a space in which anyone can write, with the signs of one’s imagination, and that imagination is a faculty that frees the power of existence and makes us masters of ourselves. For Spinoza, the philosopher who Isgrò makes appear and disappear in this large red color field, imagination is a virtue, not a defect in our minds, if accompanied by analysis. 

Imagination, as capacity to think about what doesn’t exist, and reason, that is awareness of reality, are the two poles between which our freedom to be human beings moves. And red is the potent color that symbolizes our ability to use our hearts.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

EMILIO ISGRO – LA CANCELLATURA E ALTRI PARTICOLARI, Opere 1966-1993, Catalogue Studio Guastalla Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Editions Graphis Arte, Milano, 2012

ADAM PHILLIS, Equals. Published by Basic Books, © 2002 by Adam Phillips

*It’s a funny coincidence that precisely these doctrines are an irreverent disguise for the eighteenth century intelligence in a small book written by Montesquieu, L’Histoire véritable. The first (and unique) Italian edition was translated by me, with some words about transmigrations at the end of the book. Elvira Sellerio, A Sicilian publisher, made the book exactly as I asked, and published it in the Blue collection. I was thrilled. The Blue collection was my favorite among very many.

CHARLES-LOUIS DE MONTESQUIEU, Storia vera, Translation and note by Rosanna Albertini, ©Sellerio Editore, Palermo, 1983, 1992.

EDMOND JABES, Le Livre des Questions, © Editions Gallimard, 1963

BEAUTY AS A LIVING FORCE N.2

BIRDS FOR A WHILE   by Rosanna Albertini

 

Images by JEAN-LOUIS GARNELL 

 

“Like the Druzes, like the moon, like death, like next week, the distant past forms part of those things that can be enriched by ignorance. It is infinitely supple and yielding; it offers itself to us much more than the future and poses fewer problems. One knows, moreover, that it is the chosen spot of mythology.”   Jorge Luis Borges

 

THE DAY THAT TIME GOT LOST AND FOUND

Lines and a six foot distance to buy bread, salad, whatever. Like flocks of birds? We move as a bunch, as if obeying, to whom is not important. Birds do better when they fly away from a power line, all together, and draw regular, movable forms in the sky. They migrate and cover continents of distance. They seem to know where they go. We didn’t move for about three months, and don’t know anymore where the future goes. Bipeds without wings.    

Do you think birds have a sense of time? ‘Just the difference between day and night,’ Peter answers. ‘Do you know what day it is?’ he asks me. ‘I am not sure, I thought it was Saturday. No, it is Wednesday.’ I am nailed to a wish of coordinates as empty as the page of a calendar. 

Printemps 2020 VUES n. 1   67 x 100 cm, © JEAN-LOUIS GARNELL

Printemps 2020 VUES n.2   67 x 100 cm © JEAN-LOUIS GARNELL

Printemps 2020 VUES n.3  67 x 100 cm ©JEAN-LOUIS GARNELL

Printemps 2020 VUES n.4 67 x 100 cm ©JEAN-LOUIS GARNELL

Printemps 2020 VUES n.5 67 x 100 cm ©JEAN-LOUIS GARNELL

         

Maybe I’m becoming free from counting and squeezing into an infinite grid of little windows the pleasure of looking at the sky, following the clouds, or smelling a peach. Imaginary volumes of time become hurdles, and I jump and jump to keep the schedule in order. Time? We make it, paint it, frame it, only to end up with a strange deception: I don’t have time!  And my watch has disappeared.

Like my ancestors from the Renaissance, I keep dearly in mind the illusion that, when I think, I touch something despite the distance. As my mind saves the immediate sensations of walking, or stroking my ankles disturbed by neuropathy, a careful register of my aging, she saves as well past sensations I hide somewhere, maybe behind my ears. For no reason my hands search through a pile of dusty papers I saved for decades. At the very end, underneath photocopies and magazines, a page cut from a newspaper appears, spiteful like a squirrel: the first important long article I wrote in Italy about contemporary art. I could write about the light going dim at the end of the day and the shadows stroking my yellowish piece of paper, but I don’t. Virginia did it in such a sublime way that I can just keep my words clean and poor. Without thinking, I decide to scan the article, frame it and put it on the wall. 

Tiptoing and creeping up from the marsh of the old habits sinking underwater, time comes back: it is a body of eight minutes and forty-six seconds, the time Floyd was deprived of life nine days ago. An online chain of messages offers the idea of a peaceful action, at home. “All we need to do is to go outdoors (rooftop, front yard, back yard, street, any place outdoors) and turn on a flashlight, or emergency light, and point it to the sky for exactly 8 min and 46 seconds starting at exactly 9:oo pm.” The full moon kept her face modestly behind the fog. Our lights hit the top of the palms. Floyd’s death felt as a long, very long time.

Back in the house I put the article on the wall, and saw my lost watch.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Borges, a Reader, Edited by Emir Rodriguez Monegal & Alastair Reid, New York, E. P. Dutton, 1981

BEAUTY AS A LIVING FORCE N.1

IMAGES by YVES TREMORIN

The artist took a picture every day during his home isolation, and sent them by e-mail to his friends.

SPRINGTIME  by Rosanna Albertini

“This is a time when it is frightening to be alive, when it is hard to think of human beings as rational creatures. Everywhere we look we see brutality, stupidity, until it seems that there is nothing else to be seen but that—a descent into barbarism, everywhere, which we are unable to check. But I think that while it is true there is a general worsening, it is precisely because things are so frightening we become hypnotized, and do not notice—or if we notice, belittle—equally strong forces on the other side, the forces, in short, of reason, sanity and civilization. … We have the ability to observe ourselves from other viewpoints.” 

 Doris Lessing, Prisons We Choose to Live Inside, 1987

Lessing’s words drove me to the very far past of humankind, when we hardly knew the difference between humans, plants and the other animals. And opening my primitive instincts I saw each written page like a beehive, buzzing and humming movements of words, fonts, and ideas pressing the tools of language, asking to become honey.

reread Doris Lessing outside in the sun after six days of rage, fires, shouting—God undoing his week of creation. Yet the garden is still around me, screaming the beauty of spring. Not very far away, in the city, there is a wave of despair exasperated by the repeated, callous harm of a human to another human. As likely as not, frustration was already simmering before the killing that became a burning stamp into the soul of everyone. Maybe there is more, a sort of irrational response to the artificial, although useful, quiet, imposed on our daily lives in contrast to the virulence of the ronawave.

My honey, today, is the mysterious strength of friendship among humans, my uninterrupted friendship with two French artists that neither distance nor time can scratch: Yves Tremorin and Jean-Louis Garnell.  In this post and the next post the three of us will be together despite the ocean between us, inviting the readers/viewers to our table.

Homer, and Spinoza, are honey for sure. Compared with them, we work at a tiny scale, releasing blood drops. My Milanese friend Silvia’s e-mails regularly changed my spring days. She is a gallerist now, and a mother, a while ago one of my students of philosophy. Her short messages announced: BEAUTY WILL SAVE US. She sent one image of an art piece, and a few lines disclosing her take on it, a personal attachment to that work.  Because Silvia can only reduce her anxiety reading Greek poems and philosophical classics, her words are not about aesthetics, she digs them from within, asking heart, imagination and reason to give us help in this suspended time: “they will listen to us,” she says. I listen to her. 

Her six year old son is more concerned with action, not to say practical decisions. After a long day of online schooling at home, from 8.30am to 4pm, slouched in his chair, or disappearing under the table, or desperately asking for friends, he is finally in bed as his mother reads the Iliad to him. After listening,  “I’ve decided mamma,” he says, “I will offer myself in sacrifice, so the Gods will understand they have to send the virus away.” In a few minutes he will turn into Zorro, looking for a mask. 

Strange to tell, Ed Moses used to paint his abstract pieces with a similar sequence in mind: in 2001 I wrote an imaginary conversation between him and his paintings of that year. “Please forget nature. Thoughts and feelings are my true mine. When I project them onto a physical surface they become God’s fingers awakening dull pieces of matter.” Then mumbling, “God? Let’s say Zorro, he is perhaps a more popular character.” I read this to Ed sitting with him on the bench near his front door, he approved. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Doris Lessing, Prisons We Choose to Live Inside, ©1987 Doris Lessing, New York, Harper & Row, Publishers

Arthur Schnitzler, Relations et Solitudes, Aphorismes, Translation from German by Pierre Deshusses, Paris,  Rivages poche Petite Bibliothèque, 1988

Ernst Cassirer, Individuo e cosmo nella filosofia del Rinascimento, 1927. Translation from German by Federico Federici, Firenze, La Nuova Italia editrice, 1974

Homer,The Iliad, Translated by Robert Fagles, Penguin Books, 1990

Rosanna Albertini, White OwlsArtists I found In Los Angeles 1994-2011, Los Angeles, Oreste & Co. Publishers, 2011

ALBERTO ALBERTINI : Blocked IN MILAN

In isolation like everybody else, Alberto hears voices from the past, sometimes in his village dialect, which is Lombard Besanese. Also his English takes a funny twist. 

 

B L O C K D O W N

Alberto Albertini, yesterday at 2:24 PM

there’s here amannn — ghe chi unomm

when I entered the house looking for Marisa, there was a woman I did not know and who did not know me: “Marisa, there’s here amann!”  Strange to tell, it was me, and never had I thought about me as a man! What else would I have thought I was? A non being?  Yet I was, but believing maybe I was still a boy, adolescent, a bodiless entity? Slightly stunned, as if suddenly I had fallen into reality. Because I’m constantly living inside myself that was a shock, a call to enter the real, but, what’s the real?

ghe chi unomm    there’s here amann

quando sono entrato a cercare la Marisa, c’era una donna che non conoscevo e non mi conosceva: “Marisa, ghe chi unomm!” Che strano, ero io, non ci avevo mai pensato di essere un uomo! Che altro pensavo di essere? Un non essere? Eppure ero, ma credevo di essere ancora bambino, adolescente, un ente incorporeo? Un piccolo stordimento, come essere caduto improvvisamente nella realtà. Forse vivo costantemente di dentro e quella fu una scossa, un richiamo ad entrare nel reale, che poi che cos’è il reale?

 

“We don’t want to be free, we dream it”  

           The earth is what has remained for you.

           The next door, the street.

           And you open it by such a disfigured sight that it can’t go far, a sight dragging itself.

           And you open it with a heart so consumed that it won’t support you for long.

           And you open it with such a rusty key that barely enters the keyhole. Also the keyhole is rusty.

           Walls pursue those who abandoned them.

           You were the palm that gave shade to the walls.

Edmond Jabès, Le livre des questions, 1963

(Text and images by Alberto Albertini}

EASTER DAY

APRIL 12 2020

PHOTOGRAPHS  YVES TREMORIN Saint-Malo, France

TEXT  Rosanna Albertini and Arthur Schnitzler

 

 

If Easter were a woman, this would be her face. Quiet like an eagle after a long journey, looking down at everything she saw during the flight. I turn around her face while an undetermined sense of awe grabs me, facing an inside space, unknown. A sense of beauty finds its presence across the darkness that strokes the forehead, the jaws, the chin. A sensation of living in a state of stillness. 

Mystery of human relations is inscribed in something deeper than individual qualities… something deeper than personality… is there an ear subtle enough to perceive the sigh of a fading rose?”

Words do what they can, not much really, to translate lights and shadows, and thoughts often turn around the words, even more confused. Sometimes an image drives our search for expressions, but remains mysterious. 

Every experience in our soul is surrounded by the luminous clarity of doubt; the shadow projected on such light is called faith.”

Our spirit can only grab the downward movement, it is never able to grab the  upward movement: we can have some knowledge of what’s inferior, for the superior, instead, we stop at premonition. Maybe, if this is true, we might be allowed to see the history of humans as an eternal fight against divinity, by necessity little by little destroyed by human actions. We might as well suppose that this element that goes beyond us and looks to us divine, — we barely feel it—, is overtaken by another higher, and so on to infinity. 

But, my God, how must I appear to the humans without terrifying them? asked Infinity.

God disguised her in the blue of the sky.

What about me? asked Eternity, how can I reveal myself to humans, avoiding that fear annihilates them?

God then said: I want to give humans an instant in which they will understand you. And he created Love.”

These photographs I just received from my long time friend Yves Tremorin silently pushed me to write this post and celebrate this Easter despite the shadows.

 

Quotes from Arthur Schnitzel, Relations et Solitudes, Aphorismes. Translation fron German Pierre Deshusses, Paris, Rivages poche 1988 

Original Title: Beziehungen und Einsamkeiten, by Arthur Schnitzler, Estate Vienna and S. Fisher Verlag, Frankfurt, 1967

Translation of quotes from French, RA

LOST AND FOUND IN THE RONAWAVE

LOST AND FOUND IN THE RONAWAVE

3 women 3 friends

JUDY FISKIN, FIONA CONNOR, ROSANNA ALBERTINI

JUDY FISKIN, More Art 1992-95, Plate 277

On Apr 4, 2020, at 3:06 PM, Judy Fiskin wrote:  Thank you again for sharing your uncle with us.  The photographs are surprising—so lush and filled with sculpture that we never see in our cemeteries.  I wish him more, too.  And all of us.  Judy

JUDY FISKIN, More Art 1992-1995, Plate 270

On Apr 4, 2020, at 6:40 PM, Rosanna Albertini wrote:  You got exactly the reason I put so many of them. The photographs. The rest was to make him happy, which worked, and for me counts more than making readers content.

JUDY FISKIN, More Art 1992-1995, Plate 272

Accidenti I miss you, today. I don’t know why I am depressed. Maybe it was time. A deflated balloon. Small attack of cleanliness: this time my desk with annessi e connessi: wires, boxes, books, a broken sculpture of marble that I had never seriously cleaned in 30 years.  Le Carré’s most recent book is beautiful and exasperating. I move to Jabès. Also exhausting, but linguistically more interesting. I can steal some expressions that make me think. Yesterday all my commitment was to a yogurt blueberries tart, authentically American recipe, Fanny Farmer’s. Maybe the name is misspelled. I try to update my art history info on line, listen to Analia Saban – I knew her when she was nobody –  now she sounds like a princess sitting on a printed pillow. She had one eye escaping the center, surgery corrected it. She discovered that computer circuits and the first computer patterns were the same as the texture of any piece of fabric. So now she prints and puts on the wall in various elegant variations the computer circuit patterns. I understand her, I fell in love with a couple of them a while ago, visually I mean, yet it doesn’t seem to me a great idea, etcetera, which is now art history. I wanted to transform my circuits in white embroidery on white canvas. Peter is throwing something away into the garbage bin. I don’t want to see what. Surprisingly, he is cleaning his office and the pre-office and the computer. Sacred space, I stay in mine. A French artist friend sent me an e-mail this morning, I started to speak to the gardeners in French. I was ashamed of myself, so much out of control. Is our brain really ours? What are you doing? And Jon? 

JUDY FISKIN, More Art 1992-1995, Plate 284

We had two night of heavy noise in the attic. Rats are back! — we thought. Maybe. We tried to pass the message to cat Carlos. He looked lazy. Still disturbed by the replacement cat door (corrected ‘candor’ by Mister Comp) Peter installed in the kitchen door. Too shiny. Complaining, he goes through. The last two nights, the noise stopped and Carlos up and down on the fence like a sentinel. Maybe the rat met him and got scared? We will never know. RA

On April 7, 2020, at 6.45 PM, Rosanna Albertini wrote:  Dear Judy, they call it ronawave in South Los Angeles, did you know it? I like it only one word, pinnacles away: mine, appropriated. Images of the ronawave look so much like regal crowns, we don’t need royalty. Yesterday I had black clouds in my mind. Couldn’t do anything. Maybe I read too much, all the possible mystery books I could find, from Camilleri to Le Carré. Same with the TV series; Peter and I got lost in BroadChurch and Hinterland, beautifully done, so that sadness prevails on horror and homicides. Still a human land. But in the end the dead were the only focus, and I ended up sharing with Alberto, and spreading through the blog, images of cemeteries. That was a memory trip. Maybe I never told you I bear the name of a stillborn girl, my grandmother’s only female child. “You are my girl” she used to tell me. Still it isn’t clear to me if she meant I was hers, possessively, or I was that girl reborn. Never found her grave, and I was going to the cemetery every Sunday morning, to bring fresh flowers and clean the vases.  Back to now, I only wanted to cry. 

JUDY FISKIN, More Art 1992-1995, Plate 275

Jabès again. I tried a full immersion in his pages. Very few each time. They brought me up, made me think again. “Safety is to restart, he says. Infinity, eternity are enemies of the pulp and of the peel,” if you are an orange. I had to restart my disciplined habit of wearing the mood of each day. No news for instance, for me it doesn’t work. Paper in the morning, and Brian Williams in the evening. We can’t escape. Jabès really kicked me with this: “We never know where we are and where we are not, so much the world is confused into us.”  Cat Carlos seems to follow the trend of these days. Needs company, and releases long feline talks, modulated, from 7 to 8 in the morning, forcing us to get up. Silence in the attic, no rat.  

I keep thinking about not knowing where I am and where I am not, and the sense of disoriented life in these days of isolation. Venice Boulevard is the same and it is not, with shops and restaurants closed, no traffic, people skipping away from each other as if we were absent walkers. For you I am not, don’t worry. Shall I touch the button of the traffic light? Why do I hesitate? But really Judy, confusion is us all the time. Walls and places get into our organs. Our inner music is different. When I was in Pisa, wrapped by century old walls and narrow streets, I was not the same person who walks on Grand View captured by the sky, the light. The ronawave can kill me or not. The coordinates of my daily life will be different for a while. So far, the air is clean and breathing is a pleasure. That’s enough. I hope your day was pleasant, RA

  FIONA CONNOR FROM NEW ZEALAND

On Apr 7, 2020, at 3:51 PM, Fiona Connor  wrote:  Dear Rosanna, Nice to get your messages here. This sounds nice.  Yes I like the series of images as they were.  Even if it is hard to see the drawing. The documentation seems nicely bound in time. Look forward to seeing Judy’s pieces and what you put together.
DRAWING AT THE BEACH
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Alberto Albertini : THE ISLAND

A L B E R T O   A L B E R T I N I

THE ISLAND

The island of the dead that our imagination is incapable of figuring out. Alberto found his island in photographs he took of a nineteenth century cemetery lost in the Lombardy woods, and in those of the small cemetery of Besano, the village where he grew up, which was also my nest. 

The first imaginary steps of Alberto and myself towards a painted Island are  In A Scent of Afterlife, another text  published in this blog, in which Alberto wonders about his attraction to a painting by Arnold Böcklin’s, The Isle of the Dead, an image he had seen reproduced in a certain unidentified book, one undetermined year of his ninety-three years of life. I wish him more. RA

 https://albertini2014.wordpress.com/2019/02/18/alberto-albertini-a-scent-of-afterlife/

All the photographs are by Alberto Albertini

 The island of the dead comes back. I wanted to go there, but they have closed the borders. The image comes back often, I can’t remember where this story began. I was convinced it was in an art book I mentioned to you, but there are no traces of it. Now I am thinking I could find something, maybe, in the old encyclopedia I believe is still at the family house, in Besano. They are five or six volumes … I won’t do it!

I was moving foreword in a gigantic and thick pinewood. The light dimmed, and silence was blocking the rustling of my steps. In a little while I would be lost among trunks impossible to distinguish from one another. I was seeing the island of the dead very far away, some shadows were moving, I thought they were real, over there, down there. It’s dark now, I can’t see space, space can be infinite, everything or nothing could be in that space, can’t see, I can only imagine but I don’t, why? I’m there and around me there is  everything I would like to define, to want  and desire, but I can’t grasp it … as well as the wondering shadows … a sensation inside my body, that’s the big mystery! The brain’s magnetic force fails, no transmission anymore. I can’t complain. Energy around me is the same that leaves me. Maybe I enter infinity. 

In the end, does it matter? Thinking of death is not what worries those who for some reason —often their age— are afraid they must begin the landing … no, it’s rather the unreal pause of sensations before the journey begins. It’s a world of its own that remains undefined, whose origine stems from childhood’s anxieties caused sometimes by legends, as the Valkyries’ legend, first sign of erotic buds: they were riding horses naked, says the legend. Or else the anxiety was produced by grisly stories of the afterlife, not to mention my withdrawn character. With hindsight, those stories were not that terrifying, at least in fragments preserved by the collective memory. In their narrative the dead, after all, were slightly human, lively and familiar. I find them touching because of their hard work finding the right solution in a context that will reach us as a story. 

Only late in the night a woman has the time to wash the sheets at the public washhouse. It’s dark and she doesn’t see that someone else is there, also washing … After rinsing, the woman must wring out the sheets to get rid of the water and asks the other person for help: one person is necessary at each end of the sheet. While the woman wrings, she realizes the other cannot do the same twisting in the opposite direction: where is the strength of your hands? She asks. Approaching to see better who the person is, she becomes aware the other is a skeleton!

Bored by the old people’s talk, mostly gossipy, the girls stayed aloof from participating. They didn’t always want to talk about boys, or impossible stories. After a few years of elementary school, parents liked better to take them away from the classrooms; they were more useful hoeing potatoes or putting the kitchen in order. Church and cemetery were their only possibility to go out. The cemetery, after all, was open air; cleaning the graves with eccessive zeal they were allowed to chat outdoors avoiding the smoke from the fireplace. Having spent the day at the cemetery, that evening they exchanged ideas.  

We usually go there during the day, but who would be brave enough to go there in the night? 

What’s the difference? The dead don’t get up to come out of the graves!

Then, why don’t you go? 

It’s that none of you would come and see.

True, you could tell us that you went, because you too are afraid!

No, I am not afraid.

Well, let’s do this: you go and plant this stick we are giving to you on my grandmother’s grave. The following day we will come and control.

Andreina, the following day, took the stick and went to the cemetery without a shadow of fear, looked for the grave, bent over it and slipped the stick into the ground.

The morning after her friends told to each other:

Let’s go and see whether she put the stick in the soil.

I believe she didn’t do it, she died of fear…

At the cemetery they found Andreina lying on grandmother’s grave: indeed she had stuck the stick into the grave, but her skirt was long, as women used to wear them, so the stick had passed through the skirt. When Andreina tried to rise she felt herself violently pushed back to the ground and the fright got her!

Even now, through the magnetic whirlwind of dust in my brain, I don’t see fragile skeletons whose bones are about to separate one from the other, only white skulls with big black holes, wrapped in cloaks that merge with imagination’s inability to work. It’s an atmosphere, a lazy world dominated by a lack of exactness, and as such it has to remain. Appealing to the unconscious —in my opinion— belongs to our search for a refuge, a sort of waiting room of the dentist; things we are not able to diligently place in our rational storage, end up there. 

I found a fascinating contribution in Arnold Shoenberg’s Gurre Lieder. This lieder is based on a Gothic legend from Denmark. I don’t follow the story: the voices, soprano, tenor, are a dramatic presence cutting through the orchestra. The orchestra is creating the atmosphere that enchants me: sounds, scattered sounds, wandering, a space whose borders escape me and yet is wrapped around me. Resonances chasing each other, getting dispersed, coming back, like my white beings with dark holes … a world towards which navigates the ship headed to the island of dead.  

Alberto, the man who tries to look beyond the island

 

A L B E R T O   A L B E R T I N I

L’ISOLA

L’isola dei morti che nemmeno l’immaginazione riesce a figurarsi. Alberto trova la sua isola nelle immagini di un cimitero dell’ottocento perso nei boschi della Lombardia, e in quelle del piccolo cimitero di Besano, il paesino dove e cresciuto, era anche il mio nido. Le premesse sono in un altro scritto di Alberto pubblicato in questo blog : A Scent of Afterlife, osservazioni su un quadro di Arnold Böcklin’s, L’isola dei morti, che Alberto aveva visto in immagine riprodotta in un libro sperduto nella memoria, uno chissà quale dei suoi novantatré anni di vita. Gliene auguro molti ancora

  https://albertini2014.wordpress.com/2019/02/18/alberto-albertini-a-scent-of-afterlife/

Tutte le foto sono di Alberto Albertini

 

 

L’isola dei morti ritorna, volevo andarci ma hanno chiuso le frontiere. Ritorna spesso ma non riesco a ricordare dove inizia questa storia. Ero convinto che l’origine fosse in quel libro di cui ti ho parlato ma lì non ho trovato tracce. Ora penso che potrei trovare qualcosa, forse, nella vecchia enciclopedia che credo sia ancora nella casa di famiglia, a Besano. Sono cinque o sei volumi … non lo farò!

Mi inoltravo in una gigantesca e folta pineta. La luce diminuiva, il silenzio bloccava il fruscio dei miei passi e di lì a poco mi sarei sperduto tra i tronchi tutti uguali. L’isola dei morti la vedevo lontana, laggiù si muovevano ombre che forse credevo vere, laggiù, laggiù. Ora c’ è il buio, non vedo spazio, lo spazio può essere infinito, in quello spazio ci può essere tutto o nulla, non posso vedere, solo immaginare ma non immagino, perché? sono lì e intorno a me c’è tutto quello che vorrei poter definire volere desiderare ma non lo afferro…come le ombre che vagano… una sensazione interiore, questo è il grande mistero! La forza magnetica del cervello viene a mancare, non c’è più trasmissione. Non posso dolermene. L’energia che mi circonda è la stessa che mi abbandona. Forse entro nell’infinito.

Infine che importa? Non è il pensiero della morte che tormenta coloro che per qualche motivo, spesso anagrafici, temono di dover iniziare la procedura di atterraggio … no, è l’intervallo irreale delle sensazioni prima che il viaggio sia cominciato, un mondo a sé stante che rimane nell’indefinito, con tracce di origine sia nell’infanzia turbata in parte da leggende fantasiose come quelle delle valchirie, segno dei primi germogli erotici: la leggenda voleva che cavalcassero nude! Oppure il turbamento veniva da truci storie di oltretomba, nonché dal mio carattere introverso. Riflettendoci, quelle storie tanto terrificanti non lo erano, almeno nei residui che ne sono rimasti. I morti che vi apparivano in fondo, erano un po’ umani, erano vivi e familiari. Facevano tenerezza per la loro intrinseca difficoltà a trovare il comportamento giusto nelle vicende trasformate in racconti. 

Una donna ha tempo solo a notte inoltrata per lavare le lenzuola al lavatoio, ovviamente quello comunale. Al buio vede che c’è un’altra persona li a lavare… La donna, dopo il risciacquo, deve torcere le lenzuola per far uscire l’acqua e chiede aiuto all’altra persona: ne occorre una per ogni capo del lenzuolo. Mentre la donna torce, constata che l’altra non riesce a fare altrettanto in senso inverso: ma non avete forza nelle mani? Si avvicina per vedere meglio chi è e si accorge che è uno scheletro!

Le ragazze si annoiavano a sentire i discorsi dei vecchi, pettegolezzi per la maggior parte, stavano in disparte. Non sempre avevano voglia di parlare di ragazzi, di storie impossibili. Dopo qualche anno di scuola elementare, i genitori le avevano tolte dalle loro classi perché erano più utili a zappar patate o rassettare la cucina. Per loro le uscite erano soltanto la chiesa e il cimitero. Tutto sommato il cimitero era un luogo all’aperto; con qualche eccessiva attenzione alla pulizia delle tombe, potevano chiacchierare all’aria libera anziché davanti al fumo del camino.

Avendo passato la giornata al cimitero, quella sera ne parlarono.

Ci andiamo sempre di giorno, ma chi avrebbe il coraggio di andarci di notte?

Bè, che differenza fa? I morti mica si alzano ed escono dalle tombe!

E allora perché non ci vai tu?

Tanto voi non ci verreste a vedere.

È vero, potresti dirci di esserci stata perché hai paura anche tu!

No, io non ho paura!

Bene, facciamo così: tu ci vai e pianti questo piolo che ti diamo sulla tomba di mia nonna. Il giorno seguente andremo a controllare.

Il giorno dopo Andreina prese il piolo convenuto e attese la notte. A notte fonda si recò al cimitero senza ombra di paura, cercò la tomba, vi si chinò sopra e infilò il piolo nel terreno.

La mattina seguente le amiche si dissero:

Andiamo a vedere se ha messo il piolo!

Per me non l’ha fatto, è morta di paura…

Al cimitero trovarono Andreina stesa sulla tomba della nonna: aveva sì conficcato il piolo sulla tomba, ma, portando le gonne lunghe, come era d’obbligo, il piolo era passato attraverso la gonna e quando Andreina fece per alzarsi, si sentì violentemente strappare a terra e lo spavento ebbe il sopravvento!

Anche ora, nel pulviscolo che turbina nel mio cervello scosso da un vento magnetico, non vedo fragili scheletri le cui ossa stanno per staccarsi l’una dall’altra, ma solo dei bianchi teschi dalle grandi cavità nere, avvolti in manti che si confondono con l’incapacità dell’immaginazione. È un’atmosfera, un mondo comodamente impreciso e che tale deve rimanere. Questo ricorrere nell’inconscio, mi pare, fa parte del rifugio di ciascuno di noi, una specie di sala d’aspetto del dentista, sicché tutto ciò che non riusciamo a collocare diligentemente nel razionale, è lì che va a finire.

 Un affascinante contributo lo trovo nei Gurre Lieder di Schoenberg. Il Lieder è costruito su una leggenda gotica danese. La storia non la seguo: le voci narranti, soprano, tenore, qui sono una presenza drammatica che fende tagliente l’orchestra ed è l’orchestra a creare l’atmosfera che mi incanta: suoni, suoni sparsi, vaganti, spazio i cui confini mi sfuggono ma mi avvolge. Sonorità che si rincorrono, disperdono, ritornano: come i miei bianchi esseri dalle cavità oscure … un mondo incontro al quale va la nave che porta all’isola dei morti.