MOTHER AND DAUGHTER

Yves Trémorin’s HOMMAGE à L’OMBRE – IN PRAISE of SHADOW

by Rosanna Albertini

Ce n’est pas l’indifférence qui enlève le poids de l’image … c’est l’amour, l’amour extreme.
It is not indifference that lifts the image’s weight … it is love, extreme love.
(Roland Barthes)

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Photographs by YVES TREMORIN
from two series: Mother and Daughter and Mystic Garden

I will never know if the name of things is stronger than their physical presence, if it adds meaning to the surrogate images of what’s naturally ‘visible.’ I’m not even sure that the best photographs and films are meant to reassure our mind about the truth of what we see, for instance.

Yves Trémorin, magic fisher and maker of images in Saint Malo, Bretagne, often gives me the impression he’s taking details from bodies he loves as if he had his eyes closed, and in such way he could let the details escalate his mental touch, his effort to capture the unique, ungraspable presence of women he knows, from which he was born. It’s a fact.

He photographed his grandmother in 1984, when she was ninety-one. And his mother now, in 2017, ninety-one years old. Right now, their images share the same age, look at them now and here they are: mother, daughter. A son looks at them, reveals the power of their nameless presence: women, first of all.

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They are living molecules of vision. There existence, like the stem of a flower, a leaf wrinkled by her journey through life. If natural existence is the subject, their body, a female body, finds a powerful stance in the space of art. If it is nor clear who’s who, as they are both mother and daughter, we focus, instead, on their appearance surrounded by shadows, by all the stories and times that we do not know that feed their images and were their lives. We start dreaming about those images: the woman lost in her flowered dress comes from mythological times, she is Eve in her old age, still offering something mysterious, not an apple, it can be a piece of bread or a snake. She smiles. Would you take it?

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Existence in art is artificial, construction and translation. Also in photography: “an art which is not certain, and is as uncertain as science would be, were it working on desirable or despicable bodies … impossible science of unique beings.” (Roland Barthes)

The artist is an eye, a ear, a nose, so is the viewer. Suppose things abandoned by names, and you will have a landscape of anonymous presences. The only reality they have is the perceived present: for them there is no such thing as the future. Don’t forget the person behind the camera. He explores the shadows: his profile projected on the wall repeats his mother profile. The two shadows face each other in silence; we close the eyes, it stays in us.

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The best images I keep of my mother are not photographs. Her beautiful hands, the shape of her feet geometrically perfect because the middle toe was longer than the big toe, as in the Greek statues, are printed in my mind and bring back my extreme love for her along with a blow of darkness. Her past life shakes me, unrequested.

By the way mother, were you a virgin when you got married and immediately conceived me? As long  as you were alive, I never felt we lived on the same planet, although our bodies were unmistakably shaped in the same mold and your round shoulders made me always think of Helen of Troy. I don’t want you to be blamed forever as she has been, am I the only one in the dark? Perhaps something was muddy in your husband, father of mine. He did not go to your funeral, never puts flowers on your grave. Love must have been a needle with a thread in the eye: day by day sewing through the hole of the mood, to fix a fabric incessantly yielding. Please don’t pinch me, stories begin with a phantom.

A couple of new leaves on the cumquats shake their greenness to the morning, like wings getting ready to take off. A phantom flower blooms in my mind, it’s for you.

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Roland Barthes, La chambre claire, Note sur la photographie, Gallimard, le Seuil, 1980

ROMA IN THE 50’s : MAKING FILMS WITHOUT MONEY

more or less …
a brief story of ITALIAN CINEMA IN THE 5O’s  

N.1

by ALBERTO ALBERTINI – January 2017 -Milano (Italy)

Photographs by Alberto Albertini

Just a reminder: Alberto is my uncle, my father’s brother. Ninety years on his shoulders did not decrease his enthusiasm and his imaginative life. All his pieces in this blog (13 so far) have been requested by me and written for the blog, as far as the scroll unfolded. This on line work that we share  is inquiry about the arts of our time as well as archeology of our family life, our common tree where we hung words and images as they surge in our mind, and feelings, regardless how hard they sometimes are.  RA

While films were made without money, at the edge of the city Rome was developing a modern style. Houses grew like mushrooms. Poles were hammered into the ground for the foundations, buildings got higher and, in a short time, filled the streets. There was a valley whose wild side, near the Vatican railroad, was the border between the urban reality and the countryside. Today one wouldn’t recognize the place. Alberto and his family lived in one of those new buildings.

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Enrica, Alberto’s wife and his love for seventy five years, with their children Mietta and Claudio

One wouldn’t find in other nations, I think, the same cinema that was boiling in Italy during the 50s. True, it was coming after Neorealism, that took everybody by surprise a few years before, yet it was really something else, made out of of research and adventures coming not as much from the the Neorealism experience, as from financial constraints: how to make cinema without money.

Cesare Zavattini was the major reference point, with directors and screenwriters around him, often recurring in later films on and supported by Cinema Nuovo, Guido Aristarco’s magazine of cinematographic criticism (I still have some copies) in which Cesare Zavattini used to write his journal. His notes were minimal observations of the ways people behaved or were pleased to utter words in vogue. He cared about peculiar, necessary details to set the customs of an age.

Actors, wanting to check if it was worth being sign up for a film, or if it was risky, used to visit the set and see if Vittorio De Sica or Totò were in the cast. If so, that meant there was some money and it was good to accept the engagement. The minimum wage. One of the ways to provide money for movies was the minimum wage. The bank, the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, would grant the money in relation to the project, but most of all to the cast. Director and actors were on a list of names at the Bank specifying: with this cast, the minimum wage is… the presence of a certain actor, or actresses in the movie meant the minimum wage would rise.

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Serious films, comedies, the new comedy, impossible films, failed films, opera in a film. Nothing was neglected, neither serials nor social inquiries. I believe it was Zavattini who promoted a series of inquiry films, with no equivalent afterwards. I remember: Italians swivel their heads to look at girls.

The first genetic mutation of neorealism was Due soldi di speranza [Two Cents Worth of Hope, 1952] in which realism was contaminated with the comedy chromosome and the brilliant dialogues of Titina De Filippo. Followed various Pane amore e … eccetera. Every time a film was successful, imitations in the same genre were proliferating.

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Some films did not find financial support and remained incomplete: “Ciofanna, Ciofanna,” declaimed Ingrid Bergman in Santa Giovanna al rogo by Claudel, directed by Rossellini, and the actor who was supposed to perform with her refused to do it: if they don’t pay me, I don’t perform! Who ever saw that movie? Maybe that was the reason why Ingrid Bergman went back to the U.S.

A Filomena Marturano shot by Eduardo De Filippo, with Titina in it, was never released. Some films with unknown financial support, maybe not very interesting, never went around. I remember Vacanze al mare [Vacation by the Sea] with beautiful music by Nino Rota but never released. Un medico di campagna [A countryside doctor], in which a striking Giovanna Ralli appeared for the first time, maybe with Fabrizi, was dispersed into space, or came out with a different title.

Rossellini in India is a book dedicated to this period. The story of his affair with Sonali das Gupta is believable, yet another malicious story says that, while the crew was shooting the film, he seduced a guru’s wife. And the two stories aren’t incompatible. A seducer, Rossellini? No doubt, but it would be better to call him an enchanter. His favorite editor, Iolanda Benvenuti, told me that often times she and the other women collaborating with him had to wait hours and hours in order to work, making up in their minds violent reactions against him as soon as he would appear: and he happened to arrive at ten in the evening, very quickly enchanting them all. They were incapable of reacting.

Professional film making was a concept in evolution also because, in order to be professional, one had to adapt to the new technical possibilities. Neorealist films had proved it was possible to work with actors picked up from the street, not actors at all, thanks to the director’s talent and thanks to the possibility to dub, replacing the non-actors voice with the voice of real actors. The sound, recorded along with images, had the only function of guiding the post-synchronization, in a word, the dubbing.

One could hear the director’s voice telling the actors how to move: here you go, forward, go on, continue as you are doing, turn, stare at the house… and so on. Many males and females, in such a way, stepped into the film world without acting or diction school, and it often happened that good looks helped more than expressive abilities. Some of them studied, and improved, some others left, women especially, a few ended with a good marriage. Some industrialists created production companies to organize the promotion of their protégées. Rizzoli created an important house of production, and signed up Miriam Bru.

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Claudio (left), Mietta (right)

Actors swing in their jobs, so between pauses and waiting moments either for the scene requirements or the set preparation, they get lost in chatting, gossiping about colleagues. Rumors about Vittorio De Sica telling he had two families, and used to spend the evening with the legal one, but instead of sleeping there he was spending the night with the other. The two ‘wives,’ I think, were Giuditta Rissone and Maria Mercader. He was constantly searching for money that he regularly lost gambling, and this was the reason why he accepted daily jobs the producer was using to increase the minimum wage and not spend too much. Yet, in the meantime De Sica shot films such as Umberto D.

Abandoned by Rossellini when he shot Stromboli with Ingrid Bergman, Anna Magnani was the protagonist of La carrozza d’oro by Jean Renoir. In the middle of a financial storm, and waiting for the director, Anna Magnani let herself go through long conversations about her life. At forty eight she had the opportunity, in Bellissima, with Visconti, to perform the non-acting, along with Walter Chiari on the bank of a stream, as if they were two people meeting there to discuss something. The dialogue unfolds a without script, only following the director’s generic suggestions. The top of realism or the strongest truth? It wouldn’t be art, would it? The scene couldn’t be better, a flower for anthology.

After the black and white intense realism, Luchino Visconti shoots Senso in color (1954); the battles scenes, as the touch of the artist had made them totally believable, are still impressed in my mind. Was he inspired by Giovanni Fattori’s paintings? Meanwhile people spread stories about how expensive it was to work with Visconti: for the curtains in Senso, he wanted to have them dyed the color of tea using real tea!!

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Claudio with sheep

Dino Risi shot Poveri ma Belli [Poor but Beautiful] 1957, launching a new pseudo-realist trend with actors who later became professional. Luciano Emmer, after Le ragazze di piazza di Spagna 1952 shot a documentary about Picasso artworks in Provence, followed by Camilla, 1954, the story of a maid. Vittorio De Seta was making his unusual documentaries, about fishing for swordfish, and Gillo Pontecorvo at his very beginnings made a report on Porta Portese in Rome. (To be continued)

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Alberto with his children in the Fifties

più o meno …
piccola storia del CINEMA ITALIANO ANNI ’50

di ALBERTO ALBERTINI – Gennaio 2017 – Milano

Mentre i film erano fatti senza soldi, in periferia Roma diventava moderna. Le case crescevano come funghi. I lavoratori battevano a lungo pali nel terreno per fissare le fondamenta, poi iniziavano a far salire gli edifici e in poco tempo avevano riempito la contrada. Il confine tra città e campagna è uno dei fianchi della vallata. Oggi la zona è irriconoscibile. Alberto e la famiglia vivevano in una delle nuove case con appartamenti.

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Non credo che si possa trovare, in altre nazioni, un cinema paragonabile a quello che bolliva negli anni cinquanta in Italia. Se è vero che esso era successivo alla grande sorpresa destata dal neorealismo, pochi anni prima, è da rilevare come in realtà da esso si sia discosto e proliferato in miriadi di ricerche e di avventure, in parte conseguenza dell’esperienza, non tanto estetica del neorealismo, ma finanziaria: cioè come fare del cinema senza soldi.

Il filo conduttore nella direzione ricerca fa riferimento a Cesare Zavattini col supporto di registi sceneggiatori, ricorrenti spesso nei film a seguire e a loro volta supportati dalla rivista di critica cinematografica Cinema Nuovo, di Guido Aristarco ( ne ho ancora alcuni numeri ) sulla quale Cesare Zavattini teneva un diario. Annotava osservazioni minimaliste sui comportamenti o sul compiacimento che alcuni provano nel pronunciare parole in voga, a riprova della sua attenzione ai dettagli, ai particolari determinanti per inquadrare il costume di un’epoca.

Per verificare se una scrittura valesse la pena, non fosse un rischio, gli attori si recavano sul set per vedere se erano presenti, e lavoravano, Vittorio de Dica o Totò. Se c’erano, significava che c’erano anche i soldi e si poteva accettare la scrittura. Il minimo garantito. Una delle modalità per finanziare i film era quella del minimo garantito. La banca finanziatrice, cioè la Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, concedeva il finanziamento in funzione del progetto ma soprattutto del cast. Il regista gli attori, avevano il loro listino presso la banca che diceva: con questo cast, il minimo garantito è … la presenza di certi attori, o attrici, nei film, non aveva altro scopo che di elevare il minimo garantito.

Film impegnati, film commedia, la nuova commedia, film impossibili, film falliti, opera lirica filmata. Nulla di trascurato, inclusi film a episodi o di indagine. Credo proprio che sia stato Zavattini a promuovere una serie, forse senza seguito, di film indagine. Ricordo: Gli italiani si voltano a guardare le ragazze.
La prima mutazione genetica del neorealismo fu Due soldi di speranza, 1952, film realista ma con il cromosomo della commedia e i dialoghi brillanti di Titina de Filippo. Seguirono i vari Pane amore e…  ecc. da ogni film di successo proliferavano le imitazioni di genere.

Film che i soldi non li hanno trovati e sono rimasti incompleti: “Ciofanna, Ciofanna,” declamava Ingrid Bergman, nella Santa Giovanna al rogo di Claudel, regia di Rossellini, e l’attore che doveva recitare insieme a lei si rifiutava: se non mi pagano, io non recito! Chi ha mai visto quel film? Forse è per questo che Ingrid tornò in USA. 

Una Filumena Marturano girata da Eduardo e con Titina, mai uscito. Film che non si sa come siano stati finanziati perché di scarso valore e mai visti in circolazione. Ricordo un Vacanze al mare con un bel commento musicale di Nino Rota ma mai uscito. Un medico di campagna, la prima apparizione inquietante di Giovanna Ralli, forse con Fabrizi, disperso nello spazio o uscito con altro titolo.
Rossellini in India, è un libro dedicato a questo periodo. Spiega credibilmente la sua storia con Sonali das Gupta, ma i maligni raccontano che mentre la troupe girava Roberto seduceva la moglie di un guru e le due storie non sono incompatibili. Rossellini seduttore? Sicuramente, meglio incantatore. Mi raccontava Iolanda Benvenuti, la montatrice, di sua fiducia, che spesso lei e le collaboratrici l’attendevano ore e ore per lavorare e loro si facevano progetti di violente reazioni non appena fosse arrivato, magari arrivava alle dieci di sera e in breve tempo le incantava tutte senza che fossero capaci di reagire.

La professionalità era un concetto in evoluzione anche perché i professionisti erano influenzati dalle nuove possibilità tecniche. Il cinema neorealista aveva dimostrato che era possibile lavorare anche con attori presi dalla strada, cioè non attori, grazie al talento del regista e alla possibilità di doppiare, di sostituire la voce dei non attori con quella di attori. L’audio, ripreso insieme all’immagine, serviva solamente come guida per la post sincronizzazione, il doppiaggio. E si udiva la voce del regista dare suggerimenti agli ‘attori’: ecco, vai avanti, avanti, avanti così, girati, fissa la casa… ecc. Così, molti e molte entrarono nel cinema senza scuola di recitazione e di dizione e, spesso, più che le capacità espressive giovava il bell’aspetto fisico. Qualcuno studiò, si perfezionò, qualcuna uscì di scena e qualcuna concluse con un buon matrimonio. Alcuni industriali misero in piedi case di produzione per promuovere le loro protette. Rizzoli creò una importante casa di produzione, e scritturò Miriam Bru.

Il lavoro degli attori è altalenante perché composto da pause, attese, sia per le esigenze di scena che per la preparazione dei set e dunque non rimane loro che di chiacchierare, pettegolare sui loro colleghi. Di De sica dicevano che aveva due famiglie e lui passava la sera con quella legale ma poi invece di andare a letto con questa si recava dall’altra. Le due ‘mogli’, mi pare, erano Giuditta Rissone e Maria Mercader. Aveva continuamente bisogno di denaro che regolarmente perdeva al gioco e per questo accettava lavori a giornata; servivano al produttore per elevare il minimo garantito e spendere poco, ma intanto girava anche film come Umberto D.

Anna Magnani, lasciata da Rossellini mentre lui girava Stromboli con la Bergman, era protagonista ne La carrozza d’oro di Jean Renoir, del 1952. Nel mezzo di vicissitudini finanziarie burrascose, nell’attesa del regista la Magnani si concedeva lunghe conversazioni sulla sua vita. A quarantotto anni ebbe l’occasione in Bellissima, 1951, con Visconti, di recitare la non-recitazione insieme a Walter Chiari, sull’orlo del fiumiciattolo, come fossero due persone che si trovano lì per discutere. Il dialogo si svolge senza copione seguendo solo le generiche indicazioni del regista. Il massimo del realismo o il massimo della verità? Non sarebbe arte perché, vero? Eppure la scena è insuperabile, da antologia.

Dopo l’intenso realismo del bianco e nero, Visconti gira Senso a colori, 1954, mi rimangono impresse le scene delle battaglie con il tocco dell’artista che sa ricostruire l’evento con totale credibilità. Si sarà ispirato ai dipinti di Giovanni Fattori? Intanto raccontavano che era costosissimo lavorare con lui: per i tendaggi di Senso volle che fossero tinti color the col the!!

Dino Risi girava Poveri ma belli nel 1957 lanciando un nuovo filone pseudo realista con attori che poi professionisti lo sono diventati. Luciano Emmer, dopo Le ragazze di piazza di Spagna del 1952 aveva girato un documentario sulle opere di Picasso in Provenza e successivamente Camilla, 1954, la storia di una domestica. Vittorio de Seta girava i suoi insoliti documentari, sulla pesca del pesce spada, e Gillo Pontecorvo, anche lui agli inizi, faceva un rapporto su Porta Portese. (Continua)

SHARON ELLIS : THE SPARKLING PITCH OF HER BRUSH

REFRACTIONS IN HER BRAIN — FLYING EMOTIONS

by Rosanna Albertini

SHARON ELLIS, Desert Bouquet, 2015 alkyd on paper, 16" x 12" Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica

SHARON ELLIS, Desert Bouquet, 2015
alkyd on paper, 16″ x 12″ Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica

You like it in the desert when tiny flowers bloom in the dryness as if petals of color had come from the sky, and you forget the sun, to listen to the air, the wind whispering about a river that disappeared, people and cattle who moved. And there you are, alone like the land around you, as blue as a bird. Your mind one with the space. Your nature shrinks to the bones. Red and blue burst into the hidden heart of what you still call a human. No gravity. No weight. Colors become the music contained in only one musical tempo; if you want, you can call it a painting.

 

SHARON ELLIS, Messenger, 2016 alkyd on paper, 12 1/8" x 16 1/8" Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica

SHARON ELLIS, Messenger, 2016
alkyd on paper, 12 1/8″ x 16 1/8″ Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica

SHARON ELLIS, Firefly Fugue, 2016 alkyd on paper, 12 1/8" x 16 1/8" Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery

SHARON ELLIS, Firefly Fugue, 2016
alkyd on paper, 12 1/8″ x 16 1/8″ Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery

A few threads attach Sharon’s mind to the world. Colors. The changing presence of light.
The thin silk of her hair. What she sees is a dissolving organism filling her pupil drop by drop: her own feeling of something, she doesn’t know what it is, if it is, where? A miniature expands with no feet. A liquid existence that doesn’t disappear. Maybe she gets lost like Alice in a field of weeds and shrinks and regrows until the fireflies put together a figure, it can be human, maybe not. The secret being of things.

SHARON ELLIS, Galactic Heart, 2015 alkyd on paper, 12" x 16" Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery

SHARON ELLIS, Galactic Heart, 2015
alkyd on paper, 12″ x 16″ Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery

It is not an image. It is a feeling.
There is no image in the hero.
There is a feeling as definition.
How could there be an image, an outline,
A design, a marble soiled by pigeons?
The hero is a feeling, a man seen
As if the eye was an emotion,
As if in seeing we saw our feeling
In the object seen and saved that mystic
Against the sight, the penetrating,
Pure eye. Instead of allegory,
We have and are the man, capable
of his brave quickenings, the human
Accelerations that seem inhuman.

WALLACE STEVENS, Examination of the hero in a time of war, stanza xii

SHARON ELLIS, Ghost lake, 2016 alkyd on paper, 16 1/8" x 12 1/8" Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica

SHARON ELLIS, Ghost lake, 2016
alkyd on paper, 16 1/8″ x 12 1/8″ Courtesy of the artist and Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica

Is this a trompe l’oeil? A trick for our eyes? Should I polish the words and soften them until they mutate into the strange fat fingers almost marzipan coral for the moonlight, sitting by the milky way? The physical, the chemical, have gone astray. Her existence – the artist is always there holding her brush – for the time being slips out of time, in an outer space completely silent. She is the only one who can glide on the mysterious planet where flatness, and poverty of spirit, are never, will never be admitted. Even the stars have lost their dust.

Sharon Ellis paintings on paper were presented at Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica, in December 2016.

METAMORPHOSIS OF A FOLK TALE

THE GOLDEN GOOSE    by   SEAN SHIM-BOYLE

SEAN SHIM-BOYLE, The Golden Goose, 2016 Wood, Flex conduit, 138 x 382 x 131 in Courtesy of the artist and Various Small Fires Art Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Josh White

SEAN SHIM-BOYLE, The Golden Goose, 2016
Wood, Flex conduit, 138 x 382 x 131 in Courtesy of the artist and Various Small Fires Art Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Josh White

SEAN SHIM-BOYLE, The Golden Goose, 2016 Wood, Flex conduit, 138 x 382 x 131 in Courtesy of the artist and Various Small Fires Art Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Josh White

SEAN SHIM-BOYLE, The Golden Goose, 2016
Wood, Flex conduit, 138 x 382 x 131 in Courtesy of the artist and Various Small Fires Art Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Josh White

“Humans, like all living beings, have a special power, a power of transformation that is also suitable for things around us, as far as we make up our image of them. …

We are, first of all, a transformative organism more or less complex (according to the animal species) because life is necessarily given and taken, and modified, also between the persons and their environment.”
Paul Valéry, La liberté de l’esprit, 1939

The truth of this kind of statement is questionable; it’s Valéry’s positivistic intelligence of life as one bee house in which humans don’t have primacy that strikes me.

But, first of all, this is a New Year story: January 1, 2017

By Rosanna Albertini       A wall of a Los Angeles art gallery,* a few months ago, asked an artist to liberate his body from the white flatness between floor and ceiling. Nobody knew he had a body! An animal, hidden body. The more the artist opened up and moved out part of the geometrical forest of flat pieces of timber that keeps the wall steadily vertical, the more flexible the structure became, almost opening wings. The wooden surfaces became pieces of skin and bones pierced by nails, crying drops of glue, yellow tears but not like the gold the artist began to search for.

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As Ovid, and so many artists from the dawn of time, Sean Shim-Boyle made his fingers the magic tool able to unveil and amplify a structure already far from the natural trees she had been, covered with leaves, pushing roots into the ground.
“Scarcely had I swallowed the strange juices that I suddenly felt my heart trembling within me, and my whole being yearned with desire for another element. Unable long to stand against it, I cried aloud: ‘Farewell, O Earth, to which I shall never return!’” This was Glaucous, speeding from the surface of Ovid’s book, Metamorphosis, chapter XIII.

The golden goose as well could scream: ‘Farewell O Wall, let me fly to my artist.’

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And the artist changes an inanimate stiffness into a movable variety of organs. Although silent, the wooden limbs develop a language directed to the eyes, pages of a story made with textures, colors and cuts. They push feathers of course, always made of wood, to open our mind to the popular versions of metamorphosis like the ones told by an old aunt near the stove, or by the bed, to children ready to grab the thread of her words and sew it into their dreams. Close your eyes with them, dear reader. Your sense of reality could expand. You might wake up holding a goose with golden feathers like the Brothers Grimm story about Dummling, a simpleton who picked up the precious bird from the roots of a tree and collected the funniest group of thieves around the goose. Trying to steal the golden feathers, the thieves remained glued to the goose in an absurd carousel. Looking at them, the king’s daughter finally laughed and married the Dummling. Same laughter in Italy, where the tale didn’t bring golden feathers, only a fine goose. But magic! As soon as somebody tried to grab her, the beast screamed: ‘Quack Quack, stick to my back!’ Another carousel of stuck people made the sad princess laugh.

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No doubt Sean Shim Boyle felt in his own body a ‘power of transformation.’ Although The Golden Goose was supposed to be covered by something recalling a skin, the artist fell in love with the anatomical story. He gives us the pleasure to look at the inside of this sculpted body, and stop on his arbitrary ligaments. Back to physicality, veins in the panels, windows of connective tissues, spots of aging in flattened surfaces of bark. Changing colors. The signs of natural and artificial making are history and fairy tale at once. The gold is in the mind. His, mine, yours? Frankly, I couldn’t tell. Maybe it’s in the earth.
“A realm without perspective, a realm of sensuality and desire that gathers all into the lips’ uncertain space – uncertain because it straddles interior and exterior, self and other.
A space of fusion, of total osmosis.
A surface that envelops, that caresses the brain and the images that our thoughts produce.”
Giuseppe Penone, Branches of Thought, 2014

It’s a clear day, cold and without wind. Golden leaves are still on the trees in front of my window. I wish we could all laugh and mutate into our favorite imaginary body. Had this been possible we would have already started the journey. Instead, we start the day reading the New York Times.

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All the detail photos are by R.A.
*Various Small Fires Art Gallery, Los Angeles
Italian Folktales, selected and retold by Italo Calvino, Translated by George Martin, Pantheon Books, New York, 1980
The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Pantheon Books, New York, 1944