Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Injury Atopia Aporia Suk.



When uninjured, you never see an injury coming. when injured, you never see it passing. i'm living off advil, sweets, fish and chips, watching the tour de france by morning and sunday in hell by afternoon, and i'm craving an ease of motion which does not come. healing is an intrusive thing. jammed back grinds guts no matter what posture I contort towards. blah blah.  
meanwhile josef suk was a composer and string virtuosi from czechoslovakia whose music explored a wide range of emotional textures but the first few pieces I ever heard held that horror-vice of the war-era art, equal to the soviet composers of that time. i did not realize his recent death (early june?) but i heard an excerpt of a violin concerto today, sawing out some nice melodies which would then freefall into staccato reels of bitter whining & shrieking to build back the layers of a robust sonic boast. The tones moved fluidly, wholesome and moody. i remembered the box set of suk's chamber compositions, a local music store had it for months and i was always saving to purchase it. a yellow box accented by some design on the perimeter, his portrait in the center, a slavic grimace, wide face and stern eyes, the delicate carving of a violin's tune-keys by his cheeks. i never purchased it, buying instead gould's bach, bartok or mahler, paint or drink, but I can visualize the set now. parenthesised with stravinsky, shostakovich, schnittke, schumann. . . . the mad greats. put on some suk and pick up the red calvary stories of babel, some nabakov or chekov, (my wife would swear on dost's notes from the underground but you need a good translation), boil the coffee dark, add sugar and/or schnapps and you've got a fine winter ahead. Music makes struggle and suffering a savory thing.
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Lucian freud. Dead at the age of 88 years. Freud is a hero to me, equal to de Kooning. His handling of the nude, his choice of model, his torn upholstery couch and the piles of rags, a ragged cot, his impasto brushwork, the range of palette in a single painting, hell-- in a single leg! The definitive modern figurative artist-- conflicted, voracious, angry, horrified, disciplined, precise. Poetic. The lyrical forms of street sluts of london. Junkies with purple cocks. Royalty. Broken actors with their long torsos slumping in sleep. Blue limbs of weariness. Cold studio morning light. Interrogation light. A pale plant, a pale coat. The backyard of a london apartment house. Blue veins of a model harmonize with the blue veins of the hardwood floor.
A few years ago, the MoMA hosted a show of etchings by Freud. The exhibit also marked Freud's longtime use of certain models. Several preparatory drawings were included, and interspersed were paintings of those models (some famous and godly, some homely, some anemic and atrophied), a marvelous show of draftsmanship. I remember the strong marks of grease pencils, the muscled pull of burnt-bone black forming the contours of a swollen stomach. Hatching like a madman's topographical map, but distinctly massed. Technically sound.  Something sublime contained beneath a rage.
(Freud's longtime friend Francis Bacon had recently died, his liver devoured by drink and turpentine and a combative life. A theater of nirvana:  Baudelaire Twombly Rodin Freud Bacon de Koooning Turner Michelangelo and Rembrandt, kicking back with coffee and talking shop. Foucault and Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard.  Shostakovich Suk Dvorak discussing politics, cello accompaniment. An atopia of remembrance and passion.)
A good friend of mine used to wait on Freud at his restaurant in London. Lee would describe him as such: He wore a belt of old rope. He ordered oysters and a demi-bottle of pouilly fumee. His fingers were caked with paint and charcoal. he would sketch his lunch away on paper napkins that he would then shove in his pocket as he paid the bill. Quiet and elegant. Contemplative. But he always took his napkin drawings.
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beethoven's appasionato piano sonata and storms pass as kyote sleeps. i'm flipping through a book on rodin and admiring the straight eroticism of his work. to work, one must be in love. only then is the work credible. beyond love however, one can work in bursts off of lust, but it is an inefficient fuel. highly combustible and dangerous to handle. But sometimes its what one possesses:  Marvelous red fugues. Scars of touch on clay, touch of canvas. Clay, body.  Ether.