Thursday, 2 December 2010

The Outsider Inside Her

Through, and at, that’s how I like to look at art. The painting hung on the wall by the window: this is important, as it’s positioning meant I could never observe the canvas from the right-hand-side – in profile (but who’d want to look at a painting in profile, anyway?).
My mistake? Taking the canvas off the wall to clean it (don’t forget, the outlaw Jessie James was hanging a picture, when he was shot in the back). That’s how it happened. Seen from the side, that hole in the head that’d once given me so much space (to dream), turned into the cameo of a face – like Munch’s Scream. I now look ‘at’ where I once looked ‘through,’ and forward, ‘to’: somethingness where there was nothingness - a Fontana stare - sometimes it’s a curse to be so visually aware.
And it gets worse. This ready-made cameo has gone and cursed my Camus. There’s a painting on the cover of paperback copy Albert Camus’ The Outsider: read it years ago, but never paid much attention to the cover. Only now I discover it’s a painting by Marcel Duchamp’s brother; it’s a portrait of Raymond Duchamp, by Jacques Villon: both - despite the name, Villon - the brothers of Marcel Duchamp. 
I can no longer look at this slashed canvas without thinking of Camus (whose hero, was in prison, for stabbing an Arab, in The Outsider). The irony of a ready-made face - in place of the real thing - wouldn’t have been lost on Marcel Duchamp, whose first marriage was a sham. 

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