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Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Yesterday in The Times

Two things:

1.) Each Tuesday The Times 2 publishes under the title of Modern Art Explained a work of art along with views about it expressed by readers and an Expert Verdict, this last by Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Times's resident art critic. The previous week it will have published a small image of the upcoming work - and a larger one on its website - for the benefit of readers wishing to contribute. Last week the up-coming work was Fernand Leger's Les Deux Acrobates. I did not know this work, but was so impressed by it that I e-mailed a response, never having done anything of that ilk before. Surprise, surprise, they published my response - well, part of it, contriving to give the impression that I thought there was only one acrobat, not two. My fault for being too long-winded, but there you go!

Not expecting that result I had meanwhile written a poem based upon my contribution, and that being so, and seeing no good reason why I should waste it, I am hereby inflicting it on your good selves.


Les Deux Acrobates

Caught in a headlong tumble through
space, blown apart, shown here, not as
we know they must be, but as if
we see at the height of their act -
nailed together as one, but as
one breaking up, the bits flying
off, for our eyes cannot hold them
complete in one place at one time.
They tumble and spin, rotating
so quickly we see bit by bit,
one part then another - a line
of disorder that, given more
time, would build to a man - or men -
first an arm     a waist    then a head,
a hand, plus a foot    then a leg,
a part torn apart
from the others.

And filling the gaps
between fragments flash
swatches of background:
a skewer of light
snatch of a clown
hoardings and
adverts. The Big
Top's top.


2.) the other item that jumped to my notice was a review of the Richard Long exhibition at Tate Britain. - see my last post but one.

I have to confess that I am not sure about his texts as sculptures. I can accept them as art, but they do not seem to me to be sculptures. They are something else, something that grows on me with every one I read. Like much of his work the effect is cumulative, building on what has gone before - that is, on what you have seen or registered before.

29 comments:

A Cuban In London said...

The poem was fantastic, dave. It spins on your hand, so to speak. Why did that piece have to be explained, though? It's pretty self-explanatory to me. And congrats on having your correspondence published in The Times. For some reason I've missed this section. I pop by their website every now and then, but admit to reading mostly the dance and theatre reviews. They are very good.

Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Shadow said...

unless anywone would want to over-analyse your words, i think you've described the picture well

Stephen Dell'Aria said...

I think your poem is elegant and describes Leger's painting well. Perhaps it could have gone along with your response to the article. I’ll bet the poem does a better job of explanation then the newspaper editor did.

John Hayes said...

A fine poem-- really captures the energy of the acrobats' movements & how uncanny that movement can be.

readingsully2 said...

I enjoyed your poem. It does look like one acrobat. LOL


They fly and tumble
like thrown dice across green felt-
too quick to follow.

Rose Marie Raccioppi said...

Parts to define wholes and wholes defined by the relationship of parts - so seen in the image and so well expressed by the words. Harmony, integration, form complete - so with art, so with life.

Thank you for your visits and posted comments. I am most certainly respectful of your perspectives and responses.

jinksy said...

Acrobatic words caught the pivture...

The Weaver of Grass said...

I liked the Leger painting Dave - in fact I liked it even more when I had read the critique on it, which I thought explained it very well. Must confess I didn't see your comment so am now going to rootle through my newspaper recycling bag to find it!

Helen said...

One of my favorites, Dave! You brought the poem to life.

Derrick said...

Hi Dave,

I have to admit that this type of art doesn't do a lot for me but your poem gives it more sense in a way I would never imagine!

Helen said...

Please pardon ... came back for another look-see and realized I should have written 'you brought the artwork to life with your poem' ...
that's what I get for typing faster than my brain works!

Madame DeFarge said...

Never seen this picture before, but felt that the poem helped me appreciate the picture rather more than I would normally.

San said...

I'm not surprised at all that your reaction would be published. You're a looker and a seer. I hope that makes sense to you.

And the energy of your poem dazzles. "...our eyes cannot hold them complete in one place at one time." That's what poetry helps us do. No?

gleaner said...

Thank you for your visit and comment on my blog, I'm returning the visit. It's great to discover fascinating blogs that hold some point of difference and so I shall return.

Cloudia said...

"A line of disorder"
Wonderful!

apprentice said...

Congratulation on the poem publication. And thanks for the introduction to Long's work.

Dave King said...

A Cuban in London
Thanks for that. As for the pic, Rachel Campbell-Johnston (I image it her) chooses a work each week for readers to comment on. this one just happened to be the one she chose for this week. Some of the comments were of the bad plumbing is just as interesting and this is how I feel when I tie myself up in knots variety.

Shadow
Thanks Shadow, but I'm not kidding myself that it one of my best!

Stephen
Well, the resident critic is supposed to give a verdict after the readers' comments, but in fact she rarely does. Tends to sit on the fence and say: some think this way, some think thataway. Probably very wise to do so!

John
Yes, indeed it can be - that's the hardest bit to express.

readingsully2
I initially looked at the image and not the title, and thought it was one.

Rose Marie
Yes, that's very true. I always enjoy my visits to you.

Jinksy
Acrobatic words presents its own image. I may try to work on that.

The Weaver of Grass
Yes, I hadn't known the painting but was immediately struck by it. It was that prompted me to send a comment.

Helen
Thanks a lot for that. No aplogy needed: I know that syndrome very well!

Derrick
That's quite a compliment. Thanks. I must admit that Leger's work does not normally inspire me.

Madame de Farge
Thanks very much for that. greatly appreciated.

San
It makes sense alright. I'm not sure it's deserved. I agree with you re poetry.

gleaner
Thanks for that. My visit to you was much enjoyed.

Cloudia
Thanks Cloudia.

willow said...

Great poem, Dave. It fits in perfectly with the clown theme of my post this week.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Love the spaces in "first an arm a waist then a head..." Gives action and movement to poem and echoes the action I see in the painting.

Aniket said...

My knowledge is scarce when it comes to art, but I sure did love your poem. Especially the way you ended it:

"a skewer of light
snatch of a clown
hoardings and
adverts. The Big
Top's top."

Carl said...

What a cool painting and a wonderful poem. I am tempted to start making up stories and poems about the paintings I see.
However I'll spare you poetic attempts and stick to making images. I think I am better at that.

Dick said...

Very fine, Dave. Another powerful pairing.

Karen said...

The poem is great, Dave. Even without the painting, it stands.

Dave King said...

Conda
Thanks for that Conda.

Aniket
Useful comment, much thanks.

Carl
No reason at all why you shouldn't do both - just don't stop making the images!

Dick
Thanks Dick.

Karen
Hadn't thought of that possibility... must go and have a think.

Carl said...

Hi Dave- to me a blank page is much scarier than a blank canvas! Maybe I'll give it a go though. Thanks as always for the inspriation.

Carl

Jenn said...

Your piece is so visually inspiring it was almost not necessary to view the picture. Don't you love when inspiration strikes in the most seemingly unlikely places? Congrats on having your comment published in the Times, quite a big deal to be sure!

Tom Atkins said...

What you say at the end, about his work building on itself, is also true of poetry. Often I begin to read a poet, and the first poem or few are good, but not hugely good, but over time, as I read more, I come to see and more than that, feel, the poet's muse and the poems become more and more powerful as time goes on. That has certainly happened for me with your poems. As always, thank you for sharing them.

Tom

Sarah Laurence said...

How much fun to get your letter printed! Your poem captures the motion in the painting very well. I love the image: “a skewer of light.” Well done!

Crafty Green Poet said...

I really enjoyed that poem, so much motion in it, very acrobatic