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Wednesday 20 June 2012
Can you see, Can you feel, Is it there, Is it real?
Often enough I have tried to paint them,
draw or photograph or sketch them with my fingers:
the mountain, the tree, the woodland canopy -
though not the object that you see,
no, not the one your brain constructs.
The thing itself, the purity of structure, the unchangeable,
the thing beyond the vagaries of light and shade. That which
is there in morning light, bright sun, and then again,
no different in the moon's soft touch. I speak
of that which logic says must lie beyond
the scope of senses to detect. No wonder then
the art work fails. I'm thinking that The Hayward Gallery
is on to something with its exhibition showing
things invisible in art - for after all, complacency
of seeing becomes compulsive viewing,
and the thing that is there and the thing not there are one.
The plinth above which space (which might have held - or be -
a sculpture) has received
the ministrations of a witch
remains/becomes a plinth with space above - space where you
well might party, fly a kite or camp with four friends overnight...
Or is it? Is so much possible in that small space
above a tiny plinth? Can you detect the spell? Or can the eyes
see what the heart may feel?
Perhaps one day you'll find yourself inside an empty room,
its emptiness surrounding you, made obvious
to sight, to those with eyes to see. No one to disagree -
except, perhaps, the other senses might.
What if antennae that you didn't know you had, detect
a million people in your empty room... maybe they're watching
football on the telly as they eat their fish and chips, or there's
a space probe bumping into Mars - the sound of
or reverberations from - or will a million ants crawl in,
to leave behind them trails of paint that seem significant?
Invisible, but can't you hear the paint the way you tasted
all those fish and chips and knew there would be living
art works eating them? The way all happenings from
all time everywhere have registered their presence
in your empty room, the way a torch beam shone into the sky
goes on through all eternity, though ever weaker, ever there.
Things seen and things not seen have always been on view.
Now leave the room. You close the door - or maybe take it
with you - then in the hallway look in the first mirror -
and do not be surprised: you cannot see yourself.
Look in the next and there you are. Go out the front door,
come back in. The mirror you were in is blank. You're in
And so it seems to me, my need is for a camera, the film
not sensitive to light or infra red or any such:
receptive just to darkness... stygian, black darkness -
for darkness lays no outside influence on the pristine Thing.