Saturday, December 13, 2008

so many ways to dazzle

Dear Sisters.
Outside in Antwerp the ice was crisp this morning on my view, like a coat of frosted sugar; it dempened the scene, the colour greenish grey. Wispy bits of mist, now replaced by luminous sunshine. The pool is now frozen. There are white traces of frost smeared on flat black rooftops, frozen grease.

The opening of the exhibition went well; one gets into a different gear. Good people helped me. Now there is some kind of rest, as in, you get into a theatre, it takes three songs on the accordeon, cello and tuba for your chest to open up to what it is that you are hearing. Musicians must remember that it is not only they who need warming up and to get into the fully conscious listening mode. The trio Floorizone, Massot, Horbaczewski went from predictable to the most refined musical intercommunication. The cellist, the youngest of the three with the longest name, so young, Marine, at the end played a surprising flight of a bird on the strings near the bridge, it was magical. At times I imagined they switched between each other and were playing each other's instruments; that's how close their playing is.

I also saw this week a naked man come onto another stage, he was rummaging in a pile of earth for things, he was eating bananas and had a striking way of licking his thumbs before turning a page and when he wanted to read something he would hold the object very close to his eyes. Out of the earth he pulled clothes, champagne, out of a floor cupboard podium he would pull cassette tapes, bananas. The way he read things is with me everyday; the gesture is a miniature picture, his voice was unusual, he had a resonant wail. I don't know what the matter with him was; with his many strands of tears streaming down his face he looked like a Flemish primitive jewel. And when he came onstage 'buck naked in the eyes of the Lord' as David Byrne would say, he embodied, astonishingly, the painting of Adam, on the outer panel of Adam and Eve in the Ghent altarpiece which was in fact only a couple of hundred metres away from the national theatre in Ghent.

This I found most chilling. And the tears. More Van Eyck in the Arnolfini wedding green silk jacket which he touched like it contained a dearest person in the world but which was empty. The slits of eyes which needed some shade to fully open and let him in.

Then there were the words, which were saying one thing and sending a wholly different thing through; it is unnerving when people speak that way, I saw all kinds of images in front of my eyes, which were different from what the words were saying and this discrepancy also truly gets under your skin, or out of your skin and into another sense of space and time. It does something to your sense of gravity and time. I will have to go and see it again. Since this was the striking, lead-in-your-shoes performance of Steven Van Watermeulen in Krapp's last tape by Samuel Beckett at NTGent, which has its axis on the idea of repetition, this will be most apt. Also to see what the "genie in the bottle" (that's a better word here for actor)conveys to me next time. As the character rummaged in the pile of earth chips there was an illuminated cloud of dust that got into our mouths and eyes. Talk about sharing. The dust frankly upstaged the dazzle of my Swarovski purse that I had brought along for the occasion. There are SO many ways to dazzle and be brilliant.
Love, S2

No comments: