Even lines, stable comfort,
ground and release me
into transient bliss.
Interdependence of Permanent and Transient aspects in art and literature
When I travel, I make a point of visiting art galleries and museums and I visit local art galleries regularly.
I love visual arts, and although I’m no expert, and my tastes are very eclectic, I have my preferences regarding what interests and inspires me and what illicits no response.
As a writer, linguist and teacher, I work mainly with words, not images, although I find images inspiring, but only if I can identify a narrative.
A picture must tell me a story or make a statement which is meaningful to me, in order to feel a connection.
This perceived story or message may or may not have been the artists’ intention, and yet once the work of art has left the artists’ hands, it becomes subject to the viewers’ reinterpretations.
I went to an art exhibition yesterday, which I enjoyed. I was also lucky enough to meet and speak briefly to two of the artists. I’d like to share with you my thoughts on permanent and transient aspects in visual arts and literature, which were inspired by the artists and their art.
The theme was ‘Geometrical Trip South’ by four Spanish artists.
I was especially impressed by the work of artist Fernando M. Romero, who was born in Cordoba, studied Fine Art at the University of Granada, and is currently working on his MA at The Royal College of Art, London. UK.
Fernando combines geometric shapes, associated with Cubism and the more abstract Tachisme, a style of painting adopted by some French artists from the 1940s, involving the use of dabs or splotches of colour.
Tachisme was a reaction to Cubism and is characterized by spontaneous brushwork, drips and blobs of paint straight from the tube, and sometimes scribbling reminiscent of calligraphy.
I was impressed by Fernando Romero’s work, and I was intrigued by the combination of a permanent, recognisable background, splattered with ephemeral, abstract, blotches on. over, and around the solid geometric shapes.
I connected with his narrative and perceived a clear message; the coexistence of permanent and ephemeral aspects in our lives and how both are necessary and even complimentary. In fact, one cannot live without the other.
A perfectly designed geometrical world, would be unbearable, and yet a world in which everything were temporary would be stressful. I need to know that although some things are short-lived, others will accompany me for the duration, and hopefully outlive me. Isn’t the artist in search of a tiny piece of eternity?
I was also attracted to the simplicity and minimalism of the artist’s use of black and white. Less is more, as the work of art expresses the simplicity and the essence of the message: The artist is free to experience and create an ephemeral moment, because it exists within a permanent environment.
Can this concept of permanence and transience also be applied to literature? And if so, what does this mean to me as an author?
I think it is also not only applicable, but present in literature.
It means an author can make use of a permanent and universally acknowledged corpus of linguistic theory and literary history in order to produce a novel, which is a product of his/her transient and ephemeral imagination.
This creation might become part of a literary canon, or it may slip through the cracks and dissolve into a timeless, barrierless universe, as two modes of being, transient and permanent, coexist and interact.
Personally, it means I am fortunate enough to be able to make use of a language that has a solid, albeit flexible linguistic system I use to recreate my own stories, which are built on other well-known novels and characters grounded in our conscious knowledge and memories, as well as our collective unconscious.
My contemporary version of other literary movements, such as Gothic Romance and themes in Victorian novels, is however ‘stained’ and splashed by my transient, sometimes irreverent brush strokes, in my own reinterpretation and rewriting of Neo-Victorian fiction, and I’m not going to apologise for my literary ‘Tachisme’.
You can visit the exhibition in Córdoba until 1st April 2018.
How do you believe literature combines permanent and transient aspects?