Tag Archives: Books

Distortions

Photo from Distortion series by Andre Kertesz

Photo from Distortion series by Andre Kertesz

In a photo historical context, it is natural to place Kertész’s nudes in line with later experiments by Brassaï, Hans Bellmer and Paul Strand, wherein different forms of manipulation created distortions of forms.[…]

Kertész’s pictures can also be read as a comment on the space women occupy; a space which is completely destabilised due to the use of mirrors. Usually, we have no problem with identifying the physical frame around the body, but here it is not the body that is photographed, but the reflection of it in its physical surroundings. In that sense, one may argue that the pictures are not at all about the body, but about the disintegration of a spatial perception to which one has become accustomed. In that sense the pictures can be argued to have developed from the Cubists’ deconstructed and fragmented spaces. The ruling disorder becomes an attack on the endeavour to instil the human body in a lucid space, which provides it with a defined place. The body is, in Kertész’s photographs, transformed into an object we no longer have a firm grasp of; the body avoids us as a slippery bar of soap. Consequently, it escapes the kingdom of the gaze.

Pg. 9, ANDRÉ KERTÉSZ • DISTORTIONS

What an excellent interpretation of Andre Kertesz‘s innovative, seminal Distortion series. Women – and men, for that matter – certainly live in an inherently destabilized space. Consumerist-driven irrational social and gender constructs create this unhealthy, upside-down environment that has devastating effects on people.

In these works, the image is not about the subject itself – instead the focus is placed on the lens through which the subject is seen. This distorted manifestation becomes how the subject – in this case, ‘woman’ – is perceived, questioning the fragmentation that has occurred between a more authentic ‘reality’ and this final perception (distortion). The series points out how ‘true’ – real – these perceptions seen. Our fragmented, distorted view of women (‘woman’ as subject) seems organic when it is indeed not. Rather it is the result of myriad fragmented pieces haphazardly – yet meticulously and purposely – reconstructed by consumerist social constructs.

I highly recommend reading the write-up in its entirety if you are interested in learning more about Kertesz’s fantastic work in general or his Distortion series specifically.

#1 from Distortion series by Andre Kertesz

#1 from Distortion series by Andre Kertesz

Voici mon secret

“Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Le Petit Prince

“Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.” 

Here is my secret. It is very simple. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye.

– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Le Petit Prince [The Little Prince]

Writing inspiration

General intro: I stay at an arts trust when I come back from trips to the village. Internet, charge camera, upload images, work, read, watch, cold shower, sleep. In the library (they have a library!) live books, stacks of texts, dvds, art crits, pop culture commentary, Criterion Collection films; inspiration in general. I pay a modest amount (even for me) to inhabit one of the charming rooms on site for the next few months ’til the next artist from somewhere across the continent swoops in to create/make/play/achieve. I feel charmed and grateful as usual these days. (Yay!)

Digression: A mish-mash of adults and kids who sing, dance, paint all day, sometimes all night. It is noisy. Yet, incredibly, the sound doesn’t bother me like it normally might. As my ongoing hearing issues become more and more a part of my daily life, I’m proud to say that I am slowly (slooowwwwly) learning to cope with it in more peace than before. The past lingers literally in my eardrums, an invisible scar that aggravates. It’s like I’ve taken up permanent residency as a character in The Conversation, a film which, with its brilliant use of heightened sound, somewhat mimics my everyday experience. Digression point: Psychologically, the sound doesn’t disturb me here. This is, to me, astounding. Hyperbole: And, well, amazing. Wonderful, too.

Initial main point intro: I ask my new friend here, how did you learn to write? I read a lot, he says casually. No system, no schooling, no formula. Read, write, read, write, rinse, repeat. Lather. Obligatory eye-roll inducing sexual innuendo: (Are you wet?)

Initial main point: At my prompting, he sweetly recommends a few articles plus a Sontag short-story, which I leave here with you today. Cheesy pun: No drum roll needed, these works have (loud) noise of their own. If you have a slice of time in your possession and brain in need of nourishment, consider ingesting one of these, free of charge.

Catchy-plus-enticing hook: Satiate those synapses…

A Rumi of One’s Own by Rachel Aviv  – Gush: Cutting, witty, subtle, hilarious. Manages to skewer America’s sheep while remaining fairly objective and fact-based. Rumi-lovers, beware!!! You’ve been warned.

On Quitting by Keguro Macharia – Drool: Brave, heartfelt, intimate, challenging. Strikes numerous emotional chords, sans cliche, through unapologetic honesty, shakes brains with vocabulary and heady concepts. Complementary visual art by another talent here too.

The Way we Live Now by Susan Sontag – Fawn: in 1986, on the lives of people living with the affects of the AIDS epidemic. Run-on sentences, conversant, familiar circular self-indulgent chit-chat between friends who’ve know each other longer than they’ve known themselves. Can be found in full pdf version online.

Golden 80’s

The raini was a poised and intelligent octogenarian, whose fine bones were obscured by thick librarian’s glasses, which perched heavily on her nose and gave her expression a rather owlish gleam.

Another excerpt from Dalrymple’s Nine Lives, p. 94

I can only aspire that I too will one day become a poised and intelligent octogenarian with an owlish gleam.

Paint me a picture

Rain was coming down in sheets, and we were sitting looking out on to the downpour from the veranda of Mr Krishnamurthy’s house. Men in white lungis bicycled past, their right hand on the handlebars and their left holding up an umbrella. Rickshaws sluiced through the flooded streets, their wheels cutting wakes through the ankle-deep water, like motorboats on a canal.

Excerpt from travel writer extraordinaire William Dalrymple’s Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India, p. 176