Thursday, September 2, 2010

All the Way to the End



"Surely all art is the result of one's having been in danger, of having gone through an experience all the way to the end, where no one can go any further. The further one goes, the more private, the more personal, the more singular an experience becomes, and the thing one is making is, finally, the necessary, irrepressible, and, as nearly as possible, definitive utterance of this singularity." --Rainer Maria Rilke

I'm running out of steam for the week, but I've been thinking about Ted Hughes' theory that all art originates from a wound in the artist. He does a better job of 'esplaining it. But Rilke certainly will do.

I heard from a friend today in Prague (he's been living with his wife Vera in an apartment in Prague Castle that Václav Havel arranged for them. It didn't even faze me - of course, you're living in the Castle. I'd already heard but didn't want to spoil his moment.) He is a novelist & filmmaker & friend of perv Milan Kundera. When The Unbearable Lightness of Being was released as book (& then as film later), I asked Arnošt. Well? "Exactly, exactly how it was. That bastard, he did it!" Then he picked me up & whirled me around the room.

It was/is a tight circle of friends/frenemies & a highly competitive bunch, of course: writers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, journos, etc. They supported the "wrong" person in 1968 & were invited to leave. Kundera's success spurred them all on (including director Miloš Forman). I hope someone writes a book about this gang of devils. (There are more.)

Arnošt & Vera lent me 'the borrowed flat' in Jerusalem for many weekends. They sat with me in the - I am not kidding - Elizabeth Taylor Cafeteria...or maybe it was the Frank Sinatra cafeteria (there were two) & tried to make me laugh. One time I got in a car with them. Only once. I was in the back seat with an old friend who then lived in Israel. He started to laugh hysterically...maybe it was the idea of the two of us tootling around the city with our friend--who should never drive (do you hear me, A?) anywhere. Ever. I accessed my "if I go, I go" attitude used to good effect in Greek & Italian taxis. Anyway, those wild & crazy Czechs, they lent me the flat for which I'll be eternally grateful. Now I want to stay at Prague Castle.

Here's to brave people - who, amazingly, miraculously laugh (with a large side of irony). And take it all the way to the end.

[two stills from Unbearable Lightness of Being, still photographer-genius Phil Bray; the "real" iconic photograph via filmwell(dot)org]

10 comments:

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Fascinating Susan
I was just discussing this topic with someone this week... He thought that it was stereotype to think all artists are tortured.. ... but... funny... I think good art comes from experiences.. and emotion.. whether that be joy/sadness or even fear.. strong emotion leaves it's mark...

I love these stills!! and love your story... whenever I am OS i will do things a little out of character.. eg rickety broken roller coaster in Turkey.. I figure if I go I go happy!! and living to the full!! I should think like that at home really!! Life would be much more interesting!!

ciao ciao xxx Julie

simon said...

I think the best art comes as a result from a wound. I remember seeing The Masters in Melbourne in 2004- two paintings caused me to pause. "Moonlit Sea" (Stevens) and "Melon" (Manet). There were all the usual Van Goughs etc etc and unlike others I tend to walk around at speed until something takes my eye.. But these two make me stop, sit and just look at them.

Later, when I returned to Sydney and was working on Gounods "Le Soir", the poetry reminded me of these two paintings.

I was facinated that the emotion of the song, and the paintings "meshed".. So I researched them.

Turns out that both paintings were done when the artists were very very ill, and they had little equipment or subject matter to paint.

The song, the art, linked together at that point for me.I was astonished.

After 6 years the paintings still impact me (perhaps due to my ill health), as too does the Song which I love.

(Sorry to bore you with it)

Just a thought

Giulia said...

Julie--I want to hear more about rickety rollercoaster in Turkey. (yes, I do).

Simon--Thank you for such a thoughtful response. I'm typing this way too early in morning, so I will just say for now: you are not boring me with anything. This is fascinating. I will catch up with you over our long weekend in States. Am going to (later) bring up the paintings & reread what you wrote. Thank you so much.

Tina Tarnoff said...

You are mad at me, s? I am frivolous, I'm aware. I'm also fighting misanthrophy and depression. But, still. I also have fear of telephones. SO, go figure.

Giulia said...

How can I be mad at someone who is the complete opposite of kitsch? xx

Ian said...

Very interesting. Bravo.

Jen said...

There's something about this post that is reminiscent of The Lives of Others. I still think that's one of the best films on collaborative artists that's out there.

I'd love to see a book on this bunch, too!

Giulia said...

Ian--thank you. I will be by to visit. Feeling creaky.

Jen--You have it exactly. I think it's the best one. At least so far. I went by myself & couldn't walk out of the theatre for a long time. I just sat there. Stunned.

Oh I hope someone's working on a book.

secret, fragile skies said...

You have the best blog and readers! Thanks.

Giulia said...

You are too nice. My friends will be yelling, "don't encourage her...she'll start naming names." But the readers, I do agree...including you. Everyone is so nice about wading through my ill-edited verbiage. Thank you so much.

Susan