Recently my parents told me that whilst on holiday their home was burgled. Access through a window it seems. This is a common contagion everywhere. In Greece, tragically and transparently, the Greeks undergo burglary by the IMF due to the incompetence of their sinecurists. In Italy, technocrats have usurped democracy. Here in our kingdom, with no resistance, in glass empires, certain royal banks in the northern outposts have pillaged the life savings of loyalists with amazing insouciance. Bond Marketeers roam our lands like the Philistines of old.
Art has been fighting to protect itself from the Prophets of Philistinism for centuries. Stay away! No wonder our burglar alarm has been our obscurantism. Although Caravaggio had a sword and shadows! What have I got?
Thinking of opaqueness, you remember that window in the Caravaggio painting, high above the Nazarene when he beckons, languorously, to that grubby tax collector Matthew. What a window, all dense and incomprehensible! Sweet nothingness.
Courageous Caravaggio leapt two hundred feet from his Maltese prison into the Mediterranean. Swimming for art, against the sea of mediocrity, towards a pardon from rabid fideists and Infallibilists. I am reminded of what Jean Lescure once said “An artist does not create the way he lives, he lives the way he creates.” Well they had him murdered just the same. That was a Europe before crunch and credit.
From the other shore, I am reminded of Basil Blackshaw’s paintings of “The Windows”. Somehow they belong now to our deteriorating austerity age. But Blackshaw invented austerity as shown by the not so ruled line that indicates the window shape. One more line might have bloated these paintings to indulgence; one less and the object would vanish. The philistines claim scandal. Well done Blackshaw – stick it to them. Let them bellyache until 10.30am.
The artist also gives us transparently abundant opaqueness in grey juicy slabs. An attentive thought at something unknown/ unseen and essentially receptive to becoming. As Pierre-Jean Jouve (La Poesie est rare) declared “he who knows, that is to say, who transcends, and names what he knows.”
No philistine has been able to burgle these windows. Must lock my own before I leave.
I’m away to find a sword.