Not feeling like blogging – perhaps too much heady food is still being metabolised … Le Grand Macabre by Ligeti , whose life experiences are painfully tragic to read about and seemingly without much respite but from out of his cauldron of sensation emerged so much creativity, wit, love and subversion… and then in the same week even anticipating watching Tristan and Isolde on Friday induced a physical vertigo.
Ligeti has drawn me, or rather my Proustian partner who inducted me, has inadvertently drawn me to the surreal dramatist Michel Ghelderode. I have been trying to memorize his name by imagining that I am riding a geldered stallion, along with Keats’ Bright Star, and hope that I have got the spelling right and then galloping off to Amazon Prime for the catalogue of James Ensor who was as fascinated by Carnival and Masks and Love and Death and Anxiety as I am, except Ensor painted them and I try to get behind them….many of his works remind me, and are I think, indebted to Goya’s black paintings. (Retrospectively, I also feel that Paula Rego must feel indebted to his visceral imaginings and teasing.) I wish I knew where those black Goya paintings are hidden as so few of them are displayed in Madrid, unless they are stored away in unnamed archives.
Even before these artists, discovered by courtesy of my Ligeti-trail, came as a gift into my vision I was intending to blog about Carnival and the Death of Tragedy, and Rio de Janeiro, and my Capoeira thrusting Berimbar drumming friend Greg Hicks whose life embodies Carnival and who next year will be playing King Lear at the RSC, and then another unexpected pleasure, to revel in the fact that Rio and not Chicago won the Olympic bid, which is what made me think of Greg because he has a flat in Rio at the foot of the statue of Christ the Redeemer … but for now I still need to absorb and metabolize rather than write. And then last night – at my grandson, Dan’s direction – I watched the documentary Gonzo and discovered the death driven genius, the carnival energies, the insight and death-sight. of Hunter S. Thompson, the beauty of Johnny Depp, and today I am still more undone and I don’t, after watching the inspiring and fittingly minimalist staging while listening to the frantic and god-like desires, demons and visions and woundings, or should I write wounds, of Tristan and Isolde – with my Wagnerian loving/ Proust reading partner – where nothing remains black or white, but returns to shadow, have much to spare.
James Ensor: Pierrot and skeletons.
The mobility, the anxiety and the waivering of his nature explain at once the feverish searches,the steps forwards, the steps backwards, the brusque advances and the sudden retreats, in a word all the unevenness of his art. Emile Verhaearen, 1908
And Self Portrait at top of the page.