Carnival, Ligeti, and James Ensor

Self-Portrait-In-A-Hat-With-Flowers,-1883Not 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.  

34104898James 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

The intrigueThe Intrigue.

And Self Portrait at top of the page.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s