Last evening I returned from a week in Paris with mom and Mary Bowden. We mainly visited the museums and instead of chronicling an uneducated person’s wandering through those cavernous halls, I list several ideas from the exhibitions:
-From Cezanne: The new lies not in the subject, but in the manner of expressing it.
-From cubism (esp. Picasso)-The possibility of fusing multiple perspectives into the same image. Several spectators witnessing the same event will provide different accounts. From these accounts, an image emerges, though it may appear distorted and irregular.
-Foucault’s Pendulum (the Pantheon)-The subtlety of experience. The earth spins at a significant rate, yet we have no obvious consciousness of it.
-With sculpture, an artist has the opportunity to utilize real space to great effect. At the Musee Rodin, for example, a scene from Ugolino is set in the center of a pond, thus creating a sense of isolation.
-The paradox of materialism-Tourists walk by a grand rendering of Louis XIII in Notre Dame without the slightest stimulation, then stand mesmerized before a van Gogh piece. Wealth purchased the king ambivalence, while the ailing pauper created a legacy.
The city’s pulse stimulates the senses. I felt like starting a novel after a day there.
On the 10th we visited Normandy, following this route: St. Mere Eglise, Utah Beach, St. Marie du Mont, Pointe du Hoc and Omaha Beach, the American cemetary, Port en Bessin, and Arromanches. Ordinary men are capable of extraordinary things. I photographed all but the cemetary, which I was reluctant to commoditize. Each must have his own experience there, I think.
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