Thursday, 29 March 2012
It seems odd that I’ve never told you about the great love of my life, the painter Marc Chagall. But like most people I neglect my best love for long periods and don’t even notice I’m living on bread and water. Recently I had a FEAST.
The feast is called ‘A la Russie, aux Ânes et aux Autres’ (To Russia, Asses and Others) and is a dvd about his life.
Here is a picture of the front of the box. I bought it in Nice in the Chagall Museum which is a museum worth going all the way to Nice just to visit. It was my last feast, in January. I’ve been three times and will go again at the earliest opportunity if someone would like to donate my fare.
Chagall was free. That’s why I like him. And when I first encountered him in a retrospective exhibition of his work in the Royal Academy in London in 1985, I felt his freedom. I was brought up thinking art was a serious business involving lofty ideas and one which a mere girl like me could never fully grasp. (Thanks Dad). Well, thank you Marc Chagall for opening my eyes and making me laugh all the way round that gallery. Who puts goats in the sky, upside down people all over the place and is obsessed with hens? (We have so much in common.) Joy ripples from his canvases. He was full of life, full of love. His work is full of both too.
Isn’t this ridiculous and beautiful?
So from my sick bed of enforced inaction, (back step in the sunshine actually) I’ve been thinking about artistic freedom. I mean the internal stuff, not the social-political stuff which often concerns me.
For an artist, art is freedom: ‘The place where I had freedom most was when I painted. I was completely and utterly myself.’ (Alice Neel)
And therefore: ‘To confine the artist is a crime; it means murdering unborn life.’ (Egon Schiele) (‘There’s been a murrderr.’ - Taggart)
But on the other hand: ‘No human being, however great, or powerful, was ever so free as a fish.’ (John Ruskin)
And yet: ‘Writing just for the hell of it is heaven.’ (Julia Cameron)
I recognise this too: ‘Imagine, if you will, the author standing on a high rooftop hurling books into the void yelling, 'Fly! Be free!'’ (Curtis Craddock)