In response to my last blog entry, I remembered a painting by Howard Hodgkin which seemed to echo what I had written. It’s called ‘Old Sky’ and it’s a painting which, for me, is about the idea of that continuous cycle of time; of many cycles (single days) embedded in the cycle of years (which in terms of the pottery shard becomes a cycle of centuries).
The painting is an image of the end of a day and the remembered image of hundreds of days lost to memory and beyond. It’s about the act of remembering and the way the paint is applied to the frame becomes an attempt to reach beyond the limits of memory, to live again in the world when the memory was first formed. It’s almost frantic; an attempt not to forget what will certainly be forgotten. The frame remains intact, an acknowledgement perhaps that to relive a time that’s passed is impossible; that all that remains, inevitably, is a fragment of what has been.
As I alluded to in my blog, the relationship between colour and movement interests me a great deal and with this painting we have both colour and movement; movement when the painting was made and the movement of the act of remembering itself. For me, this reflects the idea of the cycle of a day and its relationship to the cycle of centuries; the relationship between the leaf and the pottery shard found during the dig. When I look at the pottery shard (below) I try to picture the world from which it has come. It’s as if the edges of the shard are like the edges of the painting, and while we can’t return to the world from which the shard has come, we can with the aid of the present attempt to imagine it.
I wrote in my last blog entry how when I dug the shard out of the ground, the colours at once melted back into the world from which they’d been estranged. This idea serves to illustrate that of moving beyond the frame or the edges of the shard in an attempt to re-imagine the past; how the act of remembering is as much to do with the body as the imagination – how it’s a fusion of the two; a product of an embodied imagination; one which moves in the world just like those with whom we seek to empathise.