Monday, December 15, 2008

Hold on to your friend, Hillary!

I am growing affection towards narrative content in my works and this storytelling (more to be explored in the future) has to do with my infatuation towards the film. Therefore, this painting's narrative has its roots in the real event that took place on May 29, 1953. It was the day when Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay "...knocked the bastard off!“ as Hillary tells it to his lifelong friend George Lowe, referring to the success of reaching the summit of Mt Everest. And it was the notion of friendship I had in mind when this story triggered my imagination. Not Hillary and Lowe, but Tenzing. Hillary never knew Norgay before that expedition, both coming from cultures that were different from one another. I have also read that after the climb the two of them wouldn't reveal which one of them was the first to reach the top. As the story goes: out of the mutual respect for each other. And this was for next 30 years or so. Later on they confessed it was Hillary after all but, nevertheless, I begun to wonder about these intense experiences humans will go through and how very close they grow to each other during the same. I also have this vivid memory of the story of American war pilot's escape from Vietnamese warfare along with his comrade after his plane crashed, which is depicted by Werner Herzog in his movie Little Dieter Needs to Fly. Our hero Dieter later recalls his friend who unfortunately did not make it through, and tells us how he was never able to let go the memory of him even though they never knew each other, except for those few days together. But it was Hillary/Norgay story that got my imagination, so I set off to make a reverence to friendship, an important fact and a large part of human life. As I said earlier, their origins differed and this was my key concept. Hillary was a member of British empire specific, among other things, for its taste in guilds, leagues, sororities, clubs and so on (this notion will later on explain the role of the two figures surrounding Hillary), and Norgay wasn't. I unfolded my own narrative on the premise that Norgay was missing from the image. Opposed to joyful praise in visual attempt for this notion I chose a morose feeling or, so to say, the feeling of someone genuinely missing or lost. It seems to be common knowledge that, only when you lose something/one, you fully see what you had.  So I placed the plot inside a waiting room. Hillary thus seems troubled with worry and the exhausted look on his face can be justified by the consolation attempt by two members of some hunting club. They seem to embody a rather fake idea of friendship opposed to the real empathy, which may be the reason why the stuff on the wall in few cases does not belong to the real world as well.