Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ghost Town Revery

This time I have tried to dig something out of my personal history to use for the work. This has been case in some of my previous works, but it seems that I have been digging thru lives of some of my heros for some time now, I have forgotten what it feels to have my life as a subject matter. As it happened recently some of the most turbulent times I've had so far occurred. I ended and restarted the relationship, and this particular work while being made, happened to catch the most of it. Like in that Sam Cooke song, a change colored my life - making my daily routines & habits vanish in thin air. This fact was coincidental and had nothing to do with motivation for producing this particular painting, but these collateral events have proved to play a significant role in it's making. But I will return to that.
Initially I started the thing in order to deal with this strange feeling I've had all my life, but never quite knew what to make of it. Ever since I was 12 or so, I've moved quite a lot. Along the way I changed several addresses and I never felt connected to any place in terms of belonging. This should be more than enough of my personal history for anyone to be bothered with, but this past-digging was the reason I started this work. It felt so puzzling having most of grave importance events - like all of those first kisses and sex, all those adolescent brake-ups, first sounds of songs & music that would influence the course of my life to come... all the late night drawings in those deceased rooms that shaped my entire life from scratch - set in places that not even now or then have I ever considered a home. All of this might sound irrelevant or small, I don't know, but the fact is I always regarded all of these interiors as some places of transition..some rooms, never a home. That was the trigger for this work. I kinda hoped to deal with this dual feeling while working it thru. And as I started the work I bumped into a wall. I wasn't satisfied with the way painting was evolving. Suddenly the hole premise started to look bleak to me, feeling there should be more to whole thing than what appeared to me at that point like just some former homes eulogy. Sometimes working practice can give you really a hard time.. this has to a lot to do with a process of making. You simply can't know where a work will take you unless you take that path of finding out, and of course it may not always be rewarding. But as I mentioned above, something changed all of it and left me with the feeling of mere bystander in making of this work, as if my life was just an instrument held in the hands of a mad surgeon. In the middle of struggle with this work, relationship i was in started to fall apart leaving me with another dead home. The work preceded these events and appeared as an eerie messenger for things to come. The framework for this thinking was found in the certain part of lecture held by Nick Cave on the subject of love song that made a huge impact on my early teens when I first heard it. He tells a tale of how certain works can be tricky and difficult to produce and can't be made solely on the terms of the author. The song he mentions is called Far From Me, and in order to fully reveal this sudden & unintended issue occurring (or so I feel) in Ghost Town Revery as well , I'll quote the entire passage of the lecture.
'' Far From Me took four months to write, which was the duration of the relationship it describes. The first verse was written in the first week of the affair and is full of all the heroic drama of new love as it describes the totality of feeling whilst acknowledging the potential for pain – for you I'm dying now. It sets the two lovers it describes against an uncaring world – a world that fucks everybody over – and brings in the notion of the physical distance suggested in the title. Strangely, though, the song, as if awaiting the "traumatic experience" that I spoke of earlier to happen, would not allow itself to be completed until the catastrophe had occurred. Some songs are tricky like that and it is wise to keep your wits about you when dealing with them. I find quite often that the songs I write seem to know more about what is going on in my life than I do. I have pages and pages of fourth verses for this song written while the relationship was still sailing happily along. One such verse went:
''The Camellia, The Magnolia
Have such a pretty flower
And the bells of St. Mary's
Inform us of the hour''
Pretty words, innocent words, unaware that any day the bottom would drop out of the whole thing. Love songs that attach themselves to actual experience, that are a poeticising of real events have a peculiar beauty unto themselves. They stay alive in the same way that memories do and being alive, they grow up and undergo changes and develop. A love song such as Far From Me has found a personality beyond the one that I originally gave it with the power to influence my own feelings around the actual event itself. This is an extraordinary thing and one of the truly wondrous benefits of song writing. The songs that I have written that deal with past relationships have become the relationships themselves. Through these songs I have been able to mythologize the ordinary events of my life, lifting them from the temporal plane and hurling them way into the stars. The relationship described in Far From Me has been and gone but the song itself lives on, keeping a pulse running through my past. Such is the singular beauty of song-writing.'' *

* Taken from: Nick Cave "The Secret Life of the Love Song" King Mob KMOB 7 1999 (65:23)