Friday, February 11, 2011

Long drive, good question

The question of outfitting oneself for a long-ish, solitary drive can lead to listening to the fabulous story-telling voice of John Le Carré in his own work or Elisabeth Schwarzkopf's in anyone else's, to the considerable sustenance of one's attention. I find myself setting out today on such a venture, testing whether a matter which has occupied one's mind for a couple of days, now, can gain from any concentration at the wheel. The trouble is, the more I consider it, the larger the question becomes. As we so often find in such challenges, there is only Ivan Terestchenko to blame.

I refer to his recent object lesson in living with a wall. Ostensibly a query on the reduction of an art collection, the image calls out a demand for consciousness of the wall. Even after framing and perspective have been taken into account, and admitting their power, we're left with the presentation of a wall - indeed, of two walls - which projects their physical presence with high metaphysical penetration. The portrait - for, such it is - goes to the heart of how to prize the wall, how to live with the wall, how to illuminate it, how to elicit what it is. 

We don't overlook the intervention of sculpture - engaging, obviously, the ceiling and floor - but this is a only a more eloquent wall, for all that. It is a wall to which, were it one of mine, I would return with a keen admiration and sense of debt for what it is. This is one of the most absorbing architectural statements I have ever seen. I wonder what Carlo Scarpa would have done any differently.

Photograph ii, Terestchenko
By kind permission

Carlo Scarpa
Castelvecchio, details


  1. Very kind. It was born, like some veal, in bits. Like today's entry on le flâneur, I finally found it finishing itself later. I love the picture and I would love to have been there.