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Saturday, 12 February 2011

A Few Steps Back


File:Ernst Ludwig Kirchner - Schneelandschaft - 1930.jpg

Snowy landscape
: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 1930
(Galerie Henze and Ketterer, Bern)

Older memories linger longer for good reason.
The past reveals itself a stunning temptress

in technicolor, while the dull present, no longer in play
and practically begging to be sacrificed

to the hungry gods of short term memory loss, remains
all monotones, flat blacks and whites, with the whites
gradually fading, as one moves
a few steps back from the picture
one begins to make out shades of grey.

Still the river runs in but one
direction, even if colorized. And too there's an odd, faint
metallic taste in the water, reminding of
the artificiality of recollection.


Ed Baker said...

again and in an addendum to:

if I was going be painting ... landscapes I'd have

in my "formative/naive" youth I'd most certainly have
imitated this guy's "stuff"

;on-the-way-to-my-own Way

another great/original landscape artist
and I can't find the landscape painting that he did (around 1960) that has been considered the "perfect"

but it was done about the same time his "The Sheep Farm"
was done .... Balthus.


isn't at "rock-bottom" ALL painting/poetry/literature
more or less ...Landscape .... merely ?

Anonymous said...

Reading A Few Steps Back and viewing the two Kirchners helped focus and clarify my feelings about some things that have been gnawing at me today. The poem builds naturally and logically and ends really beautifully. It's great to see Kirchner here again; obviously his inclusion is keyed by the writing, but still it seems appropriately seasonal, like the return of a treasured remembered item to a restaurant menu. I love the bottom picture with more figuration, but the upper picture, Snowy Landscape, is unbelievable. As the heavy-duty cold medication begins to hit me, I think Snowy Landscape and A Few Steps Back will remain in the front of my brain.

TC said...

The boldness, and the confidence in trusting to the mystery of the unknown within the visible, in that upstairs snowy landscape, are thrilling and inspiring.

Elmo St. Rose said...

wonderful Kirchner posts

I wonder if the economic
elite who meet at Davos
have ever seen his paintings
and if they have
that he committed suicide
soon after the Nazis destroyed
some of his work and declared
him, "a degenerate artist"

but then the Nazis never understood
the creative German spirit
best described as the
Beethoven Factor

Marcia said...


Recently we flew over a cold, snow-covered landscape, and I kept wondering how one would paint that scene. I no longer have to wonder -- Kirshner did it. His paintings and your words hit the mark. I also love the abandoned home and grain elevators paired with Goldsmith's words -- "children leave the land." In Effigy, the prairie photos are lovely and the poem, well -- the "eye" becomes as important as the "I." Carl Mydan's work shows such little do we learn from the past...

TC said...

Very interesting thought, Elmo. One dimension, that of Kirchner's weirdly penetrating vision, laid over another, entirely different dimension, that of the global elite summit, like a kind of ghostly transparency.

TC said...


While the city always feels like a densely overcrowded space, at the same time, oddly, the spaces that have occupied the mind of late, it seems, have been -- as your comment causes me instantly to recognize -- empty, empty...