Witch and scarecrow in the snow: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, n.d. (Collection Günther Ketterer, Bern)
Images are not autonomous. Like puppets, dolls or toys, they had to be made by someone.
It is only when they begin to converse with each other that they start to assert their independence of those who have made them.
Sledge in the fog: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 1928/1929 (Brücke-Museum, Berlin)
They may embrace one another; they may quarrel; they may pretend to ignore one another and study a casual disregard.
Railway and tramcars: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 1914 (Museum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte der Hansestadt, Lübeck)
But they simply can't help getting involved.
A favorite rhyme for a long winter's night as a very young child began so:
The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
'T was half-past twelve and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t'other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
(I wasn't there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)
You knew that no matter how long the gingham dog and the calico cat pretended to ignore each other, sooner or later trouble was inevitable.
This rhyme (by Eugene Field) would not have been so popular, one reckons, had the gingham dog and calico cat become fast friends in the end (instead of eating each other up -- a conclusion which adults of the period of my childhood evidently had no qualms about serving up as edifying fare to their innocent and tender progeny).
Since then, one creation after another, ipse dixit, to each image its own animated or stodgy, voluble or diffident, congenial or combative niche,
House in the Meadows: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, n.d.
each driven by sunup to pasture, each from pasture by sundown;
Return of the animals: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, n.d.
and if over this cabinet of animal oddities there seems to fall a certain eerie silence now, remember the fabricator's absence alone doesn't mean no one's talking.
Davos in snow: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, n.d.