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Madonna in a fur coat



I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately – where has my intensity of feeling towards art gone? It’s still there; art makes me think, constantly, mulling over how I experience the world as opposed to how the protagonist in a book, or the artist, experiences it. But I don’t experience it in that ecstatic, almost orgasmic way that I did when I was young. (Ok, there was that time at the Morrissey concert in 2012, but I was channelling my younger self, and there was nostalgia thrown in to amp up my emotions.)

I just went to see the Cindy Sherman exhibition at the City Gallery, and I marvelled at all her different guises, all the people that she turns herself into, borrowing their grief and joy, annihilating herself in the process. Talking about her early work, the film stills, she described the facial blankness that she was after in the photos – the time before or the time after something huge happens, and you haven’t quite yet processed your emotions. Sometimes I wonder if I am always on the slow burn. Then, I remind myself that I do experience joy and anguish, I do feel bone-shaking anxiety and anger. But these emotions don’t appear at the appropriate time, they just erupt out of me randomly.

In my random trawling of the internet, I came across this article, (NSFW), written by someone about to give a workshop in Wellington. It talked about our cultural obsession with orgasms, which, paradoxically, makes them harder to attain. I was wondering if there were some kind parallel in writing and art and live performance – we want to be cracked open, we want to have some kind of blissful union with the book we’re reading or the band we’re watching, feeling it in our body. But perhaps we’re expecting too much. Perhaps we need to relax, and open ourselves up to all sorts of experiences, redefine what is pleasure and how much we need to be moved.

Anyway, you should read this book by Sabahattin Ali! It’s really good! Filled with pathos and joy, and excellent writing. The crazy thing is that it’s been around in Turkey since the 1940s (it was published as Anon) but has recently become a bestseller – Turkey’s most beloved love story – and it’s only just been translated into English.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Helen Beech permalink
    15/12/2016 10:53 am

    Perfect timing. Heading to the library as I read this. Looking specifically for a book to crack me open.


    Helen Beech Computer Music Ltd 0800 4 MUSIC


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