But now, while the radiator is whirring and clucking, a gloomy silence reigns outside.
Are it the grimy window and the snow-laden sky or is it, paradoxically, the sheer muffling dizziness of whirling snow-flocks that explains this sombre stasis?
The snow has obviously reinforced my house-arrest. Though I am already shuffling through the apartment at an amazing speed (and with a single crutch!), outside I still struggle to keep a perilous balance, panicking at the mere sight of icy sidewalks.
But this less-valid persona of mine has also uncovered unexpected reservoirs of sociability: I now blithely chat with taxi-drivers ( whose experience encompasses an astonishing range of medical and legal aspects of traffic accidents). And I have speedily shed deeply ingrained inhibitions to solicit the help of unknown passers-by – if only to be able to cross one of those slippery sidewalks.
earlier light-hunting strolls.
This is also a good time to revisit past exhibitions, letting the catalogue of the 2004 Hopper retrospective making up for this winter’s missed exhibition in Paris.
These paintings of sullen people sitting or standing in bare rooms – staring, brooding – depressingly inert, if it weren’t for the bravura of light patches on the wall and the floor.
Those blind walls, stern buildings, empty streets - all quite inhospitable, if it weren’t for the generosity of that nonchalantly stroking light.
And it must be a good book, which quotes Hopper as saying “There is a sort of elation about sunlight on the upper part of the house. You know, there are many thoughts, many impulses, that go into a picture ...I was more interested in the sunlight on the buildings, and on the figures than in any symbolism.”
Besides, how utterly satisfying, to read a catalogue text that officially endorses quiet, clandestine affinities:
“the similarity between Hopper’s Parisian stairway and Xavier Mellery’s same subject”)
Thus I continued my tour of cherished books and images, invigorated by their grace, their bravura - (their sprezzatura? ).
Quite grateful for these sentences, pictures, sights & memories that act “like subtle gold threads in the fabric of one’s life. Given the right slant of light.”(1)