an affinity with fragments

The Lili Dujourie exhibit was aptly called  "folds in time"

Because of the folds, obviously. Elegant draperies folding majestically, reminding one of the very venerable folds of art history.  (And there’s ironic playfulness, of course, in these contemporary folds,  but also genuinely solemn elegance.) 

Because of the evocation of time:  time – not entirely lost, but slowly unfolding in a sonnet, while a woman smokes in front of a window,  while smoke curls, while light changes ever so slowly in a dusty room. Or lazy summer time, when  the slow  summer light in an apartment at the seaside might recall winter. 

 (but then,  ah the poignancy of contemporary art – so ephemeral its contemporary means, so transient the modernity of its medium : a dated Kodak slide projector, trembling black & white videos from the 70s, collages of yellowing brittle paper scraps, and then that dusty fraying velvet – no match for those 15th century panels where the deep glow of oil paint still rivets the eye)   

“an elegant celebration of the fragment”,  read another exhibit-comment, a phrase which promptly dazzled me.

Yes, the melancholy remembrance embodied within fragments, such as paper scraps, ragged pictures:  like this picture of a luminous corner of a room, with a window suggestive of a sunny world outside (it could have been the window in the Arnolfini's room , but it isn’t) – or the  picture of a terrace with a balustrade, looking out over a sea (it could have been a Corot in Italy , or else a dusky Lorrain – but it isn’t)

Fragments, reflected in a broken mirror, or deceivingly sturdy like those elegant colourful fragments made of papier-mâché. 

Or frozen fragments of time, such as a book lying on a window sill, with a timeless seaview outside.  

But over to another fragment, in another museum – the eye, enchanted by intense red, zooms in on the folds of a man’s sleeve.  The eye is seduced too by the gilded clasp and by the illuminations of a book of prayers.  But it remains insolently indifferent to the face of this owner of sleeve and prayer book.  A wealthy donor, devoutly praying, buying salvation and posthumous 21st Century admiration (albeit it here only for his sleeve and his book). 

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