Tuesday, August 28, 2007

28th August
I'm not sure why, but I've become fascinated by Keats.
At the beginning of a mostly forgotten poem called ENDYMION, he wrote:
"A thing of beauty is a joy for ever;
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quet breathing."

Mostly we don't hear about beauty nowadays, and indeed most artists would be embarrassed even to think of it.
Most visual artists gave up the idea of creating beauty a long time ago; and techncal skill, the amazing communication between eye and hand.. instead they rely on concepts. But what distinguishes so many of them is an amazing poverty of thought.
i went to an exhibition on sunday which consisted entirely of mediocre photographs of buildings with a white line drawn on them which purported to show the route the artist had taken when he climbed on them.
And yesterday I went to a production of Ibsen's Doll's House. Its ideas were that the male characters would be portrayed by dwarfs (because they were small-minded); that Nora would be played with an affected childish voice (because oppresion infantilises the oppressed)and a cod nordic accent (because Ibsen came from Scandinavia).
So there was no truth, no subtlety, no compassion... none of the qualities that make Ibsen a worthwhile artist.
It was sad and contemptible; and has been hailed as 'revitalising' him.

Perhaps that's why I'm becoming obsessed with Keats: I need reminding of what I am trying to achieve.


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