Wait until next year

Putting off what could be done tomorrow, today

Tag: wg sebald

Melencolia I

I think I first consciously encountered Albrecht Dürer’s etching when I entered an exhibition on the work and influences of the writer WG Sebald. I had initially struggled to find my way in, then encountered a iron-clad circular staircase that took me down from ground level, although at no time did it feel like I was going underground as such, the experience was still in some way vertiginous as with passing each floor I couldn’t tell where exactly I was, both above and below, neither here nor there. The exhibition was shrouded in a large, heavy curtain, which as I passed through led me to a small passageway with another large, heavy curtain mirroring the previous one. The room was empty but for a small etching, from which the exhibition took its name, and in many ways took its inspiration, for although it was very much a collection of work related to Sebald, all of it could be viewed from the starting point of Dürer’s etching of 1514. I thought the etching was too small, but then realised I was wrong, that having to strain forwards towards the image made me pay more attention, that my inclination with large works of art is to just step back and let it wash over me rather than really scrutinise what is in front of me. I attempted to absorb all the details, aware that while there were undoubtedly a numbers of signs and signifiers in the image most if not all of them were beyond my knowledge and understanding, that this was something I would probably have to decode at a later date. However, art that needs decoding, or that references a variety of touchpoints, seems the most satisfying, and certainly helps guarantee its own longevity. Maybe it is the game of it all. Maybe the accumulation of it all, the sum of the parts, enables us to understand something more – the whole, so to speak. There was a pleasant sadness as I stood there, as you might expect. I parted the next heavy curtain, and stepped in.

Everything here is made from love and dedicated to memory

PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN OUTSIDE OF THE CLIFDEN STATIONWHILE MESSAGES WERE BEING SENT ACROSS TO CAPE RACE

In 2013 a blog post appeared from two former students of the writer W.G. Sebald. They had returned to their notes and had gathered a list of remarks and tips from their teacher. Read the rest of this entry »

The world behind them

Tide is out at Normans Bay

They just want to be in a place where they have the world behind them, and before them nothing but emptiness.

W.G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn

A few weeks back we went on a camping holiday, down to the coast. My holiday reading was W.G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn. Both had quite an effect on me. Read the rest of this entry »