14 December 2008


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Night falls early. If you are in a windowless room, you become aware of the darkening subconsciously, as the lights inside seem somehow to change in color or intensity. Gradually you become filled with a feeling that you are in the wrong place. The clock on the wall reads 4:23, and you know this to be true. Still, in your mind it is much later than this. You should be home now, surrounded by the warm lights you are accustomed to, surrounded by your familiar things, safe and stationary until tomorrow. This spectral feeling fidgets around inside you, breaking your concentration. You glance at the clock more often than you would like to, struggling to stay interested in what you are doing. Your back is turned toward the door.
From behind you comes a noise unlike anything you have heard before. It is the sound of the sun setting; the sound of a holy wind; the sound of an air duct falling apart; the sound of smooth thunder; the sound thunder aspires to; the sound you would have heard if the light had not killed you. Your eyes widen. You are paralyzed until the sound passes, and you realize it was a sound that could not have occurred under any other circumstances. As you begin to recover, you look breathlessly at the others in the room. They did not hear it. They wait impatiently for the day to end.

08 December 2008


Painting: Invalides de Guerre Jouant aux Cartes, Otto Dix, 1920
"Invalides de Guerre Jouant aux Cartes" ("War Cripples Playing Cards") by Otto Dix, 1920

Click to read an article from the August 6, 1934 issue of Time Magazine about Otto Dix.

"I had to experience how someone beside me suddenly falls over and is dead and the bullet has hit him squarely. I had to experience that quite directly. I wanted it. I'm therefore not a pacifist at all - or am I? - perhaps I was an inquisitive person. I had to see all that for myself. I'm such a realist, you know, that I have to see everything with my own eyes in order to confirm that it's like that. I have to experience all the ghastly, bottomless depths for life for myself; it's for that reason that I went to war, and for that reason I volunteered."

Otto Dix c. 1920

What follows is an example of a painting that is almost photorealistic. In the space filled by the almost, there is some kind of magic which makes paintings in this style feel more real than reality itself.

Oswald Achenbach, S. Pietro in Vincoli, 1883