Girl in a Chemise
The weeping woman.
Lift your nose, inhale and smell. Like the assembly hall at school after the summer holidays. Varnish, polish, cleanliness, very close to the clinical. The nostalgia is the same here, helped, it seems, by the warm afternoon sun flooding in where it can. Is this what has attracted these folk to come in and take up a space and seemingly read? More likely they’re nosey. Seeing who’s around, listening for the loudmouths they can dart a withering look towards, mutter the lightest tut, easily mistaken for a noisy swallow or muffled hiccup. Although, there’s no reason to be quiet. No unwritten law, this is no church nor library and yet the reverence is similar. You wouldn’t belly laugh in a place of worship or argue in a dentist’s, nor make a call in a doctor’s waiting room. Still, there are unlikely places of silence everywhere when you think about it. But for the life of you, you can’t see why this would be one of them. When you think of devotion, you see the woman who would come in to see the Picasso. Girl in a Chemise. Blue period. 1905. She would stand in front of it as if it were a relic or icon examining every detail. The startling lack of structure which somehow accentuated the detail. That blob of loose hair tied on top of her head, the strange calligraphic nature of her top lip. The casual strokes of white paint which described a fabric transparency. Before she left she would weep. Perhaps those who were here, reading, were actually recording their observations of human interactions with art - were they artists themselves trying to fathom out what it was people saw or how they interpreted? Would this give them an advantage? Why would someone cry over a painted surface? Nowadays the seated are more likely to be on their smartphones and no-one wonders what they are reading or watching or why they are here, because they are not here, they do not interact with their reality, they are deep in some other reality where, even though they are being tricked constantly, feel they are witnessing some greater truth. The Picasso woman is now dead. Only two people can recall her and just one of those has committed her story to paper so that she might one day be remembered. No-one will paint her for they will be unable to depict a likeness as there are no descriptions of her features. When they close their eyes to try and imagine her all they can see is the Girl in a chemise.
Both shots taken in Tate Modern on Bankside in London on a Nikon f80 in 2018.
Thanks for reading I00 Real People! Subscribe for free to receive new posts.