Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Admiring Julie Speed which leads me, as everything does, back to Gunter Grass

Just a few words today....and instead of so many words, I offer an image of an oil-on-panel painting by the marvelous Julie Speed, whose retrospective monograph I reviewed several years ago. The painting below is called "Adrift".
Even as Speed seems influenced by Surrealism, by High Renaissance devotional images, by didactic conceptions of damnation a la Michelangelo, she is also commenting on contemporary mankind's condition. And this is what I find so fascinating. The image leads me back to one of my favorite novels, one by Gunter Grass, titled The Flounder....the connection may seem strange, but the woman fishing is like the 1970s Feminists who pull the flounder (who allows himself to be caught by a woman after millennia of instructing fallible men how to seize and maintain power) from the water and put him on trial for crimes again humanity. Really, you need to read the book. It more than just a tale of food: its a tale about food's use in power relationships, from the dawn of mankind onward.

“I write about superabundance. About fasting and my gluttons invented it. About crusts from the tables of the rich and their food value. About fat and excrement and salt and penury. In the midst of a mount of millet I will relate instructively how the spirit became bitter as gall as the belly went insane” -- Gunter Grass, The Flounder, Penguin 1978 (p. 8)

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