Race the Loser (2012)

Collected Works: Music

 
 

Race the Loser

by Lau
Album

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We hear the wheezing of bellows, a hoarse, even exhalation that loops to form a breathy backing track. This rhythmic respiration is soon joined by the accordion’s rasping voice, the sound serrated like a sawtooth synth wave. The strummed chords of acoustic guitar and violin pulse in syncopation. Then fingers are removed from the strings of the latter, replaced by a horsehair bow. A tune is assembled from foursquare blocks, building to a searching, soaring phrase that seems to survey the land below.

Lau are a folk band keen to dispel accusations that the genre is outdated and stale. Their songs are crammed with complex jazz chord progressions, open song structures, irregular time signatures, and electroacoustic elements. A vibrant, centuries-old tradition not only lives on in their hands, but is developed and played with, taken somewhere new. The trio’s arrangements emphasise the interaction between different group members, the constituent lines laced together with technical virtuosity.

Only three of the album’s compositions feature vocals, with understated delivery matched by a sense of downtrodden restraint. The lyrics speak of financial hardship, industrial decay, and the destruction of the environment. The protagonist of ‘Throwing Pennies’ is aimless and moneyless, betrayed by a society in which gazes are averted as coppers are dropped to the floor: ‘I make do for shelter / See my breath most nights.’ ‘If there’s a net made to catch us,’ he later comments, ‘it’s riddled with holes.’

The album’s other tracks are instrumental fireworks. On ‘Torsa’, slow guitar arpeggios and double-stopped string discords give way to a melody that conjures up the rolling landscape of a Scottish island. In its second half, the piece bursts into an exuberant reel, finding newfound energy for the climb. Race the Loser serves as proof that, despite its old age, folk music is still as fit as a fiddle. The accordion may gasp for air, the singing may sound world-weary, but the ideas are far from exhausted.

Words by John Wadsworth


More to discover

You can listen to 'Far from Portland' here, a live version of 'Throwing Pennies' here, and a live version of 'Torsa' here. You can also read an interview with the group by Siobhán Kane for Thumped.


Question of the day

Which folk albums or songs would you recommend?
Let us know on Facebook, Patreon, or Twitter.

‘Goodbye My Darling’ by Sam Lee. He runs the Nest Collective, which is all about getting young people into folk and world music. (→)

– Rachael Ball, cartoonist and author of The Inflatable Woman (via The Brief →)


Also on Silent Frame

Braille

Rule of Three

 
 

Lynn Manning: Comet

by Riva Lehrer
Drawing

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Sketched onto a page in charcoal, a shirtless man holds a cane up to his body. It travels up his torso and towers above his head, ending, split in two, on a separate panel above. A comet stretches this top section out into widescreen, its landscape orientation contrasting with the portrait below. At the comet’s tip is a bullet, representing the shot that blinded Lynn Manning at the age of twenty-three. He grasps the cane as if it is a weapon, while the dark contours of his muscular body stand out against the white paper. Riva Lehrer’s artwork speaks of optimism and strength, returning assuredly to a pivotal moment in her subject’s life.

Words by Sophia Martin-Pavlou


Self Portrait

by Roy Nachum
Interactive art, painting

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Enveloped by darkness, a cluster of hands presses up against the canvas, pushing outwards as if touching glass. With the apparent desire to escape comes a feeling of frenzy, as if the bodies attached to limbs are climbing over each other to get out. But the hands belong only to the artist, who has painted them in repetition. Each is depicted in fine detail, every palm line shown in its own intricacy, comparable to the wrinkles of the face. Standing closer, we can see that they are not applying force, but reaching out to feel subtle markings etched across the work, replacing the initial impression of entrapment with discovery and sensation.

Words by Sophia Martin-Pavlou


All the Light We Cannot See

by Anthony Doerr
Novel

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A sixteen-year-old girl kneels before a miniature-scale model city, tracing her fingers over its curves and edges. She can hear bombers from three miles, and ‘the hum inside a seashell’ sitting atop a ledge in the room. She detects an unfamiliar rattling sound as a sheet of paper creeps through the window, carrying with it the smell of gasoline. She interprets the sheet’s crispness as sign that it has not been outside for long. Caught in occupied France during World War Two, Marie-Laure LeBlanc’s life is dominated by the prospect of the unknown, light found only through her unlikely bond with a young German orphan.

Words by Sophia Martin-Pavlou


Today's connection

Riva Lehrer and Roy Nachum both incorporated braille into Lynn Manning: Comet and Self Portrait, respectively. Marie-Laure LeBlanc, the protagonist of All the Light We Cannot See, is a keen reader of braille novels.


More to discover

Lynn Manning: Comet: You can see Riva Lehrer's whole 'Totems and Familiars' series on her official website here, watch a TEDx Talk ('Valuable Bodies') by the artist here, and read an article about Lehrer by Kjerstin Johnson for Bitch Media.

Self Portrait: If you would like to find out more about Roy Nachum, a good place to start is the interview by Lauren Del Vecchio for Yatzer. Marielle Anas has written about Nachum's work on Rihanna's album Anti for Rolling Stone.

All the Light We Cannot See: You can read an excerpt from the novel here, and read an interview with Anthony Doerr by Julie Krug for The Writer Magazine.


Question of the day

Which braille-related artworks would you recommend?
Let us know on Facebook, Patreon, or Twitter.

'If They Let Us', a poem by Chloe Mitchell that was featured in braille in the booklet of Rihanna's album Anti(→)

– John Wadsworth, Silent Frame's Editor-in-Chief (via Patreon →)


Also on Silent Frame

The Red Balloon

Perspectives

 
 

The Red Balloon

directed by Albert Lamorisse
Short film

View a still from the film

We survey the grey pavements of Paris, sky and streets seemingly laid from the same colourless concrete. We would barely recognise this as a colour film, were it not for the bright, scarlet balloon illuminating each frame. An anthropomorphic bubble of life, it bobs along with buoyant optimism, weaving and swooping with every twist and turn of the tale. Lifeless cityscapes are transformed within the sheen of its reflective, convex surface, as if soaked in rosé, or seen through a vinous cloud.

As the minutes elapse, the tension inflates. The mortality of this plastic pocket of helium causes us to grow anxious. It is neither digitally contrived nor a visual trick; it is palpable and easily punctured. Each expressive lilt is an act of manipulation by an off-screen puppeteer, movements determined by the tweaking of near-invisible wires. The camera snatches repeatedly at the string dangling from the floating orb’s form, trying to tie it down, hoping to wrap it around our hand for safekeeping.

Words by Elizabeth Brown


Gleaming amid the dreary streets is a red balloon, waiting to be collected by a young boy. It is mischievous but loyal, often hovering just beyond the reach of its owner, but always keeping close. In one scene, the boy asks a grandfatherly figure to look after the balloon while he goes to school, instructing his airborne companion to wait patiently for him, speaking as if it were a pet. The gesture seems removed from the real world, inviting the viewer to hanker after this quaint alternative.

In the film’s final scenes, balloons glide towards our protagonist from all directions. We look up from below as they light the sky in multiple shades, sailing to their destination. Eventually, the child is able to grasp the helium vessel and rise up into the sky. The aerial chariot takes on a sculptural form as it soars across the horizon. These throwaway objects have united to form a single, elegant structure, triumphantly carrying its passenger to a more joyful place.

Words by Sophia Martin-Pavlou


More to discover

You can watch a video review by A.O. Scott for The New York Times. Brian Selznick has written about The Red Balloon for The Criterion Collection. Tiffany Malakooti & Lucy Raven have written about Albert Lamorisse's later film The Lovers' Wind for Bidoun.


Question of the day

Can we empathise with inanimate objects?
Share your thoughts on Facebook, Patreon, or Twitter.

Yes! If moral contagion can cause us to be disgusted by innocent objects, then we should be able to feel sorry for objects too.

Rachael Ball, cartoonist and author of The Inflatable Woman (via The Brief →)

If you are an animist, I think so. I have. It’s like an expansion of your awareness of everything around you – to try to imagine being something you could never be.

– Deradoorian, musician (via The Brief →)


Also on Silent Frame

The Shipping News (1993)

Collected Works: Literature

 
 

The Shipping News

by Annie Proulx
Novel

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A man drives up the west coast of the Great Northern Peninsula, his two daughters, his aunt, and her dog in tow. They roll over ‘fissured land’, past ‘cracked cliffs in volcanic glazes’. Nearing their destination, they are left to seek accommodation when the road presents problems. One of the young girls announces that she wants fried chicken to eat in bed, and the aunt begins to lose her patience. Caught between, the man tries to reason with them, swept up in ‘the familiar feeling that things were going wrong’.

We follow this dysfunctional group to Newfoundland from upstate New York, as they seek a fresh start. Against the bleak, craggy expanse of the Canadian island, strained relationships smoulder, burning into the ice of a small town called Killick-Claw. Quoyle, the father, struggles to bury the memory of his ex-wife and stumbles upon strange secrets about his ancestors. The plot is underpinned by rising tension, with the mundane haze of existence punctuated by dramatic occurrences that break the surface.

Throughout, Annie Proulx deploys sharp descriptions that bring us vividly into this world, particularly as seen through Quoyle’s perspective. Every sentence is stripped bare, emptied of relative pronouns and conjunctions, left minimal and blunt. As the family finally beholds Newfoundland’s rugged outline, we are fed bracing evocations: ‘On the horizon icebergs like white prisons. The immense blue fabric of the sea, rumpled and creased.’ As the mist ascends, ‘Blunt fogbows in the morning tip around the bay.’

The novel’s steady pace and attention to detail allow the reader to form an intimate relationship with its cast of kooky characters. While its mood is sometimes sombre, given to ominous imagery, this leaning is offset by comedy. We are amused by the eccentricities on show, the whims of the siblings, and the unpredictable world within which the family members find themselves. The exhilarating moments of The Shipping News stand in sharp contrast to its banalities, searing through snow to thaw life’s frozen daily routine.

Words by Sophia Martin-Pavlou


More to discover

You can read an excerpt from The Shipping News on the Simon & Schuster website. James Naughtie has interviewed Annie Proulx for BBC Radio 4's Bookclub, as have John Detrixhe for Bookslut, and Christopher Cox for The Paris Review.

Proulx contributed to the By the Book column for The New York Times in 2016. Further interviews from this year include those by Cressida Leyshon for The New Yorker, Lucy Rock for The Observer (UK), and Jennifer Maloney for The Wall Street Journal.


Question of the day

Which books about dysfunctional families would you recommend, and why?
Let us know on Facebook, Patreon, or Twitter.

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. Makes no concessions and takes no prisoners: dysfunctional childhood, adult intellectual analysis, and compassion. (→)

– Emma Donoghue, author of 'The Wonder', 'Frog Music', and 'Room' (via The Brief →)

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka. Lewycka’s farcical family feud disguises its dark undercurrent of European history. (→)

– Emma McKinlay, Silent Frame Sub-Editor (via Patreon →)


Also on Silent Frame

Yiyun Li

The Brief

 
 

Yiyun Li is a novelist and short story writer. Her debut collection, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, was the recipient of the Guardian First Book Award and the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her first novel, The Vagrants, was shortlisted for the Dublin IMPAC Award. Her second story collection, Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, and latest novel, Kinder Than Solitude, were met with similar acclaim. Li is also a MacArthur Foundation fellow and a contributing editor to A Public Space, a Brooklyn-based literary magazine. Her memoir, Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life, was published in February 2017.


Which book would you recommend to our readers?
Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis. A book written by a questioning mind, which I go to when I have questions – not to look for answers, but to redefine my questions.

Which musical composition would you recommend to our readers?
Symphony No. 7 by Gustav Mahler. One of those compositions that you can listen to for years and still not feel you have come to an end.

Which graphic novel would you recommend to our readers?
Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz. Why does it have to be over? Why can’t it go on forever and ever?

Which short story would you recommend to our readers?
‘The Dead’ by James Joyce. A story that everyone interested in living should be reading at least twice a year.

Which Albanian artwork would you recommend to our readers?
Broken April by Ismail Kadare. A novel as long-lasting as human history, it turns my blood boiling and cold at the same time.

Which Mongolian artwork would you recommend to our readers?
The folksong 'Gada Meiren', an epic narrative of more than six hundred lines about a Mongolian rebel leader. The song often brings me the wordless experience of both transience and eternity.

Are all narrators self-serving?
I suppose a narrator can only be self-serving if he or she has a self.

Are art galleries detached from the real world?
Nothing is detached from the real world.

Are educational curricula a form of violence?
Anything that imposes is a form of violence: giving birth to someone can be as violent as murdering them. Why singling out education then?

Can art help us to understand death?
Yes, the best art does that. The art that fails to do so is ephemeral.

Where do you go to discover new art, and why?
I read diaries and journals and letters of artists and writers long dead for discovery of the old and forgotten, which often turns out new.

What question would you like to ask other Silent Frame interviewees?
Is there a person you’ll never lie to, and who is s/he?


More to discover

Yiyun Li: You can visit Yiyun Li's website here, read her contributions to The New Yorker, and view her essays for Granta Magazine. The following short stories are available online in full: ‘A Man Like Him’, ‘A Sheltered Woman’, ‘A Small Sacrifice’, ‘Alone’, ‘Extra’, ‘Gold Boy, Emerald Girl’‘House Fire’, ‘Kinder Than Solitude’, ‘The Proprietress’‘Sweeping Past’.

You can also read excerpts of Li's books via the following links, given in order of publication: A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, The VagrantsGold Boy, Emerald Girl, Kinder Than Solitude, Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life.

Joe Fassler has interviewed the author for The Atlantic, as have Paul Laity for The Guardian, Alicia Oltuski for The Harvard Review, Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore for New Statesman, and Cressida Leyshon for The New Yorker.

Today's recommendations: Surprised by Joy (excerpt), Symphony No. 7 (live performance, conducted by Claudio Abbado), Peanuts (Charles M. Schulz Museum website), The Dead (story), Broken April (excerpt), 'Gada Meiren' (song, performed by Tong Tong in Mandarin Chinese).


Also on Silent Frame

Romania

States of the Arts

 
ROU.png
 

Untitled

by Hedda Sterne
Drawing

View an image of the artwork →

Hedda Sterne, the ‘last Irascible’, and a reluctant one at that, once noted that she was ‘known more for [a] darn photo than for eighty years of work’. Thankfully, her reputation as a ‘feather’ atop the cap of her male contemporaries did nothing to stem her creative output. This untitled work was drawn in the last decade of Sterne’s life, when cataracts and macular degeneration had led to severe visual impairment. Working with pencil, white crayons, and a magnifying glass, she gave form to the ‘floaters and flashers’ that swam into view. The result is an arresting composite of figurative features.

Words by John Wadsworth


Aurora

directed by Cristi Puiu
Feature film

View a still from the film →

A woman is espied through the slim stripe of an open door. Shifting her weight from foot to foot, she sighs and moves about her bedroom. Her domestic garb of underwear and flesh-coloured tights suggests that she is fully at ease as she folds laundry and chats idly. But framed within a cropped, keyhole-like space, she appears isolated and vulnerable. Our view continues to be obstructed throughout Aurora. Doorways shear off the edges of shots and rearview mirrors hamper our observation, so that we never see the full picture. As we follow a seemingly ordinary man, quietly furious, equipped with a gun, we feel something of his mounting frustration. 

Words by Elizabeth Brown


Everything

by Ana Blandiana
Poem

View an image of the poet →

A series of items is reeled off, a stockroom inventory list of sorts. Some of the objects could grace shop shelves: tinned food, loaves of bread, and cola. Others are rather less tangible: jokes, words, tears, and ‘The struggle of nations for peace’. The catalogue forms a concise summary of the conditions experienced under Nicolas Ceaușescu’s regime. Each thing or phrase is imbued with meaning: the Colorado beetles that damaged potato crops; the Adidas shoes offered only on the black market. Published in a literary magazine before being retracted hours later, ‘Everything’ dissented by broadcasting the realities of its time.

Words by John Wadsworth


Tescani

by Johnny Răducanu
Song

View the album cover →

Johnny Răducanu's Jazz Made in Romania begins with the repetition of an arching, syncopated motif, which emanates from one lightly electrified guitar. A second gives quiet harmonic support. With keys and bass soon in tow, the riff thickens to a groove, cut short by a saxophone's insistent triplets. A walking bass settles the mêlée before the guitar seizes the spotlight again, shaping its solo phrases with slides and silence. Răducanu follows suit from the piano stool, his delicate right-hand melody in contrast with his forceful left-hand accompaniment.

Words by Hugh Maloney


More to discover

Hedda Sterne: You can visit The Hedda Sterne Foundation's website here. Anney Bonney has interviewed Sterne for BOMB Magazine. Sarah Boxer has written two articles for The New York Review of Books: 'The Last Irascible' and 'I Work Against Ego'.

Aurora: You can watch the trailer here. Rob White has interviewed Cristi Puiu for Film Quarterly, as has Nicolas Rapold for Film Comment. Reviews of the film include Ryan Gilbey's for Sight & Sound, and Manohla Dargis for The New York Times.

Everything: You can read the poem on the Beyond the Forest website. Other poems by Ana Blandiana available online include: 'Scene', on the site of The Times Literary Supplement; five poems translated by Paul Scott Derrick & Viorica Patea for World Literature Today; and two further poems translated by Derrick & Patea, again for World Literature Today.

Tescani: You can listen to the composition here, and read an obituary for Johnny Răducanu by Alan Brownjohn on The Guardian website. 


Question of the day

Which Romanian artworks would you recommend, and why?
Let us know on Facebook, Patreon, or Twitter.

Pie Fight Study 2, a painting by Adrian Ghenie. Thick oil paint applied with a palette knife transforms the aftermath of a food fight into something more sinister. (→)

– Katherine Fieldgate, Silent Frame Sub-Editor (via Patreon →)


Also on Silent Frame

Tintinnabular

Rule of Three

 
T1.png
 

The Bells

by Edmund Dulac
Book illustration

View an image of the artwork

Beatific deities are carried on the blue breeze of dusk. Silver-skinned and butterfly-winged, the ascending spirits hark to a heavenly hymn. Dark green velvet silhouettes close down the sky for night. Beyond the souls’ airborne gait, a pearl moon hums a metre of low light. Furling iron ivies lean into its lunar gravity. The hour grows colder, chrysalis corrupts to moth, angels warp into eagles. Their foul cry curdles as the eve’s necrosis escalates. Cadences collapse and clash; clanging chimes collide. Harmonies ring on, their moans shattering our mettle: ‘They can only shriek, shriek / Out of tune.’

Words by Elizabeth Brown


On Handling Some Small Shells from the Windward Islands

by May Swenson
Poem

View an image of the poet

We join May Swenson on a shoreline stroll, stopping as the poet stoops to gather some seashells. Accompanied by onomatopoeic assonance, she rolls them about in her palm, savouring the satisfying sound that they produce. The clean crunch of the sand beneath our feet is replaced by the clink of coins, the tinkle of crickets, the click of crystal and bone. In the absence of the creatures that they used to house, the shells gain a life of their own. They are ‘smoother than skin’, ‘clean as a tooth’, ‘colored like flesh’, drawing us into their coiled labyrinth with their ‘sly inviting smile’.

Words by John Wadsworth


Spiegel im Spiegel

by Arvo Pärt
Composition

View an image of the author

An F major chord carefully unravels in second inversion, a trio of pitches ascending into the piano’s high register, neat and unhurried. This simple, meditative crotchet motion repeats, crocheted continuously for the ten-minute duration of Spiegel im Spiegel. Spun from a seemingly endless skein, it resonates for our ears only. Throughout, octave pairs and lonely, single notes are loosely interspersed, providing a stable pedal and the metallic gleam of needle to thread. A doleful violin slowly weaves its way through the fabric being formed. As we listen, we hear sounds reflected, mirrored many times over, unwinding sonic filaments reaching towards infinity.

Words by John Wadsworth


More to discover

The Bells: You can see a series of illustrations by Edmund Dulac from the same book (Edgar Allan Poe: The Bells and other Poems) here. You can read Poe's 'The Bells' here.

On Handling Some Small Shells from the Windward Islands: You can read the poem here (on page 199), or here (as an image of its original publication in The New Yorker). If you would like to know more about May Swenson, you can access Paul Crumbley & Patricia M. Gantt's book Body My House: May Swenson's Work and Life here.

Spiegel im Spiegel: You can listen to the composition here, watch a conversation between Arvo Pärt and Björk for a BBC documentary here, and read an introduction to the composer by Tom Service for The Guardian.


Today's connection

Edgar Allan Poe coined the word 'tintinnabular' in his poem 'The Bells', which was illustrated by Edmund Dulac. May Swenson used it in her poem 'On Handling Some Small Shells from the Windward Islands', and it is used to describe a period of Arvo Pärt's compositional output (of which Spiegel im Spiegel is arguably the best-known piece). 


Question of the day

Which bell-related artworks would you recommend?
Let us know on Facebook, Patreon, or Twitter.

Rostov Chimes, an album by the bellringing group of the same name. (→)

– John Wadsworth, Silent Frame's Editor-in-Chief (via Patreon →)


Also on Silent Frame

Naissances

Perspectives

 
 

Naissances

by Gabrielle Tuloup
Poem

View an image of the poet

Four fast syllables, ‘pal-pi-ta-cions’, tumble from Gabrielle Tuloup’s tongue and teeth. The rapidity and force of the consonants’ delivery echo the sensation they describe. Bolstering her evocation of a racing pulse, the poet thumps a clenched fist over her heart, enunciating the pumping muscle with a punching action. Though buried beneath a lattice of bones, cloistered at the body’s asymmetric core, the booming rhythm of the protein cluster reverberates throughout the auditorium.

The first breaths of life, chaotically cried into tiny lungs, are succeeded by softer inhalations, intervals between kisses. Grieving, the channelled character’s phrases are gasped in the fleeting gaps dividing each cardiac impact, sentences choking shorter and sharper. The poem’s metre plays out in spasms, as if wincing from the thwacks of an assailant. Emotional pain is felt corporeally, knotting tightly to a bruised rib,  pulling the crowd further in with each beat.

Words by Elizabeth Brown


Assonance, alliteration, onomatopoeia, and rhyme pattern a motion amplified over time. With each line, a door slams, a kiss stings, a heart beats, every bang and each boom a considered conceit, here to punctuate poetry, render replete with the rolling of rhythms and purposeful peaks. We hear ‘q’ and ‘c’ clack, the propulsion of ‘p’, with the doors, ‘portes qui claquent’, and the stings, ‘puis ça pique’, and the echoing, juddering thuds that repeat, every bang and each boom has us grasping our seat – and then, calm.

The constant torrent of sound becomes muffled with the cushioned double ‘f’ of ‘ça s’etouffe’. Fists unclench. Blood rushes back to knuckles. We welcome the change of pace. We are offered a mantra to echo, to aid our recovery: ‘je respire’, ‘I breathe’. We draw air deep into our lungs and take time to exhale. Our chest stops pounding and the adrenaline subsides. Relaxed, we are able to reflect upon each phrase, to fully appreciate the fruits of the poet’s labour.

Words by John Wadsworth


More to discover

You can watch a performance of 'Naissances' here, visit Gabrielle Tuloup's official website here, and listen to 'Tes yeux', a song by the poet, here.


Question of the day

In poetry, does sound eclipse meaning?
Share your thoughts on Facebook, Patreon, or Twitter.

It depends on the audience. I think, like music, poetry uses sound to affect how the reader takes in the meaning.

– Frankie Cosmos, musician (via The Brief )

Absolutely. Some poetry can feel beautiful as a sonorous combination of vowels and consonants without attending to the subject matter.

– Lewis Coenen-Rowe, Silent Frame Sub-Editor (via Patreon )


Also on Silent Frame

Untitled #209 (2013)

Collected Works: Art

 
 

Untitled #209

by Etel Adnan
Painting

View an image of the artwork

Four bands of blue unfold across a square canvas. A golden yolk sinks to the floor of the frame’s faintest level. Fragilely fastened, the circle’s fraying protein looks to be on the verge of dissipation. Each watery tier is supported by the palest of powdery grounds. They are all built up from one or two layers of paint, their boundary lines imperfectly straight. Were a mirror to be placed to one side, this unevenness would be offensively magnified.

It is possible that the work may have been completed over the course of a single sitting: perhaps a day, an hour, or a matter of minutes. It is one work in a series of spare, concise images, regularly pierced by similar spheres of cool gold and luminous violet. Some loosely resemble abstract landscapes; others bear closer comparison to the amorphous contents of a petri dish. Adnan often inscribes poetry against watercolour, but here all words are cast away. Busying, burying text is forsaken for buoyant blue.

Given the work’s lightness of rendition, it may easily be mistaken for a meanness of meaning. We may write it off with a cursory glance, dismissing it as simple stripes and a dot dashed off, rewarding only the most fleeting of looks. But the painting poses us with a nagging problem, one that we can either attempt to unpack, or close our eyes to in frustration. We are helpless to see a sublime sun cascading downwards to reach the horizon, drawing in the deep night sky as it disappears.

The division of the heavens into layers brings the whole image to the front of the painting’s plane. With each step and new shade, we trip over the organic weave of the surface, snagging on the brushstrokes. Far from flimsy, the work’s weightlessness renders it uncooperative with our gaze. A neat, figurative explanation does not seem fit. Rather than fighting to find a solid form within the shifting tones, we should simply let the quartet of hues sweep over us, sitting back to enjoy the cool, azure breeze.

Words by Elizabeth Brown


More to discover

You can visit Etel Adnan's official website here, and read a post about the artist by Nana Asfour for The Paris Review. Excerpts of a book of essays on Etel Adnan, edited by Lisa Suhair Majaj & Amal Amireh, can be read on Google Books.

Lynne Tillman has interviewed Adnan for Bidoun, as have Lisa Robertson for BOMB Magazine, Vera Kern for Qantara, and Anna Coatman for The Royal Academy of Arts.


Question of the day

Which landscape paintings would you recommend, and why?
Let us know on Facebook, Patreon, or Twitter.


Also on Silent Frame

Doug Tuttle

The Brief

 
 

Doug Tuttle is a singer-songwriter and former frontman of the psychedelic band MMOSS. His major influences include The Byrds, Fairport Convention, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, and Richard Thompson. Tuttle’s eponymous debut album, released on Trouble in Mind Records in 2013, went on to receive acclaim from publications including Paste Magazine and Pitchfork. It was followed by It Calls On Me in 2015, and Peace Potato in 2017.


Which film would you recommend to our readers?
Mulholland Drive, directed by David Lynch. Since I first saw it sixteen years ago, not a week has gone by where a new plot theory hasn’t popped into my head. Few things have held my attention for this long.

Which song would you recommend to our readers?
‘I Am Not Willing’ by Moby Grape. Just a beautiful song all around: amazing feel, performance, production, and universally relatable lyrics about heartache.

Which television episode would you recommend to our readers?
‘Two Chainz’ from Broad City, directed by Lucia Aniello. One of the few modern TV shows that is as funny and re-watchable as Seinfeld. Totally brilliant, honest, and hilarious.

Which Brazilian artwork would you recommend to our readers?
The music of Os Mutantes. This band really opened my eyes when I first heard them in my late teens and early twenties.

Which Czech artwork would you recommend to our readers?
Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, a film directed by Jaromil Jireš. A surrealist horror film that is equal parts gorgeous and horrifying.

Which Jamaican artwork would you recommend to our readers?
Heart of the Congos, an album by The Congos. Super catchy and tripped out.

Could art end civilisation?
It’s the opposite that concerns me.

Do some art forms capture fleeting moments better than others?
It all comes down to intent and sincerity, regardless of what you're making.

Where do you go to discover new art, and why?
I wait for it to force its way into my life. I ignore everything until, for whatever reason, I can’t ignore it any longer.

What question would you like to ask other Silent Frame interviewees?
Do these questions make you anxious?


More to discover

Doug Tuttle: You can find Doug Tuttle's Facebook page here, follow him on Twitter @The_Doug_Tuttle, listen to 'Bait the Sun' on Soundcloud, and order Peace Potato on the Trouble in Mind website.

Paula Mejia has interviewed Tuttle for Impose Magazine, as have Geoff Cowart for musicOMH, Tim Scott for Noisey, and Rob Duguay for Vanyaland.

Today's recommendations: Mulholland Drive (trailer), 'I Am Not Willing' (song by Moby Grape), Broad City (Season 3 trailer), 'A Minha Menina' (song by Os Mutantes), Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (trailer), 'Fisherman' (song from Heart of the Congos).


Also on Silent Frame