G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Scream! By Edvard Munch, Keshavsut & Nick Ut

Nigel Fountain:

"AK47 codifies avtomat (automatic), the designer's name, Kalashnikov, and the year of its invention, 1947, deep in cold war permafrost. The rifle was not to be the fastest, most accurate, most lethal, but there would be 70m of them, and growing, because it was to be the rifle that could be dropped from heights, buried in mud, filled with sand, submerged and reassembled in minutes, and still reliably transform human beings into screams, blood and pulp."

(Guardian, July 28, 2007)


It was widely reported in April 2012 that Edvard Munch’s “The Scream" would go under hammer on May 2 2012. It would go on to fetch $119.9 million, the highest price paid for a work of art at auction.

Peter Aspden says:

"...“The Scream” is one of the most disturbing images to come out of the history of modern art. It depicts a moment of psychic calamity, of shattered nerves. Munch intended, when he first created the image in 1893, to record “the modern life of the soul”; and what a fraught, anxiety-ridden vision it was. For decades his distorted vision was regarded as an eccentric by-way of expressionism, laden with Nordic gloom and unnecessary cosmic pessimism.

Yet here we are, the world’s hyper-rich leading art collectors seemingly poised to make “The Scream” one of the most valuable artistic images ever created. A vision from the haunted dusk of the 19th century has found its moment more than 100 years later. Munch has hit the mainstream. We are finally strong enough to stomach his scream. Someone, somewhere in the world is busy planning to pop this icon of human disintegration above the fireplace, at enormous cost. We are, it seems, past the age of water lilies and sunflowers. The swirling chaos and vacant expression evident in Munch’s most famous work has become a touchstone for our troubled times..."


Artist: Edvard Munch, "The Scream", 1895
©Munch Museum

“I was walking along the road with two Friends /
the Sun was setting – The Sky turned a bloody red /
And I felt a whiff of Melancholy – I stood /
Still, deathly tired – over the blue-black /
Fjord and City hung Blood and Tongues of Fire /
My Friends walked on – I remained behind /
– shivering with Anxiety – I felt the great Scream in Nature – EM.”

"The Scream" always brings two things to my mind.

First is a famous Marathi poem called 'Tutari' (तुतारी)- the one I fell in love with as a kid after reading its first five lines- by Keshvasut (केशवसुत):

"एक तुतारी द्या मज आणुनि
फुंकिन मी जी स्वप्राणाने
भेदुनि टाकिन सगळी गगनें
दीर्ध जिच्या त्या किंकाळीने
अशी तुतारी द्या मजलागुनी"

("Get me a trumpet
that I will blow with all my strength
Will pierce all skies
with its loud long scream

Get such a trumpet to me"

Btw- How much, if any, was Keshavsut (1866-1905) paid for this poem? INR 1.199?

And the second: the screams of Kim Phúc and her siblings on June 8, 1972:

Phan Thị Kim Phúc (aged 9; middle left) running down a road near Trảng Bàng, Vietnam, after a napalm bomb was dropped on the village of Trảng Bàng by a plane of the Vietnam Air Force. The village was suspected by United States Army forces of being a Viet Cong stronghold. Kim Phúc survived by tearing off her burning clothes.

Also pictured is her older brother Phan Thanh Tam (aged 12; far left), younger brother Phan Thanh Phuoc (aged 5; background left, looking back), and younger cousins Ho Van Bo and Ho Thi Ting (boy and girl, respectively; middle right).


Photo Artist: Nick Ut, courtesy: AP and Wikipedia

Edvard Munch talks about "The Sky turned a bloody red".

What colour was the sky over Trảng Bàng on that June day almost 40 years ago?...The colour of napalm?