Κυριακή, 1 Οκτωβρίου 2017

THE FOUR LANTERNS - LOOKING AT THE PAINTING

He left his small suitcase on the bed. He loosened his tie and took off his shirt. He walked barefoot on the warm carpet of the room. Yes, he had chosen the right hotel this time. Milleflores drove two nights. Each year, he grumbled about the distance but it was worth it. Brenanson’s trade show was more than just a big success. Half of the annual deals had been sealed there. He knew that he held a powerful product in his hands and there was the place to promote it. He had spent four years on the research and design of the formula and, of course, he was really proud of his work. Now, he was in the position to say that he had created the perfect drug in the shape of a pill that could give to the users holograms of their loved ones. This year, he had managed to add to the formula holograms of people who were not alive. It was no exaggeration to say that he was about to start the revolution. In his small suitcase he carried the three unique samples and they were more than enough. He was already a living legend before stepping his foot in the big exhibition center. No one knew, though, how lonely he felt at nights, when he returned to his small apartment which was also his laboratory. He would often have a woman or an android on his bed, but he terribly missed the human contact. He was an adventurer middle- aged man with glasses and ambition. 
He had a hot bath and thought about the meetings with the eastern states’ salesmen who wanted to see him. He ordered a hot soup from the hotel restaurant and tried to tame his tense by lying on the bed. And then he looked at it. It was a big painting just opposite him, over the narrow desk. Entering the room, he had noticed that something was hanging there, but he didn’t pay any attention. Art had no effect on him, he didn’t understand it nor it could touch him and he never spent more than a glance on a drawing on the wall. But now he had dived into it and could not take his eyes off of it. It showed a path in a clearing in a forest. Light penetrated with difficulty the green clusters of the trees. On the shady ground he made out fallen leaves. It could be anywhere and anytime on the planet. It could be a clearing at the other side of the world, as he knew it, even thirteen generations behind his own. Maybe that was the reason it stimulated him so much. It looked like a big slap of nature and energy. It was as if it reminded him that archetypical connection with that raw and immense thing called “earth”.
Time passed. He had curled in his warm robe and he had taken off his glasses. He began feeling dizzy. It was as if everything was spinning around with his body on the bed as a satellite. He was surprised but considered it a sign of fatigue and hunger. His soup was getting cold on the bedside table but he didn’t have the strength to deal with it. His sudden dizziness was accompanied by waves of sweat and flush. It was as if he was in a big cauldron with boiling water and he had to escape by all means. And suddenly, the unspeakable happened. The leaves he saw painted on the ground rhythmically started to move with the light breeze. Their rustling looked like a grand choreography. The sun, with the movement of the tree branches, seemed to flicker and made some strange games with the shadow. His heartbeat was getting more intense. But how could that be possible? On the other hand, he was not crazy, he clearly saw it in front of him. The large painting was alive. As impossible as it might seem, he was so certain for what he saw. The clearing was alive and he could now detect scattered birdsong in addition to the rhythmic air waves. And gradually the gurgling smell of damp soil came to his nostrils. His heart was beating like crazy. He took off his robe because he was feeling very hot. His body was on fire. He put on his glasses to make out the vivid details. He stood naked opposite the living landscape. The path looked as if it was calling for him to cross it. 

The salesmen in the conference hall waited for him for two days in vain. All the investigations at the hotel were fruitless. No one knew where Milleflores was. The room was intact. A bowl of soup on the bedside table and some autumn leaves on the carpet by the desk. Only Alfred noticed his glasses fallen on the path in the painting’ s clearing before they got covered by the leaves cover. He never said anything. He always sealed the hotel clients’ decisions with confidentiality. 

*The photos and the story are based on Alex Katz' s paintings "Woods" (1993) and "Young Trees"  (1989)

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