All of the tube and train advertisements have been pulled. Each carriage stark naked, as the economy tanks and businesses scramble to compress fiscal haemorrhaging.
Monet’s Water Lilies are one of very few works of art that have physically overwhelmed me on viewing. The life-sized canvases are entirely mesmerising, ‘no sky, no horizon, hardly any perspective or stable points of reference enabling the viewer to orient himself…’.
The intimacy is heightened further by their 360 degree installation in the two sequential oval rooms of Musée de l’Orangerie. On entering the second room, we found ourselves entirely alone – due to pandemic-related travel restrictions. The deserted room was an unexpected gift and truer to the artist’s original intent for the viewer:
Those with nerves exhausted by work would relax there, following the restful example of those still waters, and, to whoever entered it, the room would provide a refuge of peaceful meditation in the middle of a flowering aquarium.Claude Monet, 1909
“She thought about how no one had taught us to grow old, how we didn’t know what it would be like. When we were young we thought of old age as an ailment that affected only other people. While we, for reasons never entirely clear, would remain young. We treated the old as though they were responsible for their condition somehow, as though they’d done something to earn it, like some types of diabetes or arteriosclerosis. And yet this was an ailment that affected the absolute most innocent.”Olga Tokarczuk in Flights, Pg 398
“…she falls asleep, too fast, exhausted from jet lag, like a lone card taken out of its deck and shuffled into some other, strange one.”Olga Tokarczuk in Flights, Pg 308