You know what one of my favourite movies of all time is? Closer. It’s dark, it’s dirty, it’s intimate, it’s lonely, it’s sad, it’s beautiful, it’s true. “Anna’s” photography exhibit is one I would have visited again and again – you know, if it had been real – especially the image of “Alice”. What other artist makes me feel all of the same emotions? The Impressionist/Realist, Gustave Caillebotte.
Caillebotte’s On the Pont de l’Europe (below), to me anyway, represents a man that has lost something near to him, whether he threw it away or it crumbled into a pile of rubble, the point is that he stands alone on this bridge viewing the Saint-Lazare train station in the cold while others pass him by. When else does one notice the rivets and girders of a bridge than when they’ve got nothing left to see but the smallest things in front of them? I guess that’s what “missing the forest for the trees” hints towards, but sometimes you need to start with the smallest details and work your way out – out of your head, out of the forest, just out.
And this woman? She’s had a long day at a dead-end job she despises; she comes home and just wants to enjoy being nude in her own space, all the while wondering if her partner is having an affair with their secretary.
Haven’t we all been here? Maybe not staring at the Saint-Lazare or wondering about our significant others having affairs, but alone in the sense of lonely not just by one’s self. Haven’t we all watched raindrops trickle down a window sill or stared idly at a wall or telephone waiting for one of them to do something? Perhaps we’ve channelled Bridget Jones, drank a half a bottle of wine, and sang loudly to ourselves? I’m not saying I’ve done one or all of these things, but you can’t deny you’ve been there.
Visit the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt to see Caillebotte’s realistic, beautiful, and sometimes sad images from 18 October through 20 January 2013 and realise everyone has days like these. If you’d rather focus on the happier and brighter side of life though, check out this airy and colourful ebook on Impressionism.
-Le Lorrain Andrews