Dancing under the stars..
by Eve J. Alfille
This is one of my dream world series: unlike Winter, or the earlier Lunar Garden, in which I recollected and translated images from nature, here the direct experience is mediated through an encounter I had with a striking painting, Carnival, by Lionel Feininger, and later, by two other artistic discoveries that deeply affected me, and which I will relate.
Remember that when Carnival was created, 1908, artists in every medium were entering a fascination with the dream world and its interpretation, which I have always shared.
Have you ever come across a combination of objects, or shapes, or colors, and immediately felt: ” This speaks to me like nothing else”, or ” I have seen this before, but in another dimension, in another world”..?
It comes at you from the side, like a collision, imprints in your mind, and becomes part of a secret tune that plays forever there.. (Surrealist artists like Rene Magritte and Salvador Dali too, delight us with their incongruous objects : they give us the delicious permission to recognize the alternate realities of our nightly dreams).
Ever since I first saw Carnival years ago, I have felt inside the scene, one of the magic creatures ambling the slanted streets. Or maybe the scene is in me. These are exactly the colors, the shapes I take in my dreams, and the traceries on the pavement and the walls still resound inside me. I actually don’t need much sleep, but when I do, I can’t wait to enter the paradise of my dream world.
The creatures in the painting are strong but delicate, the colors astounding but beautiful; seen through the lens of magic realism, they are entirely possible, yet can surely not be grasped, they have no bones.. This is who I wish to be, there but not there, to be seen and followed as I dance under the stars and give joy, but please do not pull me away, do not yank me back to a mean reality.
Over the years, the actual Carnival and the painting coalesced, and I tried to understand the reason for my obsession. Why had I never spoken of it to anyone?
But I knew. I could never speak of it because my joy in the colors, the shapes, complex patterns, even the dance gave me guilt. Such simple delight could not be permitted, I grew up thinking- one would have to pay for it.