Thursday, 5 January 2017

Guesswork

We kept the head, got shot of the body.
Seriously?
No, the head was a stand-alone piece, there was no mention of any body, and the head had something, you know, like the face of Buddha. A peaceful countenance.
Gosh, she's heavy!
Yes, but look at that expression – it's so serene!
*
The conversation imagined, the sort of small talk that might pass between two friends in the house of one, the one who owns the sculpted head; the other, an invited or uninvited visitor eyeing up the interior d├ęcor and her friend's/neighbour's/client's possessions. I mean, who can tell what the relationship really is, other than there is one and that's it not stuffy or formal. And that the owner is part of a 'We', which could be a house-mate, a spouse, even a sibling. Perhaps this conversation is not taking place, as I presumed, in a house, but in a gallery or exhibition space which the owner of the head runs with a business partner. Or perhaps it is a house, but a stately one, that collects and showcases beautiful things in keeping with its history and is, during peak season, open to paying visitors, with dainty cucumber sandwiches and cream teas served on its manicured lawns, whilst their resident trio of peacocks can, for an extra fee, be hand-fed with corn.
What an idyll but also rather pompous setting. You either like that kind of thing or you don't. But like a 'whodunit' you get to pick. Mrs White, the housekeeper, in the library with a paperweight. No, wait, Mrs White's deceased, dying of natural causes last year, so she can't be a suspect at all, the library only has wallpapered books so is not really a library, and the murder weapons you can choose do not include a heavy stone paperweight. Oh well, bang goes that hypothesis.
And who said anything about there being a murder? Or there being any staying guests? No, it's true, neither of those were alluded to; I was doing what you shouldn't do, which is follow a train of thought when it bears no relevance whatsoever (or only tenuously) to the topic, though I did say, if you remember 'like a whodunit', meaning let your imagination do the leading, which as you can see, mine did with very little encouragement.
Who is this 'other' anyway? Are we, correction: am I, right to presume she's a friend? Is she even a 'she'? Or could this someone be in a somewhat privileged position i.e. not a paying visitor, but someone being paid to undertake some sort of role which has, over time, morphed into that of 'friend' territory, of the networking variety as in air kissing and 'it's who you know' and ending sentences with sweetie and darling. Perhaps this friendship though is genuine, it's just this someone occasionally acts as an advisor, in the capacity she's been hired in, but then it does make you wonder whether this other is ever considered the house-owner's equal.
Hmm, interesting...because, if that were indeed the case, which do you think would assume the most self-importance? I think, when together, there might be unspoken spars, yet, when apart, each might boast of the other, even be a little indiscreet. There'd even be a little of that even if the 'house-owner' was in fact more of a caretaker.
And what about the She of the composed face, for I can confirm she is a 'she', who might she have been? She will almost certainly have been modelled on someone that was once alive or possibly still is though the chances of that in this art are slim; her expression, however, was caught and is now prized for its reposeful beauty which is exactly what the artist intended. And so, this gift, of craftsmanship and of capturing something just so, continues to breathe. Time does not, will not lessen its impact, if it's looked after: the closed eyes, the shape of the nose, the bowed lips, as if she might just wake from this resting state at some future date.
And what if she did or her countenance altered, would the admiration she once inspired be less, like how words read don't (or can't) always convey, precisely, the writer's thoughts.

Picture credit: Memory, 1948, Rene Magritte