on Gauguin

Nature morte au profil de Laval, Paul Gauguin, 1886

I recently joined a Portuguese e-publication where I must compose a poem weekly, and my self-proposed theme was to translate paintings that I favoured throughout my life, which, knowing myself, is a monumental task. I’m not a visual creator in the slightest, but am instead wholesomely auditive; I suffered of poor eyesight from early age, but was only treated much later, already in early adolescence. This generated an imbalance in how I most confidently translate the stimuli I receive from the world; my trust always falls, firstly, in what I hear, and not in what I see.

I’ve always been incredibly fond of visual arts, and I ache to develop a veritable visual mythology to guide my creative endeavours. This project is one such exercise I hope may help in that task, and this second composition (the first was on Munch’s Sun), even in translation, is already roughly contoured by my visual weaknesses. Hopefully, they become better as I write more of them.

Still Life with Profile of Laval has always been a painting of great intrigue to me; the deformity of Gauguin’s sculpted jug, tactically placed behind the assortment of fruits, immediately inspired the unbecoming of the latter; that is the inevitable disfigurement — the perishing — which Laval seems to gaze at in stolid anticipation. The vividness of the objects and, in contrast, the smokey dullness of every other element in the painting (including Laval himself), seemingly translates two aesthetic tempos in a single stage: there isn’t so much a dichotomy of being/not-being, but one of being/waiting-to-no-longer-be; a slow and dormant corrosion. Gauguin’s signature diagonal strokes, which I call his texture of dissipation, add the final weight to what is, in my view, a beacon of painted brilliance.

I truly hope you’re well, and thank you,
João-Maria.

Published by

João-Maria

A tick clinging to the bristles of a purple boar.

34 thoughts on “on Gauguin”

    1. I’m trained in Journalism, thus, the very art of writing articles. It is, of course, with great exultation that I receive such compliment, as it is of infinite value to be considered good at anything one works so hard to do.
      Thank you so much, Hermione, for being so kind. (I will eventually get better on the poems too) (I very much hope)

      Like

      1. Absolutely. Not only that, I must also refrain from translating works. I do it very rarely, and it never quite works out, but for some reason, I still do it. Poetry, of all written arts, fairs the poorest after a translation.
        T’is true that all we can do is continue our betterment, and I find your honesty more valuable than an ingot of mithril, truly. Thank you.

        Like

  1. Brilhante. Espero que continues estas publicações, adorei.
    Nossos sentidos, menos favorecidos, são sempre compensados por outros que se vão desenvolvendo mais.
    João, esta abordagem poética e plástica é fenomenal, e mesmo que seja uma tarefa monumental, continua, estás no bom caminho. Como foi prazeroso ler-te.
    Um abraço.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Obrigado, Irina.
      Significa mesmo muito para mim, foste das primeiras pessoas que me leu aqui, e perduramos, os dois, como se as pestanas temporais de forma alguma se tivessem aberto.
      Obrigado, a sério.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I felt lost at first two lines but as the poem drove in itself I walked along to see where it goes.
    I am aware your intention behind this might siffer than what I gained from it… still I want to share so that I can rest assure.
    I feel it to be an excerpt from the story of a reflection. how it is aware of its truth and the fact that it wants to defy it. Though not in the poem itself but in background exists its journey in critising itself for trying to be a rebel without cause but eventually getting to terms with the fact that it has a purpose and it is limited. It has known for a while that the path to peace is making peace with its life’s existence but neither be ashamed nor let anyone put it down because of that purpose’s limitation. Ever since it has succeeded inpractising the former but latter still frustrates and angers it. this is the excerpt where it is struggling from that taxing, anxious frustration. it struggles and hates the struggle as well as those who are pushing it into this struggle.
    That’s what I took from this creation of yours. I hope that even though it isn’t what you desired it must not have turned out to be disappointing.
    Loved the poem!
    ~Vnée

    Like

    1. Oh, I don’t mind at all, Hermione. I’m a big victim of the “literary” dictionary; those dense, sometimes eldritch words that we read so much in poems. Especially more verbose poets, like Stevens and Walcott, or Shepherd and Pound, and I do read them a lot.
      You’re absolutely correct, it sometimes detracts from the poetic experience, or becomes even too repetitive.

      Like

      1. Thanks. You have many likes, which speaks more volumes than my words. Although, I suppose the art of good writing is a tension between I suppose being well fed and popular and starving and niche, rather like the Hemingway versus F. Scott Fitzgerald dichotomy that used to rage on. All best, Hermione

        Like

      2. Well, it does depend on what is the precise byproduct of said attention. There are certainly thousands of instagram poets that, with little effort, pull absurd amounts of engagement; way, way superior to mine. Incomparable, even. And there are certainly many artists who, despite more talented than I, don’t attract as many people. I also haven’t made a cent from my creative writing, ever, so I wouldn’t say I’m well fed over it.
        I do find your critique earnest and of true utility, and I won’t let a bunch of likes becloud or devalue your opinion. Your words speak as many volumes to me as those who liked. As I said once, I write poetry for those who like me, but it’s those that don’t that inspire poetry. If we’re to further an Art, we must understand the motions of its change.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.