A Melon on a Stem

An extract from The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Then we had the irises, rising beautiful and cool on their tall stalks, like blown glass, like pastel water momentarily frozen in a splash, light blue, light mauve, and the darker ones, velvet and purple, black cat’s ears in the sun, indigo shadow, and the bleeding hearts, so female in shape it was a surprise they’d not long since been rooted out. There is something subversive about this garden of Serena’s, a sense of buried things bursting upwards, wordlessly, into the light, as if to point, to say: Whatever is silenced will clamour to be heard, though silently. A Tennyson garden, heavy with scent, languid; the return of the word swoon. Light pours down upon it from the sun, true, but also heat rises, from the flowers themselves, you can feel it: Like holding your hand an inch above an arm, a shoulder. It breathes, in the warmth, breathing itself in. To walk through it in these days, of peonies, of pinks and carnations, makes my head swim.
The willow is in full plumage and is no help, with its insinuating whispers. Rendezvous, it says, terraces; the sibilants run up my spine, a shiver as if in fever. The summer dress rustles against the flesh of my thighs, the grass grows underfoot, at the edges of my eyes there are movements, in the branches; feathers, flittings, grace notes, tree into bird, metamorphosis run wild. Goddesses are possible now and the air suffuses with desire. Even the bricks of the house are softening, becoming tactile; if I leaned against them they’d be warm and yielding. It’s amazing what denial can do. Did the sight of my ankle make him lightheaded, faint, at the checkpoint yesterday, when I dropped my pass and let him pick it up for me? No handkerchief, no fan, I use what’s handy.
Winter is not so dangerous. I need hardness, cold, rigidity; not this heaviness, as if I’m a melon on a stem, this liquid ripeness.

georgia-okeeffe-banana-flower-1934

Banana Flower, Georgia O’Keeffe, 1934

Melon, Gabriel Orozco, 1993

Melon, Gabriel Orozco, 1993


Bored Couples

Bored Couples is Martin Parr‘s humorous study of bored couples around Europe, including Spain, Finland, and the UK, during the 80s and 90s.

“This series of photographs were taken as an opportunity to explore the veracity of the caption.
We do not know if these random couples are bored or not. Who is to say what is authentic when captioned as thus?” Magnum Photos

FINLAND. On board a ferry from Helsinki to Stockholm. From 'Bored Couples'. 1991.

SPAIN. Majorca. Bored Couples. 1993.

martin_parr_bored_couples_05 martin_parr_bored_couples_01 bored-couples Martin Parr martinparr_11 Bored Couples MartinParrBoredCouples


In the Mountains

As if to Celebrate, I Discovered a Mountain Blooming with Red Flowers. Anish Kapoor. 1981

As if to Celebrate, I Discovered a Mountain Blooming with Red Flowers. Anish Kapoor. 1981

Scott's Tent 1984 by Boyd Webb born 1947

Scott’s Tent. Boyd Webb. 1984

[no title] Roni Horn. 1999

[no title] Roni Horn. 1999

I'm Tired of Traveling. Alex Hartley. 2011

I’m Tired of Traveling. Alex Hartley. 2011

Summertime. Balthus. 1935.

Summertime. Balthus. 1935.



Indian Tree

Indian Tree. Howard Hodgkin.  1990-1

Indian Tree. Howard Hodgkin. 1990-1


Boots

image

Performance Still. Mona Hatoum and Patrick Gilbert. 1985/1995


Lichtenstein Nudes

Roy Lichtenstein, Nude with Yellow Flower (1994)

Nude with Yellow Flower. Roy Lichtenstein. 1994.

lichtenstein_bluenude_1995

Blue Nude. Roy Lichtenstein. 1995.

 


Chromatic Diet: Thursday

The novelist Paul Auster based a character, Maria, on French artist Sophie Calle in his novel Leviathan. After reading the novel, Calle decided to try and become the character, to recreate the parts of Maria that Auster had made up. Maria had a “chromatic diet”, eating food of only one colour on a given day. Monday orange: carrots, cantaloupe, shrimps. Tuesday red: tomatoes, steak tartare. And so on. For a week, Calle followed this regime and photographed it.

“He had used my real life to create a fictional character and I wanted to reverse the process. I asked him to write a character that I could become.”

text from The Independent 

Chromatic Diet, Thursday. Sophie Calle. 1997.

The Chromatic Diet: Thursday. Sophie Calle. 1997.