Tuesday, 25 October 2011

A Place to Stand

As the wind gusted and the light came and went on Sunday, I found myself walking away from the Twyford Down motorway cutting for a change, rather than towards it. This gave me a whole new set of views on that little bit of landscape. I can feel a set of pictures developing, not unlike Henri Rivière's Thirty-Six Views of the Eiffel Tower -- itself a conscious riff on Hokusai's "36 Views of Mount Fuji".

Talking of which, Rivière's Thirty-six Views book is back in print, and well worth buying if that japoniste woodblock print look is to your taste. Long an expensive rarity, it's now been republished in semi-facsimile in connection with an exhibition in San Francisco at an extremely reasonable price. Get it while you can.

Just think, 100 years ago, even the Eiffel Tower was a half-constructed novelty! I find the meeting of japoniste exoticism, the industrial-modernist "shock of the new", and traditional pictorial values in Rivière's work very sympathetic. It's a very French moment -- no wonder those Edwardian Brits escaped to Paris at the first opportunity. So poignant, to know that A War to End All Wars was shortly about to put a stop to it all.

No comments: