was goin on?

Melancholia by Jacek Malczewski

… from the darkness, the very subjectivity, in which I’m sunk. The battle rages. Meanwhile, it’s all the rage. Observed suspended and arcing towards the viewer, stopped briefly, to sit on a window-ledge, continuing, growing old, younger – dying in the middle – sweeping, a horde, across the floor of the studio – brick, it would seem – a red flag, like a billboard, a black, then, less a flag or gonfalon than a winding-sheet, white, unwound, retreating in a compact and concentrated movement, as if repelled, towards the viewer, away from the view, where death makes a point, some logical sophistry, no doubt, beginning in the painter, in his slump, his palette held away, off, useless, and, meanwhile, life, shown as violent movement, charged, counter-charged, magnetised, polar and polarised, one Pole repelled by its opposite (!), furious, incomplete, in a semi-gyre, ajar, like disbelief, suspended, floating above, with all its intensity, not just itself – as if I could rise above it! – melancholia, sunk, that is, to a level above the bottom, above the ground, scattered across the artist’s studio like eggshells, like animal skins and plant husks, seedpods, while formed still, suspended still, furious and alive, still, … exploding into more shells and eggs and seeds and … held here. Held.

Now all of the struggling, the battle, the war eats itself, chooses now to sit down at the table, a formal punctuation point, to stop and eat itself. And the whole history of struggle with all of its attendant risks waits, just waits, until that animal has finished eating. It’s as if it was all for nothing and could only ever be for nothing.

In Jacek Malczewski’s painting we see him slide in an incomplete spiral in a cone of pure memory, complete at every instant and curving away from death. Only to arrive back in the middle, the empty view, in answer to which, in the painting, death raises a hand. An empty hand. Makes a pointless point.