My Wunderkammer

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My Wunderkammer

My life, my art, my burning passions, all will, at some time be dust. This eternal truth faces us all and the shadow I leave behind may very well be a creaky antique cupboard crammed to bursting with a treasure trove of misfit bric-a-brac, ephemera and bibelots. Treasures (and trash) gleaned since boyhood, initially stuffed into pockets and cigar boxes, then into aching drawers, now find a home in the fanciful fretwork of a fusty Chinese Export armoire. The musty, the dusty, the cracked and the flawed, the unwanted and the unloved, all are welcome and treasured in this little kingdom .

As a boy I was enamored with Hans Christian Andersen’s The Shepherdess and the (Chimney) Sweep. Anderson fashioned an imaginary world within a fancifully carved cupboard, perhaps not unlike my own (although from the description of rutting satyrs it sounds decidedly Renaissance), his world is one in which bobble-headed Chinamen ( when one could still use such words) were once lovers with pot-pourri pots and now broken hearted he fancies the pretty little porcelain Shepherdess who fear the dark of his lair as Persephone feared Hades’. This world of wonder enchanted me completely and has never left; I have spent my life trying to recreate this magic, a world in which the seemingly inanimate and the trivial have a story and a soul. This desire is expressed within my work where the silent speak and the forgotten are honored. It is also expressed in concrete way, for the theater of Anderson’s folk tale is found within a Wunderkammer of my very own, perhaps my greatest joy.

This is a personal reliquary, where marionettes unstrung and bobble- headed Maya gods keep company with gnarled chicken feet and azurite Egyptian deities, where soldiers of lead still emit the foul stench of death and plaster Virgens are eager to heal (even if they too are as broken as we sinners). This worthless collection will be my legacy and when I am dust and no longer able to defend my misfits, what will be their fate ? Will they like Anderson’s young lovers crash and fall? Will my joys be left curbside ? Once again unloved, unattended to, fluttering to an indifferent wind, in a world enamored with all that is digital but not at all moved by the aching  tangible .

Or will they like the Shepherdess and her blackened Sweep be riveted together, treasured and facing a strange yet hopeful eternity. My desire  is some book-besotted boy or girl, quiet and inward, will catch the sparkle of some bit of fin de siecle frippery and surreptitiously pluck a few treasures into an open pocket, thus continuing the story, my story, their story, our story.

To read Anderson’s story follow this link:

http://hca.gilead.org.il/shepherd.html

Author: babylonbaroque

I am a painter and printmaker working towards creating a body of work that reflects my own developing aesthetic. New work ,first link. The second link is an on-line portfolio.

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