SILENTIUM (after Osip Mandelstam)

This series in-progress in inspired by a poem by Osip Mandelstam, called SILENTIUM.

The poem invokes a day on a seashore, most likely, the shore of the Black Sea: the sea is calm, yet the day is madly, fiercely light, and so is the pale lilac of sea foam in its black-azure vessel (this is the image picked up in my painting). And for this poet, whose mind is filled and soft-wired by classical imagery and verse, this visual impression brings in the moment just before the birth of Aphrodite: this is, once again, the foam from which she is just about to emerge as she always does, but she isn't born yet (that's how the poem begins). And, since he is a poet, this moment, for him, is the moment when a poem is not yet born, but is just beginning to be heard in his mind, partly music, partly words, but really both, or neither just yet.

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This moment of original inception brings with it the urgent, distinct feeling of connection to the ultimate source, the spark of life, and beauty, and art, and the poet wants this moment to stay, to prolong itself, and he prays for his lips to learn the primordial silence, as a crystal-clear note, pure at its conception, and for Aphrodite to remain the sea foam.

Paintings in this series (so far) are by no means a "literal" translation of the poem, and yet they have emerged from essentially the same process: a visual impression unexpectedly brings to my conscious awareness something from the magnificent history of arts stored deep in my mind, and this invokes this urgent feeling of being alive, and of the ultimate, unbreakable connection to this strange place where there is no difference between art and life; and this feeling marks the beginning of a painting, when it's not yet a painting.

This series is directly related to the earlier "Nothingness" series, as the next moment in time, both literally and metaphorically: the elusive moment just between nothingness and form.

I am still working on the central work of the series, more visibly linked to the birth of Aphrodite.