Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Grotto Where Inspiration Lurks

I took the kids to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art today and of course it was as amazing as you'd expect. Our definition of art stretched to include giant styrofoam mountains and rainbow colored gravel, rooms of bending light, geometrical walls, and pink and blue baby toys.

One of the most amazing exhibits was "Everything That Rises Must Converge" by artist Petah Coyne. And I tell you, it was every bit as intricate, creepy and beautiful as its literary namesake.

Suffice to say, Ms. Coyne can evoke a hell of a lot of emotion with black sand, dead birds, wax, metal and flowers.

In a back grotto, we came across this:

Untitled #720 (Eguchi's Ghost)

It was in alone in a dark room, about the size of a Mini Cooper, hanging motionless and so amazingly, deliciously creepy.

I had that feeling-- the one that many of you may be familiar with-- the one that whispers away an image away for later use, that begins adapting and applying and knitting it into the fabric of this possibility or that. I knew I would see this figure in my dreams and that maybe a reflection of it would appear in some later novel or story. I mean this thing was stealth and fear and stillness and beauty.... and quite (at present) beyond words. But I wanted those words.

Though it sounds rather drab to say it, I was inspired. No snazzy "spark" imagery-- light bulbs and lightning and falling apples-- and all that, just the back-of-the-spine-chill of visiting the grotto where Untitled #720 (Eguchi's Ghost) lurks.

In some karmic wheel of inspiration, the artist was inspired by fiction: "The House of Sleeping Beauties", a Japanese novella about an old man, approaching death, who visits a house where he can sleep among young unconscious young women.
And thus, methinks, inspiration jumps (or in this case, creeps) from one of us to another, whispering along its many paths.

What inspires you? How do you channel (or track) your inspiration?


Ariel Swan said...

I've been to Mass Moca and I left with something akin to giddiness and the suspicion that I had somehow been exposed to something hallucinagenic. My inspiration often comes from weather and nature - somehow it inspires in me images of people and emotions.

Laurel Garver said...

Wow, these installations are amazing! I'd say channeling inspiration is something of a mystery. Images and ideas come into my brain and dance with stuff already in there and comes out completely transformed.

Misha said...

It looks interesting. :-)

My inspiration also tends to whisper to me rather than flash.

I love that feeling you described. When I get it, I know that the idea is a keeper.


Sylvia Ney said...

What a wonderfully creepy inspiration! I have used photographs as inspiration to write, but I've never thought of using sculptures - what a great idea. Now I want to visit the local art museum.

Laura Campbell said...

Eguchi's Ghost is mesmerizing. I can't take my eyes off it. The darkness inside seems to draws you in.

My muse speaks to me at all times of the day. Sometimes it's two children playing down the street or song I hear in the car or a smell that trigers a memory. I respect her by quickly scribbling the ideas down on whatever I can grab.

Thank you for sharing these beautiful sculptures and installations.