In Praise of beauty: Susan Sontag on Howard Hodgkin’s paintings

Revisiting my art books scattered in various homes across the land, I come across this gem from Susan Sontag on the Venice paintings of Howard Hodgkin, and it immediately takes me back to Istanbul:

Venice once again. Imagining the imagined. When you want to see Venice again, and you have seen it many times, rising out of the sea, in winter perhaps, semi-deserted, what you appreciate is that it will not have changed at all.
Or you stand at the railing of the boat going up the Nile, a day’s journey from Luxor, and it’s sunset. You’re just looking. There are no words you are impelled to write down; you dont make a sketch or take a photograph.You look, and sometimes your eyes feel tired, and you look again, and you feel saturated, and happy and terribly anxious.
There is a price to be paid for stubbornly continuing to make love with one’s eyes to these famous tourist-weary old places. For not letting go of ruined grandeur, of the imperative of bliss. For continuing to work on behalf of, in praise of beauty. It’s not that one hasn’t noticed that this is an activity which people rather condescend to now.
Indeed, one might spend a lifetime apologising for having found so many ways of acceeding to ecstasy.

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About dianapage

Artist moving between countries, cities and media. Currently living in Istanbul, formerly resident in Cape Town, South Africa. Divide my time between the solitude of the studio and walking the city and playing with friends.
This entry was posted in cities, istanbul, journey, painting, Uncategorized, visual arts. Bookmark the permalink.

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