Thursday, 16 February 2017


Francis Alÿs's poem 1943 currently at the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario), Toronto:

I think about Morandi painting on top of a hill surrounded by fascism,
I think about Picabia finding inspiration in soft-porn magazines on the Cöte d'Azur,
I think about Marinetti returning sick from the Russian Front,
I think about Duchamp playing chess in his New York apartment,
I think about Ronald Searle POW in the Kwai jungle,
I think about Ensor playing the harmonium during the bombardment of Ostend,
I think about Otto Dix watching his works being destroyed by the Nazis,
I think about Beckmann under siege in Amsterdam,
I think about Dali, Ernst and Breton reunited in their New York exile,
I think about Magritte painting Fantômas stepping over Paris,
I think about Mondrian painting Broadway Boogie Woogie,
I think about Derain much courted by the Nazis in Paris,
I think about Tatlin observing bird flight from his garden in Moscow,
I think about Beuys flying his Stuka dive-bomber over Crimea,
I think about de Chirico copying his paintings in a corner of his studio,
I think about Matisse "painting with scissors" on the French Riviera,
I think about Soutine dying from an ulcer in Paris while escaping the Gestapo,
I think about Grosz repudiating his past from his new home in Long Island,
I think about Lee Miller photographing English women driving tractors,
I think about Kandinsky in the suburbs of Paris ceasing to write,
I think about Paul Nash once again a war artist for the British Army,
I think about Leni Riefenstahl filming Tiefland with extras from concentration camps,
I think about Schlemmer forbidden to paint and dying in a hospital in Baden-Baden,
I think about Picasso making a sculpture out of a bicycle in occupied Paris,
I think about Hanna Höch painting the Totentanz triptych in Nazi Germany,
I think about Camille Claudel dying forgotten in the asylum of Montdevergues,
I think about Siqueiros publishing In War, Art of War from his Cuban exile,
I think about Emil Nolde painting "unpainted pictures" in Seebüll,
I think about Schwitters learning from Norway that his Merzbau had been destroyed,
I think about Cartier-Bresson escaping from a German labor camp,
I think about Blinky Palermo born in the rubble of Leipzig.

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