An emerging series influenced by the Metaphysical art of the Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978).
Or, to give it its full title, A Mystery and Melancholy of a Street…
In 2018, I accompanied my daughter on a trip to Slovenia. Just prior to that trip I had began to research the works of de Chirico – particular those he painted in the years between 1911 and 1930.
I felt something about the deep shadows in works like ‘A Mystery and Melancholy of a Street’ (1913), ‘The Anxious Journey’ (1913) and ‘The Enigma of a Day’ (1914) solidified, in my mind, a style that I had been – subconsciously at least – developing for several years.
Slovenia was the first opportunity I had to consciously shoot images in that style.
A style that the critic Robert Hughes described as
He resembles his more representational American contemporary, Edward Hopper: their pictures’ low sunlight, their deep and often irrational shadows, their empty walkways and portentous silences creating an enigmatic visual poetry.
In a completely unconnected way I also came across a fragment of a poem that also connected with this style:
I would say this landscape Too is a document. But What is a landscape? A procession Across the soul that thinks.
Following some research I tracked down the poem: ‘The Foggiest’ by the American poet John Ashbery (1927-2017).
Further research revealed that Ashbery may well have provided the only English language translations of di Chirico’s poems and novels and, in particular, his 1929 novel ‘Hebdomeros’
All images © W N BISHOP