On October 7 is saw William Forsythe's Decreation at BAM. The next day, I visited New Museum, where I saw the exhibit Intersections Intersected: The Photography of David Goldblatt. Two days later I finished The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, and I started Terminal Velocity by Blanche Boyd. The next day I saw the French film Coco Before Chanel.
Questions of life's purpose seemed to arise in all of these pieces of art. Decreation, Intersections and The Bell Jar had distinctly dark, harsh feels. The former was tinged with questions of trust, love, hate, jealousy. The second was tied to the tragedy of apartheid and other struggles in the history of South Africa, although it was more straightforward thatn depressing. The latter was more concerned with sanity and the misinterpretation of oneself, but all of these works had similar tones of terror.
All of the pieces, with the exception of Terminal Velocity, gave me a black and white sensation. Much of the imagery in Coco, Decreation and Intersections seemed to have clear separations of light and dark. The final scene of Coco was a fade to black and white. Ash and smoke were componenets of Decreation. Intersections was an entire collection of black and white photographs, This gave the works of art somewhat classic feelings, although Forsythe and Goldblatt's works were certainly of a more modernists mindset.
Although Terminal Velocity was much lighter than the other pieces I experienced over this short time period, it remains connected to the other works in several ways. The humor in the novel is something that I found, surprisingly, connected to that in Decreation. Both poke fun at the absurdity (and sometimes obnoxiousness) of what we sometimes consider serioius work. Boyd also does an admirable job of raising issues of feminism and femininity within her novel, something that was a major aspect of The Bell Jar and Coco, although in very different ways. These three works deal with female artisists (writers, singer/designer) and their struggles, obstacles, questions of self, sexual experimentation and varying levels of insanity. Experiencing them in such close proximity was a wonderful example of how like the lives of female artists can be.
Each of these pieces of art was created with a distinct idea in mind, and although they were all very unique, their connections are undeniable.