Page from the book, by Gianfranco Sanguinetti, Miroslav Tichý: Les formes du vrai / Forms of Truth
The endless, useless urge to look on life comprehensively, to take a bird’s-eye view of ourselves and judge the dimensions of what we have or have not done: this is life as landscape, or life as a résumé. But life is incremental, and though a worthwhile life is a gathering together of all that one is, good and bad, successful and not, the paradox is that we can never really see this one thing that all of our increments (and decrements, I suppose) add up to. “Early we receive a call,” writes Czeslaw Milosz, “yet it remains incomprehensible, and only late do we discover how obedient we were.”
Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer
Gerhard Richter, 48 Portraits hanging over the stairwell in a gallery in Prague 2017
Interviewer” […] the paintings . . 48 Portraits show the loss of a father figure – the intimidating encyclopedia portraits of various male role models. They all pertain to the image of the lost father.
Gerhard Richter: Yes, absolutely, and I have even less difficulty admitting to it since it’s the experience of an entire generation, the postwar generation, or even two generations that lost their fathers for all sorts of reasons – some literally, who had fallen in the war; and then there were the others, the broken, the humiliated, the ones that returned physically or mentally damaged; and then those fathers that were actually guilty of crimes. Those are three types of fathers you don’t want to have. Every child wants a father to be proud of.
Interview with Babette Richter, 2002
Family photos, pictures of groups, those are truly wonderful. And they are just as good as the old masters, just as rich and just as beautifully composed (what does that mean anyway).
Gerhard Richter, Letters to Two Artist Friends. From Düsseldorf, September 22, 1964, to Helmut and Erika Heinze
“The photograph is the most perfect picture. It does not change; it is absolute, and therefore autonomous, unconditional, devoid of style. Both in its way of informing, and in what it informs of, it is my source.” Gerhard Richter
When I was outside prison I knew that the sky was beautiful, nature was beautiful. But I found nature power and beauty in Manus. The sky is like a friend for a prisoner, because around you everything is metal fences, but the sky, they cannot take the sky.
I think the Manus moon is too special. Sometimes the moon is crazy because the clouds are moving, and sometimes it’s calm, quiet. Once I described the moon as a pregnant woman because on that night the moon was so quiet and, like, heavy. I always find the moon to be a woman. I wrote another poem that described the moon and Manus Island as two sisters, in the sky and the blue ocean.
Sometimes, it’s too hard to have a relationship with people, because you always see them. During the day you see people — ‘Hi, hello, hello, hello’— and the space is too small and you cannot say hello to people each time and the best way to escape is that you make direct contact with nature
Behrouz Boochani’s story in They Cannot Take the Sky: Stories from Detention ed Michael Green Andre Dao. The stories in the book were told in a series of interviews and then transcribed.
The need for love is the central experience of our existence. However foolish it may seem, we feel truly alive only when we have an arrow in our side and that we drag around night and day, everywhere we go. The need for love sweeps away every other need and, on the other hand, motivates all our actions. Read Book 4 of the Aeneid. The construction of Carthage stops when Dido falls in love. . . .
Individuals and cities without love are a danger to themselves and others.
Elena Ferrante, Frantumaglia p72