AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL FICTION

IMAGINATION

GUEST COLUMN

Mar 022014
 

(notes for a lecture)

Self-image, introspection and consciousness, reflecting in the other (empathy and imitation, Theory of Mind, mirror neurons, Dialogical Self Theory), visual history of mirrors and self-portraits, the ego of the artist (from anonymous masters to ‘The Death of the Author’ to ‘The Artist is Present’),  echo, rhyme and palindrome, the Double (Goethe’s Faust, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the characters in Dostoyevsky and Gogol), flatness, frame, detail, abstraction, collage, the ‘Droste effect’ and ‘The Text within the Text’ (Yuri Lotman).

138_29271_1 001

Self-image, introspection and consciousness,

P1100786

reflecting in the other,

reza_abbasi_young_lovers

empathy and imitation, Theory of Mind, mirror neurons

1024px-Makak_neonatal_imitation-mirror-neuron,

Dialogical Self Theory,

tumblr_ktioqkJQC91qze1jro1_500

visual history of mirrors and self-portraits,

DSCF0952

the ego of the artist (from anonymous masters to ‘The Death of the Author’ to ‘The Artist is Present’),

Hans_Memling_026

echo (coincidentally in love with Narcissus),

Narcissus-Caravaggio_(1594-96)_kl

rhyme and palindrome,

DSCF0788

the Double (Goethe’s Faust, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the characters in Dostoyevsky and Gogol),

DSCF1784

flatness, frame, detail, abstraction, collage,

0309216328r41d

the ‘Droste effect’ and ‘The Text within the Text’ (Yuri Lotman).

pictures:
Johannes Gumpp (1646)
KG 2013
Reza Abbasi, Two Lovers (1630) – lovers with the same faces
illustration from wiki->mirror neuron
stuffed squirrels, Walter Potter
KG 2013
Hans Memling, St. Veronica’s Veil (1483)
Caravaggio, Narcissus (1597–1599)
2 x KG 2013
Japanese woodblock prints (have to retrace the authors still)
KG 2013

DSCF1250 copy

Sep 232013
 

DSCF0326DSCF0901DSCF1306DSCF1318

‘Mirror symmetry creates the necessary relations between structural diversity and structural similarity, which allow dialogical relationships to be built. <___>
Of course, all these elements of symmetry-assymetry are only mechanisms of meaning-making, and like the bilateral asymmetry of the human brain, characterise the mechanism of thought, without predetermining its content; they determine the semiotic situation, but not the content of this or that communication.’
from On the semiosphere by Yuri Lotman

DSCF0322
KG 2013

Feb 102013
 

I see myself as in a mirror
But this mirror flatters me.
(Pushkin’s comment on a portrait of him by O.Kiprensky, 1827)

Nabokov was emotional about the fact that Pushkin had died just before the development of daguerrotype. 1837 is both the year of Pushkin’s death and Daguerre’s invention. I share Nabokov’s sentiments.
Several months ago I came across a miracle on Facebook – ‘the only existing photo’ of Pushkin.
It is unmistakably the man himself. I don’t understand how that is possible, but I believe what I see. The Facebook comments are sceptical.

228096_306483102792323_888236317_n

Pushkin by Kiprensky

Pushkin by Kiprensky

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pushkin selfportraits

Pushkin selfportraits

1927-1930

 

 

From 1824 to 1826 Pushkin was banned to Mikhaylovskoye, his mother’s estate, where he wrote the main chapters of Eugene Onegin. The scenery of Mikhaylovskoye is used as a backdrop for the novel.
I know the place quite well as I used to spend my summer vacations there – both of my parents worked as guides and were friends with the keeper of the Mikhaylovskoye Museum Reserve (as it is called now). Because it was ‘a reserve’ there were a lot of mushrooms and wild strawberries. I have learned to swim in the small river that Pushkin termed ‘this Hellespont’  referring to Byron’s swimming habits. Eugene Onegin I know by heart. It took me several years to learn the novel; my mother thought this exercise would develop my memory skills. I guess it helped.
So Pushkin, except being ‘the sun of Russian poetry’ and ‘our everything’, is also my imaginary friend. It is personal.

Here are paintings of Pushkin the Poet hanging around on Onegin’s bench (used by Tatiana and not Onegin in the novel):

P-onegin000cf1a4878611a67c2d25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pushkin (and Onegin) had a crossed-armed statue of Napoleon. According to my mother (‘all his friends say’), standing cross-armed was Pushkin’s favourite pose. He was a rather short man and thought himself ugly.

Pushkin by Ge

Pushkin by Ge

Mikhailovskoye Museum

Mikhailovskoye Museum

napoleon

my room with Pushkin, KG 2013

my room with Pushkin, KG 2013

Pushkin died at the age of 37. I am now 36. Thank god I live in the age of infantilism.