Girls fly like birds over the swamp

Kafka calls out its demons, Trakl gets its putrefaction... Kubin sees its dust and mold, and like Horst Lange, whose work he illustrated, he sees the expanding swamps, the unstoppable spread of brush and swamp.  Our world has gotten old.  Kubin documents its catastrophe.  His images, pulled out of the rubble, translate no words but see this world as Todessymbolik, a grand astral theater where the powerful breath of Saturn expresses the hieroglyphs of death.  Universal life is described here at the end of its cycle.  When a cycle nears its end and comes to the questionable Abendland, in the gray color of the swamp, the realms are confused.  The line does not contain forms in flight, but it splits them open, it chops them up and mixes the pieces together.  Girls fly like birds over the swamp.  Fish-men and toad-men hunt weird beasts together.  A death arrow hits a farmer from a tree, or the bird of evil omen crashes into his house from a leaden sky.  The sun remains ever hidden behind thick clouds that rise up from a sour earth.

- Massimo Cacciari, Posthumous People: Vienna at the Turning Point


Anonymous said...

The long trip up to 86th street was always worth it knowing that, on arrival, you'd get to see Grosz, Dix, Schiele and especially Kubin. Thanks for reminding me of those trips with this well selected quotation. But most importantly, i'm intrigued by the reference to Horst Lange, who I've never heard of. Snooping around I'm pleased to discover that he published a title "Jazz in Deutschland" (!), but "Schwarze Weide" sounds like its the place to start. It looks like there are no commercially available English translations of his work but do you know if anyone is at work on such a project, have you ever read his stuff?

-James S.

ECW said...

“I remain what I am: a degenerate artist,” Lange wrote defiantly to a friend that August. “I won’t bow down, and I’ll leave the boot-licking to the lackeys.”

Sadly, I don't know of any translations of Black Pastures that are out there. And being a non-reader of German, I'm stuck with tantalizing descriptions:

"an intricate tale of murder and dark passions rooted in the melancholy landscape of Silesia"

Aw hell.

If you do come across anyone working on such a translation project, let me know.