Balloons

This afternoon the artist calls. Would pineapple-upside-down do well individually? I suggest she dice the pineapple. The all-American dessert discussed long-distance Milan-Madrid. She tells me about her (our) five –year-old boy inconsolable when his balloon bursts. An afternoon’s work given up for the joy that ends with a balloon’s bursting. She sounds tired,“ He invests too much. The balloon was alive. It died. He wont’t let go of the string.”

What she’s thinking is that he knows something.

“I don’t have time for this dinner.”

I think of the artist in her studio bound by family snapshots pinned to the walls: each pin the anchor of a ballon, of a forgotten afternoon. The soon too will think about the artist in her studio and of the afternoons that weren’t because the artist was in her studio.
A piece many years ago (I can’t remember for what show) before the five-year-old was born: an opaque glass ball, ballon-size, in a wooden high-chair.

The artist will take the snapshots from the walls one by one over the course of the next few weeks and incise them. By cutting parts away, the snapshot becomes a physical record of loss, life measured out in cuttings, as well as a declaration of the artist’s presence. The cutting redefines space itself: bends it to the exiatence of the formerly random figures, gives it shape, frequency, shows it to be something only by grace of the subject(s) and the artist’s relationship to it(them).

The subject does not belong to the world: rather, it is a limit of the world.

On the radio, as I write, plays a song from our Argentina days whose meaning only she can understand: 1970, five and seven years old. How many threads intercept that point? And how can it find a place in the structure? And what if it does not? Threads of a thousand balloons making a universe.
The world and life are one.

Conversation with the artist late at night years ago:

“ I am me because I am not you, or Annie or Catherine.”
“ And if you were suddenly alone in the world?”
“ I would cease to exist”.
The artist has just called back. There’s no sour cream in Italy. I suggest she substitute a little mascarpone mixed with cream. She doesn’t want to go out to the store again, how about souring the cream? I think that’s fine: a little lemon juice will clabber it in a few minutes.
I ask if the balloon’s mourning period is over.
She says, “For now.”

S. C. Madrid, April 2001