Last week, I considered the image of a child’s hands – my son’s hands – and how it evoked the themes of history, family life, and the genealogical depths of an enduring journey completed through space and time – a sentimental and powerful image. These hands were the theme for a gift of a necktie for his grandfather.
As I reconnect this week with the project of the scarves and ties, I wanted to make a slight detour and look at Bachelard’s writing. I was curious to see how Bachelard would speak about a subject such as this, clothing and linens (in this case a variation with neckties and scarves).
I found what I wanted in “On Poetic Imagination and Reverie.” Bachelard comments center on a set of lines from André Breton’s poem.
“L’amoire est pleine de linge, Il y a même des rayons de lune que je peux déplier.” The wardrobe is filled with linen, There are even moonbeams, which I can unfold.
As an artist, I was caught up in the joy of Breton’s surrealist “imperturbability” to “exaggerate” beyond what the “reasonable mind” can see from such a mundane image as that of linens. This idea is especially relevant to my project of Wearable Art for Neckties and Scarves.
As I connect Art with its Usage, I am in essence also striving to bring to life an image as – “a product of the imagination” – and allow for “moonbeams which can unfold.”
We can devote our reading being to an image since it confers being upon us. In fact, the image, which is the pure product of imagination, is a phenomenon of being; it is also one of the specific phenomena of the speaking creature…(On Poetic Imagination and Reverie, Bachelard – Translation: Colette Gaudin)
The beauty of this particular set of chapters in Bachelard’s work is that in it he also recognizes the importance of the child, childhood and images. I would also like to link this thought to the ongoing interlinking of generations and hence also to the roots of genealogy and our history and “its moments of illumination.”
Just as I conveyed the matter of a child’s hands, those of my son, and the gift given to his grandfather of a necktie, I feel that there is a deep historic poetry at work here:
I want to put forth the persistence in the human soul of a nucleus of childhood, of a motionless but enduring childhood, outside of history, hidden from others, disguised as history when it is narrated but having real existence only in its moments of illumination – which is to say in its moments of poetic existence. The dream – being passes through all the ages of humankind, from childhood to old age, without growing old. In the child’s reverie, the image comes first. Experiences only comes afterward. The child’s vision is grand and beautiful…[and] takes us back to the beauty of first images…The reason why this value withstands the experiences of life is that childhood remains a source of life deep within us, a life that stays in harmony with the possibilities of new beginnings. Everything that originates in us with the clarity of a new beginning is a mad surge of life. Bachelard.
Hence, it is a beautiful reminder that images confer upon us the blessing of being and of the depth within us that calls us to “a life that stays in harmony with the possibilities of new beginnings…”