Rev., May 5, 2016.
In a previous note on the movie God Told Me To, I conjectured that the over the top, ugly, and somewhat excessive art in the apartments of some of the killers or others in the movie were related to the fact that the movie was trying to keep a zig-zag crawl through the catwalk backspace of modern productional civilization life together, and these paintings acted as a kind of corridor of reminder, that what is going on in this scene, which is just a routine interrogation in an upscale Manhattan apartment
Is, by way of that urban, cubistic, all but panoramic, and possibly muralistic painting, is connected to the altered state of visuality which the movie had to delve into in order to get to the deep space of vision, that is, all the religious, church space of modern civilization
And that these were then transitional introductory channeleld or tunnel vision elements leading down a kind of zoom to the deep dream space of the hallucinatory event, which is the appearance of god,
and then, later, staging the alien abduction during which, during the 1939 New York World’s Fair, this god was created
and there were other over the top pictures too, such as in the apartment of a man who seemed to be on the inside of it all, his place all red, representing, ala the Pompeii trope, decadence
And this is a way over the top, colorful, surreal abstract painting
all of which is fine. According to this analysis, these largescale, colorful, abstract paintings, are foreshadows of the more expressionistic and figural related paintings that begin to appear in the 1980s, as I have worked out a few times previously, but then, it is also true that paintings like this show up in Kubrick a lot, as, for example, backdropping the famous rape scene, in which Adrienne Corri is raped
and as I have suggested in my note on Lurkers, and another on Black Klansman, there is surreptitious link between women’s bodies and this kind of largescale abstract painting.
but then, it is odd, I also saw that this kind of painting shows up in Soylent Green (1972) too. In this scene, the future cop Heston goes into the apartment of Joseph Cotton, who has been killed, and who has left behind his furniture, the girl who comes with the apartment. And while the rest of the city and crowded and crumbling, and an urban nightmare, for the very wealthy, it is fine, and their luxury apartments are festooned with beautiful, big, colorful, abstract paintings, such as this one, which I like a lot
even though you really don’t see much of it
and then one out by the elevator, part and parcel of luxury metal lamping
then there is another big one behind a screen or veil of bangles
I cant quite make it out
and then there is another very big one, and a big floral one, in the bedroom
it should also be said that in this context these profuse, overdone, hyper decorative paintings, go with the décor, which is luxe futuristic, and includes some all but otherworldly designs, representing this décor as an alien planet
with the bearskin motif spreading entirely over the chairs (not to mention that favorite 60s device, the internally lit glass furniture item)
And then several standing houseplants, but transmaterialized into metal this again and in the background here
All of which, seems to layer over these kinds of paintings some added meaning. But, what meaning? I thought previous examples from other movies indicated that this kind of thing represented a portal into another side of the mashup movie in which things shift, by way of going through a nexus, to an altered state of consciousness, a different reality, and these paintings would serve as the entry points between one plane and another another, that is, these are portal paintings, and with lattice power in the sense that like chandeliers they hang down, and press down, and then pull you into the other reality. But, in Clockwork, and again in Soylent, it is apparent that this is NOT what they mean. Rather, the clue could be in the fact that the houseplant has been furniturized into metal, which depletes its meaning as an alibi formation to warn of evil presence, to make of it more an actual knight in suit of armor device to represent putting off or blocking against fear of outside. But then the curtains and the furniture represent further removal of fundamental, natural depletion, and then, to replace that, excess of unnatural, weedy, as it were, unnaturalness. Again, to accept this point, you must know what the whole horror universe, it now appears to me, is supported by a dated scientific theory, miasma theory, and the code of medicine that existed in that world. Thus, in support of for example Spring witch rituals to burn off some of the excess of nature in terms of weeds etc likely to blossom up and choke good nature to death in Spring, there must be established, at all times, an equiilibrum. It’s simple bleeding theory, you bled someone because it was believed that an excess of poisons had built up in the blood, so if you drain away some of that, equilibrium is restored, and health returns. These artifacts, by this logic, represent the depletion of natural agency, overlaid with exploitational, armored, false agency, an excess of exploitational non-agency turned against the world. They thus also represent the furniture girls. They are very beautiful women, and human beings, but in this world, in the soylent green future, they are “furniture,” that is, they come with the house, and so when Heston agrees to partake of a shower, living as he does in a depleted state, deprived of showers, because there is no hot water where he lives, she routinely doffs her top, and gets into bed, and then, without a word out of doing routine business, so does he, then, it is presumed, because not shown, as no sex scene is required for this functional masturbation with the furniture, that they have sex, and that’s that, very nonchalant, depleted, no big deal, all the nature taken out of sex. So, it can also be said that in paintings of this sort all the nature has also been taken out of them. That is, like depleted floral paintings, they do not represent nature, but nature morte, nature dead, and as such they are turned away from the dangers outside, and like weeds grow to block out outside, to turn the back of the residents from outside, and close the portal to the outside. They are, in fact, not portal, or warning paintings, but eutrophication paintings, excess paintings representing decadence, and unnaturalness, and depletedness, by means of its apparent opposite. I would like call them end of the world paintings, but that might be taking too far at the moment. At present, then, all I can say is it would appear that a large, colorful excessive painting of flowers in a modern apartment in a movie is a sign that the resident has turned away from nature, lives in a depleted state, and, for that, to compensate, has had to live in a bubble where artifice is played up, too mask the depletedness, and this false luxury sports as nature and life. Thus, these are greenhouse effect paintings, representing the fact that the life going on under them is suffocating, and dying by depletion of nature, under the stress of the turning away from the outside world (this note will also help me at last explain the use of his wife’s paintings, by Kubrick, in Eyes Wide Shut, again, a greenhouse suffocating in its overthetopness, leading to depletion).