Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Fountain vision extended

Schneetüben's account of the origin of "The Dowser," as quoted in Körner's Gesichtszüge der Genie: Beiträge zu einer Physiognomik der deutschen Romantik, 2.Band :
Embedded in the rear wall of the garden was a fountain. A grotto framed the stone head of a crazed lion, out of whose mouth arced a jet of water set free, in the sculptor’s sole offering to contingency, to glisten according to each moment’s particular composition of sunlight and shadow before gathering again in a greening copper basin. As I watched the stream I found myself increasingly able to parse its flow into particular prismatic twists, to trace the fall of individual droplets and see how each separated pure light into spectra of color. When I turned to look back across the grounds, a vision of water opened before me, and I saw, in a sort of second-sight running parallel to my apprehension of the lawn and the hedges, a complete picture of the movement of water underground, not just hidden streams and springs but sewer ducts, a system of troughs and porcelain cisterns, and the ancient stagnant pools of buried wells. (124)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Carl,
When I read this quote, I was struck by part of one line in particular: "the sculptor’s sole offering to contingency". Since I am an artist, the problem of what to offer to contingency is always with me. Letting part of the composition sail out of one's willpower can be a fright-making source of stress...I in particular tend to cower toward the border of total control. Yet, as Schneetüben makes clear in this passage, the element that goes past what the artist can predict is often the element of transcendence. After all, this passage is not about a vision of sculpture, or even of fountains, but instead a vision of water. Bye and thanks!

5/02/2007 7:09 PM  

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