Saturday, 28 November 2009

what should we do

with the old communist buildings
which we have grown to call


come -
let's paint them in the colours
of our pain,
in the dimness of what they call
but we simply call
our lives.






(the doorway of my block of flats)


  1. Cette série a quelque chose de mystérieux et l'approche est aussi différente, J'adore ces textures!!!

  2. and what should we do with those parts of our souls that communism branded?

    they are painted in the colors of our pain, and the pain of our parents, and of their parents.

    we call it who we are.

  3. Gobsmacking textural awe. If I could paint I would paint like this.

  4. It is a paradox -- intriguing -- these images that are so unlike you seem nevertheless intensely personal … that is, very much you, but perhaps a side of you that we don’t often see. It has something to do with these recent days, I think, this time when history is again a poison (it never stopped being one, really) bitter in the blood of all the living…

    … but that the broken and worn find their beauty (such!) when you look, that this doorway opens, deepens, into yeaning for the eternal moment, a pure drop in the rotten heart of history … for those colors nearly lost in the devouring monotony of ordinary days but made whole again (abstract, spiritual) in the gaze that saves them … so that these are self-portraits, the colors that become mirrors for the eye, for the soul….

  5. I imagined you a princess in an ancient Transylvanian palace built of rough hewn stones, riding a white horse through a deep forest, dining at a massive wood banquet table, goblets of wine from oak barrels washing down plate of fruits and cakes, and I shall perhaps continue to imagine you that way, even if confronted with the colors of a pain that seems brutally tragic, a block of flats in communist concrete, fractured frosted glass and grime in the cold harsh light of winter approaching, but despite the perhaps grim exterior, I think you have created a nest within, an interior full of beauty, hidden from the prying former communist eyes of unknown neighbors, yes a nest woven with the care of birds who piece together stem by stem the most marvellous of nests... and may the warmth that comes pouring, gushing, flooding through this cold white comment box help ease the pain of concrete, and may the floating bridge of the most intensely beautiful dreams permit you to cross the river and leave the pain and hurt and stultifying visual landscape, and forever wander in the lands you share with us so utterly generously as this epic saga unfolds, little by lovely little... tantalizing, tempting us to return again, and again, and again...

  6. oh, oh My, OH OH OH MY.

    I cannot say what I feel,

    you can pull a common soul into the world's reality of flesh and history.
    Thank you.

  7. Of, mi-e dor de Romania... Mi-e dor de tine! :)

  8. Roxanna, thank you for your comment on my cowboy poetry. I had not thought of it as a song, you are right. I don't know how to record my voice on my computer yet, but I did record my poems on the radio last year, KCBX,Dec 3rd Ears on Art Program still has a podcast of it. I'll be doing another one this week, to air Weds, Dec 3rd Calif time 4:30 PST

    I didn't realize you are in Romania. We live on a small blue planet, don't we!

  9. i felt your vulnerability most acutely in these images of buildings levigated by time. The mind, in prison or in paradise, struggles to be free. Our atavistic roots point to a turbid collectivism that must be fought in all its forms. The imagination is at the forefront of this battle.

    The conscious mind can untangle this web of history, but the heart suffers an effusion of auburn, artless grace.

  10. Hmm...I had always imagined you'd live in a place like this: slightly worn down, unpainted, brroken windows, refracted images (should we look for some mysterious, poetic relation between these things and your life, or just say that that's how it is?)I prefer the latter.

    thank you for sharing these images with us, roxana. will we, i wonder, now be led up the stairs to see the inner chambers?

    as the thief asks the poet: is there another room in this room of yours?



  11. PS, I just noticed that there is a very beautiful tribute to you in the comments over at Jeff's Life is Beautiful, on the post from day before yesterday, the one with grape vines and a grape leaf in the sun, both from Jeff and from Clo, very kind words, of which you are thoroughly deserving....

    You may delete this if you like, I just wanted to pass that on to you... you have some fans in France who seriously appreciate your stunningly lovely work... (I'm one too)...

  12. extraordinare... au foarte mult 'dincolo' in ele.

  13. Comme quoi, une simple porte, des objets ont la couleur, portent les douleurs de l'histoire !... ou de notre histoire ! Il y a-t-il dans les objets qui nous entourent une sorte de mémoire collective ?... Question ! que je me pose aussi !...;-)
    Les portes ne parlent pas, pas plus que les murs... mais comment se fait-il qui si je vais à l'autre bout du monde, je puisse retrouver cette porte et y retrouver cette même histoire ?... Bizarre tout ça !... Comme cet homme qui voyageait par delà le monde pour essayer d'oublier sa terrible histoire mais qui était accompagné par une vague d'ombres qui lui rappelait sans cesse de ne pas justement essayer de l'oublier ! Quoi ?... Bien son histoire !
    Nous tenons comment ?... Et nous tenons à quoi ? Ce sont les objets qui nous tiennent ou nous qui les faisons exister ?...
    Bon, je retourne me coucher...;-) fais trop bon sous la couette ! ! !

    Bises Roxana adorée...
    Ton regard est devant mes yeux !

    Ciao bella...;-)

  14. aaa, multă feericire, şşşş!

  15. Couldn't yet decide whether you painted the glass or me eyes.

    Never ever getting blind while looking at your work, through your glass. A further proof why one should prefer glass over diamonds, as latter burn into nothing at a temperature harmless to glass.
    With regard to elections, this post of yours provides many thoughts. Chapeau !

  16. The cracked grim glass, and the paint that ran a bit on the side of the stairs, how it cries, cries, silent tears of desperation.

  17. Roxana, I've a sort of texture fetish. It's true. Burlap, suede, paper, stone. I collect pictures of it, too. I let my eyes run their hands along their surfaces. I touch what can't be touched, touch sometimes what can.

    Like you, touch me.

  18. the gloominess of the ideological history & remains might be another good meat for thought of your artistic aspiration..

    roxana.. missing you much..

  19. did you write the poem? I love it.

  20. nice to see you posting profusely again; and making such good use of seemingly prosaic topics. just back from another dusty small town...

  21. I so love your use of color / non-color and the words you choose to illuminate them. -Jayne

  22. it feels like one is going up those stairs..., in a narrow, ill lit staircase, and on each landing one is met by yet another door, yet another dimly glowing colour .... and one keeps going up...

  23. i'm sorry, i have been very busy these days but tomorrow i will try to take care of the Bridge and also catch up with your blogs, thank you so much for being there - and also for missing me :-)

  24. chère Line, oui, je suis tes expériments avec les différentes textures sur ton blog et moi aussi j’adore ça...
    je t’embrasse !

    merc, i have been laughing about this one since you posted it, "if i could paint", indeed, indeed, if you could paint, you, my awe-inspiring painter!!!

    why are these images "so unlike me"? i am curious - you know, i had painted before starting to photograph, and i think i am still very much attracted to those sides of photography which connect it with painting.
    and yes, you are right, "it never stopped being one", and even if we have all different social and historical backgrounds, i imagine it very hard for anyone to deny that. or then, they must live in a dream world like some of my students, one of them wrote in an essay today: "but the world is different now compared to that time - 1945 - there are no wars going on any longer"... what could one still say to this?

    i also don't know if gaze or poetry can save them (the buildings)/us (history?), or whether such an attempt at finding beauty by re-shaping the real shouldn't be a very controversial one... there is a very complex debate in Eastern Europe about what one should do with the communist monuments, if they should be destroyed, re-integrated in the present life, and if so, in what form? Ceausescu's palace, The House of the People, serving now as house of the parliament, is just one example of many.

  25. Ah, dear Owen, first let me thank you for coming back so many times here and also having the kindness of letting me know about the discussion on Jeff's blog, such an attentive and gentle gesture!

    i am sorry to destroy your vision of myself as Middle Ages queen of Transylvania :-) i imagine you thought of something like this:

    "See the tall and lonely castle mirrored in the placid lake,
    'Neath those waters does its shadow through the ages never wake,
    Silently above the pine-tress rise its ancient rampart stark,
    Throwing wide a flood of shadow o'er the brooding waters dark.
    Through the high and arched windows silver curtains one can see,
    Like the hoar frost coldly shining, hanging folds of drapery.
    Slowly climbing up the heavens shows the moon behind the pines,
    And the rocky crags and tree tops on the silver sky designs,
    While the mighty oaks encircling like a watching giant band
    Round, as though around some treasure, silent guard of honour stand.


    Beneath the hidden balcony a lonely knight is standing there,
    The balcony hung o'er with leaves, in clusters round its pillars twined
    Roses of Shiraz in bloom, and creeping plants of diverse kind;
    While he intoxicated by the breeze that off the sleeping water strays
    Amidst fair nature's magic spell on his guitar a nocturne plays.
    "Beloved, show thyself again in thy long flowing silken gown
    Which clinging close about thee seems with silver dust to be weighed down.
    My whole life would I gaze on thee, that dost a crown of radiance wear
    When thou dost lift thy small white hand to smooth aside thy golden hair."

    it's from Mihai Eminescu, the most important romantic Romanian poet :-)

    but yes, you are quite right, the only way to survive under the communist regime was to try and create a private, hidden nest of beauty and precious human bonds, like friendship and love...

  26. Manuela, thank you for this comment which says everything - my friend Gentle wrote me to tell that she loved your comment very much, she is considering to choose it as a motto for her thesis, she writes about representations of the couple (of course, married couple) in films from the German Democratic Republic and communist Romania.

    Thank you Dianne, for your answers which are always so intensely empathic... yes, quite amazing the blog world, in which it matters so much and yet so little from where we really are, where we live etc...

    Prospero, i had always thought problematic Sartre's view on the absolute freedom which people cannot be deprived of, even in prison, no matter in what situation, as he puts it, "it is senseless to think of complaining since nothing foreign has decided what we feel, what we live, and what we are". (yet we have also "1984" and we know that something foreign can very well decide what people think or feel, unfortunately).
    and yes, imagination - what would we have done without it before, i wonder... i can't imagine survival without it.

    oh, and how beautifully you wrote, dear one: "but the heart suffers an effusion of auburn, artless grace"...

  27. b,
    i prefer the latter too, a most rare case of agreement between us :-)
    and while i think that there will always be a room inside this room, and eventually a white room also, let me think whether i should take you there in the most secret chambers - or not. probably not :-P

    ora25, mulţumesc, draga mea, şi pentru, şi pentru, ştii tu :-)

    Robert, you mentioned our elections on your blog as well, and i wondered how come you knew that, but then i remembered you follow many romanian blogs - one day you really have to visit us, neither germany nor greece are very far away!
    as for the rest, allow me to answer by showing you one of the first posts of the Bridge, i was reminded by it a couple of days ago thinking about tea leaves and now i see that it is a perfect illustration of a gaze modified by glass :-)

  28. Ha! And what, dear child, makes you think I haven't already seen it?

    and does one invite a thief, or send formal invitations to one's friends?

    "white room" ?Sorry, you lost me there...

  29. Jeff, je suis désolée pour n’avoir pas encore eu le temps de répondre à tes mots si gentils que tu as échangés avec Clo sur ton blog par rapport au Pont Flottant, mais tu sais, je suis constamment venue savourer tes images même si j’ai été silencieuse pendant ces derniers temps...

    oui, je connaîs bien ta fascination pour les portes, toutes sortes de portes, ouvertes, fermées, entr’ouvertes, colorées ou non – tu as des images magnifiques des portes dans les cultures islamiques, je pense que c’est l’une des premières choses que j’ai remarqué sur Life is Beautiful :-)
    voilà ici une autre porte, tout à fait différente, j’étais dans la cour d’un monastère roumain traditionnel :

    je t’embrasse et à très bientôt :-)

  30. Neil,
    thank you so much... i am really honoured.

    S., my dear, i should say: "i knew it had to be like that" - i am like you, too. that is why i am in love with pottery, nothing compares the feeling i get from touching, caressing, feeling the clay. and i don't want to mention japanese paper, because i won't be able to stop...

    Peter, i am sorry, been really busy but i will come and see wherever your life odyssey has taken you to in the recent days :-)
    and i haven't forgotten that your first comment on the Bridge was related to another post about buildings and history :-)

    Sorlil, yes, as always when i don't mention the author, it means i am guilty of it :-) glad you liked it...

    Zuma, nice to see you back, first of all! :-) and when shall i be able to convince you to get back with pictures from all those small dusty towns you visit? and don't try to escape saying, for example, that only my vision can transform those prosaic landscapes into something worth looking at :-)
    (though it might be true :-P)

    Thank you, Jayne, your opinions are always precious to me, you are so sensitive to colours and the way i use them...

    ah, dearest fff, you've come back, even if not on the frivolous kaleidoscope... i miss you so much and i hope everything is well and you won't be away for much longer...

  31. Ciao Roxana !
    J'ai essayé "ici" et me suis retrouvé dans un long couloir erreur http ! Brrrrr ! La peur ! ! !... C'était quoi... "ici" ?...;-)

    Bises belle Roxana !
    A bientôt...;-)

  32. b,
    i couldn't know where people like to wander in their imagination, could i?
    and then: it depends on the thief.
    and then: the white room might mean an open space of the possible, we like to use metaphors, here on the Bridge, one of those complicated words you are afraid of :-P

  33. "i couldn't know where people like to wander in their imagination, could i?"

    one of those rare cases where we agree. Yes, you couldn't *know* where people wander in their imagination, perhaps you cannot even imagine it, but you could (and should) know when they've actually been there in reality!Distinctions, distinctions!

    "and then: it depends on the thief"

    A thief is a thief is a thief.

    and then: the white room might mean an open space of the possible,

    'open space of the possible'? So prosaic, wooden, have we lost our tongue, Cyrano?

    "we like to use metaphors, here on the Bridge, one of those complicated words you are afraid of :-P"

    I don't think you should mock me just because I am black, from the third-world. Is 'good manners' also a word we like to use on the Bridge?

  34. N'as putea spune ca nu am o fascinație deosebita fata de Fereastra din care se nasc toate celelalte ferestre..

  35. but who said i was mocking you because you were black and from the third world? don't put words into my mouth, b!
    no, i was mocking you because you are a refined intellectual wounded by a touch of spleen who likes to play anti-intellectual games :-)

  36. I didn't put words into your mouth, and if I could they certainly wouldn't be those ones!

    "wounded"?? huh? So melodramatic! :-)

    "refined intellectual"

    you old charmer, you!

    But no, I have heard it said that of all the talibs i am the talibest.

  37. Lanternativa, îmi pare bine să aud de fascinaţia ta, tocmai mă pregăteam să descopăr şi eu Lanterna din care se trag toate Lanternele sau Alternativa din care se trag toate Alternativele (plus toate hibridăriile dintre cele doua) - dar văd că dacă apăs pe linkul tău mă duce la ceva gen, scuze, - acolo te ascunzi? :-)

  38. Oh, Roxana, I just now saw your answer...

    How can I thank you ?

    Were it not for the Floating Bridge, there is every chance I would have never, ever heard of Eminescu. Yes, that is beautiully apt for what I had in mind. The floating bridge has served again its magical purpose for joining worlds and acting as an artery for the flow of thoughts, culture, poetry, inspired images...

    Also, I saw your comment on the series of photos of the old woman with her poodle in the park, and again, I humbly thank you.

    I didn't follow all of the references to a "White Room", but perhaps one possible connection was to this :

    In any case, be well Roxana, what is happening here at the Floating Bridge is a magical experience, and I feel totally honored to participate in even the smallest way here... of 7 billion people on the Earth, there are but a handful who come to see what you are doing, and a handful of people who comment ; and how thoroughly lucky we are right now to be but a few, when the word gets out, as it cannot help but do sooner or later, there will be crowds here, the experience may not be the same when 500 or 1000 per day come to comment...

    Ah if but I had unlimited resources, I would love to open a gallery in Paris, and exhibit work from wondrous artists such as you... (I will dream of that... sometimes dreams come true...)

  39. thank you, and your friend Gentle as well (whose name is enough to make me like her even more than I did because she was such a good friend to you :) - her study sounds fascinating! and maybe not too cheerful... ? consider those words as part of the public domain :), free to use as she needs

  40. I see why Owen said to come and see your beautiful blog - he was not kidding. You write and take photos of the highest possible standard.

    My paternal grandparents were Romanian but I know nothing of them unfortunately. They came to England around 1895.

  41. thank you, French Fancy, for your kind words - and wow, around 1895? this must be a very interesting story, i don't know any other similar case.