Wednesday, 21 March 2012
The Poems: Three Cats Flying.Three Cats Flying. Pub: Malfranteaux Concepts, Aberdeen 2012 ISBN 978 1 870978 32 3. March 2012. The Cover: ‘In 1941, Jewish-American photographer Philippe Halsman met the surrealist artist Salvador Dalí in New York City and they began to collaborate in the late 1940s. The 1948 work Dali Atomicus explores the idea of suspension, depicting three cats flying, water thrown from a bucket, an easel, a footstool and Salvador Dalí all seemingly suspended in mid-air. The title of the photograph is a reference to Dalí's work Leda Atomica (which can be seen in the right of the photograph behind the two cats.) This is the unretouched version of the photograph that was published in LIFE magazine. In this version the wires suspending the easel and the painting, the hand of the assistant holding the chair and the prop holding up the footstool can still be seen. The frame on the easel is still empty. The copyright for this photo was registered with the U.S. Copyright Office but according to the U.S. Library of Congress was not renewed, putting it in the public domain in the United States and elsewhere...The photograph is Halsman’s homage both to the new atomic age (prompted by physicists’ then-recent announcement that all matter hangs in a constant state of suspension) and to Dalí’s surrealist masterpiece "Leda Atomica" (seen on the right, behind the cats, and unfinished at the time). It took six hours, 28 jumps, and a roomful of assistants throwing angry cats and buckets of water into the air to get the perfect exposure.’ (Extracts from Wikipedia).Some of these poems were inspired by the exhibition From Van Gogh to Vettriano, Hidden Gems from Private Collections (2012), Aberdeen Art Gallery. The stories emerged from historical research funded by the Aberdeen Reading Bus, into some of the city’s heritage sites. The English poems are published online at http://www.poemhunter.com/sheena-blackhall. I am indebted to Sir Duncan Rice for bringing to my intention The Death of Kjartan and Audun’s Bear, which are here rendered in Scots. The cover is a copy of Dali Atomicus by the Jewish-American photographer Philippe Halsman.