Saturday, 6 February 2010

Friday Blues

One day he missed a train and he suddenly remembered the story she had told him about Howard Hodgkin: visting Hodgkin's studio, an interviewer once asked the artist if he ever got lonely there, in those stark sourroundings with only a skylight to give a sense of the world outside. Hodgkin coughed and replied something to the effect of, 'Godamn right, it's lonely. It's the loneliest place I know.'

He loved Hodgkin. He loved Hodgkin, first, because of the work and its thickly layered, hungry melancholy. How it always seemed to him brimming over with emotion and luminescent feeling--but he also loved Hodgkin because she was the one to first introduce him to it.

She was the one who had first walked him into New York gallery and said, wait here, stop, look. She was the first one who had waited. Who had taken her time, knowing more than he had. (Though she never would have admitted it. Not then.) She told him, later--much later--about that interviewer's visit to Hodgkin's studio. Then one night as they were lying together in the dark, the clapboard shutters drawn and the fire dying down, she told him that she had a theory. She told him how she thought that it was because Hodgkin--he remembered Hodgkin, didn't he?--could share his paintings that he kept going back to his lonely old studio. That it was possibly the fact that Hodgkin could wrangle something shareable from his loneliness that kept him working.

It was only now, as the rain danced over his face and he watched the departing train, that he understood what she had meant by this. And he wanted, somehow, suddenly to run back to that gallery where she had taken him those many years ago. To challenge his abject, uncertain, and lonely surroundings and steal back that moment from the past. He imagined himself doing it, his heart racing, his shoes getting soaked--running back into that gallery and taking it all back as easily as lifting a frame off the wall. Clutching it to his chest.

When were you happiest?

Drinking bloody marys in New York before an opening.

What is your greatest fear?

Being alone.

Where would you like to live?

London or New York.

When did you last cry, and why?

I cry all the time.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My work.

What keeps you awake at night?

My work.

How would you like to be remembered?

For my work.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Keep moving.

--Howard Hodkin in The Guardian 10/01/2009

No comments:

Post a Comment