26 October 2019

Flanerie in Bold Monochrome

Un flâneur a Paris





The crowd is his domain, just as the air is the bird's, and water that of the fish. His passion and his profession is to merge with the crowd. For the perfect [flâneur], for the passionate observer it becomes an immense source of enjoyment to establish his dwelling in the throng, in the ebb and flow, the bustle, the fleeting and the infinite.....
Charles Baudelaire
The Painter of Modern Life





Paris. L'Être et le Néant: Being and Nothingness....  Benchmarks of life and the living.....








The destiny of every walking man is to immerse himself in the panorama surrounding him, to the point of becoming one with it and, ultimately, to vanish.
Federico Castigliano
Flâneur: The Art of Wandering the Streets of Paris




....the city’s modernity is most particularly defined for him by the activities of the flâneur observer, whose aim is to derive ‘l’éternel du transitoire’ (‘the eternal from the transitory’) and to see the ‘poétique dans l’historique’ (‘the poetic in the historic’).

Christopher Butler 
Early Modernism: Literature, Music and Painting in Europe 1900 – 1916




In Les Galeries nationales of Le Grand Palais, Resolutely Modern Toulouse-Lautrec entertains the shadows. Deep absences of colour stand before the being, and the nothingness.....






Encouraged by his photographic passion [and the success of Degas], electrified by the world of modern dancers and inventions, Lautrec never ceased to reformulate the space-time of the image. 



While on the street, optical illusions abound....



And in contrast a limo passes by, with all the sparkle and the grandeur of a leaping salmon, almost obscuring the eyes of wonder.....




In a quiet bar, a quiet un-american sits, confident that his golden era is to come.....




On the Île de la Cité work proceeds apace to restore Notre Dame in time for President Macron's 21st birthday.....




While in the nearby Sainte Chapelle, something of the medieval survives..... 




And so, walking on, for ever in search of magic.....




Looking for that indefinable something we may be allowed to call 'modernity'.....




The photographer is an armed version of the solitary walker reconnoitering, stalking, cruising the urban inferno, the voyeuristic stroller who discovers the city as a landscape of voluptuous extremes. Adept of the joys of watching, connoisseur of empathy, the flâneur finds the world "picturesque."
Susan Sontag
On Photography




And in that picturesque world, we find fleeting forms of beauty, the ephemeral, the characteristic traits of modernity.....



Ahhh!  The blessed saints....


Sssshhh!


There are reasons to be optimistic.....


Reasons to try to distil the bitter or heady flavour of the wine of life....




To be away from home and yet to feel at home anywhere; to see the world, to be at the very centre of the world, and yet to be unseen of the world, such are some of the minor pleasures of those independent, intense and impartial spirits, who do not lend themselves easily to linguistic definitions.....

Charles Baudelaire 
The Painter of Modern Life




The pleasure we derive from the representation of the present is due, not only to the beauty it can be clothed in, but also to its essential quality of being the present.....

Charles Baudelaire
The Painter of Modern Life


Jeff Koons
Bientôt nous plongerons dans les froides ténèbres; 

Adieu, vive clarté de nos étés trop courts!

Charles Baudelaire
Les Fleurs du Mal


*    *    *

The term flâneur has the basic meanings of “stroller”, “lounger”, “saunterer”, “loafer”—which itself comes from the French verb flâner, which means “to stroll”.


The term was used by Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) to refer to someone who observes the city or their surroundings, experiencing physical strolling but also thinking and seeing philosophically. Walking for walking's sake and not in a hurry just to get from one place to another.



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