While browsing an online gallery of works by visual poets from Australia, this image caught my eye and held my gaze. I don’t know its title — I’m guessing “always” — but I do know it’s by Alex Selenitsch, an architect, poet, and sculptor.
It reminded me of several things at once, but something about the angles and relative lengths of the lines (or letter-strings) gave the lasting impression of a chair. Maybe it’s no coincidence that when I searched for more information about the artist, I found a piece he wrote for Haiku Review called “The artist’s chair”. The chair, writes Selenitsch,
has the pivotal place in an artist’s studio. It’s where the artist sits and gazes at what’s just been done, or maybe what was done yesterday, maybe what was done some time ago. . . . Hours were spent confronting the canvas, working out what to do next, momentarily doing it, then more time confronting the results, presumably over and over until some-one took the painting away. The chair is at the centre of this meditative use of the imagination.
Granted, some artists rarely if ever use a chair as a base for their activity. When I make collages, I tend to inhabit the floor, and when I write poems, I’m more likely to be outdoors or sprawled on the bed than squinting at a screen. But a lot of creative work in various media, be it painting, writing, composing or designing, is done from a chair, and I like to see this humble item get credit for helping to prop up the arts (I leave the obvious pun to your imagination), and I wonder if its structure was deliberately evoked in “always”, or whether this similarity emerged by chance.
What do you see in Selenitsch’s visual poem? And do you have a creative relationship with your chair?