Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dresden Burnt

paper,artYesterday at lunch I dropped into the Toomey Tourell gallery & saw artist Matthew Picton's intricate maps of San Francisco & Dresden. The city blocks are constructed from pieces of paper that are then inflicted with burns, reminding us of the disasters that have befallen those cities. Close up, it is possible to recognize that the Dresden piece is constructed from the score of Wagner's Das Rheingold, though the connection between the opera & the city is not obvious to me. The San Francisco map is made from advertisements for the 1936 movie San Francisco. The works are fascinating to examine.

I also stuck my head into a few other galleries on the same floor, including the Fraenkel Gallery, in which I discovered 4 large & beautiful Carleton Watkins prints of Yosemite from the mid 19th century.


y2k said...

Re Wagner & Das Rheingold: I'm not 100% certain, but Wagner lived in Dresden during the 1840s as its Hofkapellmeister. My understanding is that he began sketching the plot of the Ring during that period. So one may argue that Das Rheingold has its "birth" in Dresden? [I'm currently reading Jonathan Carr's The Wagner Clan.]

Axel Feldheim said...

That would indeed be a good connection between the score & the city. I too recall that Wagner was in Dresden in the 1840s & that his support of the Dresden uprising led to his exile. The obvious conceit of the Picton's work is a conflation of the fire bombing of Dresden & the conflagration at the end of the Ring. A similar piece in the show is a map of San Francisco, constructed from advertisements for the 1936 movie San Francisco about the 1906 earthquake & fire.