Sunday, August 14, 2011
The Passing Reflection In A Mirror
My room here in Paris is filled with mirrors, in fact the whole hotel is filled with mirrors, perhaps to make the small cramped spaces appear to be larger than they really are. I keep capturing the reflection of myself in all those mirrors. I feel in so many ways to be a gay man at 50 I have lost perspective of my physical self and perhaps this hotel and my choice to stay here is not by chance but by some mysterious design to force me to look at myself. At first, it’s almost too confrontational. To visit other countries, where you are a complete stranger, even to the very language that becomes your security, always forces one to become introspective and put you off guard. I see myself as an aging man obsessed with the beauty of youth, much like Aschenbach in Thomas Mann’s story Death In Venice. And Paris to be very much as I imagine Venice to be, everywhere I walk I catch a glimpse of beautiful men, speaking languages of so many different languages, many of them not recognizable. Yesterday I was caught in a rainstorm at the Opera and stepped under the lip of a ledge of a building on the corner for shelter. A young man stood beside me, beautiful skin, dressed simple, gazing out at the grandeur of the piazza, I took a sideward glance and admired the beauty of his skin, dark eyes, furrowed brow, magnificent gaze. He caught my glimpse and became aware I was watching him and gave me a warm smile. It is a youth I long to posses again, but has passed. As I was riding the train into the city yesterday morning we stopped at La Plaine Stade de France (soccer stadium) and a flood of beautiful men filled the platform, heading into the stadium to begin practice. Many years ago on a trip to NYC, I was staying with some friends who had a calendar done in this stadium with beautiful athletes, Dieux du Stade. I so admired that work and those images that I someday desired to create such works of beauty, naked men the vitality of youth. Here I am now in it’s presence, feel its magnificent seduction as my heart races with excitement. But now to see the reflection, of what I have become in all those damn mirrors. I began the year in excellent shape, firm, toned and defined, but this year has made me soft. The obsession with this project to fulfill my desire and search for meaning in art and taken a further commitment of sitting and working, instead of the focus of the physical. In many ways this year I have lived more in my head than in my body, that vitality now exists in my work, in a seemingly virtual world outside of my own existence. Yet, like the mirrors in my room, it’s a reflection of myself. Both so different, so distant. A light misty rain fills the air as I crouch under an umbrella at my breakfast table. It feels good to feel the cleansing air, perhaps this too becomes a metaphor for what this trip will bring. My gaze into the mirror is beginning to soften. I am what I have become and nothing can change the process and path of that part of my life. Other men my age seem comfortable to be where they are. Are they? Or does it just become the façade of their manner? I wish to posses this on my own terms? Perhaps I have never been quite comfortable in my own skin. My youth was also filled with angst as well. But sex and desire filled the voids of that uncertainty. Perhaps this is just the nature of myself to not find contentment. And perhaps it’s what makes me have an insatiable need to create. Is my creation then out of a need of desperation? I don’t think so but becomes an introspection into what I have experienced. That reflection now reveals a man who has never quite been satisfied with himself. I think this is why I am drawn to reveal the extraordinary in other who cannot see it within them selves.
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