The Shape of a Pocket

The Shape of a Pocket

John Berger

Language: English

Pages: 276

ISBN: 0375718885

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The pocket in question is a small pocket of resistance. A pocket is formed when two or more people come together in agreement. The resistance is against the inhumanity of the New World Economic Order. The people coming together are the reader, me, and those the essays are about–Rembrandt, Paleolithic cave painters, a Romanian peasant, ancient Egyptians, an expert in the loneliness of a certain hotel bedroom, dogs at dusk, a man in a radio station. And unexpectedly, our exchanges strengthen each of us in our conviction that what is happening in the world today is wrong, and that what is often said about it is a lie. I’ve never written a book with a greater sense of urgency.
–John Berger

The Wire, Issue 378 (August 2015)

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8. Drawing: Correspondence with Leon Kossoff 9. Vincent 10.  Michelangelo 11.  Rembrandt and the Body 12.  A Cloth Over the Mirror 13.  Brancusi 14.  The River Po 15.  Giorgio Morandi (for Gianni Celati) 16.  Pull the Other Leg, It’s Got Bells On It 17.  Frida Kahlo 18.  A Bed (for Christoph Hänsli) 19.  A Man with Tousled Hair 20.  An Apple Orchard (An Open Letter to Raymond Barre, Mayor of Lyon) 21.  Brushes Standing Up in Jars 22.  Against the Great Defeat of the World

or Botticelli or Frank Stella. Of course in sculpture it’s not colour which carries the work; colours refer to vernacular, lifestyle, certain memories; the work has to stand or fall according to what it does with space. Space for sculptures is what voices are for theatre. It is the space a work creates within and around itself which articulates its strength, its joy or its suffering. As one might have expected from the son of a Birmingham taxi driver, Raymond Mason finally found a way of

there was enough light for the visible forms of life to become more and more complex and varied. Wild flowers, for example, are the colours they are in order to be seen. That an empty sky appears blue is due to the structure of our eyes and the nature of the solar system. There is a certain ontological basis for the collaboration between model and painter. Silesius, a seventeenth-century doctor of medicine in Wrocklau, wrote about the interdependence of the seen and the seeing in a mystical way:

as if out of the dark. It came from the fact that Bogena’s face had made a present of what it could leave behind of itself. What is a likeness? When a person dies, they leave behind, for those who knew them, an emptiness, a space: the space has contours and is different for each person mourned. This space with its contours is the person’s likeness and is what the artist searches for when making a living portrait. A likeness is something left behind invisibly. Soutine was among the great

think of. The precondition for their common stance is a certain form of anonymity, a stepping aside. Vija Celmins is sixty-three years old. She was born in Riga. Her parents emigrated to the US. For thirty years she lived in Venice, California. Now she is in New York. My bet is that when she was in the Prado, discovering Velazquez, one painting went straight to her heart – the Tapestry Weavers. She both paints and draws, paints in oils, draws with graphite. The work is highly finished and

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