Peace: Burial at Sea, Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1842

London. Sunday gloom with small bursts of sunlight, and after six weeks here, I still find myself stopping in the street, stunned by how low the clouds hang on this island, as if they’re climbing over the horizon after being buried somewhere. The sun went down at 7:37pm, and there’s a sliver of a waxing moon.

A line from John Berger’s analysis of J.M.W. Turner’s paintings has been rattling around my head for days, how it unexpectedly harmonizes with the shocks and indignities of our pixellated age:

“The light which he thought of as devouring the whole visible world was very similar to the new productive energy which was challenging and destroying all previous ideas about wealth, distance, human labour, the city, nature, the will of God, children, time.”

Berger suggests the violent light and calamitous seas of Turner’s landscapes were his way of dealing with “the first apocalyptic phase” of the Industrial Revolution. I wonder how today’s flux might be rendered into something approaching the sublime.

Hildur Guðnadóttir – Erupting Light

Without Sinking | Touch, 2009 | More
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