[Poetry] may make us from time to time a little aware of the deeper unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves.
The photograph I published few days ago was made at Vivian Maier's exhibition, on stage till the end of January at Fondazione Forma, not far from the central Piazza Duomo, in Milan. I hurried to send out that picture of my son, laying on an armchair and clearly bored at the end of the exhibition path, together with an equally distracted man as an anticipation of what I'm about to write below. Facts are that I'm busy enough in this first quarter of the year that I nearly forgot about my blog and comment my latest photographic experience.
After reading about Vivian Maier's photographs being shown in Milan, I gladly accepted to modify my ordinary Sunday program and get on a train to reach the overcrowded city center. I was so eager and excited to see her pictures that, talking with my family at home, I convinced them to come with me and see it, notwithstanding the icy winds sweeping the town these days.
I regret to note here that, after visiting several exhibitions all around the world, this one turned out to be disappointing as never before. If I only could, I would claim my money back. The first warning sign was a rude and presumptuous clerk at the entrance that, pretending to regulate the flow of people queuing at the door, treated us all very badly, with no real reason beside exerting an exaggerated and distorted interpretation of his tasks. A clear example of what is also said: "The power of the powerless". My wife even undertook a useless discussion with that "man in black" and for a while we were about to turn our step back but the will to visit the exhibition was greater than the "disturbance" caused by him.
Unfortunately, the worst still had to come: a hundred of prints put up on the walls of two small rooms with no apparent logic; small spotlights placed in some cases at eye level and causing annoying reflections everywhere; more than one hundred peoplecrammed inside at the same time, surpassing each other in the attempt to gain space and a position good enough to watch the picture before the someone behind them pushed in; a small and unreachable (for the number of heads tossing before you) monitor, where some of Mrs Maier's Super8 takes were supposed to be on display; no explanations, timelines, background notes and just two seats to let the visitors take a break.
We came out of the exhibition completely upset, persuaded to have wasted our money.
Polenta was once considered the poors' meal. Simple and easy. Perfect and practical substitution of bread. Companion of every kind of food. Warm and satisfactory. A meal that let lower classes feel like princes.
Nowadays it has become a rarity. No one has anymore time to spend standing beside the fireplace. Polenta's powder is only sold half cooked. One hour has shrunk into five, three, sometimes two minutes. Less than a microwave oven warm up. Instant.
So have become our gatherings at the table. Youngsters come late, sit and rush away soon. No time to stay and talk with their parents. What should they talk about? Who's this fault, I wonder.