Today has been a day of reflection for me after finding a music video by Gotye featuring the singer Kimbra called Somebody I Used to Know that has been a bit of a crossover pop sensation. It is dream-like, a painting that uses voices and bodies of the singers, and it made me think of the narratives that inhabit the paintings and sculptures that I see while working at SFMOMA. Artwork that I have a privilege of seeing before the morning crowds and sometimes alone at night in dark silence while I turn on/off the media art works. Questions arise: Did the artist create this painting because he or she was madly in love or grieving? Or, more broadly, whom did they make this work for? I reel in little fantasies that are sparked by the color of a subject’s hair, the heaviness of Mark Bradford’s newsprint installation Pinocchio Is On Fire on the fourth floor, and the acid blue of the Yves Klein sculptures on the fifth floor. When I see Klein’s blue sea sponges I imagine Klein in bliss bathing a beautiful lover, both of them in a synchronized hallucinatory euphoria after making love. The International Klein Blue cools off the passion that I project onto the work, facilitating a reflection on their forms floating in midair, taunting me with their secret lives.
I want to share with you this private moment, a kind of permission to project a love story or narrative on art that you happen to see today.
Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know