Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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Mondrian Dream

That was a really odd dream I woke up from just now.

I dreamed I was flipping through a magazine. I don't know the name of the magazine, but it had mostly the subjects and verbal style of Newsweek, except it borrowed some page design elements from The New Yorker. Anyway, I arrived at a page full of announcements of celebrity births, deaths, marriages, major career moves and such, similar to Newsweek's except in this magazine it was more stylishly laid out: a full page with a white background, a black border and five vertical columns of text with a small square picture at the top of each (for five separate announcements). I looked at each of the five items in turn. Most were about TV and movie stars, which did not interest me much since I've hardly ever heard of any TV or movie stars, but I looked at the pictures anyway, pictures of an actress accompanied by snide magazine commentary about how that actress was just so last week, had outlived her popularity at age 30 and would never do anything worthwhile again - you know how that kind of commentary goes.

Anyway, the middle item of the five was an announcement of Piet Mondrian's death, which had just occurred. It caught my attention mainly because after I tried to skim through it I blinked and thought, "Wait, that didn't make any sense at all," and realized that the magazine writer was attempting to write in some kind of abstract verbal equivalent of Mondrian's painting style. The first line was, "He was thread in death." In the dream all I could think that this might mean was that he was wasting away to the thinness of a thread or something, but after I woke up and was still puzzling over it I soon connected it to the W. C. Merwin quote, "Your absence has passed through me / like thread through a needle / all that I do is stitched with its color." The magazine writer then continued on to say that Mondrian had just finished his greatest work, Years ("and I do mean greatest"), this past Monday. Again, in the dream it didn't at all occur to me to interpret this as anything other than a literal fact; but after I woke up the choice of the title Years took on a whole different meaning in my head, and it seemed to be saying that his life was more important than his work or some such thing. (But I don't know what to make of that, and I know nothing whatsoever about Mondrian's life.)

In the dream I just wanted very much to know what this last and by far greatest painting of his looked like. I tried to imagine it just based on the title, and based on the fact that I wanted to believe he'd tried something more complicated and new than the same old patterns he's already known for. So I imagined something based on his famous patterns, but in which the black lines were constructed of alternating black and white blocks, and on each black block there was a year printed in white numbers, and on each white block there was a year printed in black numbers, and all the years were consecutive. In my head I imagined him painting it, and explaining how in order to balance this added complexity in the formerly simple black lines of his paintings, he'd also added complexity to the color fields, simply by making them no longer flat: each color field contained gradations of all shades between white and that particular color. The result was really good actually, and I liked it very much. Then I woke up.
Tags: dreams
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