straight

They can’t stand up straight. On the step of the stool, upon the table, against a wall, or just sitting casually on the floor. For a moment we talk, across from one another, upright. A door opens, and so I look away, but only a second passes before I turn back round… to see him leaning on a door handle. “These artists…” I think to myself… “know just how to make themselves comfortable.”

At every opportunity they disappear, osmosed into their built environment. They melt and fold against a wall, bleed across the back of the chair or reach… hanging… half-suspended from a peg on the back of a door. For why… I suppose… would anyone support their own weight… when the peg on the back of the door will do it for you? The artists – whatever their discipline – have all mastered the art of lying down whilst vertical. Each one of them has become a certified, A-grade, energy-efficient performer.

Visitors arrive from the upstairs office. They wear suits, wear hands in their pockets, wear hands held one in front of the other. They’ve accepted the whole upright stuff, recognised their fate, their social responsibility to resist gravity, perpendicular to the ground… 90degrees. Right-angled they ask questions… “the exhibition, the work, the building…?” and I watch the conversation, between the right-angle and the artist who can’t stand up straight; one foot on the bottom rung of a ladder, a shoulder leaning on the wall.

And I wonder why it is… that artists can’t strand up straight… but more than that, I wonder… why the rest of us do?

 

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