Thursday 26 May 2011

The art of translation

Alibaud is another softly beautiful and clever composition by artist Lynne Ciacco, that keys into that same mood captured in her City Lupins featured a few posts ago. It dovetails a photo of allium flowers by Owen Phillips, a picture of Lynne’s daughter and the written text of a Rimbaud poem, Sensation, in the poet’s own hand.

Like the first picture, it’s dream-like - an exploration of the subconscious perhaps - and evokes a powerful sense of time passing. If you look carefully, there’s a similar tracery of branches and stems in delicate white that adds another layer of detachment from the face behind, as if the girl is already out of reach. The effect is reminiscent of sentimental Victorian cards, romantic and nostalgic.

Although it’s correct to transpose the word “sensation” from French into English, it would perhaps be more helpful here to think of it with the emphasis on “feeling”. There are many translations available. The American poet Joshua Mehigan really seems to capture the sensuous lyrical simplicity of the original.

Blue summer evenings, pricked by stalks of wheat,
I’ll walk the paths, crush short grass where I tread:
Dreaming, I’ll feel its coolness on my feet.
And I shall let the wind bathe my bare head.

Click here for the whole poem in French with Mehigan’s translation and a biographical note about Arthur Rimbaud in the online literary magazine

And for those who enjoy the nuances of translation, here’s another version, this time by A.Z. Foreman, a formidable linguist whose Poems Found in Translation blog (click here) is a wonderful site to get lost in. You can even listen to him read the poem in French, and hear how he brings out Rimbaud’s languorous rhythm and interior rhymes.

Through evenings blue with summer, pricked by wheat,
I’ll roam the roads and crush the grass I tread,
Will dream and feel its coolness underfoot,
Will let the breezes bathe my naked head.

I’m aware we’ve travelled away from Lynne Ciacco’s art, but actually these ramblings do illustrate something I feel very strongly: that different forms of creativity are all interconnected. I could, of course, be wrong. Some people don’t feel that at all. Not all artists like other people coming along and offering their impressions. As the French painter and pioneer of pointillisme Georges Seurat said:

“They see poetry in what I have done. No. I apply my methods, and that is all there is to it.”

Lynne Ciacco lives and works in Atlantic Canada. She has a fine art degree (BFA) from the Emily Carr Institute in Vancouver and works in diverse media, from acrylics to pastel and watercolours, as well as textiles. This is another example of her digital art using textured layers and blending modes. You can find her website here and her art blog here.


Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Deborah:
We have been most interested to read here of the work of Lynne Ciacco, an artist of whom we had not heard previously. The example you show and describe here made us think of the work of the British artist, Richard Hamilton.

Both artists, for us, in their layering of several, seemingly disparate images, create an atmosphere which is entirely different from each of the constituent parts and conveys a rather dreamlike quality to the overall work. The more one looks, the more one sees, but what one sees can, in our experience, vary tremendously from individual to individual.

A most interesting post. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Tout correspond. Et si l'enchevêtrement n'est pas toujours palpable dans l'immédiat, il se décante dans le temps. Un véritable artiste est sensible à une multitude d'impressions différentes et il ne s'en rend pas compte lui-même. C'est souvent à la suite d'un évènement qu'il se découvre.

Lynne with an e said...

Again, Deborah, I am deeply touched by your comments on my art and especially by your observation that all forms of creativity are interconnected. I feel priviliged to have my visual art connected to your finely tuned wordsmithing and observations.

Pétales de fée said...

"Through the blue summer evenings ..." beautiful poem that I often say! This image is indeed a dream, a reverie. Very nice composition! Thank you for this post so sweet! Good weekend!

Jyoti Mishra said...

Each single line in the poems gives a sense of calm and serene..... you feel like keep reading it.

Deb said...

Wow. Her art is beautiful. I feel inspired just browsing the website. Thanks for sharing. Happy writing!

;) said...

Avec Lynne Ciacco tu nous offres un bel exemple d'émulation, d'enchaînement des idées et des techniques qui permettent la recherche pour de belles oeuvres d'art à la clef ;)

Forest Dream Weaver said...

The image is beautiful.......splendid for a book cover!

Unknown said...

lovely! i am glad to be reading about another lovely artist and poet. and, you've even touched a little on deconstruction. great way to start my sunday morning. :D

Muriel said...

Very interesting post Deborah! Languages are so much more than languages: it is a way of thinking, of feeling...thanks for explaining this so well!

Owen said...

Hello, Lynne suggested I take a peek here, so I did, and would just like to thank you for the reference. Lynne is a most talented artist indeed, she works magic. It was a privilege to see her transform a photo I had shared with her.

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