Saturday, May 12, 2012

L'Homme qui marche I

Fantastical whims churned inside his head as he sat nervously at the table. Visions of the potential future flashed before his imagination and quickly faded from one scenario to another, each including him and her. It was his methodical way of sifting through his emotions to decide if he felt the two could be right for each other. Indeed, conversation and the humanistic practice of revealing little eccentricities about themselves to each other would unfold; the archaic-laden and based courtship of the 21st Century. He was no master of the dating scene, but humble enough to know his faults and where his past mistakes ailed his cause: true love.

Moments in their exchange hit varied crescendos and every once in awhile, they reached a lull. He then would quickly turn to humor to hide his inadequacies, working his charm delicately to expose his vulnerability just enough to move the momentum back into positive territory. He'd been in similar situations many times before, and all of them left him as misunderstood. And here she was, exuding an inner beauty with each smile, and revealing moralistic and emotional similarities he often would not find. He did not want this one to slip away.

His walk through life as a bachelor has never once been an enjoyable experience. Like a penumbra between love and fate, his pace has only ever once faltered in his pursuit to find a mate, and merging into and out of the former and latter has proven to be a difficult, frustrating hope. Occupation, financial well-being, health, even style have all evolved and improved so that each frivolous exterior quality can be--and appear to be--the best they can be. As such, what was left was his longing to find the source of true happiness in a partner that would compliment him, complete him, and give new purpose. Possible? At times he's felt disheartened but with each emotion-jarring rejection and eminent desire to give up, he continued on, stride before stride, streamlined and determined.

L'Homme qui marche I (The Walking Man I), by Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966), is a bronze-cast sculpture of a 6 foot tall man, mid-stride, and focused in his trajectory. From Wikipedia's entry:  The piece has been described as "both a humble image of an ordinary man, and a potent symbol of humanity". Giacometti is said to have viewed "the natural equilibrium of the stride" as a symbol of "man's own life force".

For me, it's largely and metaphorically representative of all emotional journeys we each take. The steely determination in the stride, the evidence of wear in the humbled positioning of the arms, the subtle fear of defeat in the withdrawn shoulders; this person embodies knowing and understanding, and ultimately does not want to fail again or quit. He is a potent symbol of a purposeful humanity.

When I see this figure, I see myself insignificantly traversing through crowds of other figures hoping to meet what destiny, hope, or my goals would have me meet. And in the case of our love-seeking friend, it is his plight to weed through souls in hopes of finding his match. Yet the uniqueness and seeming bland qualities of this piece make it oh so extraordinary and extremely easy to find varying comparisons of life. Weight loss, health, professional determination, financial stability, support for loved ones; all of it is embodied in this sculpture and for something that came out of the Postwar America era, I think it is beautiful and moving.

The date ended and there was success and utter failure. He was an amazing catch, fulfilling many of the desires she wished to find in a partner. He was handsome, wanted marriage, a family, cherished little things and found bliss in simplicity. For him, she was bright, intelligent, meaningful, genuine in her interest, sincere in her smile. And in the end, it boiled down to an inconceivable gender difference where she ultimately did not feel the spice in their "chemistry".

In his heart, he began the process of mending the pain while emotionally pushing his chair back, heading for the door, and wading into the crowds of other shadows seeking that one, special person. Complexly intertwined yet kept very separate, he had mastered the experience of rejection and could manipulate the aspects of his being without needing one to support the other. Thus, his stride quickened, his head held high, and through the drifting abyss of solitude and potential, he sought out what next fate may have in store.


  1. I just discovered your blog today. Please keep going with it. Your art picks and discussions of them are very nice.

  2. Thank you, JB! My passion is my work but also my solitude and being able to associate art with real life attributes. I sincerely appreciate your support.