Monday, November 10, 2014


With the unfailing clarity of hindsight it now seems fairly obvious that the sacred matrimonial covenant struck between Evelyn and Currado Malaspina was doomed from the start. One retrospective look at their faded wedding pictures and the grassy edifice upon which their union was built begins to look more like a landfill than a potential garden of eden. Like an epic tale told in verse each photo depicts another unfailing prognosticator of the disasters that awaits. 

We'll launch our deconstruction with the march from Lohengrin.

Notice the bride Evelyn as she carefully navigates the step from what appears to be a country cabin or dacha of some sort. The man to her right upon whose arm she leans for support is not her father, though her father was very much alive and quite well at the time. The man, in fact, is Evelyn's physician, a strange choice for such an auspicious occasion.  

This kind old man has since passed away and buried with him is one critical key to understanding the inevitable events that followed.

Now consider this next photograph where an unidentified gentleman stares at the camera with a vacant grin that only could be described as bemused. I was recently told by someone who attended the wedding that the individual in question was a local ferry captain who by French law had the legal jurisdiction to perform the ceremony. Note too that a much slimmer and younger Currado seems vaguely indifferent, even somewhat unfriendly and in his suit and tie looks more like a maĆ®tre d'hotel than one of France's most controversial artists. 

All this could easily have been ignored had not a prying, young provincial journalist discovered this odd image in the municipal district Department of Records.

In this photo we have a striking assembly of what appear to be family members. But whose family one could reasonably ask. By all accounts the families of both the bride and the groom boycotted the wedding out of principle. Malaspina's mother - his father being by that time long dead - violently objected to the union based on the suspicion that Evelyn was a practicing Freemason. Evelyn's parents by contrast, were put off simply by Currado's profession. 

So there you have it. Presumably the most important day in a couple's life together and their wedding is attended by near perfect strangers. Not a single individual depicted in the photographs can be reliably identified. It was as if they had staged some sort of Potemkin wedding only to be followed by a flimsy marriage made up of silt, sand and sticks. 

Is it any wonder why Malaspina's work is so bitterly cynical and misogynistic?  

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