Thursday, April 2, 2015


For an artist deeply involved in his work, the walls of Currado Malaspina's studio are strangely bare . An outdated calendar fixed on février with a reproduction of  La Fornarina is hanging at a careless angle by the slop-sink in the back. Next to it is a postcard - its provenance long forgotten - with a short ambivalent message scrawled in what could be a child's hand that cryptically reads "nous sommes arrivés."

At the far wall, near the mammoth Saint Remy mahogany easel are a cluster of thumbtacks, the flat-headed kind that have long since been replaced in most art supply stores by the ubiquitous pushpin. It's probably a reflection of the times that the soft clumsy thumb has given way to the belligerent, "user friendly" pushIt's equally significant  that the querulous Currado has remained impervious to this benign technological disruption.

By his small desk which curiously sits in the one windowless corner of the room, there's a faded color snapshot of a smartly dressed woman of early middle age walking briskly from what appears to be a 1964 Chevrolet Impala. The picture seems to have been taken in the early spring somewhere on the east coast of the United States, but of this I can't be sure.

It never crossed my mind to ask Currado about this diminutive memento, assuming its private significance would lose a layer of intimacy in either the explaining or the evasion. But through the years I've noticed that the picture is degrading almost like an organism. It's as if it has taken on the talismanic role of gauging Malaspina's own physical and mental deterioration. 

Currado doesn't believe in regret despite the fact that his life is a noxious trail of slights and sins. His old friend Dahlia Danton (who never met a cliché she hasn't worn out like a terrycloth bathrobe) likes to say that "you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube." 

Currado would prefer gum disease. 

The rest of the 500 square meter space is as barren as the old testament Sarah. Malaspina has scrubbed his present of the past, turning his diminishing future into an unfettered conjecture.

He likes it that way for in his own eyes he's blameless and free from accountability.

But who is the woman with the Impala and to where exactly have the mysterious children arrived?

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