HOUSE OF MIRRORS
Plate X: "Night Gallery"
ACT X: The Gallery (Art)
- In which the boy is treated to a gallery of art and of image.
Ahead a wide room opened. The walls were covered with a hundred hundredfold paintings, drawings, and prints. The floor was strewn with sculpture, furniture, and strange machines of endless varieties. Above, the ceiling was the night sky, stretching on to infinity. From time to time, a single star of the eternal fold would flash to brilliance, fall across the sky, and fade. Each such display would light the room and expose all the images it held.
The boy walked the crowded lanes and thought to himself. Paint strewn on canvas: a thousand thousandfold images capturing snapshots of life. Viewpoints they are, staring off into the infinite possibilities of time. They are thoughts distilled from the endless womb of forever. Here a fly, here a hand, here cold stone, a chair, a dog laying in the sun on a lazy Sunday afternoon. There lovers embrace, somewhere the window of a brown house opens to issue out the scent of apples. Deeper still, the surf swallows a sailing ship, ending life. Somewhere double stars spin towards mutual doom in an erotic dance of seductive destruction. There further off, mathematical proofs fight with flowers for the trophy of reality. In between, history reverses itself with disorganized strands of paint flying into the aether. Complete unreason, ultimate vision laid out for viewing before us all.
Music played sweetly from these stolen forms. Each vision was the magic of an artist's hands. Their creators, possessed of deadly vanity, sought to recreate an image of the world. The artist is a mirror, vainly offering their selfish reflection on meaning. Those who look, those who travel the gallery of life are left then to the mercy of warped mirrors. The hand creates the artist's vision; the viewer reflects and recreates. From artist to place, from place to meaning. Each a reflection of the inside seeking to place, to organize, to make, to stabilize, to beautify, to condemn. Here is an immense hall of the reflected, mirrors created by craftsmen in a fruitless quest for the beauty of truth. And in the end, who is to say what is real and what is paint, ink, wood, clay, and stone. These visions of living are birthed from the womb of forever. They grow from the creating hand into other. Pygmalion knew the finest art, the portrayal of happiness trapped in image.
We all are the victims of artists in the creation of that greatest art: reality - the painted fiction of history. From birth we travel the long gallery corridors, latching on to images and half truths. The gallery is a cold and isolated place. All one ever has is the art, the images that they decide to invest with daring love. Thus we all choose our banners of existence. Thus we are also selected by living art, the guile of dead generations off to the dark unreason of the pre-reality.
Beg then to be a savvy collector. Choose wisely, and always with a critical eye. Each picture is a beauty of unity, the glimmer of half-truths. But each image is also only the component of that greater cosmic mural that stretches from all to all. The grand tapestry that is at once forever unfinished and omnipresent is that only and final painting. We see tiny threads of this work in beauty, in good, but each selection leaves untold tales.
Most importantly, know that to view is to be an artist oneself. We create as we interpret, assembling our own larger works of art from the gallery's possibilities. Make your own art. Beg then to be a artist of the finest beauty, of the finest good. Create wisely, and always with a careful eye. And always seek to do better still. It is here, the creation of the dream of perfect beauty, that we both find our fulfillment and rush to our doom. The danger of flirting with the image of delight is that it seduces. The painting, the image, recreates the viewer, and in so doing, claims a soul. Reflecting, the boy went on further still.
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