Monday, 6 July 2009

About the eyes

A street artist will begin with the eyes, and most people (who can't draw a portrait) will usually start with the eyes. People who can't write will begin their descriptions with the eyes. Eyes are important in all kinds of lifeless art. It's like an automatic approach.

A bird will also start with the eyes. It's been reported that shipwrecked sailors sometimes let go of their life jacket. They would rather drown right away, than wait for a doubtful chance of rescue, while their eyes get picked out by hungry sea birds.

We saw this dead fish at the beach in Grand Isle, south of New Orleans; it reminded me about how the ravens acted at Bistcho Lake, in northern Canada. The ravens always started with the eyes, even though the fish was lying on the ice in ÷40˚C, dead and stiff, as an unwanted by-catch by the fishermen.

photo: Henrik Nor-Hansen

But the ravens have come a long way. They are smart. Still, they pick out the eyes in a rather methodical manner. Or religious manner. The picture hasn't left me; all the fish with empty eye sockets, and the ravens in the distant trees, sort of looking away.

photo: Henrik Nor-Hansen