The Illuminated Field
A Scintillation of Particles and Waves
The Observer Effect
Corrected Perspective
Thresholds & Displacements
The Implicate Order
XYZ-NYC 10 Downing





On Looking (Behind the Mona Lisa) 2014

In 2014 I filmed the wall behind the Mona Lisa at the Louvre.
I was thinking about the 8 million seperate stares that encounter the Mona Lisa annually and that must be embedded in the wall upon which that celebrity of paintings is mounted. On the reverse of the wall I found a host of Titian works ignored by almost all the gathered crowds.

One of these is the Pastoral Concert which Manet parodied in his famous Luncheon on the Grass. The Pastoral Concert was a vastly more regarded painting in its day than The Mona Lisa. The work is described in the Louvre catalogue as an allegory of poetry whose symbols - the flute and the pouring water - are shared between two nude women of ideal beauty. These unreal figures exist only in the imaginations of the two men they inspire, according to a taste widespread in Venice for simultaneous depictions of the visible and invisible.

I inadvertantly found something else that unfolds as you watch the video. People exhausted from not looking, looking at me looking, looking at what I am looking at and the remarkable elderly man, teaching us all how to look, invisible in the crowd, absorbed in the Titian, the only one who seems to be really looking.


All images copyright Leslie Eastman