In the valley
Author: Gerhard Kress
Written in response to ‘In the Valley, No.4, No.7’ Ernest Zobole, (1962)
he was standing for the green party when last I saw Justin and shortly after he fell with them too. that wasn’t the end. the Arnolfini, a place crammed with arty books not easily found in assembly in this breadth and quantity. here I saw it, the book of photographs taken with an array of cameras he’d made himself. same principle as my own camera. take a shoe box, paint the inside dull black, make it light impenetrable save for one hole pricked by a needle, cover with black sticky tape. insert light sensitive paper, place in front of object of interest in good light, temporarily remove sticky tape, keep it still for 3 minutes.
where does Zobole’s painting come in? my immediate reaction to it was: teeth. my pin hole camera is too big, but Justin made it fit inside his mouth. the resulting picture shows his teeth, – enormous. and the landscape beyond, – small. Zobole’s teeth, and I don’t suggest these are meant to be teeth, are coal-black. in his ‘beyond’ is a blue figure of a naked female. she is dwarfed by black shapes behind and above her. the scene suggests houses, lights, a street. essentially only red and blue appear, but as in many Zobole paintings, black dominates. it’s the black of the river taf, the black of dust settling on the washing lines all over the valley and it’s the black the children, women and men have carried back on their skin in days – now long gone.