Meditations on Sleep and Cyclicality
|Jitish Kallat, the book.|
This is an essay very dear to me, written at a time when I was attuned to life and the world in a different way; a way less linear, flat, logical, rational than the one that has dominated my life since I embarked on the project of doing The Idea. Make no mistake, authors pay a very real, living price for the mental ethos they have to put themselves in in order to carry out their work. But I digress. The point here is that I will be presenting this essay to you in a very unusual format, but for a good reason...
First, let me tell you the background story. A little over three years ago, a friend of mine, Jitish Kallat, perhaps one of the most important artists of my generation, asked me to contribute a piece to a book that was being prepared about his work. I love Jitish's work. He has an extraordinary sensibility for the metaphysical backdrop of life and world, an ability to capture it with a subtlety that eludes most of us. His work reflects life and world back to us in a way that unveils what he sees, but we don't. And so I enthusiastically agreed to contribute something.
Soon enough, however, I realized the magnitude of the challenge I had embarked on. To provide prose to accompany Jitish's work was a tall order. My usual Apollonian approach wouldn't do his art justice. I ruminated on the task for days, until one rainy morning, as my girlfriend still lay asleep, I sensed that I was in the right mental space... an elusive space I don't visit often, but which I value above almost any other. What you will read below is the result.
The production of Jitish's book is a gem of refinement, care, aesthetic sensibility and attention to detail. It would be a crime to reproduce my essay here outside the context of the book. So, with Jitish's kind permission, I made photos of the relevant pages, which I am reproducing below. To read the text you will need to click on each photo to enlarge it.
I hope you enjoy the ride! And if you weren't acquainted with Jitish's work before, here is your cue...
(For more on the themes explored in the essay above, see my book More Than Allegory, where these themes are elaborated on with much more depth and detail.)