Simultané / Simultaneous

Sonia Delaunay: Bal Bullier, 1913 (detail)
Sonia Delaunay: Bal Bullier, 1913 (detail)

At the Bal Bullier figures tango with abstraction shape and colour move in time as well as space – the spinning depth the opening in form and light that Sonia Delaunay captured. Long loved for as long as I’ve loved looking at paintings well loved since long before that well remembered time so long ago it seems no time at all. Simultané (simultaneous) is the word she used. Nineteen eighty-three? four? A survey of Post-Impressionism was it? I mostly remember the three of us – me and you and the women you were with now. I wore a red tee-shirt to hide the blood seeping from my heart. Remember our dance around one another around the paintings among the colours: the blood red the jealous green the wide blue skies of our comparative youth. Colour is the skin of the world she said. Swirling colours and our swirling three-step towards and away and away. We three were a luridly coloured eternal triangle with wavering edges and sharp points but we talked only in twos. With you the happiness of looking at painted light an exhilaration we’d long shared and could still share but would not be sharing ever again. And with her the immediately shared outcry: why was Sonia less famous than her husband? Why when those energetic joyful rhythms…? Light and colour she said are confounded. And when her multi-colours coalesced in concentric circles did the repeated colour wheels catherine wheels swirl and spark into a suggestion of violence? Target practice. My red tee-shirt hid the blood after I cornered her in the Ladies and stuck her with my sharp point. Did I even notice then the fragility of her lines which I now find as startling as the force of her colours and rhythms? Some perceptions change some don’t the driving rhythms forward movement memories moved on. Today for Sonia I’m wearing not red but black. Le Serpent noir is a late work. Long life long love slips around me like a silk scarf the black snake dances to the music of time.

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2 Comments


  1. This is wonderful, Jean – sharp, shiny, painful and beautiful as a silver dagger.

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  2. Wow, thank you, Natalie – that means a lot. And I know you too saw and wrote about the recent Sonia Delaunay exhibition.

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