Modern Boredom with Painted Memory

Walking into Edward Hopper’s art world in Walker Art Center, reminds me the movie midnight in Paris, where protagonist walks into the history and longs for staying there.  That’s what I feel the first moment when I saw his paintings. I feel like I was there with the same setting once upon a time in history, with another space of me.

edward_hopper_morning_sunHopper is an artist who lived in New York for most of his life. His early work is influenced by expressionism of art where everything is merged with abstract brush. When his artistic characteristics develops, his art work is delicately composed and most of them are like in the movie scenes, realities melt into art and films., which reminds me a French film called the Dreamers.

sl-050824-cold-case-e28093-edward-hopperIt’s always a woman facing the sun, lonely, toward somewhere we don’t know. She could be anyone, and because of that, we feel close to the character inside the art world. The room is mostly empty, brings the atmosphere with the mood Hopper tries to convey. Lighting is contrast the reflection is vividly composed.

In the modern world, we are once by ourselves and once want to be involved. That brings another famous of his painting Nighthawks-

edward-hopper-night-hawks-1942There’s no way out for the characters. They are trapped and can’t go out of their world. They are always with someone but the atmosphere is dark and filled with loneliness.

There’s no door for them to exit, like modern lifestyle. We go to parties and the nosiest social places and think we involve with what we want, with different people but those places make us even lonelier.

For many of us we can’t say goodbye to this kind of city lifestyle because we feel like we need it even in there we hardly can hear each other. Most of us want to feel noise but not voice, in a superficial level. It reminds me another movie – the Unbearable Lightness of Being. Both book and movie absorb me into the feeling of the abstract emptiness of modern human life. They are once wanting to belong, and have to let it go at the same time.

“Don’t leave me here.” a mini movie with a voice from the female character inside the painting. When Hopper is outside, he could see clearly that she belongs to the painting, and he can only leave her there.

With painting memory, people and things become a history and come in with a static frame and stay there forever. It’s sad but true to many modern being.

A movie called Deep Red uses the similar scene of Hooper’s to delivery the loneliness and lost of the character, in a city setting with a plot the protagonist is trapped in.

That brings me to another of his painting – Soir Bleu. Hopper’s paintings are usually amazing with lighting. In here the center of the light is on the clown. The cocky waitress stands aside the clown who lowers his head, looks like he is contemplating with a cigaret, where he looks and dresses differently from others . Under the Japanese balloons decorating setting, the open dinner atmosphere looks socially busy and full with characters but who knows what each one thinks individually in the scene?  Who is the waitress refuses to serve? Is the clown alone? All are in our imagination.

One thing that crosses my mind is in most of his paintings, characters’ eye ball are absent and it symbolizes that it could be anyone once again and also a character that was once known but now only exists in a memory and belongs to the history of his own.

With many of our setting in life, are we feeling the same with the modernism brings us? The one in ourselves once wants to belong and gets lost at the same time? When everything flows up the memory becomes static and only can be painted to remember, to recall, to remind you where you once were along with the emptiness it brings us.


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