Posts Tagged ‘Torsten Slama’

The Plutonian

July 29, 2018

The Plutonian,, pencil, coloured pencil, leaf silver, 39 x 29,7 cm

A compact, strong shunting engine well suited to deal with the adversities of everyday life and hard work. The Plutonian world is the opposite of the cool world. You need to be clad in special alloys and have a powerful yet simple method of propulsion in order to survive the first few meters on your way through life. It seems best not to dwell on further associative stream-of-consciousness writing, but to complement this drawing with a poem:

I did it while suffering
I did it while suffering
Medical complications

I did it while
Facing life
From the perspective of death
Surviving death
Every day

Some elementary truths
I picked up
Along the way
Littered on the wayside
Picked truths like flowers
Some hidden truths
Suppressed truths
I did it while suffering

While suffering
I did things
I lifted things
I saw through things
Elementary things
From the perspective of death
I did it.

So you, who see things
From the perspective of life
All pink, rose tinted
Don’t you dare
To criticize
Or nit-pick
What I did
Because I did it
While suffering.

Rendering © 2027 by Torsten Slama and the Shunting Society, “I did it While Suffering”, poem by Torsten Slama

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The Carl Grossberg (The Rift)

April 4, 2018
The Carl Grossberg and rocky landscape with Grossberg motif (by Torsten Slama)

The Carl Grossberg, 48 x 36,5 cm, mixed media on yellow tone paper

A detailed, if slightly crammed drawing with the theme of what our world would and could have looked like if energy independence, chemical independence, transportation independence and true man-nature metabolism had been the goal of industrialization. The drawing could also be an illustration to a treatise on “The Rift” (in the universal metabolism of nature), as described by Karl Marx. Not that the artist is deeply informed on the subject. In fact, any assumption of true literacy in any genre is categorically refuted (in accordance with the law of humbleness and common sense). Embedded in the rocky landscape background are several stylized coal liquefaction plants or chemical factories, tubes and pipelines, and one motif from a painting by Carl Grossberg (Fabriklandschaft im Schnee, 1923). Of course there is no snow here, as in fact the yellow color of the cardboard on which the scene was drawn evokes impressions of a slightly murky,  warm climate (perhaps of the inner earth) with sunlight filtering through a crack in the rocky ceiling, further muted by an emission-saturated atmosphere.  The drawing consists of several layers of pencil, colored pencil, washes of acrylics and different reflective and metallic pigments on a base of human spittle (which are in fact all but invisible.  Note that the “inner earth / Hollow Earth” theme has all sorts of connotations, historical science fiction ones as well as the psychoanalytical/gynacocratic/chthonic idea of earth as a womb. It seems in any case appropriate to annex a quote by Bernard Herrmann, wherein he describes his ideas about scoring the Filme “Journey to the Center of the Earth” (1959), since that film features landscapes not unlike the one depicted above: “I decided to evoke the mood and feeling of inner Earth by using only instruments played in low registers. Eliminating all strings, I utilized an orchestra of woodwinds and brass, with a large percussion section and many harps. But the truly unique feature of this score is the inclusion of five organs, one large Cathedral and four electronic. These organs were used in many adroit ways to suggest ascent and descent, as well as the mystery of Atlantis.” Drawing and words (except for italicized words by Bernard Herrmann) by Torsten Slama>

The Liverpool

August 11, 2017

The Liverpool (after Cuthbert Hamilton Ellis)
Pencil, Coloured Pencil, 40×29.7cm

This drawing’s slogan:  “The good old times weren’t good, just old”.  Someone said that and it is not at all clear what they meant. It seems to be something you say when you want to be philosophical, maybe nearing the end of your own time. The steam locomotive stands for old values, which are not good, just old. In truth most friends of steam believe yes, the values are good, not old. The steam engine also is something which enthusiasts describe as an object evoking ecstatic feelings of awe when first beheld. It hisses, has pressure, is a promise of good and functional sexuality. The image of the steam engine says more in the realm of culture, symbolism, and pictorialism then in terms of the actual object depicted. It says something about the owner or the creator of the image. Or rather, it used to say something. Today all is possible, or nothing. Please note the unpainted or stripped totem pole which does look slightly cock-eyed, a phallic symbol introducing the element of anachronism and dislocation. The flying object is perceived by some as a pill of  the capsule type, it is rather an oblong paraphrase of something spherical, a type of artistic quote. UFO enthusiasts know the artist referenced. Mostly everybody else also. An anagram: GREATER MIENT.  The creator of the totem in the foreground is an anonymous North American Indian. Or rather, this totem is actually a faux totem, as it has different parts from different totems, rearranged, and an atypical base construction. It is possibly hollow and made from acrylics. The creator (engineer) of the Engine is unknown to the author of this drawing, but surely known to the creator of the original painting this drawing pays homage to. That painter is Cuthbert Hamilton Ellis, who usually knew a lot about the engines he painted, as he was seeing his paintings really as substitutes for colour photographs in his learned books specializing on Edwardian railway lore.
Rendering © 2021 by Torsten Slama and the International Steam Traction Board “The good old times were not good, just old”

The Engine of Confidence

June 6, 2017
Drawing after the New Zealand railway painter W.W.

The Confident Engine (after W.W. “Bill” Stewart). pencil, coloured pencil, acrylics, 40×29.7cm

This drawing is based on a painting by the late New Zealand railway painter W.W. Stewart. The New Zealand railway station  and the engine was transplanted into a landscape of possibly Triassic character and the people decorating the scenery were eliminated. More specific information about the engine and the railway line could be obtained by a knowledgeable New Zealand railway buff. This artist, in full possession of his artistic prerogative to be weak-suited in terms of research, failed to do so. The copycat artist, having confidence issues, wants to strengthen the impact or poignancy of his drawing by adding the following impromptu piece of poetry (please observe the judicially placed punctuation; a mark of poetry):

Go, Engine of Confidence,
Go your way.
Unencumbered by self-doubt
Say it loud!
You have no capacity for self-doubt.

You are long in the tooth,
wide in the hip
You go on every trip
With confidence.

Engineered to do your best
Not concerned with all the rest
Your path might be crooked
Perspective unsound
Your wheels go round and round
Until you stop.

You are the horse of steel,
A projectile
In fashionable livery
That is your way
Oh could I be
Like you.  Atmospheric rendering © 2021 by Torsten Slama and the International Steam Traction Board