Yesterday I visited the Joan Miró exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. I was captivated by his fascination with people and things and how they interact. There is a recurring theme of motherhood and its trappings in the sculptures exhibited – and not all the mothers seem to be benign, which also resonated with me. Most of all, I was amazed by the sheer technical virtuosity of his work; in particular, his ability to use one material to represent another – for example, one bronze sculpture bears creases as if it has been constructed from a sheet of paper.
Some of the pieces seemed to me to have an Aztec-like quality and therefore to reach back deep into our artistic heritage. Literature, of course, has a much shorter history than art and I can think of no work in words that could be described as being ‘perfect’ in the same way that the finest paintings and sculptures can be. It may be because of the relative youth of the written word that technical perfection still eludes the writer, but I don’t think that this is the true reason. I believe that the explanation may be that a painting or a sculpture captures one moment or temporary state and freezes it in that act of being. The greatest artists therefore succeed in encapsulating timelessly some core element as the world moves inexorably on; writers, on the other hand, work with a fluid canvas and have to keep on wrestling with multiple imperfect states of change.
Perhaps you have an example of the written word that you regard as perfect?