The Crimson and the Blue

by Alina Shalukhina March. 24, 2020 165 views

The title comes from one of the most striking color dichotomies as well as, simultaneously, color combinations: the crimson and the blue. A pair which I remember primarily from Levitan’s Golden Autumn, where for the first time my eye came across the dark red threads of grass standing and falling against a narrow strip of sapphire water. And at that same moment, I was inevitably captured. Since then, all my follow-up experience of autumn photographs seemed to be dependent on the pursuit of repeating, reconstructing those two magnificent colors. Having gotten some (who knows how much exactly) time while sitting home, I recall my «two-year-old» trip to St. Petersburg and, except the city itself, its distinctive parks sprawled around. With a tinge of the desired crimson having been exhibited there.

From the whole series of the photographs taken that day, I indelibly remember the bridge depicted above. I remember myself standing on the subtly creaking wooden deck. That moment, it felt like with each new release of the elusive sound from under the feet, a new spasm of ripples on a pond surface was coming into existence. Moreover, some special fascination I associate with a little unfocused quality of the image which, thus, delivers the same picture and the same impression as the eyes, squinting in the dense, though not that bright, northern sunlight, would do.

This landmark – so it happened – turned out to serve as a pair of bookends for the walk across the park. It started at the bridge’s dark side which reigned over the steep banks (in fact, their steepness is somehow toy and miniature as just about everything in the park is) and the deep blue water with the royal reflections of trees, almost black at that somber side.

If to stray from the track for a while, it seems justified, right before the next photograph, to come up with the question about reflections. I often ask myself: what is the privilege of the reflected, indirect, unclear, allusive, and in any way roundabout over the clearly stated, directly seen and definitely perceivable? In terms of apprehension, with regard to the impression we get, as to the trust with which we bind the candid and the inexplicit together, especially while perceiving art...

The end of the walk fell for the sun-drenched side of the bridge. The passage itself, hence, got the instantaneous fame of being a line between the light and the dark – now it was all revealed. One said, «Painting is a battle between light and shade.» Alienated from the possible painting in which it could lie, the white bridge suddenly proved to be sited in a position of a battlefield, crossed out by the gray-and-bluish narrow shadows, more than a hundred-fold. And if anything could share that ambiguous condition of being in the middle and, at the same time, on the edge, it’s only a fragile tree, dotted crimson.

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