Artist in a Pixelated World, by Jean-Yves Solinga, is a wonderful new book of poems that see him wander into the space between the selectivity of reality—pixelated world—and the mellifluous lyricism of his poetic response. From his early teenage poems, Jean-Yves has tried to breach, with only the strength of his humanism, the divide between reality and dreams, life and nothingness, social solidarity and admitting defeat.
Artist in a Pixelated World attempts to add to those who instinctively, unapologetically and passionately believe in poetry’s ability to dare to impose words on the temporal reality we all live. For the front cover, Jean-Yves has chosen Delacroix’s magnificent painting, “The Death of Sardanapalus” (1827), which is a reconstructed moment from antiquity of a besieged ruler’s narcissistic madness of self-destruction, together with everything around him.
At first glance, it might appear to be descriptive but it was perceived as highly symbolic of the French Crown, at the time, and an alarmingly dramatic depiction of the “other,” the “orient,” with its abandonment and erotic forms, so at odds with the ordered norms of academic approved standards of representation, and so blatantly offensive to the artificial mores of civilized French society of the early 1800s. Note that the painting, while appearing to depict carnage of the innocents and guiltless, is disturbingly devoid of blood. Delacroix depicts a scene of bloodless terror and violence, substituting real blood with vibrant red-coloured elements.
The painting itself and the exaggerated pixelated effect applied—highlighting of selected negative areas—is by its very nature an artistically driven decision process. The effect, in many ways, suggests modernity, in our digitized visual world, but also the conscious decision of selection by Jean-Yves in certain specific aspects. In other words, the original painting, by Delacroix, is a selective interpretation of an event, symbolic and fraught with meaning—although the passing of time has robbed it of its full impact on modern eyes—and is itself selectively deconstructed and reassembled into a new visual with an additional set of meanings superimposed upon it. And as you read this book of poems you will see the pixelated effect and selection process applied to each and every poem. Jean-Yves has been described as “fearless,” and no other epithet is more becoming of a poet who is constantly reaching and searching for new ways to express his thoughts. In that regard, we are all the wiser, and knowledgeable, while being sublimely entertained.
A Pixelated World: Living in a pixel
Homage to Blaise Pascal: “The Two Infinities”
Vulnerability of apparently floating marble,
In an ocean of indifference.
The stuff of game-ball for the gods:
Bluish sphere ringed by ominous darkness.
Furthering the diminutive inconsequential presence
Of all this humanity
Riding in seconds past the spaceship window.
It occurred to him,
along with a side glance… as to his place and mortality…
It occurred to him,
That billions upon billions of pixelated lives
Made up this colored entity.
And, in this canvas, within innumerable canvases,
A precious pixel existed…
Everything that would ever exist for him.
Leaving a sweet and sour taste of humbling appreciation,
Mixed with an enigmatic complexity…
In the awareness of his own infinite grandeur
And heartbreaking insignificance.
A reflection on the iconic picture of the Earth from space in which one particular pixel would represent a singularly important being.