For quite some time now, I observe some works of art that cover the books in my study, this during a siesta in which I do not succeed in sleeping. Having given up the notion of being a scholar, I rather look at them, than at books of which I have forgotten the contents…

Normally I have my nap somewhere in the beginning of the afternoon. Now and then, though, either writing of some other urgent occupation makes me postpone it.

In the day time I can see the following images:

Raymond Barion, Nude
Raymond Barion, Nude

And this one:

Babs Haenen, Ceramic Plate, and African Mask
Babs Haenen, Ceramic Plate, and African Mask

Obviously then Barion’s drawing of the little nude does not show any relief. The African mask as well as object made of porcelain, made by Haenen, by contrast show such relief quite consciously produced by their respective makers.

Haenen wanted to reproduce the effect of a sandy beach after the sea has withdrawn from it. The almost zebra-like slits in the mask both support the aggressive mouth as well as its more contemplative far-away eyes.

Now – yesterday, a November day, so darkness at six – I was lying on my couch and in order to feel safe like a little child I put on a new light, put there a few days ago. Striking the objects from the side, it shows the relief in the face of the mask and on the ceramic plate much more intensely.

But lo and behold!


All of a sudden, the drawing also turns out to be in relief. Not intentionally so, but by sheer accident of the confluence of two kinds of material: the deep-black Indian ink and the kind of paper used.

Over time, humidity made the paper ‘curl’ a bit, the bits of it touched and hardened by the Indian ink not being affected in this manner.

Instead of three works of art, I possess four of them – this for the same price.


Sierksma 6.11.15


Author: rjsiersk

Sierksma was born in Friesland, a 'county' in the northern part of the Netherlands with its own language which he does not speak and with an obstinate population to which he both belongs and does not belong. A retired Professor of Social Philosophy and Aesthetics, as a Harkness fellow he taught at Rutgers and Berkeley Universities in the USA, and at GUAmsterdam and TUDelft in the Netherlands. In 1991 he was awarded his PhD from Leiden University on the subject of 'Surveillance and Task: Labour Discipline between Utilitarianism and Pragmatism'. His books include Minima Memoria (1993), Lost View (2002 with Jan van Geest), and Litter Scent (2013). He has published poems and articles in Te Elfder Ure, Nynade, Oasis and the Architectural Annual. Half the year he lives in Haarlem, the other half he spends in la France Profonde, living ‘in his own words’ as the house out there was bought with the winnings from his essay Eternal Sin, written for the ECI Essay Prize (1993). In this blog, Sierksma's Sequences, written in English, he is peeping round his own and other people’s perspectives. Not easily satisfied with answers nor with questions, he turns his wry wit to a number of philosophical and historical issues. His aim in writing: to make parts of the world light up in his perspective - not my will, thine! Not being a thief, he has no cook, one wife, some children, one lover and three cats. The reader, interested in my writings on aesthetics, literature, and sociology, may want to open Academia.edu, where various pieces are published.

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