Like a storm rising over the horizon, the tweed canvas of Valery Yarlov’s Construction/Counter-form (1956) stretches itself across its frame; a rainbow of black, dark blues and purples lined up consecutively in neat rectangles, the oil of the paint seeping into the large pores of the rough fabric. In the middle of the piece, slightly to the right, the canvas lies naked under the harsh white lights of the museum. Its imperfections stick out like ugly stretch marks covering the hips of a once fruitful woman; the tweed fabric now dead and dry, every strand frayed and falling apart. The center worn through by exhaustion, finally let go, leaving a gaping hole, sloppily stitched back together with its own body; an appendage to its already battered and broken look.
I think of burried memories and silent suffering. I think of that time my brother ran away and we found him frozen nearly to death. I think of how scared my parents looked and how they had to stay strong and hold things together even when things felt like they were falling apart. I think of the time I cried alone, because I didn’t want anyone to see and I try not to think of those words: He. Cheated. I think of my sister and how her heart has been broken one too many times and of my brother, who’s fought his fair share of demons. I think of how vulnerable we all are; how with one easy flick of a wrist, we become completely unraveled.
I think of the broken land of Russia and all the blood that’s been spilled. I imagine frightened children and exhausted mothers and dark circles under tired eyes. I think of the cold. But then again— time doesn’t stop; things regrow and people move on and the pieces are picked up and slowly put back together.