Dora Maar, “Apres la pluie/After the Rain”, 1933, Paris

The artist has chosen to characterize Paris as, from the first glance, nearly a monstrous stony landscape – the wide asphalted pedestrian road with the stoned bordure, the massive “cargo” wall on the side, the tiny figures of a mother and child at the distance and not a tree or shrub anywhere in sight. Can this be Paris we’re looking at?

Of course, there are generous shadows of trees on the side wall and some deformed dry leaves lying near the pedestrian way. So, trees are somewhere nearby, and this gives hope, although Paris, as it is well known, doesn’t need to appeal to tourists and hopeful. Asphalted road is shining, as if, polished by the remnants of the rain. The shadow reflection of the trees is embellished with the some sunlight on the wall. We start to enjoy not only the shadow of the verdure but modest although reflected by the walls and pedestrian way sunlight. We feel that Paris is far from being hopeless.

But what if the reflection of the tree branches with leaves on the giant sidewall is not reflection at all and instead – phantoms of trees which already don’t exist and belong to the category of the memories – of people who remember Parisian trees, or, may be, even belong to the memory of the walls themselves. May be, Parisian trees continue to live in the form of being the shadows of their previous vitality? May be, it is a sign of previous trees’ vitality – to be alive while being dead and to be still noticed by the passersby, by, if you like – by the surface of the walls itself which is to the wall as human skin to human body? Probably, some cities, like Paris, never can die, only sometimes the form of the living may look like after-death experience. Besides, Dora Maar in her “After the rain” doesn’t depict the whole Paris but only its tiny part. And if to think like this we can even feel that this Parisian area not without some poetical touch, a drop of poetry amidst the passion of living. And the tiny mother and her child inhale the Parisian air recently purified by the rain, while going from their past to their future. And we are the witnesses.

Dora Maar, “Arcade”, 1934

How pleasant it supposed to be – to sleep right on the floor under the giant arcades. It’s like to sleep right under the protection of the universe – so great the distance between resting so far down from the very height of the borderless world. To sleep under the castle of arcades it means to be protected by what is, as if, opened, when the ceilings are very openness itself, more exactly – when openness is ceiling.

And still the danger can come – danger is coming. Not from the up where we are opened and at the same time sheltered by protection, but from the earthy soil, from the underground waters. They are coming to the floor of the arcades. They are covering it with its foam. They are conquering the world from under. They’re like the poisonous saliva of the primordial dangers.

Aren’t we ourselves guilty? We enjoyed protection from above – protection by the very openness. But we forgot to protect ourselves from underground. We try to protect ourselves from the sky and what is above the sky, but we, children of the earth, forgot the dangers of the earth we ourselves are part of. We wanted to conquer what is above us, and we invented anthropomorphic god(s) – our dream of being protected from above. We didn’t take into consideration the dangers of our earthly nature to us ourselves. Now we are victimizing ourselves with our own megalomaniacal stupidity and greed. The foam of revenge is coming. Our blissful sleep under the universe’s “high ups” is interrupted by our own earthly nature. We are sadists of our own life and masochists of our death.