Painters and poets alike have always had a license to dare anything. We know this, and we claim and allow to others in their turn the same indulgence.
Horace


Roland Penrose, “Veteran”, 1938

Intelligent people who serve during the war keep their thoughtfulness, while young people think more about their destiny, everyday life and what is to come. Of course, for both type of fighters serving during the war the question of getting killed is on their minds, their eyes, in their talks, on forgetting or not forgetting and what will be afterwards. Of course, after is never after war, it is rather after death. People who think a lot about after death and how it will be – not with others/them, but with “us”, not with us, but with me. This what will be “with me” is quite permanent, quite fixed, obsessive.

Bodies change, bodies are de-bodied – and still continue to be. They still continue to feel themselves. Bones together with muscles – muscles live on bones, bones live on muscles. Feel yourself as little as possible to keep alive – let the previous body embellish itself with military regalia’s – don’t appropriate his life, give it to him. Be to him.

The face and head already cannot see or feel – even to be seen or noticed already doesn’t mean much to him? They’re, as if, transformed into a dead trunk or… decaying/rotting sand. Veteran – dead and still alive is trying to cover his head with his hand, and his body with fresh shinning and clean medals of bravery, with super star pins and golden rings and bracelets, and other embellishments. You have to give it to him – don’t be stingy, be generous, allow him be somebody… respect and beauty lives.

Usually those who are still alive rob those who have dies, the dead – they rob the memory of those who were killed or have died. They appropriate the dead through the memory of the dead which they keep alive for themselves, for the living. They seize (kidnap) the memories of the dead for themselves, the living ones. The memory of the dead (about themselves) becomes a treasure for those who are still alive. Their memory of themselves – the dead is what will be forever alive because Roland Penrose’s art made it intact – registered it by naming it “Veteran”. Roland Penrose made dead soldiers alive in their own not-alive but death, their death, not in our memories. They are the memories of the future.


Roland Penrose in a military hospital from being wounded during WWII. To recover he is entertaining himself with the presence of a painting we see behind him on the wall which looks like the brush work of Joan Miro.