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Interior with Sudden Joy

Dorothea Tanning

Interior with Sudden Joy

Dorothea Tanning
  • Date: 1951
  • Style: Surrealism
  • Genre: symbolic painting

[In Sedona] where the only electricity was in such thunderous lightning, there were no sounds in the afternoon save the hum of the heat. It was so intense, so lurking, so aged, that we the intruders felt also quiet, intense and strangely tiptoe, as if in peril. It bounced like coiled springs off the burning red rocks and melted the tar on our paper roof. It came inside to sit on my eyes. Breathing was important, an event...

Then as now the decibels of nature can crush an artist’s brain. I have seen it happen. So I lock the door and paint interiors. Great events. A white and dark picture would muffle the red world outside. Big bare rooms with the white frozen figures, like Sodom and Gomorrah. There is opalescent light and velvet dark. Isn’t that the artist’s best joy, to control light? To rival the sun and moon, to turn their logic upside down with brushes and paint and monstrous ego? I am here. Arthur Rimbaud, mad poet, is here too, on the blackboard in my canvas. What you see there are notes from his secret notebook. Private, impudent signs. The door is not a door on the wild red garden, just on a little something personal, like the door of a house looking in.
- Dorothea Tanning

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