I have been meaning to talk to you about “Anonymous Reality”, a painting exhibition, by Erik Nieminen. I just cannot figure out what happened between the time I saw it, a couple of weeks ago, and right now. At any rate, it was a collection of fairly large paintings of people in urban landscape. What caught my attention, or what I sensed from almost every single painting, was a sense of disconnect. People seemed to appear in groups of two, three, or more. When I looked closely, they were not together; they were either passing by or happened to be at the same place at the same time. They were not connected at all. That sense of isolation of each component of “the crowd” stayed with me through the exhibition; it felt cold and uneasy.
Last week, I was reminded of that when watching “Midnight in Paris” by Woody Allen. People were together, I mean they physically occupied close enough spaces to seem together. A nagging sense of disconnect came over me again; this time in a comic way. Films are different from paintings, but given the choice, I pick the paintings of Nieminen for conveying that sense best. In fact, except for a few postcard pictures of Paris, I could not think of any merit to the film. It was the same old thing Allen says in many of his films, a group of upper middle class Americans who wander aimlessly through life, and if ever stumble over any meaningful, serious question as to why, how, they run into a brick wall with “the sky is the same colour everywhere” written on it. A sense of helplessness, hopelessness except for the completely mindless, brainless who would never know. Those lucky ones, indeed.