The Garden of Wish Fulfillment

arshile-gorky-the_liver_is_the_cocks_comb 1944

The Liver is the Coxscomb

-Arshille Gorky (1944)

Albright-Knox Art Gallery

“About a hundred and ninety-four feet away from our house (in Armenia) on the road to the spring, my father had a little garden with a few apple trees which had retired from giving fruit. There was a ground constantly in shade where grew incalculable amounts of wild carrots, and porcupines had made their nests.

There was a blue rock half buried in the black earth with a few patches of moss placed here and there like fallen clouds. This garden was identified as the Garden of Wish Fulfillment and often I had seen my mother and other village women opening their bosoms and taking out their soft breasts in their hands to rub them on the rock.

Above this all stood an enormous tree all bleached under the sun, the rain, the cold, and deprived of leaves. This was the Holy Tree. I myself don’t know why this tree was holy but I had witnessed many people, whoever did pass by, that would tear voluntarily a strip of their clothes and attach this to the tree.

Thus, through many years of the same act, like a veritable parade of banners under the pressure of wind all these personal inscriptions of signatures, very softly to my innocent ear used to give echo to the sh-h—h-sh—h of silver leaves of the poplars.”

                                              -Arshille Gorky



~ by theoxherd on May 25, 2013.

7 Responses to “The Garden of Wish Fulfillment”

  1. I loved it.

  2. Wow. Really interesting tale to make this painting come even more alive.

  3. Interesting story. Almost everywhere I stayed in Armenia had fruit trees in the yard.

    My favorite work of his is Artist’s Mother (a charcoal). The original black and white photo (on which Artist and His Mother was based) haunts me, knowing that he watched his mother starve to death at the end of the genocide.

  4. A great man…greater perhaps for having suffered. His art was one of the main reasons I began to paint…this one in particular.
    Thank you for reading…
    Getting restless yet?

    • Interesting and random where we all get our inspirations from.
      Restless? Just got back from Estonia a few days ago – am a few weeks behind on my posts (and everything else). 1st job is to remind everyone in my house who I am and that I really do live here.
      But thinkng toward next trip. Definitely somewhere less peaceful and well -ordered than Estonia.

  5. I’ve known the feeling of coming home to:”What are you doing here?
    What is the saying?
    Oh yes…”nature abhores a vacuum”

    • Well, I am lucky to be well loved at least among my family members. They are always relieved I am back alive, and amuse themselves at the latest damage I have usually done to myself. I do however have to toss the children out of my study and re-read them the rules of a civilised life.

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