Eadweard Muybridge and the Sphinx

I might think this image an expressionistic response to the vivacious and splendidly disturbing series of photographs that Eadweard Muybridge took of a paralytic child walking on all fours.    I might think it brings to mind Francis Bacon’s dyspeptic vision of yawning fear.  I might think the image a sign that we are all anthropomorphic hallucinations of all our animal totems.  I might think all these things.

I think, instead, that the image evokes Sophocle’s Sphinx.  And the Sphinx wants to inquire of us all:

“What goes on all four legs in the morning, on two at noon and on three in the evening?”

I think the image speaks to the wonder of every morning settling into noon.  It speaks to the unlikely fortune of my life and yours.

~ by Faheem Haider on December 5, 2009.

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