What is love? What does it feel like? How does it happen? What makes us fall in love?
I’d never planned on writing a post about love, there is plenty enough written already by wordsmiths infinitely better qualified than I, but yesterday and then again this morning, some sort of synchronicity happened that moved me to not just think about love, but has now spurred me to write about it. I can’t help but make this post personal, it is of course about my love for the Irishman, but it’s also been inspired by a short film that I watched this morning that touched me deeply and I want to share with you.
So, What is love? Love will mean many different things to all of us and really I should put this post aside and go away and think about it so that when I come back I have lots answers to this begging question. Quotes from Shakespeare, lines from love songs and references from authors, all of whom have written on this mighty subject but no; I’m an impetuous girl and while the events of yesterday and this morning are still fresh in my mind I feel impelled to write it now.
In answer to my own question, it might be easier to start with my experience over the years of learning what love is not. Love is not hurtful, love is not belittling, love is not cruel, love does not include infidelity, love is not bullying, and love is definitely neither, violent or abusive.
After my second marriage ended in May 2009, I focused on getting my life back on track. I threw myself into work, I started painting again and I also made the decision not to get involved in another relationship, at least for the foreseeable future. I had a romantic notion to buy a houseboat, and when the last of the children had left school, a plan to up sticks and move to India where I would spend the rest of my days in an ashram in meditative contemplation, eating lentils and painting. What could be simpler than that?
Except that exactly 2 weeks after my husband and I parted company, I had a phone call from one of my oldest girlfriends ‘Lottie, I’ve met someone that you are going to love, and, I know that he is going to love you too, you absolutely have to meet him!’
I was speechless and horrified in turn ‘Josephine, you are having a bloody joke! You have got to be bloody joking! Meeting another man right now is the last thing I need, I DON’T WANT TO MEET ANYONE!’
Josephine was very persistent; she wouldn’t let the matter drop. She telephoned me every evening, and every evening I gave her the same answer, NO! But Josephine was not going to take NO for an answer and after 2 weeks of her hard sell I caved in and agreed to take a train to London and go and meet this man that she said I would love and whom she claimed, would love me. I met Irishman on the 24th June 2009 at his doctoral show in London – the rest as they say is history.
Yesterday he and I celebrated him finishing the writing for his doctorate. It’s taken him 5 years, and since the time that we have been together, almost 4 years now, I have almost been as much a part of this doctorate as he has. In a way you could call it a love story, our love story. We met because of it (and of course Josephine’s canny knack of match making) we’ve worked together on it, me behind the camera or Bolex bringing his performance work to life via celluloid. We’ve spent nights sat up long into the small hours talking about Heidegger, Kant, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Kippenburger, Derrida, Joseph Beuys, Anselm Kieffer to name but a few. – It’s been a 5-year journey and 4 of them we’ve taken together. It’s brought us a closeness that neither of us had experienced previously and a body of work that has been inspired, and grown out of our love for each other.
Which brings me neatly on to what happened this morning. After checking my emails I went to see what was happening on Facebook. One of my girlfriends, an artist in the UK had posted a short film about Marina Abramovic and Ulay.
Here is a some background information about the artists meeting taken from the original article found on Facebook and written by zengarage.com “Marina Abramovic and Ulay started an intense love story in the 70s. When they felt the relationship was ending, they walked the Great Wall of China, each from one end, meeting for one last big hug in the middle and never seeing each other again.
At her 2010 MoMa show Marina shared a minute of silence with each stranger who sat in front of her. Ulay arrived without her knowing and this is what happened”
For me, this film is an affirmation of life, and the power of love.