Random ekphrasis is what’s on tap today. A while back, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, was this piece by Carlos Amorales that consist of tens of thousands of black paper moths affixed to all the surfaces in this one gallery, spilling out into other parts of the exhibit. A judicious web search will give you some good photos, but here’s one that I think does some elegant justice to the thing:
It was fascinating, cool, and creepy all at once. So, in my random scrounging for something to write about today, I came back to that image and thought about how to make it a little bit ominous and threatening. Swarms of insects are good for that kind of thing. So even though Halloween is two months away, I suppose I was in that kind of mood.
Carlos Amorales, “Black Cloud”
The cold gallery walls swarm with black moths.
They are cut from thick paper, pleated, creased, and split.
The last hour has been spent cataloguing black moths.
No two are alike, except in their color, and their hunger.
Some of them congregate in swells of printer’s soot.
Others scatter into collars of volcanic islands.
One knot of onyx clings to the ceiling for its daily torpor.
They can be seen from any angle, coal-buttoning the room.
At the doors, by the fistful, cluster black moths.
Inky tumors flap and crumple along the frames of paintings.
They are critical tourists who hide dark, crooked mouths.
In the corner of the eye they appear to be moving.
Some of them are caught creeping into the stairwells.
Some of them commit reconnaissance on other rooms.