Collection

Lívio Abramo (1903 - 1992)

Untitled (from the series White Nights) (1955)

Wood engraving on translucent paper
height: 17cm
height: 11cm
Print

Donated by Alex Gama 1995

69:5-1995

In the last of the prints in the series based on Dostoyevsky's White Nights story Abramo shows the narrator fading back into his world of dreams and fantasies but his dramatic real-life experience continues to reverberate around him. Nastenka's friendship, fleeting though it was, gives him strength: 'I shall not think so ill of myself', he says to her at one point, and he is grateful to her for having granted him 'a whole moment of happiness'. The wings that in the third print in the series were harsh and threatening and sprang from the black phantom that was crushing his spirit, here belong to him, and are softer, combining the various textures of the first print into a more unified, less fragmented pattern, while echoes of the sweeping shaft of light and happiness in which the fourth 'white night' culminated continue to eddy around him. There is a sense of closure in the way in which the wood block, oriented vertically in the three central scenes of the drama, is here rotated so that the grain runs horizontally across the image, as in the first print in the series. But unlike the fragmented jagged forms of the first print these are softer and more gentle, implying a sort of reconciliation.

Valerie Fraser, 2009

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