Worthy Conspirators


Robert Mapplethorpe

He came, in time, to embrace the flower as the embodiment of all the contradictions revelling within.  Their sleekness, their fullness.  Humble narcissus.  Passionate zen.


He found them to be worthy conspirators in the courting and development of conflicting emotions. He also found it was as easy to hurl beauty as anything else.  Often they were symbolic of him; his processes.  Modelled in geometric shade.  Modified in a famous vase and inevitably turned in the realm of their own simplicity – the blossoming of the mystifying aspects of the pure.


And the eye became a body, the murky heart of a rose.  The sinister shadow of an orchid.  Or the indolent poppy balanced behind the ear of Baudelaire.  All the finery, all the flame, distilled in the burning veins of the jack-in-the-pulpit, the blood of the spike surging upward into a buttery crown. In the foreskin of a lily.  In another lily military, erect.  In victory stems asymmetric, exact.  In the head of a tulip, the curve of a staff or in the unfolding flower’s face.


Words by Patti Smith

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