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The Heaven of painting, 1999
Exhibition catalogue Anne Madden. A Retrospective, Irish Museum of Modern Art
27 June 2007 - 30 September
When life is wearisome might we not look
up and say, I too would like to be there?
Yes. While the heart still retains its
natural goodness, we may decently measure
ourselves by the divine.
– Friedrich Hölderlin
Empyrius; empyrean; vault. Summit of the sky; abode
of the immortals. The gods, the divine, are there when we look up. The loftiest thought shines like a sun; and, motionless overhead, the poetic spirit has risen from its ashes in an infinite depth of bewitching blue.
At one glance time shifts and fixes in its sphere the silent rush of truth, the secret birth of ultramarine in a space of sea and sky. A celestial vault blazing with azure, with fire and light, sustains the empyrean, the mysterious
and supreme thought-palace of gods and men.
You’re there yourself, right here in Carros. Madden’s painted sky is a tour de force, a gamble, a leap in the dark which, fabulously, has brought her to the heart,
to the very source of all her work. The simplest, clearest, brightest and most sublime inspiration fulfils itself here with the absolute conviction always alive in Madden’s art like a phoenix, the immortal bird who burns in the sun: that the heaven of painting is visible truth.
Translated from French by Derek Mahon, 2007