Up on the third floor of Tate Modern there is a room with six blood red paintings on its walls. It is guarded by human eye by day and by mechanical eye by night. In the center stands a long bench. Those who take the time to sit down will eventually feel things. The feeling that filled me was the world pressing upon me, and it was not a pretty world. It was an oxblood world.
Mark Rothko painted the nine Seagram murals for a fancy restaurant but they made people feel shut in and trapped, which is not good for business. Who knows if this was the train of his thought or not when he took back the paintings and returned the money. Today six of the paintings hang in Tate Modern in London in a room of their own.
After a while I closed my eyes and to my surprise the same images lingered, as an imprint of fleshy negatives stuck on my retina. I gave up, opened my eyes, and gazed at the paintings again. They had transformed into a window toward a blood-red world where everything was wrong.
Oh, such a relief it was when we finally found our way back to a place where light is white and warm and not red and cold, and where the water of the Thames on this rare day reflected the blue sky. And where one could simply sit down, order a wonderful risotto with a fabulous verdeho wine, and breathe. The world isn’t doomed quite yet.