The parallels between Palinurus and Misenus are remarkable. Both characters lose their lives at the end point of the journey. Virgil models both of them of the figure of Elpenor from Homer's Odyssey.  And both have headlands in Italy named after them. Despite these facts, there are also major differences.
For me, the significance of Palinurus lies in the fact that he embodies the cultural-historical type who justifies both the consequences of his personal ambitions as well as the social developments of which he is a part. This interpretation is partly based on the commentary of the English writer Cyril Connolly, which, together with my admiration for the power of the Aeneis, was the source of inspiration for PALINURO. In my interpretation of Palinurus, I have aimed in both form and content at the deepest inner quali­ties of man and the world. MISENO, on the other hand, is concerned more with the realm of reality - our reality.  The way in which Virgil makes Misenus act is so different from that of Palinurus, that he has come to represent for me the type who does not try to justify his every action, and all their disastrous consequences. The relationship between both installations is that of protagonist and antagonist.
The division of protagonist/antagonist across two seperate installations arose during the work on PALINURO and was inspired by the manner in which I tackled the selection of TV images for the 'mind's eye' of Palinurus.  At the time I tried to look at the visual material through lyrical eyes - with close attention to the passionate forces of nature (Poeschl) - whilst the collection, consisting largely of documentaries, comprises mainly critical images and in general depicts the bizarreness of our time. The installation MISENO came into being because I did not want to leave this side of the visual material unused. The twin concepts of protagonist/antagonist served me as a guideline, not only in the sense of opposing characters but also as figures which supplement each other. In this way there is a complementary mutual connection between both installations, which not only emerges in the content but also in the form.
Victor Poeschl has pointed out in his book Die Dichtkunst Virgils - Bild und Symbol in der Aeneis that in all parts of the oeuvre light is overshadowed and in the darkness light breaks through, which can be traced back to the classical endeavour to achieve a harmonic balance between opposites. This endeavour has been an important criterion for me in the making of PALINURO and MISENO.


(ndk 1990)

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