Naranjas

12 January 2010

John Roloff (b. Sep. 20, 1947): Studies: Pituitary Portrait/Knights I-V, 1995 – orange colored paper disks in place of future orange slices and framing. (via i12bent)

“One of a series of experimental process works using thin orange slices in contact with a photographic surface as an activation element. In this series of portraits the orange slices are positioned at or near where the tyroid or pituitary gland(s) would be on the knight.” (source)

La naranja es la tristeza
del azahar profanado,
pues se torna fuego y oro
lo que antes fue puro y blanco

Eliot Weinberger, “Oranges & Peanuts For Sale,” written in response to a 1934 Anton Bruehl photograph of a Mexican street vendor. Excerpted in Harper’s:

Oranges come from Asia, but no one knows exactly where. The Chinese mention them in their earliest writings; the word is Sanskrit: naranga. Some say they were grown in Mesopotamia; some say the Egyptians ate them; some say there are oranges in the Bible, but some say those are not oranges at all. The Romans got them from the Persians, and built the first greenhouses with sheets of mica to protect them: “orangeries.” Jupiter gave Juno an orange on their wedding day, as a symbol of eternal love, but oranges died out in most of the Mediterranean with the fall of the Empire. The Moors kept them cultivated in Spain; the Crusaders brought them back to Italy. Columbus carried orange seeds with him on his second voyage. The Portuguese took them to Brazil; not many years later, no one knows why, the first Western travelers deep in the interior reported seeing wild orange trees growing. Bernal Díaz del Castillo himself planted the first orange seeds in Mexico, in Tonalá, in the week of 12–20 July, 1518.

During the Second World War, it became difficult for Brazil to export oranges. The groves were neglected, and nearly every orange tree in the country, some 40 million of them, died from a disease no one had known before, which they called La Tristeza. .

La naranja es la tristeza del azahar profanado, the orange is the sadness of its violated blossom, pues se torna fuego y oro lo que antes fue puro y blanco, for what was was once pure and white turns fire and gold.

(García Lorca, that supreme poet andaluz, wrote these last lines in his “Canción Oriental.” There are, of course, no oranges in Bilbao.)

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