The séance takes place in a single room, ‘Raum 106’ in the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. A long black table, chairs either side. An arched window, a staircase, a projector. A door to the back. Through the door is a spacious hallway and more windows. Slowly over a full Akademisches Viertel the participants come into the room, take off their coats and gather around the table. Some stand by the window.
(A participant, upright and rigid, only her lips moving, and in a man’s voice) ‘I am glad to meet all my dear friends again and to welcome Mr. Yeats amongst us. As he is a stranger I must explain that we do not call up spirits: we make the right conditions and they come. I do not know who is going to come; sometimes there are a great many and the guides choose between them. The guides try to send somebody for everybody but do not always succeed. If you want to speak to some dear friend who has passed over, do not be discouraged. If your friend cannot come this time, maybe he can next time.’
(Speech is provoked. The participants call out for a face and a voice to appear. Altogether) ‘Haunt me’, ‘Speak to me’, ‘Look at me’, ‘Listen to me’.
The participants were all sceptics once. Their motives vary, some use this everyday séance as a means to enable the words to come, some seek the future in the past, some seek to actualise the present and some seek escape from time altogether.
(A knock on the table. Altogether)
Marguerite de Ponty
Glenn Herbert Gould
Wladimir Iljitsch Lenin
Hans van Meegeren
Silas Weir Mitchell
Cristiana Cott Negoescu
Michael H. Branch
Bik Van der Pol
William Butler Yeats
Hans Bernd Becher
Richard T. Gagnon
Thomas Artur Spallek
Sketch For A Painting
Henricus Antonius ‘Han’ van Meegeren (1889 − 1947) was a Dutch painter and portraitist and is considered to be one of the most ingenious art forgers of the 20th century. In May 1945, after the Allied forces learned that Meegeren sold newly discovered Vermeers to the elite of the German Gestapo during the war, Meegeren was arrested and charged with fraud and collaborationist activities. After three days in jail, he confessed to forging the paintings attributed to Vermeer and Pieter de Hooch. This photograph by Koos Raucamp, taken sometime between July and December 1945, shows Meegeren painting his last forgery. The painting, titled Jesus Among the Doctors, or Young Christ in the Temple in the style of Vermeer, was painted in the presence of reporters and court appointed witnesses.
Glenn Herbert Gould (1932 − 1982) was a Canadian pianist who became one of the best-known and most celebrated classical pianists of the 20th century. He was particularly renowned as an interpreter of the keyboard music of Johann Sebastian Bach. His playing was distinguished by remarkable technical proficiency and capacity to articulate the polyphonic texture of Bach’s music. He stopped giving concerts at the age of 31 to concentrate on studio recording and other projects. Gould was also a writer, broadcaster, conductor, and composer. He was a prolific contributor to musical journals, in which he discussed music theory and outlined his musical philosophy.
Forgery and Imitation in the Creative Process was first published in Issue No. 50 of Grand Street, titled Models. The article, taken from an essay written by Gould in or before 1964, was never finalized for publication. It appears here as well as in Grand Street in abridged form (approximately 25 percent of the latter portion of the essay was cut) and is not to be taken as the final text.
Sketch for a Painting is a photograph of a work in progress by Harkeerat Mangat taken at the artist’s studio in Düsseldorf, Germany. November 2017.