Museum Wall After Closing Time
Montreal, June 2004
There's a certain museum a traveler once told me about. On one of the walls of the museum are two beautiful self portraits - one of a man, the other of a woman. Once a year, this person told me, and only once a year, the figures in the portraits begin to become alive, slowly emerging from the canvas. The metamorphosis of the self-portraits begins to occur after the museum visitors have filtered out and the musuem lights have been dimmed. The two figures stretch their arms beyond the frame, slowly adjusting to the world outside of the canvas. They wiggle their fingers, adjusting to the air. Their heads are next, as if they were peering out of window. When the two see each other they smile, eagerly moving further beyond the limits of the canvas.
That night the two figures are free to roam the halls of the museum together. Each painting in the museum opens itself up to the two. They can leap together into a mountainous landscape, reach into a still life, or sail in an open ocean, only to emerge back into the halls of the museum when they thirst for something new.
As daybreak gets closer the two tired figures slowly move back to their frames. With one last look at each other the climb back into the canvas, resume their positions, and cease to move. When the museum opens, the innocent visitors filter back in, taking a few moments to stare up at the two self-portraits. The two figures stare straight ahead, waiting for the year to pass.
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