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The Weight of the Sun, 2021


Some years ago I received as a gift a broken watch in an envelope. For a moment I felt ecstatic: another person agreed with me that time shouldn’t exist. 

I’m flicking through a pile of old magazines, I’m cutting out photographs of desert landscapes, orange seas, Mediterranean views, photographs of the sun with and without flare. I look at these photographs with a slight feeling of melancholia, I keep gathering images. On the radio Adrianne Lenker’s voice is whispering in my ear ‘Would you stare forever at the sun? Never watch the moon rising?’. 

‘I am melancholy because I am happy. It is not a paradox.’ declared Clarice Lispector in one of her short stories. 

It’s April and I’m in Sardinia, I’m sitting outside under a bright, cool sun. I’m reading an article on Jacques Henri Lartigue: his son Dani once said ‘For my father happiness was a constant battle. To overcome his chronic anxiety, he needed to prove to himself, through his indelible images, that this happiness buried deep inside of him was his raison d'être’. Bibi, Ninette, Lilian, Renée are priestesses under the sun, they dispel the fear of time.

‘Sometimes I find myself full of sorrow because I’m growing up, I would like to stay as I am…I often cried because I was growing up…this happiness won’t last forever’.*

According to the Met Office, thunderstorms occur after hot weather because the atmosphere is ‘unstable’. And so I, when I sense happiness, also wonder how it might end.

I’m in my living room in Brighton, on my laptop screen I'm looking at Delphine and Jacques looking at the sunset in Biarritz hoping to witness the ‘rayon vert’. They are sitting side by side, the sun is sinking in the sea and Delphine starts crying: ‘Don’t cry…look…wait..’.

Delphine looks anxious, sad, in awe. Her mouth semi-open, her left hand in front of her mouth, waiting for something to happen. A flash of green light appears in the sky. ‘OUI!’

* Jacques Henri Lartigue

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