Bapo by Nicholas Jose

Bapo by Nicholas Jose

Bapo

by Nicholas Jose

Giramondo, $26.95 pb, 231 pp, 9781922146632

In Charles Simić’s book about Joseph Cornell’s assemblages, Dime-Store Alchemy (1992), he quotes his own translation of Croatian poet Slavko Mihalić to describe Cornell’s sculpture ‘Deserted Perch, 1949’, noting ‘the very tiny crack in which another world begins and ends’. Simićmarvels at this ‘Illusionist art ... sleight of hand’.

In the absorbing introduction to the stories in Bapo, Nicholas Jose describes bāpò as ‘an unusual kind of Chinese painting that tricks the eye into thinking it sees a collage of fragments’. Under the disguise of collection and assembly, the painter’s hand creates a trompe-l’œil of torn, burnt, pasted fragments. Jose describes his version as assemblage, and like Cornell, who reinvented discarded scraps and oddments, he finds in bāpò an ‘aesthetic of illusion and salvage, of creative retrieval’.

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Felicity Plunkett

Felicity Plunkett

Felicity Plunkett is a poet and critic. Her first collection of poetry Vanishing Point (UQP, 2009) won the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Prize and was shortlisted for several other awards. She has a chapbook Seastrands (2011) in Vagabond Press’ Rare Objects series. Her new collection A Kinder Sea is forthcoming. Felicity was Poetry Editor for University of Queensland Press and edited Thirty Australian Poets (UQP, 2011). She has a PhD from the University of Sydney and her reviews and essays have been widely published in The Australian, Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Book Review, Sydney Review of Books etc. Her essay ‘Sound Bridge’, a portrait of Indigenous Australian musician Dr G. Yunupingu, was first published in Australian Book Review and anthologised in Best Australian Essays 2015 (Black Inc, ed. Geordie Williamson).

Published in December 2014, no. 367

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