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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Published in December 2014, no. 367
Felicity Plunkett

Felicity Plunkett

Felicity Plunkett is a poet and critic. She has a PhD from the University of Sydney. Her first collection of poetry Vanishing Point won the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Prize and was shortlisted for several other awards. Felicity’s chapbook Seastrands was published in Vagabond Press’s Rare Objects series in 2011, and she is the editor of Thirty Australian Poets (UQP, 2011). She is Poetry Editor with University of Queensland Press and a widely published reviewer.

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