PETER BRANDT
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Tomas Lagermand Lundme
Me and Marilyn Brandt

There are people
you have known all your life
but you don’t meet them until you are 21
in a basement in Copenhagen
wrapped in cheap cling film
with war painted face
because you are performing as someone other
than yourself
you meet, glasses in hand
and you don’t know what it is
but you know that it is something
and that something is called Brandt, Peter Brandt
who arrives at the gallery dressed in black
with thin flimsy hair
a little like Andy’s wigs
almost like candy floss caught in a web of dust
and electric sun, no,
it is the strip light that captured us
insisting on what we become
because we want something with each other
yes, the exact thing that becomes us
what we do and share together.

We share a flat together
we live together
we go to galleries together
to libraries and museums, we watch films together, lots of films
we attend openings and receptions
we go out and are seen by others
yes, that is how it must be
see me, see me
and we want to do things together, we dream
about something else, about what could become us
that which is probably the greatest art
only we don’t know because we’re young
and believe that nothing survives tomorrow
present time is the beat of our hearts
and the music we listen to wants to puncture that rhythm
because we also share anger
as young blood must
and we grow up together
two children who meet in blue, very blue windbreakers
in a time that isn’t even theirs
which is why all sails are set
to blow open their windbreakers to other sizes
that have enough room for our hearts
and blood
look, you say
and point to something we must see
together, look I say
and point to something else we then see
together, but we also share other things
which create us
and a self
wanting to recreate what we hold in our hands
material, matter, texture,
art we call it
yes, now we call it art
and you walk around with hair that will soon be gone
through the rooms at the Academy of Art in Copenhagen
hanging things on the wall that only Eva Hesse
wants hung right there
and you paint things black, childhood, youth,
and everything you never were
because you were so busy growing up
as that would allow you to turn around and look back at what was
that which was something
and which recreates the circumstances and consequences
from which we work
matter we arrange and make ours
enabling us to once again find a place in history
that is ours,
seeds of dandy lions and all that
which we have often talked about as glasses were emptied
and we sat looking at each other as if that which we were
that which we had shared and which was no longer ours
together, we had created and recreated
and when we stopped
a friendship across time and age arose
art,
yes,
art.

What I remember from the floor of your flat
is dead butterflies,
latex,
yes, always lots of latex,
because everything you found had to be cast
as part of new shapes, other stories,
photographs of you
as an old child in a world
of adults, where sunflowers grow taller than you
with a naturalness one only comprehends
much later
back then, we were not feminists
we were soft men with values
which most other men considered valueless
because the fight was soft, pink and incontestable
as anything but fair
the weaker sex, said drooling man
not understanding that vulnerability could become strength
because when broken enough times
one eventually becomes unbreakable
time embraced Kiki Smith
and everybody viewed dresses in constructions that made women
larger than men
Sophie Calle presented her records
of birthdays she had forgotten
yet she’d remembered every present
you never sought admission
but were rejected all the same
which is how it is, when seeking others’ spaces
when you have done it for a long time
you find your own spaces
where Virginia Wolf, Sylvia Plath and a young Suzanne Brøgger
stop by for afternoon tea
women around you were plentiful
and you embraced their fate
and made them your jacket, your skin
where dead butterflies were no longer enough
to cover you back
and we were the same
we both needed those women, those other women,
because the women we knew
and were related to
could not explain the connection between life and art
they merely lived
we wanted art
and a less visible life
preferably in the shadows
or behind bookshelves brimming with their books
the private became political, only you became more private
and guarded you studio
like a wolf
far from the moonlight.

You donned a mask, yes,
I had myself performed in it for so long,
only you made it yours so you could tell the rest of us about it,
what you saw in your dreams, in your realities
you made the Marilyn Monroe myth your own
just like Hannah Wilke’s diseased Madonna,
which we only understand once it is dead,
we never know beauty,
it will flutter past us dressed in relics from the past,
which you have always surrounded yourself with
and thus made timeless, the present becomes the future
where we search for correlations between what was
and what will come to be
you and what you choose as your history
the artworks are plenty
you insist time and again on telling us about the extremities
about the places that amputate the soul
with terrible events
we know them so well; they live in your skin
assault, betrayal, tears, everything that breaks
and the teasing brain that wants
you to sleep on pillows
of swan feathers without blood
chance becomes your consequence
your history your work
and that is how you tell us about you
through art
yes,
through art.

Marilyn Brandt, Peter Hesse, Hannah Monroe, a child
has many names, it can choose to obey,
you have always chosen you own calling names
and reacted to what you heard
or overheard on a bus, a train, in the airport waiting room
where you sat hunched over Marianne Faithfull’s autobiography,
everyone knows that she was destroyed by Mick Jagger,
and you destroyed the myth about Marilyn,
because everyone knows that that woman wanted to be loved to pieces
and pieces by anyone passing her window somewhere in Los Angeles,
where the boulevards are thick with the sticky, wet dreams
we all dream
because happiness always lives somewhere
where no one belongs
which you have so often described
our dreams are sleek as eels
that slip from our hands and slide
into something that is nothing like reality
those are the grips you have taught me
no the grips you have taught me to like
happiness is not happy
when we start telling others about it
happiness is only happy
when we carry it as that thing
yes, that thing which you time and again insist on telling us about
as something
we had
as something
that was
as something
which we will never have again.

That story is yours
and you tell it again and again in so many medias with so many expressions
and it also becomes mine
you pass on experiences
dressed as myth, in veils and naked vulnerability
where you still manage to hide behind a story
about something much greater
than us
about me and Marilyn Brandt
for example.

Thank you.