Where are we going? Not a new question

Tomorrow’s Loeb Fellowship presentation will begin with this painting by Paul Gauguin: “Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?” painted on Tahiti in 1897.

The title provides a helpful triplet to structure a fundamental career review, which is essentially what tomorrow’s presentation is about.

Part one will be about past work. Part two will set out the big questions that have brought me on a mid-career move to Harvard. Part three will be about how my practice might evolve to exploit the big answers that I’m hoping to find in the year ahead.

I have often thought about this painting; it made an impression on me as an impressionable teenager – as much for the title as for the content. It was a special joy then to discover that it is hung not far from here in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts – it has always only been in a book or a carousel of slides. And, similarly, to find out that Gauguin left Europe for Tahiti in a mid-career move, aged – like me – 42.

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One thought on “Where are we going? Not a new question”

  1. …where are we going? How do we know when we get there? Do we have a map? Do we need to stop on the way or shall we just try to get there a bit early? Who is going to sit inthe back? How will we get back?

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