Alfred Smollson developed his style of concrete poetry during an early collision with Dadaism before moving into Surrealism and finally fixating on Vorticism, none of which were able to stifle his ability to failure.
His disappointment in himself was perhaps overlaid by a sense of justice in that his chosen areas of exploitation had been on the edge of artistic expressions that were ahead of their time. He anticipated that on his death the true worth of his service to art would be recognised. In the belief that minimilism was inherent in true value he spent the last year of his life taking photographs of his total output, all of which he had stored in his garage.
Finally the last roll of film, he only used monochrome, was wound to the endless flutter of the loosened wheel. With pride he assembled the pyre of his works in the garden.
With the words, ” By this will I be remembered”, he carefully lit the cartridge paper and the canvas frames and stood back. With a soft smile of remembrance he watched his passions blossom and rise. Scorched echoes rose through the smoke. One flaming poster was caught in the breeze and in the evening light twirled like a loosened Catherine Wheel and settled in the pile of dry leaves rusting inside the door of the garage.
He was charmed as the blisters of yellow and orange highlighted the red jerrycans beside them. The juxtaposition of nature and man’s profligacy hit his senses as he watched the leaves crinkle and burn round the cans. The sparkling burst, like a ray of golden sunshine, thrust upwards, shearing the darkness of the garage.
He remembered the rolls of film, safely stored in their air and waterproof, duck-tape-sealed tin and stepped over the threshold to retrieve them.
“Oh, shit!” he managed to say as the lids poped off the cans and the petrel-blue flume consumed him.
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