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High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

Kiriko Mechanicus - This Is How I Frame Her
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© Sanne De Wilde / Collectie Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
© Sanne De Wilde / Collectie Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam © Sanne De Wilde / Collectie Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Young Writers on Invisible Labour
arts

Kiriko Mechanicus - This Is How I Frame Her

Eighteen young authors have brought nineteenth-century artefacts from the Rijksmuseum to life. They have taken inspiration from the question: what do you see when you look at these objects with an eye for invisible labour? Kiriko Mechanicus explores Girl in a White Kimono, painted by George Hendrik Breitner in 1894. ‘We don’t need words, do we, babe? Go on, take off your thing.’

This is how I frame her

#1

Thank you, dear girl.
You look beautiful.
How long did you hold that pose for us? Poor thing.
It can’t be comfortable, but we’re grateful. You’re a sweetie.
The pose is a success and the portrait is a hit. Your painting is hanging in the main room!
We’ll be looking at you.

#2

Pretty dress, by the way. Gorgeous, those pleats. If I got to choose a place
in your voluminous frock, I’d nestle in your puff-sleeve, hanging lifelessly
down your hips. It’s like a nice long apple turnover. We ought to do something
about the absence of warm-body filling in your satiny puff pastry.

#3

Sorry for being so blunt. As a viewer I obviously do what I’m supposed to do
and that’s longing for your pouch. Can you offer me that nice bit of comfort
up your sleeve?
Darling.
I want to make a room out of your clothes.
I want walls of silk and to live underneath your armpit.
I want to make a rug out of your attire and I want to lie on it. I want to lie on you.

#4

You are a pouch and

I want to be inside of you.

#5

Inaudibly and under your breath, you mutter a few words we don’t understand.
Not that it matters. Nobody knows what you said, but your eyes say it all.
Girl in your garb.
Maybe you’ll show us your shoulders later.
A kimono exists for the sole purpose of removing, right?

#6

You’re a generous piece of silk with two dark eyes that look at me longingly. I don’t
understand you, but your eyes are asking if you may sweat for me. ‘Course, sweetheart. You should have said. Sorry, you obviously don’t understand me. If only you could have asked me
outright. But your eyes say it all.
We don’t need words, do we, babe? Go on, take off your thing.
My name is Tom, by the way.

Or Ewart.
Or Berend.
Or Sander.
Or Florian.
Or Mark.
Or Felix.
Or Bas.
Or Abel.
Or Roderick.
Or Fred.
Or Geert.
Or Karel.
Or Storm.
Or Vincent.

Or Dick.

But of course you don’t get any of that either.

I’m telling you anyway.

I once went on a date with the girl in the kimono. Not that she was wearing a kimono,
but her long black hair and her big, brown, innocent eyes gave me the impression
that she could have been the girl in the white kimono. She was with me, but above all far from here. She was what I hadn’t had yet, with eyes as big and brown as yours.
I’ve always wanted to marry a woman in a white kimono.
Maybe it started with you, babe.

You’ve got beautiful eyes. But of course you don’t understand that either.

Series

Young Writers on Invisible Labour

Pim Lammers - Tear Me Down

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