Wojciech Sztaba

Malerei OmU Theatrum picturaeStudioloWhat if we left realism behind? und andere Bilder

Fotografie AndelotDer Strom Klon Seiltänzer ∴ Über die Vielfalt der Welten oder Kaffeeplaneten

Zeichnung für Neckarsulm und andere Bilder

What if we left realism behind?

„Cy Twombly“, „Lucio Fontana“, „Kurt Schwitters“, „Hokusai“
Alle Bilder: 70 x 70 cm, Öl / Leinwand, 1998



„Und wenn wir uns vom Realismus trennten?”
Alan Mc Euen

I hope you have not been expecting a swift reply to your request concerning this subtitle. It has exercised our minds a lot and we've come up with a number of possibilities which differ in nuances, connotations, etc. We've consulted with others (including an Austrian colleague at work) and have come up with the following:

„Und wenn... ?” Everyone is agreed that the best English equivalent is „What if .. ?” „...wir uns vom Realismus trennten?" has posed problems because „trennen" literally means to severe or separate and would not normally say „ we severed ourselves from... “, either. Depending an precise meaning, we might say „What if we cut ourselves off from...” which implies breaking off of communication, and, as we are doing it to ourselves, an introversion, a retreating within ourselves. Alternatively, we might say „What if we cut ourselves free from...” which implies moving out and away, a liberation. Another, perhaps free translation would be „What if we left realism behind?” This implies that realism never bound us, but that we're tired of it, or it has outlived its usefulness or we have outgrown it. Or slightly more emphatic, perhaps slightly exasperated variation would be „What if we just left realism behind?” The simplest suggestion we've had is „Leaving realism?”, which is the least specific, and therefore has the widest possible interpretation (The person who suggested this said he really wanted to see the paintings before being more specific.)

However, if you wanted to play an words and exploit the similarity between realism and reality (which is more easily done in English than in German), then it would be valid to say „escape” because „to escape from reality” is the most common idiom in English for when people seek to avoid problems and the real world through alcohol, drugs, madness or mysticism. (Other idioms include „shut out” or „switch off”, but there are more passive and introspective and probably not what you're thinking of.) What we're not sure is whether „trennen” would be used in the German idiom for escaping from reality.

I do not know if any of these comments have been helpful, or whether you're now more confused than before, but we would like to see the paintings when they're done.

But how to translate „A może by tak uciec od realizmu” ?
Paul Crossley

Nothing literal will do. It has, as you say, to catch the light, ironic, slightly questioning and conditional tone of the phrase. I think your construction „And what about...,” being interrogatory, is brilliant. I can think of something light and colloquial: „Shall we give Realism the slip?”
„What about getting away from Realism?" (this is close to yours, but I think „getting away from” is better than „getting out of'”)
„Good riddance to Realism" (this sounds good alliteratively, but it is a bit strong and doesn't have the lightness).
„Why not leave Realism behind?”
„Let's just dump Realism” (this is crude, but it is snappy and direct, though not light).