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The Same River Twice

Richard Humann

The Same River Twice
Wood, paper, ink
2 x 388 x 49 in
5 x 985.5 x 125 cm
2013

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
— Heraclitus of Ephesus (530 – 470 BC)

I grew up in the small town of Stony Point, 40 miles north of New York City.  Although it is geographically close, to me, it was truly worlds away. Stony Point is a Hudson River town and was the site of a Revolutionary War battle lead by General “Mad” Anthony Wayne.  You can still visit the historic battlefield and see remains of the iron chain that was stretched across the river to Westchester to help stop the advancing British ships. We could see the Hudson River from our back porch, and I spent countless afternoons staring out at it.

Our summer days were filled with games of baseball in the local park, and riding our bicycles to the local deli to get a cold bottle of Coca-Cola. We stayed out as late as we could at night, playing hide-and-go-seek, or catching fireflies in bell jars. In the fall we played football, in winter we built elaborate forts for snowball fights, and when spring came around again we were out in the sunshine for as long as possible every day. The doors to our house were never locked, and neither were the neighbor’s. When you wanted to see your friend, you just ran up to his house, went inside and got him. It was an ideal setting; somewhat a scene out of a television sitcom or heartwarming movie.

By the time my teens years came along, I found myself being stifled by what I considered to be a small town mentality. From my first trip to New York City in the 3rd or 4th Grade, I knew that I wanted to live there when I grew up. I watched movies and television shows that took place in or featured New York City, and always felt full of life when I thought about the energy of the city that was so close, yet so far away. Also at that time, I discovered books, music, art and a multitude of cultural influences that helped me expand my mind and my horizon. I first read Vonnegut, then quickly moved on to Steinbeck and Hemingway.  Dostoevsky, Gogol and Turgenev soon followed.  I quickly read through many of the classics, as well as new literature of the time. I kept most of this from my friends lest I be tackled just a little harder in the next game of football. My musical taste and knowledge expanded, as did my taste in all the arts. I eventually moved to Greenpoint, Brooklyn in 1995 after graduating college and never looked back… until recently, that is.

Over the last several years the Hudson Valley has become a hotbed of artistic and cultural institutions, big and small. There are large, funded museums, such as DIA Beacon and Storm King Art Center, but more importantly there are many small, medium and large entrepreneurial spaces that are opening up at every turn. This is happening throughout the entire Hudson Valley region.

For the sculptural installation piece, The Same River Twice, I have taken a map of the Hudson River, from its head, north of Albany, to its eventual flowing out past the island of Manhattan, and transposed it onto a 32 foot-long, four foot-wide pedestal that rests on the floor of the gallery. I have gathered the writings that inspired me from my youth; The Brothers Karamazov, The Sirens of Titan, Sweet Thursday, Gulliver’s Travels, Janson’s History of Art, as well as poems by E.E. Cummings, and countless other works, including movie screenplays and song lyrics. I have dissected the text, word by word, and filled the linear map of the river with the dissected words. Where once my thoughts, influences and desires floated down to New York City with the flow of the river, the tide now returns, past my hometown to CR10 in Linlithgo, NY on the other side of the banks of the Hudson.

I am about to dip my feet into the same river twice.

– Richard Humann

Photography: J.B. Grant

Richard-Humann_Same-River_1

Richard Humann • The Same River Twice • Wood, paper, ink • 2″ x 388″ x 49″ • 2013

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Richard Humann • The Same River Twice • Wood, paper, ink • 2″ x 388″ x 49″ • 2013

Richard-Humann_Same-River_4

Richard Humann • The Same River Twice • Wood, paper, ink • 2″ x 388″ x 49″ • 2013

Richard-Humann_Same-River_2

Richard Humann • The Same River Twice • Wood, paper, ink • 2″ x 388″ x 49″ • 2013

Richard-Humann_Same-River_3

Richard Humann • The Same River Twice • Wood, paper, ink • 2″ x 388″ x 49″ • 2013

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