In the upper portion of the painting, firm lines meet at right angles. To the left, a little figure seems to be adjusting his/her weight against a clear horizontal marked by three tiny colored squares. But balance breaks down in the diagonal of the falling bicycle in the center, and is erased entirely in the smudges and broken stick-like forms at the base of the image. Memories of childhood, of an earlier age of lost simplicities? Yet there is nothing simple about either the formal structure or the emotional texture of this disturbing image, any more than the title itself - "The Age of Innocence" - conjures up simplicity, either as a reference to a lost past or, more specifically, and ironically, to Edith Wharton's immensely sophisticated book of that name.
The process of pictorial reduction reaches its apogee in A Fragile Balance: Three lines, two of them vertical, are set at right angles to a horizontal, which bears a larger blue and smaller red square at either end. At the bottom left, a small reddish bird, perched on his forked legs, is entirely isolated in the immensity of white space around him. A fragile balance, a delicate balance? One says this about mental illness at timesshe lost her balance, or about life and death, sanity or life itself “hanging in the balance”. Or more concretely, I think of Goya's wonderful, sinister Disparate of Foolish Precision, one of a series of human follies in which unconscious desire plays a leading role. Here, it is also a question of "fragile balance," as a woman guides a horse with self-satisfied exactitude on a tight-rope over a dark, mysterious audience. Is this, too, a reference to foolish precision? "One can never be too precise, too balanced," declares the superego. "All precision is foolish, all balance fragile", whispers the unconscious from its snowy depths.