The sixth book in the series “Art Detectives” by the successful tandem of children’s literature – writer Luīze Pastore and artist Elīna Brasliņa – invites readers to join the already well-known trio of detectives Theo, Button and Comma on their adventurous journey into the world of the Abstract Expressionist painter Mark Rothko’s (1903–1970) paintings. The story is given the same name as the 1951 Rothko painting, into which the little detectives go – “Untitled”.
Theo and Button have grown up and their long-standing friendship has clashed, however both teenagers are forced to unite in order to search for the missing classmate and, among other things, to accomplish another important task – to save their friendship.
“I’ve always thought that children’s and youth’s books should talk about emotions – not only about positive ones but also about anger, sadness, blues – about the totality of life, death and other borderline situations that help ‘see’ life.”
The author of the story admits that such literature helps to understand why, for example, mum or dad sometimes feels sad, and prepare children for the age when they themselves go through the tempests of unknown emotions, i.e. to recognize their own emotional states which they often find difficult even to name, leaving them “untitled” and hovering like a dark cloud of storm.
“Mark Rothko’s art is based solely on the spectators’ emotions – nothing else, therefore this time the story is more about “us” than about “him” – the Artist.”
However, in the book “Untitled” these themes are addressed with ease and wisdom, which is a feature of the whole series of “Art Detectives”, while encouraging the reader to accept that all emotions have the right to exist. Just like all kinds of art – even if there is always someone in front of Rothko’s paintings who says that he too “could do that”.