Unreal Nature

November 14, 2014

By Means of Contagion

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:35 am

… the invisible underlying layers are the soil of the great communal pictures.

This is from Writings in Art by Per Kirkeby, edited by Asger Schnack (2012):

… Always claiming I do this because I want to. It’s all or nothing — because I want to. But what comes then of despair and desperation, it’s not the desire drawing to a halt, it’s just that it won’t work, it gives no result, desire has turned into furious, blushing ambition. Desire that turns into ambition is suicidal, a blissful suicide, transcending all limits.

[ … ]

… “… painting upon a wall of glass that separates him from the past. He paints what he sees. The chaos behind him grows ever more threatening, piles of bodies, nightmarish perspectives. Its images reflect in his glass. He paints over them with the ornaments he sees in the past.”

What now if he turns?

If he turns, he perhaps cannot paint. In that direction there is no glass.

[ … ]

… Painting is always layer upon layer. It is without exception a fundamental property of painted pictures, even if they seem to be done in one and the same movement. The movement has always crossed its own path somewhere. Understanding that the picture is layer upon layer is easy in the case of Picabia’s puzzle pictures and my own textural growths, but it is more difficult with pictures that are “synchronous.” By “synchronous” I mean pictures in which all the layers strive towards the same picture, where the priming and subsequent layers — glazing or otherwise — come together. Conversely, “nonsynchronous” paintings are those in which each new layer is a new picture. Like a geological order of strata with fractures and discordances. But each new layer, as furious as it may be, is always smitten and colored by what is underneath. Even in the case of blackboards, where the previous layer is physically removed, erased.

So it is with all pictures, there are many layers, and any analysis concerns for good reason almost always the last of them. The final layer in the superficial sense. But how to speak of what cannot be seen: such layers as have been painted over or blotted out? How to approach photographs, for example, which are like blackboards with layers that no longer even exist? The answer is that they exist nonetheless, are assimilated within the visible layer by means of contagion, but the problem lies in the very manner in which we approach the visible layer. The self-assured and in the worst sense of the word “analytical” approach to the pictures, seeking of standpoint. This is a method that is not evocative of the invisible layers. The evocative approach is “synthetic.” It does not immediately begin looking for results but approaches the picture with the senses, allowing the seemingly must unreasonable associations to emerge. In this way, invisible layers are brought forth to one’s self, and this is the only kind of invisible layer in the picture that allows itself to be brought forth. It is “unscientific” and seemingly uncontrollable and subjective. But the subjective element is to a large extent that which is communal; the invisible underlying layers are the soil of the great communal pictures.

-Julie

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