Unreal Nature

November 21, 2014

All That Has Been Gathered

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:37 am

… like music that cannot be argued against and which at bottom is a choice.

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

… The crystallization points in the painter’s spiral are the motifs. The nights that last a second or the afternoons in the studio or the ferry crossings or meaningless time spent in Italy, where all that has been gathered becomes part of the lattice and the crystal becomes radiant. And the motif is there, and in its completion of all that has gone before immediately pushes “forward” or “onward” (for everything is a spiral in which every movement leads to near-repetition, and where everything has no origin or cause, becoming just increasingly finer spiral coils striving “backwards” away from the horizon of the human eye). And this great crystal motif leaves behind it the visible motif, the immediate motif. They are left behind: this is palaeontology, the fossils. The crystal moment becomes a motif.

Therefore many painters will not talk about motif. It means nothing, says B., motif is pure accident. For only the painter knows how little the ornamental motif means in relation to the crystal motif, the great driving force. And the painter must despise and kick out at the ornamental motif. Kick it through the dirt, even if it should land on its head. This the painter must do, driven on in the eternal (and causeless) chain of crystallizations (for which he always is hoping). But the painter’s contempt for the ornamental motifs does not — paradoxically — mean that others cannot look through them and faintly see the outline of the great crystallization motif.

[ … ]

… Any attempt to say something meaningful about pictures, especially where the intention is to say something universal, applying to “what is German,” is basically doomed to end in civilized jargon and almost luminous commonplaces. If one as a reader, that is, does not accept a certain quality of being incomprehensible to outsiders, in the way of the reader of poetry, and allow the textural properties and the weight of the pictures to come forth and be present in the recollection. In such instances the trick may succeed: these banalities may fleetingly assume the kind of presence that bears the appearance of truth, like music that cannot be argued against and which at bottom is a choice.

My most recent previous post from Kirkeby’s book is here.

-Julie

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