Unreal Nature

December 12, 2014

Utter Decay, or the Liberation of Age?

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:48 am

The pictures have remained within me, a slowly detonating acknowledgment of their scope. Whether they are good or bad is of little consequence. They are courageous. They gamble.

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

… The drawings are free thinking. Without language. I’m always drawing, mostly in silly little notebooks whose acidic paper will commit hara-kiri within some none too distant future. I try to make myself believe I have never drawn to produce a drawing but in order to find something out. Either clumsily and laboriously, struggling against the historical context and doubting the value of observation, stricken with the problem of translation. Or else elegantly and with refinement, in which way to discover the other side of the coin.

[ … ]

“I’ve repeated the Hero Painting,” he [Georg Baselitz] said, even before we got there. The Hero Paintings are his most extraordinary works from his early period. Repeats are normally a sign of helplessness, flat routine, lack of inspiration. The well run dry.

What was I to say? all the worst fears ran through me. “It’ll come to you as well,” he said in a tone that was slightly menacing. Recycling, obsessive repetition. Resuscitation, a revision of what had been, what once was done. The handheld spiral of recollection.

What would they look like? “They’re rather frivolous paintings,” he warned. And so they were, painted without reverence for the motif’s melancholy past. Shambling and light-handed. Utter decay and despair, or the liberation of age, the arrogance of age? The impossibility of these pictures, their detachedness transcended the issue.

I didn’t know what to say. I felt the same kind of ill-tempered annoyance I myself feel when showing my pictures to others who then fail to break out into spontaneous applause, and who instead give off a certain sense of reservation.

The pictures have remained within me, a slowly detonating acknowledgment of their scope. Whether they are good or bad is of little consequence. They are courageous. They gamble. They run a risk and lay the entire work on the line, investigating the mechanism of recollection’s whole obsession with repetition, the cover-ups and justifications. It is precisely their lack of respect, the cheeky light-handedness, an inclusion of the badly painted (in the sense of integrity) that renders them so difficult and places them somewhere between rejection and uncertain wonder. They pull at the entire net of norms and responsibilities, like recollection and the notion of the artist having some kind of personal core. Does the person exist, or is there merely repetition and anecdote?

The extended italics of the above are in the original.
-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: