Unreal Nature

November 10, 2015

Standing Outside

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:51 am

… I recognize a good painting when I recognize that privacy.

This is from Think with the Senses: Feel with the Mind: Art in the Present Tense by Robert Storr, who was the Director of this 52nd International Art Exhibition (the 2007 Venice Biennale) to which this book was the accompanying catalog, which features a commentary and (optional) statement or quote from the artist. The following is from the commentary on the artist, Raoul De Keyser:

In the current art world there seems little place and even less patience for ‘slow burners’ and ‘late bloomers.’ To be ‘contemporary’ an artist must assert himself early, be on the move, produce abundantly and throw himself into the midst of the action. At 77, Raoul De Keyser has done none of those things. However, he is very much a painter of the moment precisely because of what he is not, and on the mind of younger artists because of his stubborn devotion to his aesthetic vocation.

Raoul De Keyser, Oskar 4, 2005

… For the most part De Keyser’s paintings are small, even tiny, and for the most part they are lightly brushed as if a sun shower of liquid pigment had broken over the surface and then drained away. Or they may be gently marked by soft charcoal as if dusted by winds carrying soot and ash. No matter how soft the touch of how subtle the chromatic admixtures, his paintings glow, and in glowing take over more space visually than they occupy physically.

Raoul De Keyser, Traum, 2006

It is relevant to note here that in the artist’s bare bones studio sit several large cages containing a variety of birds. Asked why he keeps such noisy company, De Keyser answered ‘so that there will always be color and movement’ — which is to say color in motion.

Next is from a quote from artist Guillermo Kuitca:

Guillermo Kuitca, Diario, 2006

… In painting I think there is a very private nucleus and this is the element that is eventually revealed for the viewer. I recognize a good painting when I recognize that privacy. What I mean to say is that there’s an established world between the painting and me. [On the other hand … ] Photography and some installations open shared worlds. A good painting is that which opens up a link in which there is nothing else. This is why we are so lacking in confidence, and why we are so lonely in front of a painting.

Guillermo Kuitca, Diario, 2005-06

Last, this is a quote from Bruce Nauman:

… Standing outside and looking at how something gets done, or doesn’t get done, is really fascinating and curious. If I can manage to get outside of a problem a little bit and watch myself having a hard time, then I can see what I’m going to do — it makes it possible. It works.

… There is a tendency to clutter things up, to try to make sure people know something is art, when all that’s necessary is to present it, to leave it alone. I think the hardest thing to do is to present an idea in the most straightforward way.

What I tend to do is see something, then re-make it and re-make it and try every possible way of re-making it. If I’m persistent enough, I get back to where I started. … [H]ow to proceed is always the mystery.

Bruce Nauman, Venice Fountains [detail], 2007

My previous post from this book is here.




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