… The memory is in flux and one cannot erect temples there.
… What we see is neither the unequivocal manifestation of a subjective impulse of expression nor is it objectifying in a manner which would exclude all personal moments referring to the existence of their author. Rather, Twombly’s conception can be considered a turning-point or a transition, in which the subjective shifts to the objective and the objective to the subjective.
[line break added] The writing as handwriting, for example, figures as the trace of a person; as an acknowledged vehicle of meaning it is a most valid and common institution. … [T]hey are written — however personal their character may be — and testify to a membership in systems beyond the individual.
… The traces of eradication mark the white and inaccessible picture ground like scars, defining it as both a gulf of immersion and the supporting foundation of appearance. This ambivalence is irreconcilable. Neither the viewer nor the interpreter can avoid or annihilate it. Twombly’s pictorial signs possess latency. Whatever significance we may ascribe to them, they are inseparable from the process of palimpsest-like stratification. This process, in turn, is infinite. Nothing is definitive, obvious; there is no statement of a fact that exists outside the pictorial event or is independent from it.
… What kind of viewing is it, then, which we cultivate in these sheets? How do we experience the process of sedimentation, of demonstration and concealment? It is an inner viewing which decodes the succession of signs and traces, realizes and dissolves the mental associations.
… Over and over again the viewer’s eye is confronted with the limit of disappearance, sediment and palimpsest, where, before the endless white background of memory, the pictorial events occur. Above all, the eye has to accept absence, disappearance and non-existence along with the abundance of visible elements.
The inner seeing that essentially belongs to Twombly’s artistic conception can be generally called a remembering vision.
… Every day the act of writing saves facts and circumstances from the undertow of forgetting. Simultaneously it translates all primary experiences (what we see before us or what happens to us, even the commotion of love and death) into an abstract world.
… Even the awkward/unintentional element, the play with chance which manifests itself in the structure of the sheets, indicates that we are not the masters of memory and that our will-power does not domesticate it. Twombly’s pictures frequently contain aspects of the uncontrolled, the roaming, the unknown, of correction, a world of twilight where coincidence and order never occur in their pure forms.
… It is not his aim to produce eternities, to elevate past and present experiences to something of ideal and imperishable duration. The memory is in flux and one cannot erect temples there.
… The creative work lies between remembering and forgetting. Sounding the depths of memory, snatching the forgotten from its visible hiding-place, demands many steps along borderlines. Between writing and sign, scribbling and number, volition and surrender.
My most recent previous post from this book is here.