2005/01/23

The subject of visual arts in postmodernism. (5)

I find that the act of will in a painting is rigidifying, it lacks what machine work lacks, it lacks the poetry of the spontaneous human intervention, it lacks those small "mistakes"that the act of will is automatically correcting. That's about form for form but there is a more essential aspect of meditation/automatism and it concerns the content. It's what Leonardo calls "admirable inventions" in his treatise on painting. When looking intensely at a surface, one always finds small irregularities in the material and the more one looks at those irregularities the more one finds of them. Those irregularities are Leonardo's "admirable inventions". The artist does not create those irregularities, he only interprets them in his own vocabulary, his own mass of referable (knowledge). If his technique is mature, the artist sizes the patterns of his brain in those irregularities. Each artist has his own tricks. One looks at the material of the color that is deposited on the paper or the canvas to find his brain patterns, another as Miro "in watercolors would roughen the surface of the paper by rubbing it. Painting over this roughened surface produced curious chance shapes..."1

I personally work in the color material and discover there a world that grows by itself. I follow what I discover and I do not impose my will at this stage of the work. In some works, this stage takes 10 minutes, in other works it can take hours and in some other works it can take a few sessions. This is the moment that I express my feelings in the sense employed by Jackson Pollock. I'm not trying to represent something, I just express my feelings in very fast brush gestures. In the meditation/automatism stage I have one session per day for a given work and generally I work simultaneously on a few works. Brushing the colors on the canvas or the paper is a very intensive gestural activity pumping much energy.
The intensity of energy liberated is, I feel, disruptive of my rational judgment and thus it is important at this stage for me to let things cool down fast . After ignoring the piece on which I work for a few days, I see it in a different light and I then am very fast ready for the second stage of my work.

1. Miro. Interview with James Johnson Sweeney. 1947. In Herschel B. Chipp. Theories of modern art. University of California Press.


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