Wednesday, July 31, 2013

painting in twilight...

one of the most exciting body of works in lacma's hans richter exhibition is a series of strange wonky paintings and drawings done under the rubric of "visionary portraits" or "visionary self portraits". these look quite a bit like german expressionist portraits, but they somehow feel stranger, less guided. at first glance, they seemed connected to the paintings of composer/painter arnold schoenberg. the wall text for the visionary portraits (i believe that the word 'visionary' was richter's), reveals that richter painted these works at twilight - a time when colors were 'indistinguishable', where the light and atmosphere would put him into 'a sort of auto-hypnotic trance... thus the picture took shape before the inner, rather than the outer, eye.'

i have to say this whole story kind of floored me - and of course, i was excited to see this idea of limited vision or limiting one's technical facilities as a huge precedent in finding ways to explore a more creative way of articulation... and in richter's case it seemed to be less looking and more groping.

with schoenberg's paintings, i believe that they look the way that they look because of necessity. i don't think schoenberg was trained in painting (although he was very much immersed in making them); and his paintings fall somewhere historically between an outsider artist (in relation to the historical term), and an amateur - thus the visionary nature of his work is an artifact of being a ham-fisted painter.  richter's visionary portraits, on the other hand, were experiments against tradition, not just against traditional visual languages, but against the tradition of how one makes a painting (i.e. dimming the light is probably not an ideal situation for working with color. )

what really shocked me, even more than the paintings themselves (which are freaking incredible), was richter's words around these paintings... i mean you don't usually hear a dada artist speaking about the inner eye, a trance and the visionary realm very often.   

Friday, July 26, 2013

more richter soundtracks...

my third soundtrack to richter's ghosts before breakfast is now up on the lacma site. you can look and listen here...

Monday, July 22, 2013

if you are in LA this wednesday evening...

Wednesday July 24, 2013
8 - 11pm

at human resources

410 Cottage Home St
Los Angeles CA, 90012


Sound performances by:

Robert Crouch
Pinkcourtesyphone (Richard Chartier)
Yann Novak
Steve Roden

$5 - $15 Sliding Scale

there will be merch... too...

Monday, July 08, 2013

when something is nothing...

arriving in ny at 6 am on a sunday left me with little options. i spent a few hours having coffee in several different places and breakfast at another, and i finally walked over to central park, but i kept falling asleep on the bench and so i walked over to the met, which fortunately opens at 9 am!

upon entering the early egyptian artifacts, i noticed several display cases that had been emptied because of construction beneath the museum. instead of covering the display cases, they simply left them with their security armatures, which were actually quite fascinating, as well as reminiscent of calder's circus - as well as those early little wire pieces with shadows by c. boltanski.

while the artifacts would've been wonderful as well, their absence offered a wonderful excursion through line, light and shadow. in the late 1960's, before my grandmother was working with stone she was working with wire sculpture with some kind of liquid metal (lead?) dripped over them, and these ceramic protectors that the museum must've fabricated reminded me a lot of the skeletal armatures of her work, and i wondered what kind of forms they might have offered if my grandmother had added muscle, organs and skin. of course, the absence of the primary material was also a bit haunting - like the objects had walked away and in their absence they had left behind their shadows, and similarly as if such shadows were objects rather than artifacts of light. what's also interesting is that the armatures have a kind of fluidity that felt like writing or cryptic symbols...