Reading to write …

How to write about art …

Since he applied paint thickly, and then repeatedly scratched it off the canvas as his work proceeded, the floor was covered with a largely hardened and encrusted deposit of droppings, mixed with coal dust, several centimeters thick at the center and thinning out towards the outer edges, in places resembling the flow of lava. This, said Ferber, was the true product of his continuing endeavors and the most palpable proof of his failure. It had always been of the greatest importance to him, Ferber once remarked casually, that nothing should change at his place of work, that everything should remain as it was, as he had arranged it, and that nothing further should be added but the debris generated by painting and the dust that continuously fell and which, as he was coming to realize, he loved more than anything else in the world. He felt closer to dust, he said, than to light, air or water. There was nothing he found so unbearable as a well-dusted house, and he never felt more at home than in places where things remained undisturbed, muted under the grey, velvety sinter left when matter dissolved, little by little, into nothingness.

—W. G. Sebald (trans. Michael Hulse), The Emigrants

I believe the best one can do, when writing about visual art, is to make a poetic text. The only problem with this is that one has to be a poet do carry it off – .

cy t coronation 2

Cy Twombly: Coronation of Sesostris, panel 5 (2000). Acrylic, crayon, and pencil on canvas.

John Berger: I know of no other visual Western artist who has created an oeuvre that visualizes with living colors the silent space that exists between and around words. Cy Twombly is the painterly master of verbal silence.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. roughghosts says:

    Love The Emigrants. One of my favourite books.

    1. Sigrun says:

      I think it’s time for me to read & re-read all of Sebald’s.

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