It is 1916 and an English gentleman is sitting in the shade of a trottoir café in Limassol on the island of Cyprus. Next to him is a Greek Cypriot tailor. They are both drinking coffee and discussing the events of the day. As they are about to part, the English gentleman says, “as soon as you have definite information, ring up 8456 and ask when it will be convenient for Mr Crowder to try on his new suit.” And adds that if he’s not there, he’ll phone back later in order to confirm the meeting.
So you’ve already spotted that something fishy is going on here, haven’t you?
Life is everywhere, it is the metaphor for our earth. It is there that things might live. I want to take a generalized look at the various kinds of life that exist on earth, and take a rational look at what this implies about these forms of life.
In the world around us, the simplest class of life that we can see is the plant. I will leave aside the microscopic organisms as we cannot see them; indeed, I have dealt with these on my private blog, for the misunderstandings about them are legion and it takes some seriously clear thinking to wade through the various illusions.
It is true that, like Rodin, one can see the beauty of the whole that lies in but a part of the sculpture – that is to employ our imagination in the way a true artist intends. Like Tom Thomson’s paintings that on first view appear only half finished; but that is their art, they are there for you to finish in your mind. And in finishing it, you add something more than the imagery, you add the birdsong and the scent of wild flowers or the lapping of the waves on the lakeside.
Rodin took this a little further in that he would find himself inspired to sculpt an arm or a leg with a particular gesture – and whilst this is clearly the stuff of genius, it is still in the realms of being a practice piece. Art is an expression of one’s own relationship to nature – be it through colour, sound or form. We do not have relationships with arms or legs, we have relationships with the humans they are part of.
There are so few people who truly ‘get’ what thinking is. There are many people with whom I enjoy sharing comments; it is a very rare person who truly understands the nature of thinking.
Now it is true that this young lady hasn’t lassooed her own thinking yet, but the power is there, waiting to flower. Few people know that they can wield their power of thought – not just the thoughts themselves. This is what is demonstrated in the post linked to here.
She has looked into her own thoughts and considered them. This is a process so distant from ordinary thinking that the power of words ceases to have meaning. Yet, there she is, young Alex, forming concepts that to me have real meaning. Thoughts that I could never have expressed myself.
I am including this in my series ‘Beyond Newton’ because it shows what is happening when a scientist delves below the surface of consciousness – but thinks they are dealing with reality. When in fact, they are only dealing with their own powers of thought. Inside them. But that is the paradox of the subconscious.
My gift to Alex is to realize the power of reality; her gift to me will be what she does with it.
Given the content and nature of this exhibition, I really hadn’t given this exhibition at the Rijksmuseum Twente much time or thought. I visited it in January; it began in September. The subject of the exhibition is Gerard de Lairesse, is one of the lesser known painters of the Dutch ‘Golden Age’ of the late seventeenth century. It was only on account of the gallery’s proximity to the railway station that I even bothered to go – I was suffering from the after effects of back pain and didn’t want to venture too far. The coffee in the gallery’s restaurant is enough to tempt any mortal soul. That was the real reason for me to go.
Carl Andre produced this work in 1968 for the Abteiberg Gallery in Mönchengladbach. He is known for what modern critics term ‘minimalism,’ that is to say, he has reduced everything to its bare essentials in the way Malevich did. The problem for Carl Andre was that, like Malevich sixty five years before him, he sees squares as the end point of minimalism. I have dealt with this argument in my post about Malevich, and is there, should you wish to read it (1).
To many, minimalism is pleasing; but it pleases for the wrong reasons. Reasons that I will explore in this post. Along with one or two other issues that Andre unknowingly points to.
Now, in the past, I have nailed my colours to the mast on several occasions, stating that art has to be new and original. In the late sixties everything was steel, concrete and above all, rectangular. Bringing these concepts into the realm of art would have been original in 1903; in 1968 it was old hat.
I admit it, I was a marketer. A few years back, I met a young man on a train and out of politeness asked him what he did for a living. What surprised me about this smart young man’s response was that he cowered back into his seat in shame! The effect I had on him could not have been more forceful had I threatened him with a large club with nasty looking spikes poking out of it.
It took thirty seconds for the penny to drop. Pennies don’t take long to drop when you understand what drives fear.