Edited by dirac, 06 July 2011 - 10:43 AM.
Edited to add an introductory line to the bare link
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Posted 06 July 2011 - 10:06 AM
Posted 06 July 2011 - 10:40 AM
The curator Nicholas Cullinan has had the bold and lovely idea of interspersing paintings, drawings and sculptures by Cy Twombly with paintings and drawings by Nicolas Poussin, in a compact exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. Arcadian Painters, he bills the pairing, his working premise being that the veteran American artist (who died on 5 July 2011) shares with the 17th-century Frenchman a devotion to classical antiquity. Whether or not you feel that such an affinity comes through visually, the experiment in juxtaposition gives you much to reflect on. Above all, it refreshes your eyes. We expect Poussins to inhabit a zone of studious murmuring and fusty hauteur.
Posted 06 July 2011 - 11:14 AM
Posted 06 July 2011 - 11:27 AM
Like the French painter, Nicholas Poussin, with whom he is often compared, Cy Twombly draws very deeply upon classical antiquity and Rome, the city in which he lives. He exiled himself in 1957 and has now lived there almost half his lifetime. The two artists share a passion for mythology and the romance of the classical world joined in their work perhaps by restraint in the palette and a refusal to accept felicitous line or form as an accomplished attribute... Where Poussin is dry and difficult, Twombly offers us a kind of what Roland Barthes calls “indolence,” a sort of no-space in the non-color of his ground. This quietude, this lack of inflection, has been allied to many intellectual causes – Zen, Mallarme’s poetics, the poetry of Ezra Pound and Charles Olson and the working away from abstract expressionism and surrealism by Twombly and his peers.
Yes, I think it was really great he left town ... Cy is a second generation Abstract Expressionist and I really see Rauschenberg, Johns and Twombly as this triumvirate. They all deal with this Abstract Expressionist problem separately and quite distinctly. But he reintroduces subject matter or makes it so you can think about subject matter again. There is this poetic sense, this evocation ...
Moving away from New York painting which was so structured and so Cubist-oriented, he really gets into something else ...
Posted 06 July 2011 - 12:15 PM
Posted 06 July 2011 - 01:39 PM
Posted 06 July 2011 - 04:08 PM
[These] are paintings that are excited, possessive and dogmatic; they impose their products and attribute them the tyranny of a concept or the violence of avidity. TW's art – and here one finds its morality as well as its extreme historical singularity – desires to take possession of nothing at all. It hovers, floats and drifts between desire, which is the force that subtly animated the artists's hand, and the polish of politeness, which is the discrete dismissal of every desire to capture or possess.
Posted 06 July 2011 - 04:37 PM
Posted 06 July 2011 - 05:54 PM
You can see quite a few reproductions here. Thanks for your insights, Quiggin.
Quiggin, you make me want to see those earlier works. Especially the drawings (maybe because I'm still brooding on the Poussin connection).
Your reference to "stuff that stung a bit to look at" made me think: A career that encompasses that AND those gloriously colored pieces illustrated in the bbc article is something to be in awe of. I wish I had looked more carefully when I saw some of Twombly's work at the MACRO a while ago.
Posted 06 July 2011 - 10:47 PM
Mr. Twombly even maintained continuities where Abstract Expressionism was concerned. Arguably the crux of his achievement was not so much to overturn the style as to subvert it from within. Although the Abstract Expressionists liked to believe, in the words of Barnett Newman, that “we are making it out of ourselves,” Mr. Twombly in some ways beat them at their own game.
Posted 09 July 2011 - 10:56 AM
His ultimate subject was nothing less than the human longing to communicate — to make meaning that others could apprehend and expand. It is an ancient loop, but in nearly everything he did Mr. Twombly exposed its wiring with a new clarity and exultant intensity.
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