What is colour – without Language? | project reference and notes

‘The title of this project has been adapted from a poem by the French writer Jean Follain.
Follain’s use of language, his sense of the miniature, the modesty of his subjects, and the relationship of his poems to memory have influenced its general outline – A project that asks you to think about colour as the material of art.
‘A small painting of seven apples by Paul Cézanne arrived in England in 1918. It sat in the hedge at the bottom of the farm lane leading up to Charleston, while the economist Maynard Keynes, who had acquired it from the sale of Edgar Degas’s collection in Paris, carried the rest of his luggage up to the house. Duncan Grant ran down to fetch it. From then on at Charleston, where Keynes left the Cézanne for a period, and then in Roger Fry’s studio, where it also lodged for a while, it became the object of intense scrutiny. ‘What can six apples not be?’ Woolf asked, miscounting the apples in her amazement at the attention this small painting attracted. She wanted to understand its power, for as her diary entry records, the apples seemed to get redder and rounder and greener, while the other paintings in the room seemed to recede, to pale into insignificance.’
(Frances Spalding, Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision. National Portrait Gallery Publications, 2014.)

By starting out from one of thirty (30) poems/pieces of writing selected for you to study (by John Berger, Charles Baudelaire, John Berryman, Elizabeth Bishop, Paul Bowles, Geraldine Connolly, Jean Follain, John Glenday, Geoffrey Hill, Michel Houellebecq, Kathleen Jamie, Jane Kenyon, Hester Knibbe, Michael Longley, Mary Oliver, Francis Ponge, Marion Poschmann, Rainer Marie Rilke, Edith Södergran, Katherine Towers, Natasha Trethewey and Virginia Woolf) we would like you to study the question, what is colour? within the context of a fluid understanding of the landscapes of language and technology, and in particular, the visual and critical languages of fine art … … and make an artwork out of your discoveries, the only stipulation is that it starts out from your response to one of the pieces of writing provided.’

(from ‘What is colour – without Language?’ The third of three first semester Fine Art studio projects; General Foundation in Art & Design, DJCAD, University of Dundee.)


And complementing my reference to comments that Geoffrey Hill made in an interview:

‘In my view, difficult poetry is the most democratic, because you are doing your audience the honour of supposing that they are intelligent human beings. So much of the populist poetry of today treats people as if they were fools.’
And Hill continued …
‘We are difficult. Human beings are difficult. We’re difficult to ourselves, we’re difficult to each other. And we are mysteries to ourselves, we are mysteries to each other. One encounters in any ordinary day far more real difficulty than one confronts in the most ‘intellectual’ piece of work. Why is it believed that poetry, prose, painting, music should be less than we are? Why does music, why does poetry have to address in simplified terms, when if such simplification were applied to a description of our own inner selves we would find it demeaning? I think art has a right—not an obligation—to be difficult if it wishes.’

… further related arguments may be found in this article by Rebecca Watt – https://www.pnreview.co.uk/cgi-bin/scribe?item_id=10090 – taken from PN Review 239, Volume 44 Number 3, January – February 2018.

What is Sculpture? | project reference and notes

‘You must change your life’ was the injunction that the Greek torso issued to the poet Rainer Maria Rilke. A torso without a head.
The head – of the Greek God Apollo, severed from its body and lying on one side – is seen elsewhere, held between the hands of a blind man in Jusepe de Ribera’s painting, In Sense of Touch. 
The painting was made in Naples in 1652. The poem composed in Paris and first published in 1918.
Rilke would live in Paris for twelve years, and in 1902 he became the friend, and for a time the secretary, of the sculptor Auguste Rodin. His writing during this time (1907-1908) was not about his own abstract ideas and moods, but instead about actual things outside of himself, a type of poetry he referred to as Dinggedichte (thing poems) – for example, an encounter with a panther in a zoo enclosure; children on a merry-go-round; the broken sculpture of a male figure in the Louvre Museum. The poem, ‘Archaic Torso of Apollo’, is ekphrastic – a vivid description of a visual work of art, in this case, a statue without a head, without arms or legs, without genitals – and it asks us to consider why the poet ‘sees it’ as more real, in this, its damaged condition.
Both the photograph of the statue in the Louvre’s collection, and Rilke’s poem, are ‘documents’. And this ‘document’ – in addition to studying the subject of sculpture – is the other subject of this, the second project.

(from ‘What is Sculpture?’ The second of three first semester Fine Art studio projects; General Foundation in Art & Design, DJCAD, University of Dundee.)

 







Untitled|five eighteen – Vine black

Amoxicillin
BASP UK – Outdoor Emergency First Aid
C366H384O228FeMg.

As a boy he would sit on the carpet with his back against his bed and listen, with his eyes closed, to the singing birds.

Highland, to plant limes beside the spring, to purify and sweeten the water.
Shaun Prescott, The Town (Brow Books, 2017)
Soil

The world, as wide as your sides, but masked by fashion and comfort.
‘Twice five, twice five, twice five …’
Vine black – rushlight.
Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Ivan the Terrible and Ivan the Fool. Translated by Daniel Weissbort (Victor Gollancz Ltd., 1979)

Untitled|four eighteen – The silence of a plane going through a fir tree contains everything within itself.

‘If I look at a cup I can name it, I can describe its design. I may be able to guess its value or describe its particular use. This is the everyday shorthand by which I orientate myself and make sense of the world around me.’


‘… In another vein of thought I may look at a cup and think of breakfast – a kind of first order association by which I logically connect a cup with a process or event of which a cup is a part.’


‘The most beautiful part / of your body is wherever / your mother’s shadow falls.’ (O.V.)

A wavy line of geese on the cool surface of the sky, like drops of water on black.
Donald Judd Writings (Judd Foundation & David Zwirner Books 2016)
Frost light on the slates of the helpless barn.
One day the patterned rug will go on without.

‘ … Things.
When I say that word (do you hear?), there is a silence; the silence which surrounds things. All movement subsides and becomes contour, and out of past and future time something permanent is formed: space, the great calm of objects which know no urge.’ (R.M.R.)

That life, perhaps, is no more than preparation for the hour suddenly stilled.
Talking to myself … the cherry tree’s going to blossom soon …

‘… Lastly I may look and see mainly a white curving shape. It might remind me of a bath or a seagull. I suspend my habits of vision – I let the object settle in my mind as an object and allow images to well up around it.’


It Never Touches The Ground | I left a cup under our sky / overnight to measure how much / it rained in my dream, with you.

The cup shifted on its saucer – by the nothingness of a bird – helpless.
Perfect day – Scotland, rain, ozone.