Thursday, March 19, 2015

Picasso, Malevich, Hockney, Lion of Ninivé,

Dear Helene,

I feel great respect for Picasso and Malevich with my head, but I do not love them with my heart. Of course, this is entirely personal! We had a large Malevich and Russian avant-garde exposition in the Stedelijk Museum last year. I was surprised to see how Malevich has hurried through many directions apparently in great haste, only to find depth in his later abstract, angled work that has become so well-known and influencial. As if he knew were he was going and didn't want to waste energy at intermediate steps. It may have been a distorted impression due to the selection, but I doubt it. In some of Picasso's work I see haste as well. Please forgive my candid opinion! Anyway, it can hardly be a sin to be a little bit in a hurry, if you cover so much distance!

Hockney, yes and no. I haven't seen him experiment with digital possibilities at all. So far, he paints consistently in Steve Spang's wonderful program Brushes. It is raster, a straight extension of his non-digital painting. But of course, there was the experiment of going digital at all. We have this to thank him for. He was the first great painter who showed the world that digital painting can be art, at a time nobody thought it could. In that respect he is the father of digital painting.

That's good news, if the destroyed statues were plaster. Let's hope the originals are safe behind bars in London and Bagdad. I'd love to see them, one day.. in London.. Perhaps.. Especially the wounded lion. I wonder if the artist intended it to be beauty and nature attacked by brutal force, or if the symbolism was bestowed on it accidentally in the act of destruction. Not that it needs a meaning.


Picasso, self portrait

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