I’ve just finished reading the second part of J.M Coetzee’s autobiography, his follow-up to Boyhood, namely “Youth“.
Beginning with the second half of Youth, the novel felt mostly black and white. What struck me was a detail, really, but it had a major impact on my further reading.
When the young John goes to the Tate Gallery to see an exhibition of abstract expressionists, he sits 15 minutes in front of a Jackson Pollock, but the painting doesn’t seem to impress him in any way. Nothing. It completely escapes him. Then he moves on to the second hall, where he finds a big painting composed only of a black stroke elongated on a white plain.
Elegy for the Spanish Republic 24 – Robert Motherwell
John is fascinated. This mysterious black form really takes over him, just like it paralysed me after seeing reproductions of it.
About Motherwell’s Elegy for the Spanish Republic 24: “His Elegies to the Spanish Republic have been a vehicle to express what Motherwell has called “a funeral song for something one cared about” in abstract, visual terms. The series (…) evolved into an ongoing, years-long exploration of the theme in more than 150 monumental canvases.” (!)
While I realised the watercolour under Motherwell’s influence, I especially wanted to express how ”Coetzee depicts himself from a distance, creating an angle of vision which he has termed “autrebiography” (Doubling 394 ). This coinage refers to his use of a detached and uncertain third -person narrator who reports events of his own past in the present tense. He depicts his past self—both the “boy” and the “youth”– as autre , an unknown other who is a continuing presence or a haunting, unresolved problem.” (http://www.clas.ufl.edu/ipsa/2003/vanouse.html)
—- No more posts for this month, as I will be busy organising my solo painting exhibition CADMIUM —- Have a great start for the year:)