Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Nothing A Lick Of Paint Wouldn't Cure

The sculptor Anthony Gormley- who was being interviewed by Jon Snow for Channel 4 last night- described the human body as a spaceship. I like that- for what are our bodies if not vessels which consciousness/mind/spirit uses to explore space?

Gormley has an exhibition opening at the Royal Academy- and he and Snow were walking us round it. Tell you what I miss from it: I miss colour. Why can't that claustrophobic cagey thing he's got hanging from the ceiling be painted blue? Why don't those omnipresent casts of his body have skin tone and seeing eyes? Our ancestors painted everything sculptural. But then the renaissance popes and princes started digging up classical marbles and wrongly assumed they'd always been monochrome- and since they further assumed- also wrongly- that the Greeks and Romans had known best- it became accepted that painting your statues was vulgar. Looking at medieval sculpture- as I have been doing recently- I've come to accept paint jobs as natural and the bare, monochrome stone and metal art works of the last few centuries as products of a passing fad that was based on a misunderstanding.

I blame Michelangelo. Mind you, I blame Michelangelo for a lot of things.

Were the great stone constructs of prehistory- Stonehenge, Avebury, Carnac etc- orginally painted? Of course they were.

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