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Tony Grist

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Another Tuesday Talk [Feb. 1st, 2011|04:27 pm]
Tony Grist
This morning's Tuesday Talk at the Whitworth was a bit dull.  It dealt with an exhibition few in the audience will have seen (because it was in London) and none of us will ever see in future (because it closed last month). On the way home- prompted by the speaker's characterisation of himself as a "high modernist"  who distrusts narrative-  we discussed whether art could ever free itself from narrative and decided it couldn't.
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[User Picture]From: clindau
2011-02-01 08:08 pm (UTC)
we discussed whether art could ever free itself from narrative and decided it couldn't.

I suppose even the most abstract of abstract art has a narrative of some kind; but some of the stuff irks me so much that I don't even want to spend time trying to puzzle it out.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-02-01 09:19 pm (UTC)
I don't believe it is possible for anything man-made to be entirely without narrative. Things acquire narrative simply by existing in time.
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2011-02-01 09:07 pm (UTC)
I think you're quite right. Art doesn't exist in a vacuum; it happens in a context, and it's very hard (if not impossible) to find a context that has no narrative. Even if narrative doesn't explicitly exist in visible form in the art (as in some types of abstract expressionism), it exists in the painter and informs the painter's making of art, and it exists in the observers and informs the observers' perception of the art.

IMO narrative is like oxygen; you can get completely clear of it, yes, but not in an environment where human beings (us highly verbal, narrative-structured creatures) can survive.
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2011-02-01 09:09 pm (UTC)
And now I want to go view Motherwell's "Elegies for the Spanish Republic" again, speaking of narrative and art. *g*
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-02-01 09:23 pm (UTC)
Those are new to me. I'm impressed. Abstract, but full of narrative.
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2011-02-01 10:05 pm (UTC)
Aren't they amazing? I was originally introduced to them by a canny art history professor who showed the class a series of slides of all of the paintings, in order, and chuckled quietly to himself as the image grew clearer and clearer and we started going, "Oh. OH. THAT'S what those are!"
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-02-02 10:37 am (UTC)
LOL. I believe there are over 100 of them. That's remarkable.

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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2011-02-02 02:25 pm (UTC)
That sounds about right, yes. I know we saw one slide every five seconds or so for perhaps ten or twelve minutes. He just ran them through click --- click --- click --- click with no voiceover.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-02-01 09:17 pm (UTC)
Very well put. My own feelings exactly.
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2011-02-01 10:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I actually wrote a college essay on a related topic. (My degree is in Art History.) It's one I've considered a lot.
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