“I paint a head like a door…

25 Feb

… like whatever else”. That’s Cézanne. And that’s Giacometti about why Cézanne has had such a deep effect on painting in the 20th century.

Seeing for real. Cézanne's Pastoral (Idyll). 1870.

And that’s not by chance that this manifesto for a visual acuity beyond the banality of a carnal veil makes immediate sense for Giacometti. He too is looking for the ontological bone.

Giacometti. Tête Noire (1960)

Or Bacon, or Matisse, or so many others. A part, that may not be small, of the divorce between common perception and visual art is born in Cézanne’s decision to look at your face like at a stone. Physics divorced from common sense with Galileo, and it’s been very long since anyone has raised an objection.

Look at a shirt like it’s a piece of cloth. Dress like you’re a Cézanne.

Kawakubo for Comme des Garçons (1983)

I don’t know what’s the matter with me tonight. Must be this German atmosphere I’m in these days (writing this from Tübingen), I’m getting another fit of modernist elitism…

AND I’LL TAKE NO PRISONERS… YAAAARRR!

 

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