“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…




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