Monday, April 18, 2016

Monotypes, Moules, and Morning Light

On Sunday, GH and I went to the MoMA. He wanted to see the exhibition on Japanese architecture: "A Japanese Constellation: Toyo Ito, SANAA, and Beyond." I find architectural shows very unsatisfying. The models, plans, drawings, and projections cannot convey the sense of space that must be experienced on-site. I lack 3-D spatial imagination, I suppose. The only architectural show I really enjoyed was the one on Corbusier.

I really enjoyed the show on Degas's monotypes. Beautiful, striking surfaces achieved: the shimmer of water, the lushness of hair, the hatchings of curtains. The bathing nudes were spectacular. When two impressions are made, one directly after another, they are called cognates. Good name, that. Degas would make two impressions, instead of the usual one, and color the second one with pastel. He also experimented with dark field and light field printing. In the first, black ink was applied to the whole metal plate, and then removed, with a roll of sponge, a finger, the wooden tip of a brush, to create the image. The second is the opposite, in which the image is drawn in black ink on the clean plate. Degas used both techniques in some of his most ambitious print works.

We also saw the Marcel Broodthaers retrospective. Born a Belgian, he was a poet before he became an artist, and even after he turned to art, never left his fascination with text and wordplay. He drew inspiration from Magritte (This is not a pipe.) and from the French symbolists, such as Mallarmé. I liked his sculpture of a pot of mussels, the lid lifted by the abundance of the shellfish. The sculpture was repeated in various permutations and formats throughout his career, together with his use of eggshells. Moules means both mussels and molds. I also liked his mussel paintings, in which canvases in different shapes are covered with the emptied shells bearing a tint of green, blue or yellow. The work is limited in its aims and execution, but interesting, nevertheless.


Morning light
rich as an avocado
the earth a seed

Why drive? You will miss
the connotations of light

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