Friday, December 18, 2009

Not A Fish Fossil!

The semester is over. Maybe I should say its ‘demanding part’ is over, for the work of a grad student is never-ending. These days I am mostly working on my exhibition project. It is very exciting and I hope it engages the viewer with the same excitement. Unlike the show project, my study on Dubuffet goes slowly. Dubuffet’s writings are very poetic and full of short witty segments. Take a look at a couple of them in adoration of lively, dynamic and unconventional art:

A Fish Fossil
As its timeliness retreats, a human work becomes what a fish fossil is to a fish. Please don’t hold it against me, but in my fish tank I prefer the humblest, the commonest, of ablets,* so long as it’s alive (and delirious to be alive), to the most illustrious fish fossil.

A man asks for a companion, and he is brought the mummy of Thais. The most gorgeous woman in ancient Egypt, he is told. She doesn’t interest him he would rather have a live girl; the maid, for instance.**

Out of the Frying Pan, into the Fire
It’s funny to note how much the artists of today*** worry about the durability of their works. Things have gone so far that artists are denying themselves all bright and dazzling colors, because these colors might eventually tarnish. These ones prefer to paint in dull hues right away. Does the intoxication involved in art harmonize with such inhibitions? Many painters fully cognizant of the reason, work hard at bland but durable pieces rather than at more pleasurable ones, which they fear will last only ten years instead of fifty.

Woman Trying on a Hat' (1943), by Jean Dubuffet

* Ablet is a small fresh-water fish.
** It is ironic that a couple of days ago the news of Louvre returning five fresco fragments to Egypt came out.
*** Dubuffet wrote these around 1945. I am wondering how much of it (importance of the durability of an art piece) is true for the artists of today – our today, the 3rd millennium today?
**** Dubuffet’s paintings in the 40s have vivid colors. Later, in the 50s his work becomes thick and monochromic, but he never used fade colors. (
The quotes are from: Dubuffet, Jean, Notes for the Well-Read, trans. Neugroschel, 1945, in Jean Dubuffet Towards an Alternative Reality, Pace Publications inc., NY, 1987.)


مسعود said...

سلام دوست من
راستش حال و روز درست و درمانی ندارم که چیزی بنویسم ولی دیروز صدای شما را از بی بی سی شنیدم که راجع به پدر معنوی جنبش سبز ملت ایران صحبت کردید.متشکرم

Tameshk said...

مسعود عزیز
روزگار سختی است. این شمایید که در تمشک همیشه به من امید میدهید. من هم این روزها مدام زیر لب از خود میپرسم:‌ قاصد روزان ابری داروک کی میرسد باران؟
مسعود جان، باران میبارد. سیل داروک های سبز این را نوید میدهند