SPA 436 – GESTURE

First encounter –

My first encounter  Cy Twombly: Works on Paper provoke on me two reactions: 1) I can’t pronounce this person’s name. Sai tuombli? I will discover this in class. 2) I expect to read about writing on paper, this expectation is totally unfulfilled.

But these two reactions are only to be followed by some others. As soon as I start reading, I wonder how in the world we go from Cy Twombly to TW??? wouldn’t be more appropriate CT? Apparently the narrator is struggling as much as I am with this person who I haven’t heard before (assuming he is a person and not a thing).

One thing is established early on: TW is a he, and is causing enigma, apparently it is impossible to catalogue him or his art.

TW is asking us to displace the words of culture, to detach them to give them another light.

Umm, the text starts getting interesting:  a gesture… it is only a gesture, for “the essence of an object has some relation with its destruction” (158), like those pants on the floor that lay discarded until who knows when. And just to make sure… this relation is not about “what remains after its use”, but “what is thrown away as being of no further use.” The remnants of writing in TW’s work. “They are the scraps of an indolence, hence of an extreme elegance; as if there remained, after writing, which is a powerful erotic action, what Verlaine calls la fatigue amoureuse” (159). I did on purpose included this long reference to the text in question, because Alas! I don’t agree there is anything elegant about it… si no, veamos las realidades de la fatigue amoureuse in action. After having watched “Ideología,” posted in Linkillo, one of the referenced blogs posted in my class syllabus, I could’t but make this new connection that contradicts and debunks this so called elegance, because just as climax fades in Idelogía, there is nothing elegant about it… in any case is messy, just as the discarded writings are in TW’s work. Of course this is just my initial appreciation, as I’m used to it by now, I will change my mind after some smart comment in class, but until then I will continue to enjoy my newly made connection.  However, after this fun connection, I have to admit there is something enigmatic and interesting in this metaphoric connection. Writing that was no longer is… this gesture was unrehearsed and “produced without deliberation.” (159)

Another interesting comment that helps interpret TW’s work: “…as if the world has been written with his fingertips, not out of disgust or boredom, but out of a kind of caprice open to the memory of a defunct culture which has left no more than the trace of a few words.” (159). I do like this interpretation, it works.

The vague is alive. A gesture: the surplus of an action.

ummm… lots of interesting things, but here I have to stop to think:

I take that there is a point when writing is transformed and transcends its utilitarian purpose to become a new form of expression… a kind of let go of the artist… so the consumer of the art can creat its own meaning of it. This carcass has become art. This is one of the fringes of literature I’m afraid. (161).

Here is another interesting thought: everything is always, already, rough, discontinuous, unequal, set in motion by some accident: there is the texture of the paper, then the stains, the hatchings, the tracery of strokes, the diagrams, the words. At the end of this chain, writing loses its violence” (162), I wonder what violence does the narrator refer to.

How does this carcass of writing become culture? How does writing join the idea of Book when writing bears down, explodes, pushes toward the margins? ah… the annotated book. Aha! and from there you get a collective memory accumulated in the carcass of a word, such Virgil, that will evoke (provided you had some exposure to culture, or education) a long line of imagery that will substitute a long line of words. This long chain of imagery embedded in our subconscious is the epitome of minimalistic representation. Why write? is like a tiny movie that stores lots of information.

Here is another interesting pusher of boundaries: Mallarme so I wont forget.

So after all things Gauche, I can see the intentionality on TW’s part, but wouldn’t this contradict his own creation somehow? after all the carcass was unintentional.

I like the following: “The eye is reason, evidence, empiricism, verisimilitude – everything which serves to control, to coordinate, to imitate; as an exclusive art of seeing, all our past painting has been subject to a repressive rationality. – I think this is brilliant. I do like it. Ha! I will have to give this a try, my next painting will be with no light…😀 it is liberating. (163)

As far as the ductus concerns me, I can’t help but to think of a couple of my students, who start writing their letters from a different perspective (which I confess has made me cringe more than once), and now as I think back, it’s only an expression of dogma and politics… A way to keep everyone under a yolk.  I don’t know much about this ductus… I must look. (164)

Now to Proust, with Id … the pencil requires paper, both comercial objects subject anyone to the system. You don’t need to write in paintings… so why does he write in his paintings, why are his writing so wild? (165) moving on…

The superimposition of two movements : one writing, one erasing creating a palimpsest, which produces a new taoistic concept embedded in the gesture (life-death, to be and not to be at the same time). 166

To be continued…

Ah, el color, el cuerpo…

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