Clarissa Cestari’s work, from the previous post, reminds me of the late Hans Hartung, one of my heroes. The day I own a Hartung sketch will be one of the happiest in my life. I first came across the work of Hartung many years ago as an art student. There was a retrospective of his work at the Tate Britain – this was way before the Tate Modern existed. I actually prefer Tate Britain. I loved the way you could criss cross your way between pre-modern and modern art… staring at a Turner one minute, pondering Marguite the next. I also loved the Rothko room which housed The Seagram Murals – my favourite works of art. Its almost criminal, blasphemous even, the way they are now displayed at their new home, the Tate Modern. That dark room commanded a deep reverence the moment you walked in. It was a cathedral shrouded in silence. A truly spiritual experience.  Now they’ve placed them in an overlit, raucous corridor, well at least that’s how it was the last time I saw them.

I digress. Back to Hartung. I was totally blown over by his drawn work. The abstract mark makings in black. They were alive, so strong was their energy. Broad strokes drawn in a frenzy, mad spindly scribbles, a wash of paint here, a smudge there, a flash of primary yellow. Its the sort of art that the moronic make comments such as, “Even I could do that, my three year old daughter could do that.”  Have a go, mate.

Its easier said than done. There  is something deeply intuitive about the randomness of the drawings/ doodles. Naivety is contaminated by cynicism the older we get. We need distraction to tap into it. Take doodling whilst on the phone, for example. Why is it that you can never consciously recreate the freedom and dynamism of those marks? That’s the power of a Hartung. The ability to tap into the deepest recesses of the subconscious and make it all look so easy_



One Comment

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  1. March 15, 2010

    saw the pierre soulages exhibition at the pompidou last month. similar thing with lines, textures, black. simple. heard lots of comments similar to ‘i could do that’.

    i laughed.

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