Sous rature, again


Three curses; fame, sanity, and rejection.

The drawing here is about low-grade inhumanity of humanity, indifference. The people with masks are like those of James Ensor. It’s also about reactions to that indifference. The masks unlike Ensor’s real and passive ones they are like Edvard Munch’s psychological masks they show anger. And like in Giorgio de Chirico’s mise en scenes there is isolation. Like all three there is alienation and anxiety.

There was alienation and anxiety in the painters’ lives as well as their work, as if you can separate the two, in expressionists anyway. All three painters lived into their 80s. Yet all of their remembered works were complete by age 40. Each was finished by then as far as the art world was concerned. Yet they lived on.

Ensor (1860-1949) became famous and stopped painting. I can only find two painting from the 19-teens and after. Munch (1863-1944) went crazy, was “cured” and stopped painting in his haunted style. His “Self-portrait between bed and clock” from 1942 is still haunting, though. De Chirico (1888-1978) moved on to a different style and was critically rejected, so he tried to get even by “forging” copies of his earlier, more famous works.

The dialogue of lack and surplus

I wish I could make more sense out of philosophers somewhat younger than the above-mentioned painters as those philosophers seem to me more heirs to expressionist painters then do painters of the abstract-expressionist or pop persuasions. I can get glimmer of insights from them. Examples are; Debord’s spectacle, Lacan’s objects, Sartre’s gaze, Baudrillard’s simulacra, even Heidegger’s erasure. But the reading is painful, I don’t know if is the necessary puns/neologisms lost in translation or if they making statements about the incomprehensibility of language with incomprehensible language.

“In the depths of my eye the picture is painted. The picture, certainly, is in my eye. But I am not in the picture.” (Lacan) On the left is a picture painted as a mirror reflecting an empty room. An “I” is not in the picture, but the room it represents contains a subject implied by an explicit point of view. The picture is in that I’s eye.

So in the diorama, like De Chirico metaphysical plazas, there is a painter simulating the simulation and one erasing it. They are both allowed but not encouraged. The painting on the right–now a verb, not a noun–is imposing a subjective fantasy on an objective observation. The act of painting here is a surplus, a gaze recorded first, then rejected by the others. In both left and right, the connection between subject and object is denied; first by the desirer the second by the desired.