Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Unfinished Works

"Sometimes it may happen that a speculative artist may, by his own eccentricity, think out for himself some new method in Alchemy, be the consequence anything or nothing. He need do nought in order to reduce something into nothing, and again bring back something out of nothing. Yet this proverb of the incredulous is not wholly false. Destruction perfects that which is good; for the good cannot appear on account of that which conceals it. The good is least good whilst it is thus concealed. The concealment must be removed that so the good may be able freely to appear in its own brightness. For example, the mountain, the sand, the earth, or the stone in which a metal has grown is such a concealment. Each one of the visible metals is a concealment of the other six metals."

Paracelsus - Coelum philosophorum

Paddling towards siren shores.

Collecting the yeast of urns from distant star-beaches.

Hurry love.

Not now, I am evaporating.

Famine! Famine!

Searching for warty toads at the bottom of the waters that flooded the summit in spring-time.

Getting out of the oyster bed (before the page).

Taking the dead end of metaphor.

I have made numerous pencil sketches that were abandoned before their ideas were outlined in their entirety or had grown to a full motive. On a whim I transferred some of these unfinished sketches more or less randomly from white papers to papers with structured backgrounds.

During this process it often happened that the "unfinishedness" as by magic was drastically removed from the visual appearance. Forms took up my hints and began to tell a story, or started to break down the motive. The ones showed here became alive to me. But since the sketches neither were properly "finished" according to my original thought nor deterred totally from what was vaguely intended to be there, I played around with the idea of expressing the process of transformation in terms of a "negation of the negation", or akin to how psychoanalysis manages to outline the structure of the unconscious by projecting the ideas of lack and desire upon it.

Because from this dialectic an agreeable analogy seem to present itself. Namely that the transformation of the images come to display features of the original "non-element" at another level of meaning. (From the Paracelsus quote, I even constructed the phrase "unconcealing the incomplete features" for the process, thereby alluding both to how the matter embedding the metal ores is removed and to the sense of precognition which is involved in creation.)

The new level of meaning referred to remains, I would think, qualitatively percieved as the artist´s familliar sense of animistic euphoria, as when the work suddenly becomes alive and other. But the further implication of this change is that the artist´s dethronement or removal is actually suggested, since the suspicion that "thought is flowing forth directly from material reality" begin to make its glorious claim. This gets me back to why the drawings were abandoned to begin with: it can often be very tedious to have do all the thinking, planning and manual labour for oneself.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Now available is Josie Malinowski's book West of Pure Evil (Oyster Moon) (available through Lulu and strongly recommended). There is no such a thing as an octopodiphilic sect and Josie Malinowski is not its high priestess. In order not to try to metonymically characterise the book through an allegedly representative quote of its quantitatively dominant sinister tales (o what a storyteller) and perverse nursery rhymes, we'll cite a seemingly traditionally surrealist poem:

A few years of the wasteland

She wouldn’t testify to the homicide but she did categorise my fish:

The ephemeral fish, a-wandering through the desert plains,

bleating like lost souls trying to find meaning in food.

‘If he has some, I’m having a canvas-bag full of horse shit’ one


and in agreement another leapt up and smacked a boy on the buttocks.

The boy stared on in pure bewilderment.

His mother, seeing the cacophony of evil brewing beneath the smiles

of merchant’s pimpled faces,

hauled his ruddy backside up and threw him in his cage

(shared with pet marsupials).

A trumpet sounded and the race began.

Thirty thousand eggs jumped on the backs of cockerels

and whipped them till a thick layer of cockroach skins

plastered the floor and made for poor footing.

Disappointed, three men clad in Hawaiian shirts took out their machetes

and started lopping off limbs at random.

The third, the cruellest and most arbitrary,

started with his own foot to show how serious he was,

and not more than three decades later the area known as Legland

was a haven for the more daring tourists

or those with a penchant for absolute schadenfreude:

pleasure at seeing one’s companion’s arm lopped off

as she holds out a peseta to a starving child.

The moon shone down orange on a beaten up tramp enjoying the

spectacle quietly

from a disused army bunker where he stored jars of blood

and nail clippings to sell to scientists for a small sum;

he was saving to buy a razor blade to slit his wrists

and jump into the nearby lake where they said paradise awaited those

who gave up their earthly bodies to it.

Having achieved his goal several weeks later the tramp,

far from the paradise he craved, was raised up on a dais on the sand,

pulled along by snakes driven by fire and fury,

destined to spin forever in a cloudy night.

It was 3 ‘o’ clock.

A haggard child crawled by on its belly calling ‘slaughter! slaughter!’

After this, nothing else was known – except that a few greasy slabs of

horse meat

were seen with a priest, fuelling the next great scandal,

which I’ll tell you about after supper.