I am in need of music that would flow
Over my fretful, feeling fingertips,
Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips,
With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow.
Oh, for the healing swaying, old and low,
Of some song sung to rest the tired dead,
A song to fall like water on my head,
And over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow!
There is a magic made by melody:
A spell of rest, and quiet breath, and cool
Heart, that sinks through fading colors deep
To the subaqueous stillness of the sea,
And floats forever in a moon-green pool,
Held in the arms of rhythm and of sleep.”
— Elizbaeth Bishop I Am In Need of Music. Photographs by Morgan Ashcom from What The Living Carry.
“Braeckman’s black lies deep in the paper. It does not signify black: it is black. Black matter. Here, black is not a word, but substance, unformed, unstructured, escaping language, escaping meaning. This is no significant, figurative black (indicating that “it is dark there”), but a black that, in contrast, exists beyond every form (like coal dust, it lies black in the lungs, on the cheeks, in the sweat of the hands). Black as part of the material world, not of its language: it is not an image of black, but the smell of a coal cellar.”
— Dirk Lauwaert “The Black Dew” in Dirk Braeckman [Roma Publications, 2011]
“She turns her back on you; this, it would seem, is her appeal. She’s been painted like this for centuries, and, more recently, photographed. Often she is naked, in a bathroom or bedroom, solitary, sleeping or day-dreaming, or at a picnic, momentarily stilled, enveloped in a vague, dark space. The one constant is that her face is obscured. Her identity is fluid, nuanced; it can be elegiac, erotic or sullen, an homage to something lost or never quite gained, a study in both negation and yearning. It’s impossible to know whether she – who appears in so many guises – was ever, in the act of being represented, aware that someone was looking at her (the observed is often innocent of the observer). Whether we read the artist’s rejection of her face as a reflection of her inner life, or read the focus on her body as an indication of sensual preoccupations, she is ultimately irreducible and as such can be whoever we want to her to be.”
— Jennifer Higgie “Alone Again, Or” – Frieze magazine, Issue 124 (Jun/Aug 2009)
Category Art, Criticism, Photography, Theory, Thought
Tags Art, Edward Weston, Gender, Identity, Jennifer Higgie, Jo Ann Callis, Joanna Piotrowska, Painting, Photography, Power, Representation, The Nude, Viviane Sassen
It hangs deep in his robes, a delicate
clapper at the center of a bell.
It moves when he moves, a ghostly fish in a
halo of silver seaweed, the hair
swaying in the dimness and the heat – and at night,
while his eyes asleep, it stands up
in praise of God.
- from The Gold Cell by Sharon Olds (1987)
“In her earliest series, including “Untitled Film Still,” Sherman made repeated reference to abstract codes of representation, underscoring the ways in which identity is produced and conveyed within culture. Audiences would, for example, seem to “know” every scene and every character Sherman created, but this illusion of familiarity was based on conventions put forward by the mass media — or, to use the parlance of art during the late 1970s, “structures of signification.” Sherman’s most recent work, by contrast, does not refer so much to images of the mass media (e.g., film stills) and, moreover, does not refer to any kind of stable codes. Instead, if structures of signification exist here, they are, in a sense, socialized: the identity of the figure cannot be found simply by referring to conventions, whether in the mass media or in culture more broadly, but rather demands some consideration of identitification itself as a relational phenomenon. What is conveyed by any person, picture, or image cannot be considered apart from how it is perceived and by whom.”
— Johanna Burton “Cindy Sherman: Abstraction and Empathy,” in Cindy Sherman (2012)
Cindy Sherman, Untitled #458 (2007-2008) © Cindy Sherman, c/o Metro Pictures
Category Art, Criticism, Photography, Theory
Tags Art, Cindy Sherman, Culture, Gender, Identity, Johanna Burton, Photography, Portraiture, Power, Representation, The Body
“There appears to be a law of truth, part of the workings of the regime of knowledge, which imposes a truth upon a subject for whom there is no choice but to recognize this law of truth. But why is there no choice? Who is speaking here? Is it Foucault, or is it the “Law” itself? The law of truth imposes a criterion by which recognition becomes possible. The subject is not recognizable without first conforming to the law of truth, and without recognition there is no subject — or so Foucault, in Hegelian fashion, seems to imply. Similarly, others “have” to recognize this law of truth in him, because the law is what established the criterion of subjecthood according to which the subject can be recognized at all. In order to be, we might say, we must become recognizable, but to challenge the norms by which recognition is conferred is, in some ways, to risk one’s very being, to become questionable in one’s ontology, to risk one’s very recognizability as a subject.”
— Judith Butler “Bodies and Power Revisited,” in Feminism and the Final Foucault (2004)
Category Art, Photography, Theory, Thought
Tags Art, Culture, Identity, Joanna Piotrowska, Judith Butler, Michel Foucault, Photography, Power, Theory