Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Autumn Rhythm


"Autumn Rhythm,"  (Number 30), Jackson Pollock

When you think about it, representations of reality have little to do with the essence of the world. Plato famously termed human conceptions as shadows, elusive ideal forms—what Kant would later term noumena. Heidegger referred to the recondite phenomenological essence of existence as dasein or Being There, also the title of the Hal Ashby movie adapted from the Jerzy Kosinski book in which Peter Sellers played the main character, Chauncey Gardner or Chance. The narratives that patients construct for themselves in therapeutic sessions have all the attributes of fiction and employ similar figures of speech, with hyperbole often dominating. Andre Malraux call his autobiographies Anti-Memoirs. There's a kind of stranger anxiety that forces consciousness to encapsulate and name in order to remove the terror of objects. But there are instances where art acts to unravel and restore the unfiltered complexity of the universe. The challenge of a great work of art like say The Grand Inquisitor poem in The Brothers Karamazov lies in restoring the complexity lost by suppression. A Jackson Pollock painting like “Autumn Rhythm” (1950) is ultimately blinding to the extent that it unpacks more than the mind is able to handle. That’s the pleasure and the weight that such abstraction bears. When you think of it, Malevich’s “White on White,” (1918) a classic essay in so-called Suprematism, could be considered an instance of photographic realism.

Read "Lamb Stewed" by Francis Levy, Dispatches From the Poetry Wars

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