Room 3: RUST (1)

I skipped a week, being too busy with journalistic work. My apologies.

In this post, I want to tell you something about oxidation which is an important artistic tool for me.

My earliest impression of art was that it was about story-telling, that the goal was to render a scene (or a person or a flower arrangement) so well that the viewer felt as if it were real.  The better this was done, the better the art, it seemed to me as a young child. But then why did I not like the virtuose realists the best? Why did I prefer painters who were obviously inferior draughtsmen? Those I liked the best were the Italian pre-renaissance monks, like Giotto and especially Fra Angelico. I didn’t care for his story-telling, intriguing as his scenes sometimes were…

Dominic, after getting drunk with his maid, can't find the door of his house

What I loved was his colors, especially his blue and the way it had aged on the old walls. That was where the story was for me.

I try to understand what I found so intriguing. Art always strives for the illusion of being finished, perfect forever, frozen in time. This spawned a whole industry aimed at keeping art works looking the same as on the day of their vernissage. But our life is about change. The only thing constant is transformation. Nothing is finished. What I liked about the aging of Fra Angelico’s blue was that it drew attention to the artwork as a real object that we can sensually experience instead of to the illusionary presence of something imagined. It became so much more than the story it told. The story did not disappear but it became part of a greater narrative, it became richer than it once was. It now embodied change, which made it real.

Running out of time, I will continue this next week.

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