Posts Tagged ‘writing’

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Louise Bourgeois and Scheherazade

April 17, 2009

Louise Bourgeois is the rare artist whose orbit intersects with many big thinkers and personalities of the last century, while always remaining relevant and enduring. Not bad for ninety-seven. I love the way she hones her images and takes them into new psychological spaces, and even the way her voice sounds when she speaks. On June 25th, 1984 she wrote:

“Scheherazade talked to ward off castration (assassination). She talks as a last defense. It is a pretty miserable motive, useless and dangerous, silence is wonderful.”

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Uta Barth’s Distrust of Narrative/Cause and Effect

April 10, 2009

Writing is most alive when directly engaged in the experience—as a cartography of an encounter or inner space. Recently I stumbled across an interview with photographer Uta Barth where she was asked why narrative annoyed her. Barth’s response captures a lot of what I’ve been thinking:

Narrative holds out for a certain inevitability, it places deep faith in cause and effect. Narrative is about reconstructing a chain of meaningful events based on a known outcome. I’m curious about visual art that’s about the visual. Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees is the title of Robert Irwin’s biography. Originally, it was a line in a Zen text. Narrative in art makes us think about all sorts of interesting things, but it derails the engagement with a visual experience.

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