Thursday, May 22, 2008

Peter Doig

I very often find myself torn between the dialectics of being able to understand art and architecture through the context, and on the other hand being able to appreciate and asses it for its inherent beauty (if we acknowledge such a possibility exists). ‘A minute in the world’s life passes! To paint it in reality and forget everything for that! To become that minute, to be the sensitive plate....give the image of what we see, forgetting everything that has appeared before our time’ is the way Cezanne explains a painter’s attempt to depict a moment in time such that, its success depends on bringing the observer within the confines of that moment and closing the gap of time between the artist who witnessed it and the observer who centuries down stands and gazes at this moment. In such a case as Berger explains a very simple act of pouring milk (Vermeer) can be beautiful enough to be appreciated within itself, without being aware of Vermeer and women’s role in society.
I am not advocating being blind or ignorant to the politics that lie behind us, but after seeing an art exhibition by the artist Peter Doig (Tate Britain) I find myself a bit more disturbed and confused. I had no clue about him or the nature of his work, but I loved it, I felt happy and very refreshed and even more so, after I had agonized myself looking at some works by the Camden group downstairs. But I had to resolve this feeling of ‘liking’ in my head and somehow tame this stupid subjectivity under some kind of objective reasons. Few days after the exhibition, one morning, when I looked outside my window, I could see the world outside, overlapped by the glass that reflected my room on it and all this being bent by the warm vapour emitted by the heater and a mirage of my own thoughts. Peter Doig’s choice of subjects and their depiction I feel is similar to this experience that we all have, where our eyes lost in thought land on an obscure view of the world and languidly relish staring in air at the mad haze of colours that our unfocused (or politically myopic) retina tries to dwell on.

The most impressive of all the canvases was the painting that showed a view of La Marseilles’ Habitat (Corbusier) from a forest of maple trees. The hard architecture with defined edges and multi coloured patches being interspersed with the organic splatter of leaves and nature was simply beautiful. Also the painting of the Swamp with coloured flora and fauna merging with coloured atmosphere of fog, mist and smoke, being reflected in waters of the swamp influenced by the colour of the sky and the chemicals that make it, was very good. I think I liked it for the mad colours but beyond that there is no objective reason that I can find.
Over the next three months I and Kostas are planning to make a book of “invisible Cities” within London where, we plan to look at this relation between Surrealism, Language and Subjectivity.

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