Tagebuchbloggen 22.02.2010 –
Die Neues-Buch-angefangen-Edition

“It took me several visits to the gallery to understand that the man whose back looked very much the same from one painting to another was aging. I noticed that wrinkles formed at the back of his neck and that his skin changed. Moles multiplied. In the last painting there was a small cyst behind Sy’s ear. By some miracle of art or nature, however, his hair remained black in every one. Bill’s rendering of his father, always clad in a dark suit, reminded me of seventeenth-century Dutch paintings, but without their illusion of depth. The smooth, clear image of the man’s back was lit from the left side of the canvas, and every fold in the suit’s material, every speck of dust on a padded shoulder, every crease in the black leather of a shoe had been painstakingly depicted. But what fascinated spectators was the material Bill had applied over this initial image, which partly obscured it – the letters, photographs, postcards, business memos, receipts, motel keys, movie ticket stubs, aspirins, condoms – until each work became a thick palimpset of legible and illegible writing, as well as a medley of the various small objects that fill junk drawers in almost any household. There was nothing innovative about gluing foreign materials to a painting, but the effect was very different from Rauschenberg’s dense layerings, for example, because the debris in Bill’s canvases had been left behind by one man, and as I moved from one painting to another, I enjoyed reading the scraps. I especially liked a letter written in crayon: “Dear Uncl Sy, Thank you for the relly neet racing car. It’s relly neet. Love, Larry.” I studied the invitation that read, “Please come and celebrate Regina and Sy’s Fifteenth Wedding Anniverary. Yes, it’s really been that long!” There was a hospital bill for Daniel Wechsler, a playbill from Hello, Dolly!, and a torn, wrinkled piece of paper with the name Anita Himmelblatz written on it, followed by a telephone number. Despite these momentary insights into a life, the canvases and their materials had an abstract quality to them, an ultimate blankness that conveyed the strangeness of mortality itself, a sense that even if every scrap of a life were saved, thrown into a giant mound and then carefully sifted to extract all possible meaning, it would not add up to a life.”

What I Loved, Siri Hustvedt, Picador 2003, Seite 46