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Thursday, 23 December 2010

Samuel Beckett: Watt / Andreas Gursky (Tiny Details of the Big Picture)


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Pyongyang III: photo by Andreas Gursky, 2007 (Sprüth Magers, Berlin/London)

As for his feet, sometimes he wore on each a sock, or on the one a sock and on the other a stocking, or a boot, or a shoe, or a slipper, or a sock and a boot, or a sock and a shoe, or a sock and a slipper, or a stocking and boot, or a stocking and shoe, or a stocking and slipper, or nothing at all. And sometimes he wore on each a stocking, or on the one a stocking and on the other a boot, or a shoe, or a slipper, or a sock and a boot, or a sock and shoe, or a sock and slipper, or a stocking and boot, or a stocking and shoe, or a stocking and slipper, or nothing at all. And sometimes he wore on each a boot, or on the one a boot and on the other a shoe, or a slipper, or a sock and boot, or a sock and shoe, or a sock and slipper, or a stocking and boot, or a stocking and shoe, or a stocking and slipper, or nothing at all. And sometime he wore on each a shoe, or on the one a shoe and on the other a slipper, or a sock and boot, or a sock and shoe, or a sock and slipper, or a stocking and boot, or a stocking and shoe, or a stocking and slipper or nothing at all. And sometimes he wore on each a slipper, or on the one a slipper and on the other a sock and boot, or a sock and shoe, or a sock and slipper, or a stocking and boot, or a stocking and shoe, or a stocking and slipper, or nothing at all. And sometime he wore on each a sock and boot, or on the one a sock and boot and on the other a sock and shoe, or a sock and slipper, or a stocking and boot, or a stocking and shoe, or a stocking and slipper, or nothing at all. And sometimes he wore on each a sock and shoe, or on the one a sock and shoe and on the other a sock and slipper, or a stocking and boot, or a stocking and shoe, or a stocking and slipper, or nothing at all. And sometimes he wore on each a sock and slipper, or on the one a sock and slipper and on the other a stocking and boot, or a stocking and shoe, or a stocking and slipper, or nothing at all. And sometimes he wore on each a stocking and boot, or on the one a stocking and boot and on the other a stocking and shoe, or a stocking and slipper, or nothing at all. And sometime he wore on each a stocking and shoe, or on the one a stocking and shoe and on the other a stocking and slipper, or nothing at all. And sometimes he wore on each a stocking and slipper, or on the one a stocking and slipper and on the other nothing at all. And sometimes he went barefoot.




Bibliothek: photo by Andreas Gursky, 1999 (Sprüth Magers, Berlin/London)

Here he stood. Here he sat. Here he knelt. Here he lay. Here he moved, to and fro, from the door to the window, from the window to the door; from the window to the door, from the door to the window; from the fire to the bed, from the bed to the fire; from the bed to the fire, from the fire to the bed; from the door to the fire, from the fire to the door; from the fire to the door, from the door to the fire; from the window to the bed, from the bed to the window; from the bed to the window, from the window to the bed; from the fire to the window, from the window to the fire; from the window to the fire, from the fire to the window; from the bed to the door, from the door to the bed; from the door to the bed, from the bed to the door; from the door to the window, from the window to the fire; from the fire to the window, from the window to the door; from the window to the door, from the door to the bed; from the bed to the door, from the door to the window; from the fire to the bed, from the bed to the window; from the window to the bed, from the bed to the fire; from the bed to the fire, from the fire to the door; from the door to the fire, from the fire to the bed; from the door to the window, from the window to the bed; from the bed to the window, from the window to the door; from the window to the door, from the door to the fire; from the fire to the door, from the door to the window; from the fire to the bed, from the bed to the door; from the door to the bed, from the bed to the fire; from the bed to the fire, from the fire to the window; from the window to the fire, from the fire to the bed; from the door to the fire, from the fire to the window; from the window to the fire, from the fire to the door; from the window to the bed, from the bed to the door; from the door to the bed, from the bed to the window; from the fire to the window, from the window to the bed; from the bed to the window, from the window to the fire; from the bed to the door, from the door to the fire; from the fire to the door, from the door to the bed.



Bahrain I, 2005a

Bahrain I: photo by Andreas Gursky, 2005 (Sprüth Magers, Berlin/London)


The room was furnished solidly and with taste.



Rhein II: photo by Andreas Gursky, 1999 (Sprüth Magers, Berlin/London)


This solid and tasteful furniture was subjected by Mr. Knott to frequent changes of position, both absolute and relative. Thus it was not rare to find, on the Sunday, the tallboy on its feet by the fire, and the dressing-table on its head by the bed, and the night-stool on its face by the door, and the wash-hand-stand on its back by the window; and, on the Monday, the tallboy on its back by the bed, and the dressing-table on its face by the door, and the night-stool on its back by the window, and the wash-hand-stand on its feet by the fire; and, on the Tuesday, the tallboy on its face by the door, and the dressing-table on its back by the window, and the night-stool on its feet by the fire, and the wash-hand-stand on its head by the bed; and, on the Wednesday, the tallboy on its back by the window, and the dressing-table on its feet by the fire, and the night-stool on its head by the bed, and the wash-hand-stand on its face by the door; and on the Thursday, the tallboy on its side by the fire, and the dressing-table on its feet by the bed, and the night-stool on its head by the door, and the wash-hand-stand on its face by the window; and, on the Friday, the tallboy on its feet by the bed, and the dressing-table on its head by the door, and the night-stool on its face by the window, and the wash-hand-stand on its side by the fire; and, on the Saturday, the tallboy on its head by the door, and the dressing-table on its face by the window, and the night-stool on its side by the fire, and the wash-hand-stand on its feet by the bed; and, on the Sunday week, the tallboy on its face by the window, and the dressing-table on its side by the fire, and the night-stool on its feet by the bed and the wash-hand-stand on its head by the door; and, on the Monday week, the tallboy on its back by the fire, and the dressing-table on its side by the bed, and the night-stool on its feet by the door, and the wash-hand-stand on its head by the window; and, on the Tuesday week, the tallboy on its side by the bed, and the dressing-table on its feet by the door, and the night-stool on its head by the window, and the wash-hand-stand on its back by the fire; and, on the Wednesday week, the tallboy on its feet by the door, and the dressing-table on its head by the window, and the night-stool on its back by the fire, and the wash-hand-stand on its side by the bed; and, on the Thursday week, the tallboy on its head by the window, and the dressing-table on its back by the fire, and the night-stool on its side by the bed, and the wash-hand-stand on its feet by the door; and, on the Friday week, the tallboy on its face by the fire, and the dressing-table on its back by the bed, and the night-stool on its side by the door, and the wash-hand-stand on its feet by the window; and, on the Saturday week, the tallboy on its back by the bed, and the dressing-table on its side by the door, and the night-stool on its feet by the window, and the wash-hand-stand on its face by the fire; and on the Sunday fortnight, the tallboy on its side by the door, and the dressing-table on its feet by the window, and the night-stool on its face by the fire, and the wash-hand-stand on its back by the bed; and on the Monday fortnight, the tallboy on its feet by the window, and the dressing-table on its face by the fire, and the night-stool on its back by the bed, and the wash-hand-stand on its side by the door; and, on the Tuesday fortnight, the tallboy on its head by the fire, and the dressing-table on its face by the bed, and the night-stool on its back by the door, and the wash-hand-stand on its side by the window; and, on the Wednesday fortnight, the tallboy on its face by the bed, and the dressing-table on its back by the door, and the night-stool on its side by the window, and the wash-hand-stand on its head by the fire; and, on the Thursday fortnight, the tallboy on its back by the door, and the dressing-table on its side by the window, and the night-stool on its head by the fire, and the wash-hand-stand on its face by the bed; and, on the Friday fortnight, the tallboy on its side by the window, and the dressing-table on its head by the fire, and the night-stool on its face by the bed, and the wash-hand-stand on its back by the door, for example, not at all rare, to consider only, over a period of nineteen days only, the tallboy, the dressing-table, the night-stool and the wash-hand-stand, and their feet, and heads, and faces, and backs and unspecified sides, and the fire, and the bed, and the door, and the window, not at all rare.



kuwait stock exchange 2007a

Kuwait Stock Exchange: photo by Andreas Gursky, 2008 (Sprüth Magers, Berlin/London)



For the chairs, also, to mention only the chairs also, were never still.



Andreas Gursky Dortmund, 2009a

Dortmund: photo by Andreas Gursky, 2007 (Sprüth Magers, Berlin/London)


“The best situation to be confronted with your work is to come into a room or a space, and you don’t think about approaching your work, you just come from another world and you see it and you have an immediate emotion. This is the original reason to have pictures in the small size, but then I found they attracted me in the same way as the big pictures.

The size of the work affects its reception, offering two different experiences: one immersive, one intimate.

“In a way, the reading of the pictures is the same. Even if it’s a really big picture, if you want to get the details, you have to approach the picture and you read the picture line by line, and the same if you read a very tiny picture. For in a way, the tiny picture could be a detail of the big picture, no?”

(Andreas Gursky, interviewed in Canadian Art, 9 July 2008)


Samuel Beckett, from Watt, 1953

12 comments:

Ed Baker said...

as soon as I get my other sock on
find my woolen WW2wo army beannie
get a cup of JAVA dump turn on the tee vee
get a fire going read my email look up the obituaries

I'm gonna reply to this

curtisroberts said...

While Ed was composing his first comment, I was considering (and recovering) from the waking experience of encountering Samuel Beckett: Watt/Andreas Gursky (Tiny Details of the Big Picture). It's amazing to me how this mixes large and small, general and particular, wide and narrow, wash and granular, and how affecting the individual parts are as well as the whole. It is also overwhelmingly beautiful, but with an underlying tension that makes you want to resist the rapture. This was a very, very powerful start to the day.

Ed Baker said...

yeah a good start to to-day
here also

and

ADD THIS to the 'stew';:

http://poemsandpoetics.blogspot.com/2010/12/julian-cowley-some-liner-notes-on.html

!

gamefaced said...

hey tom. thanks for giving me lovely things to look at and think on day after day. all the best. 2011 here we go!

TC said...

Curtis, that's so well said, and right on point: "how this mixes large and small, general and particular, wide and narrow, wash and granular, and how affecting the individual parts are as well as the whole... an underlying tension that makes you want to resist the rapture," yes, yes indeed, and thank you.


Gamefaced, it's always very lovely to hear from you and know you're there. Enough to make me want to try a bit harder to survive until 2011.

So here we go, then.

TC said...

... Oh, my, spoke too soon (speaking of underlying tensions): gremlins, disappeared images, stinky sox, broken bones, random linx, botswarms -- it's a Sam Beckett Christmas, I guess.

Worstward ho ho ho!

Julia said...

Wow! This made my dizzy!!
May I subscribe (steal) gamefaced's words?

TC said...

It's made me dizzy, too, Julia, you simply can't imagine!

(But I suppose I was dizzy already.)

Gamefaced is a generous soul and I'm sure she would allow you to borrow her sentiments, which are certainly very kind.

(It's almost beginning to feel like Christmas, just a bit.)

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

Thanks as always, the Beckett in relation to Gursky's (always amazing) photos, and his thoughts in interview:

"you don’t think about approaching your work, you just come from another world and you see it. . ."

"The size of the work affects its reception, offering two different experiences: one immersive, one intimate."

“In a way, the reading of the pictures is the same. Even if it’s a really big picture, if you want to get the details, you have to approach the picture and you read the picture line by line, and the same if you read a very tiny picture. For in a way, the tiny picture could be a detail of the big picture, no?”

Meanwhile, here's day/page 988 of Temporality --


12.23

light coming into sky above still black
ridge, whiteness of moon above branches
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

center distance, in surface
mark a sense of light

to think about thought, not
thinking, and what is

grey rain cloud against invisible ridge,
whiteness of gull flapping toward point

TC said...

Heavens to Betsy, Steve, does this mean Temporality is about to come to an end?

Time flies...

And while it's speeding away from us, let us offer a nod to the creator of the funnest book I've ever read.

When the editors of a fledgling Paris literary magazine called Merlin invited Beckett to contribute in 1952, he offered them the manuscript of Watt.

Richard Seaver, at the time a young man just out of college (he would later become Beckett's editor), tells the story of how he and the other Merlin people "sat up half the night and read Watt aloud, taking turns until our voices gave out. If it took many more hours than it should have, it was because we kept pausing to wait for the laughter to subside..."

Stu said...

Tom, season's greetings to you and yours.

I saw two of these Gurskys exhibited in Melbourne. Hadn't seen the Kuwait Stock Exchange or Dortmund ones before though; thanks for sharing.

Very interesting resonances between the Gursky works/quote and the Beckett. I am a great lover of detail (!) and that sublime vastness which Gursky presents so well.

TC said...

Great to hear from you always, Stu.

Oh, the details. God and devil!

Stephen's runes often supply a key:

center distance, in surface
mark a sense of light

to think about thought, not
thinking, and what is

Though Gursky famously manipulates his images in digital post-production, the basis is always in the "what is".

The Dortmund work is a particularly good example of the transformations he achieves.

That is as you probably know the biggest standing stadium in Europe (80,000 capacity), in fact too big for the space in which it is built, so that the stands appear to rise straight up, creating, in the Südtribüne, that famous Yellow Wall of Noise (Die Gelbe Wand), so intimidating to opponents.

But Gursky's brilliant tricks have made the Yellow Wall even more imposing than it is "in reality".

It's almost as though a Pollock could be read not only as an all-over abstraction but at the same time as an "objectively" referential landscape.

This referential/non-referential "doubleness" struck me, as maybe it has struck you, as curiously Beckettian.

Thanks for getting that!