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Saturday, 22 September 2012

Clean Sheets


.


Turned Sheet: Gerhard Richter, 1965



When he was born they named him Alan, meaning that in future the area of himself would be known as Alan.  The area of oneself is like a drop of ink absorbed by blotting paper, gradually spreading, blurring at the edges, receiving upon it other blots in different shapes and colours until finally the original is dim, indistinguishable, while the saturated sheet of humanity upon which it lies is cast as worthless into the wastebasket, and another sheet, a clean sheet provided by the advertisers, is placed upon the desk.

--Janet Frame: excerpt from The Triumph of Poetry in The Reservoir: Stories and Sketches, 1963






Turned Sheet: Gerhard Richter, 1965




Turned Sheet: Gerhard Richter, 1965




Turned Sheet: Gerhard Richter, 1965




Turned Sheet: Gerhard Richter, 1965




Turned Sheet: Gerhard Richter, 1965




Turned Sheet: Gerhard Richter, 1965




Turned Sheet: Gerhard Richter, 1965




Turned Sheet: Gerhard Richter, 1965



Turned Sheet: Gerhard Richter, 1965



Turned Sheet: Gerhard Richter, 1965



Turned Sheet: Gerhard Richter, 1965



Turned Sheet: Gerhard Richter, 1966



Turned Sheet: Gerhard Richter, 1966



Turned Sheet: Gerhard Richter, 1966



Untitled: Gerhard Richter, 1966



Untitled: Gerhard Richter, 1965



Untitled: Gerhard Richter, 1965



Untitled: Gerhard Richter, 1966

19 comments:

Jonathan Chant said...

Clean prose, too. My partner saw the Richter exhibition in London last year. Poetic images of great clarity.

TC said...

My own very clean partner has been dipping again into her fellow oddball Kiwi JF.

And her/our daughter, when in NZ ten years ago, walked the congenially prosaic Janet Frame Heritage Trail, Oamaru. (And took that picture by the by.)

(A single one of those impeccable Richter oils could probably buy you the town of Oamaru, and environs. Though of course the taxes, and...)

Wooden Boy said...

It takes an oddball Kiwi to pin the truth so surely and with as little fuss (as you know better than most, TC).

The advertiser's mock up of the self is always ready for those seamless, well-researched dreams. That all too easy lie: we are our own beginnings.

While admiring Richter, I've always been disturbed by the stillness of the paintings. The work of the work seems to have been disappeared.

Wooden Boy said...

God/s preserve us and keep us from the empty pages and the wiped boards they place before us:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoTa-rOUfWA

TC said...

Yes, it seems he sets out to clean the life, as well as all traces of the labour, right out of everything. To give the impression a machine has turned the work out: simulating an industrial process. And as the auction prices for these particular works run from the hundreds of thousands on up into the millions, the mind does tend to turn to the starving peoples of drought stricken Africa & c.

Janet Frame on the other hand, humanity bleeding from every pore. The writing having saved her from the madhouse, at the beginning.

Hazen said...

‘ . . . a clean sheet provided by the advertisers, is placed upon the desk.’

You have the right to be sold anything, it said: turned sheet, torn sheet, bent and folded sheet. Two toned sheet. Same old sheet. Clean sheet.

As astonishing as Richter’s virtuosity is, even a price tag of a measly hundred thou still manages to bring me up short.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

A rip, a paper cut.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Janet Frame so solid. A dependable voice that of course turns out to be a loony one, turning itself in on itself like mad complicated origami when the hands are opposed to neat folds but no other way to make origami except by folding paper--

Poems frustrating at times like this, the limits of language, shooting beyond metaphor but that edge is what feels real when one finds it. A place you can't balance for long. Paper wears out, is not so flexible after all. So, go back to the trees and listen to what is found there beside the volcano. Their red flowers, small brushes in the ashy air. Write a message there. She can't be saved by a hug or can she? Janet Frame is cooled lava, is easily re-melted when the hot spot acts up. There are two types of owls here.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

It is fun to play with the mad voice but can also be a tipsy feeling when it leads you to obscurity. Frame was probably relieved to see her work in print again and again. It proved she was not too much for the paper to hold, after all. Everyone wished she would not feel so lonely but she was. She is loved.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

The obscene
certainty smell
impossibility
and Germany

feathers
side by side

The clean sheets are obscene
certainty is in their smell
impossibility in their poetry
and Germany another matter
but sleep now sleeps under
lots of feathers side by side

TC said...

WB's link to the scene from An Angel at My Table (Jane Campion's adaption of JF's autobiography) reveals the vulnerability and sensitivity that can make teaching an arduous gauntlet for one who has the soul of a writer.

I find Richter's reclusiveness and diffidence interesting. There's a new film which allows us into his studio during the making of his paintings. The making of the works is a corporate effort; on the other hand, the presence of outsiders in the scene (The situation of the film-making) becomes a problematic factor. It's plain the crowd makes him uncomfortable. But he bears up.

There's a German tv clip of him attending the premiere of the film. When asked his reaction to it, he replies characteristically.

"It's great -- it's so boring!""

ACravan said...

This pairing, I think, is wondrous, just perfect. We're down at the beach in southern New Jersey for two nights and the sand here, which acts as a blotter, is almost the same colors as the Richters. Caroline's visiting with a large group of high school friends from 40+ years ago and Frame's words resonate in that context also. Our hotel's sheets, by the way, are so clean and the bed is made so well and comfortable, that I can't help thinking about the title here is a way you didn't intend. I was interested to learn about Frame's close relationship with Theophilus Brown. I didn't know anything about him until he passed away earlier this year and I saw some of his paintings and learned interesting things about him. Curtis

TC said...

Thanks Curtis, for encouraging our curious matchup here. The Genius of the House was largely responsible. I'm feeling The Reconciliation of Opposites Is Mortal Joy, as said Blake.

Well, he might have...

So, riddle for the day (well, almost day): which musical group am I thinking of now, then?

Hint: They're Clean, they're Kiwi, and they're not a Beatnik.

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

Wonderful pairing of these two artists. Still, all these frames of Richter’s—can you imagine any critic ever telling him to clean up his act?

Susan Kay Anderson said...

The Clean-- way too cool for this world. Those candles--clean, neat.

larry white said...

There are times I could wish for highspeed,
but I'll settle for TC.

donnafleischer said...

Makes me miss

the paper

mill


– but not enough to miss out on Tom Clark.
Thanks, Donna

TC said...

We're constantly being informed that our lack of high-speed renders us to the junk-heap of our progressive civilization. Likewise, there are people I've encountered who actually draw back in (feigned?) astonishment, when I confess that not only do I not possess an Android Smartphone, I wouldn't want one.

Paper mill, though, yes. Thirty years ago I had the opportunity to help make the paper used in two small hand printed books. We made the paper out of pulverized Levis, American flags and muslin, all circulated in a large U-shaped device called a beater. (The beater was an escalation from a prior cottage technology: a chain of interconnected second-hand blenders. Improvised technologies, however frustrating at times, often prove the most interesting.)

TC said...

By the way, Donna, it's good to know when you're reposting -- I take the hint from your comments -- but your useful archived compilation of word pond reposts from BTP (which gets quite a few clicks) seems to lag behind the repostings; so I've had to change that link over and over. I wonder if there might be an easier way to facilitate that direct address?