Friday, September 13, 2013

concerning Yves Tanguy

Yves Tanguy (1900 – 1955) was a Surrealist. He is my favorite artist from the Modernist era. When the term “Surrealism” is mentioned, most people think of wild juxtapositions of familiar objects, whether animate or inanimate. Tanguy is subtler, much more enigmatic. His canvases teem with objects, but those things have only a passing resemblance to known forms. Those equivocal thingy forms are more like reified fragments of mental or spiritual intuition. And the “landscapes” in which they are placed are less like space-time milieus than volumes of void, theaters of dream.

I think Tanguy was obsessed with painting the symbolic modes and contents of the hippocampus. He was about going down, via intuition, into the primal and nether zones of consciousness. And then painted what he found or imagined there.

These intuited objects and visionary "spaces" are not representations of phenomena and perception. Rather, Tanguy's ambiguous shapes within uncertain environments are images of human organic/mental strangeness, symbols of deep interior happening. They are suggestions in paint of the noumenal that lurks behind phenomena and behind perception. So I detect two kinds of duality or parallelism -- the apparent and the unknowable; consciousness and materiality. You can feel that along the edge of his bizarre "shores" meeting the metaphysical plasma of his "seas."

It's more than surrealism. This is an audacious science of mental objects and spiritual conditions. Yves Tanguy opened up environments of the silent elemental.

I Await You

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