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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Picasso! Kandinsky! Compassion!

I bought a book at James Bay Coffee and Books today called Theories of Modern art. Okay, sounds boring, right? WRONG! I am ecstatic! I just pulled it off the shelf to have something to flip through while I drank my got-through-the-Liturgy-without-selling-Heulwen-to-black-marketers reward (coffee -- what else) and it was one of those books you want to walk up to total strangers with and smack them on the head and say "Listen to this! You are going to sit there while I read you excerpts from this and you are going to /like it/, mister!!!"

Then I remembered that that is what my blog is for. . .mwah hah hah hah hah!

Anyway, far from being dry-as-dust theorizing by an individual 'expert', it is chocolate-box of writings from the actual modern art demi-gods -- Picasso, Van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse, etc, -- themselves! And here's the thing that I am so excited about: they write like they paint. It is so fresh and colourful and profound and in your face it just is going to make my brain explode. Now sit still like a good critter and dig some text-only Picasso (Matisse and Kandinsky to follow later):


Do you know when I painted my first guitars I had never had one in my hands? With the first money they gave me I bought one, and after that I never painted another. People think that bullfights in my pictures were copied from life, but they are mistaken. I used to paint them before I'd seen the bullfight so as to make the money to buy my ticket. Have you really done what you planned to do? On leaving your house, do you not often change your route without thinking about it? Do you cease to be yourself on that account? And do you not get there anyhow?And even if you don't, does it matter? The reason is that you didn't have to go in the first place, and you would have been wrong to force destiny.
An idea is a beginning point and no more. If you contemplate it, it becomes something else. What I think about a great deal, I find I have always had complete in my mind. How can you then expect me to continue being interested in it? If I persist, it turns out differently because a different matter intervenes. As far as I am concerned, at any rate, my original idea has no further interest, because while I am realizing it I am thinking about something else.
The important thing is to create. Nothing else matters; creation is all.
Have you ever seen a finished picture? A picture or anything else? Woe unto you the day it is said that you are finished! To finish a work? To finish a picture? What nonsense! To finish it means to be through with it, to kill it, to rid it of its soul, to give it its final blow: the most unfortunate one for the painter as well as for the picture.
The value of a work resides precisely in what it is not.



RW said...

Now, this is the Jenny we know and love.

Thanks for posting this. I am always fascinated by what other artists write and think about their own process.

Simply Victoria said...

yes, jenny, you rock.
i was laughing out loud after the first 3 sentences.

Matthew Francis said...

There was this little art gallery on 17th Avenue in Calgary called the San Chung Gallery, run by a lovely and generous Korean family. I would buy postcards there and they would gingerly wrap them in beautiful handmade paper for me to take home!

Anyway, they had a small original print of Kandinsky's 'four horsemen' made by the master himself. When I first came there it was being offered for fourteen thousand dollars. I schemed how I could possibly raise the money... (of course, I could barely keep myself in Cream of Wheat and apples at the time). After about a week they decided they couldn't part with it, but still proudly displayed it. I would go in and just ponder it once a week or so... and take everybody I knew to see it. There's a Kandinsky in Calgary!

MatJenny said...

That's cool Matthew! Yes -- a real Kandinsky would be worth a lot of Cream of Wheat and apples! There is something intense about looking at something actually made by a 'great' -- it's pretty mystical, actually. I'm writing a neverending essay/article kind of about that (and other things). I really ought to just let the thing go already -- after that Picasso excerpt (so liberating) I don't need to wait until it's 'finished'!

Tabatha said...

An idea is a beginning point and no more. If you contemplate it, it becomes something else. What I think about a great deal, I find I have always had complete in my mind.

Gah! So true so true.

jaime said...

We miss you guys too! Lily asks me about when we can next go to Victoria a lot. You guys have to get on skype then the girls could talk for free (and of course, so could we).

matthew christopher davidson said...

Mat Jenny

Don't have your email right now, so this tactless comment. I left you a message. There are two things.

1. Check this out: and let me know if you're interested in creating for the event/installation. We can talk later about it.

2. I need to stealbegborrow a few bits of music ASAP if you would be so nice:

What Shall I render to the Lord
Prayer of St. Symeon

MatJenny said...

Hey T' blogger:

Well wouldn't you know I /had/ those two pieces in my little porta-folder only last week and where are they now? The Shadow knows! Argh!

I will try to find them, or copy the ones I have at church. Still seething about having lost the ones at home though :-(

On a lighter note -- and I don't know how often you check your email -- we are having a practice tonite at Andrew and Susan's (7-9) after which we are going to Swan's (I think). Wanna come to one or both exciting events? We are just starting to look at Pascha and you /did/ make the mistake of telling me you would be available to sing. . .heh heh heh. See you there if you can make it.