“It does not illustrate. It is the sensation of its own realization.”

Published

RIP Cy Twombly

Each line was “the actual experience” of making the line.

Could Twombly be thought of as a Phenomenological painter?

I’ll admit, when I lived in Philadelphia, my least favorite room in the art museum there was the Cy Twombly room. It was hard to appreciate.

But nowadays, I almost view Twombly’s work as I view a tree.  To see a tree is to feel it reaching for the sun light, encapsulating its growth in its very form.

I came across this Kandinsky quote recently:

…I see no essential difference between a line one calls ‘abstract’ and a fish. But rather an essential likeness. This isolated line and the isolated fish alike are living beings with forces peculiar to them, though latent. They are forces of expression for these beings and of expression on human beings, because each has an impressive ‘look’ which manifests itself by its expression. But the voice of these latent forces is faint and limited. It is the environment of the line and the fish that brings about a miracle: the latent forces awaken, the expression becomes radiant… …The environment is the composition. The composition is the organized sum of the interior functions (expressions) of every part of the work. (Paris, March 1935)
Kandinsky, from “Artists on Art – from the 14th – 20th centuries”, ed. by Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 451 

It seems like Twombly found a way to close the distance between the act of painting and his paintings themselves, without pretense.

This is incredibly difficult to do.

I will look for Twombly paintings here in NYC.

By Noel Hefele

Noel Hefele is an artist living in the Bronx