Just Cy Twombly

SCENT OF MADNESS, 1986. / WATERCOLOUR ON PAPER OVER A PRINT BY BETTY DI ROBILANT, 19 3/4 X 14 1/4 INCHES 50 X 36.2 CM.

LEPANTO, 2001 (PANEL 12 OF 12). / ACRYLIC, WAX CRAYON AND GRAPHITE ON CANVAS

UNTITLED PART VIII (A PAINTING IN 9 PARTS), 1988. / ACRYLIC ON WOODEN PANEL, 73 X 40 1/2 185,4 X 102,9 CM.

Eyes, lakes of my simple passion to be reborn

Other than as the actor who gestures with his hand

As with a pen, and evokes the foul soot of the lamps,

Here’s a window in the walls of cloth I’ve torn.

 

With legs and arms a limpid treacherous swimmer

With endless leaps, disowning the sickness

Hamlet! It’s as if I began to build in the ocean depths

A thousand tombs: to vanish still virgin there.

 

Mirthful gold of a cymbal beaten with fists,

The sun all at once strikes the pure nakedness

That breathed itself out of my coolness of nacre,

 

Rancid night of the skin, when you swept over me,

Not knowing, ungrateful one, that it was, this make-up,

My whole anointing, drowned in ice-water perfidy.

Stéphane Mallarmé, The Clown Chastised

POEMS TO THE SEA, ROME 1959. SHEET 16 OF 24. / OIL, CRAYON, PASTEL AND COLOURED PENCIL ON PAPER, 12 ½ X 12 1/4 IN. (31.7 X 31 CM.)

UNTITLED 1953. / OIL BASED HOUSE PAINT, WAX CRAYON AND PENCIL ON CANVAS, 52 1/8 X 52 1/8 INCHES. ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG FOUNDATION

Hyperbole! From my memory

Triumphantly can’t you

Rise today, like sorcery

From an iron-bound book or two:

 

Since, through science, I inscribe

The hymn of hearts so spiritual

In my patient work, inside

Atlas, herbal, ritual.

 

We walked set our face

(We were two, I maintain)

Toward the many charms of place,

Compared them, Sister, to yours again.

 

The reign of authority’s troubled

If, without reason, we say

Of this south that our double

Thoughtlessness has in play

 

That its site, bed of a hundred irises,

(They know if it truly existed),

Bears no name the golden breath

Of the trumpet of summer cited.

 

Yes, on an isle the air charges

With sight and not with visions

Every flower showed itself larger

Without entering our discussions.

 

Such flowers, immense, that every one

Usually had as adornment

A clear contour, a lacuna done

To separate it from the garden.

 

Glories of long-held desire, Ideas

Were all exalted in me, to see

The Iris family appear

Rising to this new duty,

 

But the sister sensible and fond

Carried her look no further

Than a smile, and as if to understand

I continue my ancient labour.

 

Oh! Let the contentious spirit know

At this hour when we are silent

The stalks of multiple lilies grow

Far too tall for our reason

 

And not as the riverbank weeps

When its tedious game tells lies

Claiming abundance should reach

Into my first surprise

 

On hearing the whole sky and the map

Behind my steps, without end, bear witness

By the ebbing wave itself that

This country never existed.

 

The child so taught by the paths,

Resigns her ecstasy

Says the word: Anastasius!

Born for scrolls of eternity,

 

Before a tomb can laugh

Beneath any sky, her ancestor,

At bearing that name: Pulcheria!

Hidden by the too-high lily-flower.

Stéphane Mallarmé, Prose

UNTITLED ROME. 1976 / CLOTH, CARDBOARD TUBES, HOUSE PAINT AND PAPER TAPE 76 1/4 X 6 5/8 X 6 5/8 INCHES (193.6 X 16.8 X 16.8 CM).

To … Her

 

In winter we’ll travel in a little pink carriage

                    With cushions of blue.

We’ll be fine. A nest of mad kisses waits

                    In each corner too.

 

You’ll shut your eyes, not to see, through the glass,

                    Grimacing shadows of evening,

Those snarling monsters, a crowd going past

                    Of black wolves and black demons.

 

Then you’ll feel your cheek tickled quite hard…

A little kiss, like a maddened spider,

                    Will run over your neck…

 

And you’ll say: “Catch it!” bowing your head,

– And we’ll take our time finding that creature

– Who travels so far

 

                              In the railway carriage, 7 October 70

Arthur Rimbaud, A winter dream

Graceful son of Pan! Round your brow crowned with flowers and berries your eyes, precious spheres, move. Stained with brown lees, your cheeks are hollow. Your eye-teeth gleam. Your breast is a cithara, chords chime in your pale arms. Your pulse beats in that belly where a double sex sleeps. Walk, at night, gently moving that thigh, that other thigh and that left leg.

Arthur Rimbaud, Illuminations 5 – Antique

UNTITLED 1968. / OIL CHALK AND TEMPERA ON CLOTH, 172.7 X 215.9 CM.

FERRAGOSTO III, 1961, ROME. / OIL PAINT, WAX CRAYON, AND LEAD PENCIL ON CANVAS, 165 X 200 CM.

UNTITLED, 1985. / ACRYLIC TEMPERA, OIL PAINT, COLOURED PENCIL, LEAD PENCIL ON PAPER AND ON WOODEN PANEL [THE OVAL SHAPE IS MADE OF PAPER STAPLED TO THE WOODEN PANEL], 201 X 149.7 CM

my Good! O my Beauty! Atrocious fanfare in which I never falter! Enchanted easel! Hurrah for the unknown work and for the marvellous body, for the first time! It began in the laughter of children, it will finish so. This poison will linger in all our veins even when, the fanfare returning, we are delivered again to the old disharmony. Oh, we now so worthy of such tortures, let us fervently grasp this superhuman promise made to our created bodies and souls: this promise, this madness! Elegance, science, violence! They’ve promised the tree of good and evil will be buried in darkness, the tyrannical virtues will be deported, so we can bring here our love so pure. It began with certain disgusts and it ends – we being unable to seize this eternity all at once – it ends with a riot of perfumes.

      Laughter of children, discretion of slaves, austerity of virgins, horror of the faces and objects here, hallowed be you by the memory of this vigil. It began with all boorishness, behold, it ends with angels of fire and ice.

      Little drunken holy vigil! If only on account of the mask you’ve granted us. We endorse you, method! We’ve not forgotten that yesterday you glorified every century of ours. We have faith in poison. We know how to give our whole life every day.

      This is the age of ASSASSINS.

Arthur Rimbaud, Illuminations 11 – Drunken morning

It’s repose in the light, neither fever nor languor, on the bed or the field.

      It’s the friend neither ardent nor weak. The friend.

      It’s the beloved not tormented, and not tormenting. The beloved.

      The air and the world unsought. Life.

   – Was this it, then?

   – And the dream cools.

 

II

 

The lighting returns to the centre-post. From the room’s two extremities, a stage-set of sorts, harmonic risers meet. The wall facing the watcher is a psychological succession of frieze-like intersections, atmospheric layers and geological undulations – Intense and rapid dream of deeply-felt groupings, with beings of all types in all perspectives.


III

 

The lamps and rugs of the vigil make the sound of waves, at night, beside the hull, around the rudder.

      The sea of vigil like Amélie’s breasts.

      The tapestries, half-way up, copses of lace tinted emerald, into which the turtledoves of the vigil dart.

 

……………………………………………………………………

 

      The slab of black hearth, real suns of the beaches: ah, wells of magic; sole view of dawn, this once!

Arthur Rimbaud, Illuminations 20 – Vigils

CORONATION OF SESOSTRIS, PANEL 4, 2000. / ACRYLIC, CRAYON, AND PENCIL ON CANVAS.

High over the ponds, high over the vales,

the mountains, clouds, woods and meres,

beyond the sun, beyond the ethereal veils,

beyond the confines of the starry spheres,

 

you ride, my spirit, ride with agility,

swooning with joy, at the wave, strong swimmer

and take your ineffable masculine pleasure,

cutting through that endless immensity.

 

Fly far away from this deathly miasma:

go, purify yourself in the upper air,

and drink like a pure and divine liquor,

what fills limpid space, that lucid fire.

 

Behind him the boredoms, the vast distress,

that imposes its weight on fog-bound beings,

happy the man, who on vigorous wings

mounts towards fields, serene and luminous!

 

He whose thoughts, like larks, go soaring,

flying freely towards dawn air, -

who glides above life: grasps, easily, there,

the language of flowers and silent Things!

Charles Baudelaire, Elevation

QUATTRO STAGIONI: AUTUNNO, 1993-5. / ACRYLIC, OIL, CRAYON AND PENCIL ON CANVAS SUPPORT: 3136 X 2150 X 35 MM FRAME: 3230 X 2254 X 67 MM

UNTITLED 1968/1971. / DISTEMPER AND CHALK ON CANVAS, 199 X 248.2 CM.

Great forests you frighten me, like vast cathedrals:

                    You roar like an organ, and in our condemned souls,

                    aisles of eternal mourning, where past death-rattles

                    sound, the echo of your De Profundis rolls.

                    I hate you, Ocean! My mind, in your tumultuous main,

                    sees itself: I hear the vast laughter of your seas,

                    the bitter laughter of defeated men,

                    filled with the sound of sobs and blasphemies.

                    How you would please me without your stars, O Night!

                    I know the language that their light employs!

                    Since I search for darkness, nakedness, the Void!

                    But the shadows themselves seem, to my sight

                    canvases, where thousands of lost beings, alive,

                    and with a familiar gaze, leap from my eyes.

Charles Baudelaire, Obsession

Images from: http://www.cytwombly.info/

Poetry from: http://www.poetryintranslation.com/

1 Comment

  1. ah, bill evans… ( a lot to chew on in this post!)

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