a reply to BookInhabiter, a.k.a. Brain (2)

by richibi

Wolf Kahn - "Orange Cloud Over the Adriatic Sea" (1996)

Orange Cloud Over rhe Adriatic Sea” (1996)

Wolf Kahn


a reader writes, about “Poème d’amour“,
Hans Hofman

“This is a bizarre painting. It bewilders me. I can’t make sense of it. But maybe that’s the point.”

below is my answer



with the invention of the camera, Brain,
representational art became irrelevant,
unable to present the accuracy a
photograph would it had to discover
for itself an alternate purpose, which
is to say, reinvent itself

the medium became the message,
as Marshall McLuhan would’ve
put it, art began to study itself, it
reached for its sinews, arteries,
its colours, textures, its planar,
dimensional, limitations, limits

its form, in other words, was
becoming its substance

Abstract Expressionism was the
nadir of this movement, after the
less ethereal, more visceral,
German Expressionism, and up
to Andy Warhol, who brought us
back down to earth again with
pictures of Campbell Soup cans,

more matter, less theory

note the residual attachment to flat
colour fields nevertheless

that said, what part of Hofman‘s
Love Poem is indeed a love poem,
search me, I think it’s just pretentious,
failed Miro

but do read the sidebar on the upper
left at the site for less partisan perhaps
insights, just click “Show details” there

I don’t either much like Schönberg,
who did the same kind of thing to
music, eviscerated it, I want to see
the body, not the entrails, these
should be studied at art school,
the conservatory, creative writing

but that is of course just what I think

Schönberg and Abstract Expressionists,
however, have left their indelible marks
on art history, commendable marks for
their theoretical underpinnings, rigours

see for instance the marvellous Wolf
Kahn above
for the evolution of these
ideas, you get it in less than a minute,
and delight in it

that is what real art does

thanks for asking


psst: Wolf Kahn was a student of
Hans Hofman, incidentally, he
just put everyday references
back into the picture, I call it
heart, something organic