Saturday, November 15, 2008

The thing on the left

Now, what is that? Think carefully before answering. If I can give you a guessing tip, the best thing to do here is to clear the ground and try to figure out what this thing on the left is not.

This thing on the left is not a drawing. It's a painting. It it were a drawing, there wouldn't be these paint drips and this grey background with gouache streaks that clearly advocate for the use of a paintbrush.

This thing on the left is not a child's painting intended to be pasted up on the wall of a classroom in some american primary school. If it were, it would have been removed and burnt by a member of the staff or another child, since it carries a political statement. This cannot be tolerated for obvious reasons. A primary school is not a place to express one's controversial opinion about the world.

This thing on the left is neither the work of some old man jailed in a lunatic asylum for repeted rape and sodomy attempts on guinea-pigs. This thing on the left sure looks weird, but not that weird. It's almost symetrical, nearly cohesive and it cannot have been made under the disrupting influence of a mental crisis.

Now, I tell you what this thing on the left is. It's a handmade painting of German artist A.R. Penck (born Ralf Winkler), born in 1939 in Dresden. Like all his other works, it testifies for the parting of Germany and it echoes the contradictions between the eastern and western political systems. It's influenced by Paul Klee's work and mixes the flatness of Egyptian or Mayan writing with the crudity of the late black paintings by Jackson Pollock. At the moment, it's exhibited in the Frankfurt Kunsthalle and is considered by some as his personal masterpiece.

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