Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Trees and Bushes in the Snow - Casper David Friedrich - 1828

You are placed before a thicket in winter (illus. I). The thicket, a cluster of bare alders, rises from the snow to fill your gaze: a mesh of grey-brown lines traced sometimes with white. The alders’ forked twigs and branches, tapering to sharp points, compose loose patterns against the dull sky. Here and there appear regular networks, the products of branches evenly spaced, overlapped and viewed from one spot before the thicket. Just above the ground, where the thickest is densest, you see branches dissolving into an abstract play of criss-crossed lines. Only rarely, however, has the artist simply x-ed his canvas with brown lines, heedless of the logic of each individual plant. In the variously pointing twigs near the canvas’s edge, in the curved and unpredictable growth of the larger, moss-covered stems which pass over and within the network, the artist recuperates – becomes a scholar of – the singularity of this thicket. The random signature of each specific twig as it forks out at its own angle, and in its own shape and thickness (despite whatever law commands its ordered growth), underwrites the particularity of the whole. It testifies that the network was and is this way, and no other way, and that you, therefore, are placed here, rather than elsewhere, before this thicket in winter.

Caspar David Friedrich- And The Subject Of Landscape by Joseph Leo Koerner - 1990 (p.9)

Black Square - Kazimir Malevich - 1913