Saturday, 21 June 2008


And this is called action painting? Of course, we all remember that footage of Pollock himself leaping and dancing above his supine canvas spooling paint in great dribbly gouts; that's action, right there--but then again there's necessarily action in the activity of any painter in her/his practice. And look at the Pollockian result: about as far, visually, from action as it is possible to get. Now, this isn't to deny that it's an image of great textural interest; and it's not to deny that it constitutes a brilliant intervention into artistic traditions of form. But it is to point out that it is, for all that, an image nevertheless of a century's accumulated spiders'-webs; of the brambles occluding passage to the princess's castle; of the hairball to which scores of residents in an appartment have contributed and which has clogged the general drain. It is a representation of blockage. To say so is not to dismiss it of course; on the contrary. But it is to query where the action, here, is.

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