Monthly Archives: May 2013

” …radiation of the visible is what the painter seeks under the name of depth, of space, of colour.” Merleau Ponty (1908 – 1961)

‘Apollinaire said that in a poem there are phrases which do not appear to have been created, which seem to have formed themselves. And Henri Michaux said that sometimes Klee’s colours seem to have been born slowly upon the canvas, to have emanated from some primordial ground, ‘exhaled at the right place.’ Merleau Ponty.

…Then Merleau Ponty talks about ‘the swimming pool’:

‘When through the water’s thickness I see the tiling at the bottom of a pool, I do not see it despite the water and the reflections there; I see it through them and because of them. If there were no distortions, no ripples of sunlight, if it were without this flesh that I saw the geometry of the tiles, then I would cease to see it as it is and where it is – which is to say, beyond any identical, specific place. I cannot say that the water itself – the aqueous power, the sirupy and shimmering element – is in space; all this is not somewhere else either, but it is not in the pool. It inhabits it, it materialises itself there, yet it is not contained there; and if I raise my eyes towards the screen of cypresse where the web of reflections is playing, I cannot gainsay the fact that the water visits it too, or at least sends into it, upon it, its active and living essence. This internal animation, this radiation of the visible is what the painter seeks under the name of depth, of space, of colour.’ Merleau Ponty (1908 – 1961)

Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961) from ‘Eye and Mind’ HARRISON, Charles and WOOD, Paul ‘editors’, ART in THEORY, 1900-2000, An Anthology of Changing Ideas, 2nd Edition, USA, Blackwell Publishing Limited, 2003.pp. 767 – 771, p.770

“…those who look closely will get the feel of a world in which no two objects are seen simultaneously… a world in which being is not given but rather emerges over time.” Merleau Ponty, 1948.

“…those who look closely will get the feel of a world in which no two objects are seen simultaneously, a world in which regions of space are separated by the time it takes to move our gaze from one to the other, a world in which being is not given but rather emerges over time.”

Merleau-Ponty p.54 of lecture “Exploring the World of Perception: Space” in The World of Perception, 1948.

Giotto’s Joy : “Such a blue takes hold of the viewer at the extreme limit of visual perception.” Julia Kristeva

Giotto’s Joy

“One’s first impression of Giotto’s painting is of a coloured substance, rather than form or architecture; one is struck by the light that is generated, catching the eye because of the colour blue. Such a blue takes hold of the viewer at the extreme limit of visual perception.”

Julia Kristeva Desire in Language, A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art, 1980

“feeling, touching, seeing, through mind and hand and eye.” Barbara Hepworth

“Moving through and over the West Riding landscape with my father in his
car, the hills were sculptures, the roads defined the form. Above all, there
was this sensation of moving physically over the contours of fullness and concavities,
through hollows and over peaks – feeling, touching, seeing, through mind and
hand and eye. The sensation never left me, I, the sculptor, am the landscape.”

Alan Bowness, Barbara Hepworth, A Pictorial Autobiography, London, Tate Gallery Publications,1985, p.9.