Tuesday, 24 February 2009
Rodchenko: Cork Flooring
In my spam filter today an email enticingly headed: Are you Interested in Cork Flooring? Unless this is a very subtle sex-ad or an Irish travel agency, I assume it means what it says. And the shameful but honest answer would have to be No. And yet one could get interested, in much the same way as, say Ms Baroque is interested in Barnett Newman or, say, Aleksandr Rodchenko...
Universal Tile Co: Blue Tile
How would one develop an interest in cork flooring starting from zero? Or, for that matter, in Aleksandr Rodchenko? Is it a similar process?
Rodchenko did a great deal more than paint three monochrome canvases. He was a revolutionary Constructivist whose best work I find quite exhilarating. But, starting from zero, one wouldn't necessarily begin by working one's way through his artist's statements. Such as this one, quoted by M Baroque,
I reduced painting to its logical conclusion and exhibited three canvases: red, blue and yellow. I affirmed: it’s all over. Basic colors. Every plane is a plane and there is to be no representation.
Most art statements are mostly sound and fury signifying only a desire to create sound and fury, and that is pretty well the case with the Constructivist ones as well. The lecture Ms Baroque quotes from...
"From here, Constructivism proceeds to the negation of all art in its entirety, and calls into question the necessity of a specific activity of art as creator of a universal aesthetic.” - Varvara Stepanova: Lecture on Constructivism, 22 December 1921.
...is a case in point. You might well end up with cork flooring from there. Or nothing at all.
As to blue canvases, or black canvases, or red canvases, or white canvases, or bare unprimed canvases, and abstract painting in general my friend the novelist and, now, memoirist, Mr Foster, has a short series here, and here, and here. The first is by Mr Philip Guston, who is not fully committed to abstraction, the second by Mr Barnett Newman, who is, and the third is by Mr Gottlieb, who also is, albeit in a different way. If you don't like abstract art the man to write to is Clement Greenberg but he being dead you should not expect a reply.
Historically, there seems to have been less interest in cork flooring than in abstract art. I can see the attraction, of course. Soft tread, looks neat, suggestion of a workshop atmosphere combined with high-living. But it is undoubtedly the case that if I were approached at a party and asked: Are you interested in cork flooring? by a fellow guest, I might think him or her a little dull.
I see what I have done. I started out wanting to talk about the possibility of developing an interest in cork flooring and have been talking about abstract art instead. It seems cork flooring isn't holding my interest quite as it should.
There was an earlier error in captioning the pictures that I now put right.