March 10th, 2011 / 3:55 pm
I Like __ A Lot

Giorgio Morandi & Daren Wilson

If you google image search “morandi” you’ll be searching for Giorgio Morandi, a relatively unsung Italian painter who spent his adult unmarried life living with his sisters in Bologna painting the same twenty or so objects for decades upon decades, obsessively rearranging them, emptying himself of bias towards the “subject” until the objects held no more importance than the unattributed space they resided in. When, it is said, they asked him why he never dusted the objects, he said that such furriness was visual time. I’m paraphrasing of course. Morandi is my favorite artist because of his faithful reticence, his solemn humor and patience. Daren Wilson is an artist who copies Morandi with an earnestness that seems to precede any postmodern tendency, hanging his paintings “salon” style in what seems to be his studio. I like Daren Wilson a lot. And so, it is both auspicious and odd how I, we, are here — looking at things that are real and not real. The representation of objects in oil; the representation of oil in pixel; the representation of space as contour; the representation of physical objects which we’ve accepted we’ll never touch. Touch your screen, I dare you.

Morandi often painted the same scenario of objects, only replacing one object with another. Looking at his humble o’uevre is like forensically investigating the silent murder of an object suddenly disappeared. And our friend Wilson here may or may not have caught on, as he occasionally replaced — or at times even “invented” — objects, imposing his compositional will onto the original. (a) is Wilson’s copy of Morandi’s (b); and (c) is the latter’s alternate version. At first I thought Wilson replaced the far-right object in (c) in his (a) version, until discovering its corroborative verity in (b). And all this a-b-c-ing is not meant to confuse you, or me, but it is.

I was going to mention Warhol, but I think that’s dead. He admitted to not being able to spend one night at home, spreading humors to his dogs. Morandi rarely traveled, and probably got laid in his entire life what Picasso or Warhol did in a weekend. Genius is an overused and corrosive word; it turns a football player into Matthew Barney, and an alcoholic into Jackson Pollock. I am far from a feminist, but even I get tired of confident cock.

Morandi first tried to be a surrealist, painting like Chirico, then slowly settled into domestic lonely bliss. His studio was behind his sisters’ bedroom, so he would need “permission” to transgress their domain into his. I’d like to think this effected his mentality, which is the only palette a writer or painter really has.

We don’t know why Wilson (a) added a dark object to Morandi’s (b) composition; or, perhaps it is an “accurate” copy of an alternate version I didn’t find. But it doesn’t make a difference what was where and who was who. Space is a puddle of light; time is an anesthetic. I look at each quivering line, trying to piece together which line is whose. From the object to the hand to the eye to the mind, nobody really owns anything. “When I got my first television set, I stopped caring so much about having close relationships,” says Andy. I wonder what he would say about the internet, which reminds me. Hello.

[Those of you in San Francisco may view these paintings at Tartine on 18th st & Guerrero.]

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  1. Tim Ramick

      Thanks, Jimmy, for posting this (I wasn’t aware of Wilson’s copies), and especially for this sentence:

      “Looking at his humble oeuvre is like forensically investigating the silent murder of an object suddenly disappeared.”

  2. jesusangelgarcia

      I like this too, Jimmy. A couple notes: a) I rarely do what people say, but I touched my screen. Don’t know why. I just did. b) To my knowledge (not first-hand, mind you), Warhol rarely, if ever, had sex after he became WARHOL due to paranoia about potential post-coital gossip. Crazy, huh?

  3. mimi

      Not that I need an extra reason to go to the best bakery in SF, but now I have an excellent extra reason to go to my favorite bakery in SF. Soooooooon.
      Thanks, Jimmy Chen.

  4. deadgod

      Somebody took a word of this sentence.

  5. Tim Ramick

      deadgod: I never responded to your fair question on another Morandi thread long ago (by the time I noticed it, it felt too late to try to muster an answer, especially since your question was more thoughtful than my blather). Anyway, for what it’s worth, belated apologies.

  6. Anonymous

  7. Anonymous

      its all about how cool the backstory, if he didnt cut off his ear no one would know the word Gogh

  8. kayfltt