Mixed Media

One of my favourite writers is Jack Kerouac, and I was unaware of his paintings.   One of my favourite painters is Vasily Kandinsky, and I didn’t know he was also an accomplished poet.  Luckily, two articles side by side in today’s Hyperallergic set me straight.

Woman in blue with black hat: Jack Kerouac

Michael Valinsky writes a review of Beat Painting, edited by Sandrina Bandera, Alessandro Castiglioni, and Emma Zanella, suggesting that:

“the recent monograph of Kerouac’s never-before-seen paintings sparked something inside of me that evoked my teenage discovery of poetry and language, and of a Paris I had — and would — never know.”

“Accompanying the exhibition Kerouac. Beat Painting (December 3, 2017–April 22, 2018) at the Museo MA*GA in Gallarate, Italy, the catalogue presents a collection of essays and images addressing Kerouac’s life as an artist, not of the pen but of the brush.”

“At first glance, the paintings look like yet another example of Jackson Pollock-esque Expressionism. (Pollock and Kerouac were contemporaries.) But, the more you look at the paintings, the more you study their poiesis, their emphasis on abstraction as a means of representing an emotion or a feeling, the more you’ll notice how unique they are — the more you’ll see how their themes intersect with those in his writings. Museum Director Sandrina Bandera writes in the catalogue that the paintings “reconstruct a narrative in which the written works and the forays into figurative art would perfectly coincide: different aspects of the same poetic journey.”

In another article, Douglas Messerli discusses Kandinsky’s use of colour in his prose poems. From an early work, Seeing …

Blue, Blue rose up, rose up, and fell.
Spiky, Thin whistled and tried to barge its way in, but
didn’t get through.
On every corner there was a din.
Fat Brown got caught, apparently for all eternity.

Apparently. Apparently.

… through his late Dadaist language plays such as Open:

Now slowly disappearing in the green grass.
Now stuck in the grey muck.
Now slowly disappearing in the white snow.
Now stuck in the grey muck.
Lay long: long fat black tubes.
Lay long.
Long tubes.

So interesting to get this pairing of articles, these pairings of media, together.

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