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narrative

February 3, 2010

“Narrative asks for interpretation, for us to make meaning or sense out what we’re looking at. Narrative seems a quick and easy diversion from the more difficult challenge of actually trying to see.”

Uta Barth
(interview)

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. February 3, 2010 10:25 am

    Thats an interesting thought

  2. February 4, 2010 1:55 am

    this book mentioned there, Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees about Robert Irwin, that sounds interesting, do you know whether it is any good?

  3. February 4, 2010 10:29 am

    not only does it sound good, but it is a favourite of mine. the new edition published by U of California Press is expanded so make sure you get that edition. Irwin is a fascinating character and Weschler captures both the subtleness of his thought and art as well as his love of life. i did note that Uta Barth said the title is a Zen phrase, though it is actually a quote from Paul Valery.

    On a personal note, a few years back i had the privilege of meeting Bob (he prefers to be called Bob) at DIA Chelsea. He is really a great guy, and i learned a heck of a lot from him in that short time we chatted.

    So i give that book 5 stars out of 5, Antonia.

  4. February 4, 2010 3:38 pm

    thanks for the detailed recommendation. cool. you’re lucky for meeting him. i am sure i will check out that book one day (am still hunting the creative intuition). will see which book i first get my hands on.

  5. February 4, 2010 3:56 pm

    Well in the meantime there are some good videos of talks and such by Bob just do a search and you’ll find some good ones. This interview is a pretty good place to start.

  6. February 6, 2010 11:33 am

    thanks. i like these ideas about seeing and how he described that kid, that change, that seeing is not just the eyes but affects all one’s body. was searching a little for the source of the valery quote but couldn’t find it yet. it’s interesting stuff this all.

  7. February 9, 2010 9:50 am

    this refusal of narration reminds me of the Munier article, who thinks that cinema will become an art only when it manages to get rid of the aim of “telling a story”.
    modern painters have struggled to achieve the same, no? i think of what Clement Greenberg says of Courbet: “the first real avant-garde painter, tried to reduce his art to immediate sense data by painting only what the eye could see as a machine unaided by the mind.” perhaps this comes from the fact that the aesthetic discourse about painting which established itself during the Renaissance actually borrowed the literary one and applied it to painting? so that we needed such a long time (and the fight is not over) to break free from the influence that literature exerted over visual arts? i don’t know. but very challenging questions.

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