Cy (1928-2011)

Fifty Days at Iliam (detail)

I’m revisiting a recent piece, which centers on a pilgrimage to see Fifty Days at Iliam, a series of paintings by Cy Twombly, who passed away today.

“Each canvas is a battleground. The frenzied gestures that left these traces are half combat, half somnambulistic; half fractured, half whole. With wide, sweeping arcs of his arm, the artist is the windmill giant and he is Don Quixote. More Cervantes than Homer, he recognizes the artifice of his hero’s endeavor, and of his own.

I can’t decide whether Twombly’s cycle of paintings is good. Lone canvases by this artist have left me breathless, overpowered. But these elude me in some way…  these paintings have a secret. Is it helplessness, is it defeat? For all the heroism of the title and names, each canvas is part wasteland, expanses of lonely wanderings and crushing self-doubt.”

When I set out writing I thought I would write the piece about seeing Twombly’s canvases, but they defied so much description — I found it far easier to talk about the circuitous journey toward my goal than to describe the work itself, and my reflections on Fifty Days occupy only a few short paragraphs.

You can the whole entry here: Sounds of Time Suspended.


July 05 2011 11:25 pm | art on view and museums and pictures

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