21 January 2009

some thoughts on ROTHKO at Tate Modern

ROOM 1

ROOM 2

faces in the dark

ROOM 3

solder

safety security

optical illusions when looked from diff. angles

"Black on Maroon" (1959) - into void. Does the painting move? The black narrow, making the gap more difficult to pass through? The black drips like blood onto maroon ...

"Red on Maroon: Mural, Section 4" 1959.
Is it luminescent?

*Looked at from side angle, there is optical illusion, the square half disappears but the darkness remains, there is something there - what? Smudge of blood - scar - healed by abstraction ... half healed. - "Red on Maroon: Mural, Section 2" 1959.

ROOM 4


Why explain?

- nice to see back of painting

ROOM 5

*polaroid but not pop

"No. 5" - DEPTH. encompassing. DEATH ...

a polaroid of blackness, eternity, one's future.

ROOM 6

"luminous" "duration and physical self-awareness" "surrounding the viewer"

*No 1 <-1964: bleeding edge even darkness (black). The protection of the dark, the ability to hide, still doesn't protect from the seeping blood (or whatever). The edges still blur, minisculed. The 'light' escapes through the join in the two rectangles. Despite darkness (or because of it).

ROOM 7

ROOM 8


*symmetrical brown & grey best. White borders seem imposed (consciously) with whole series.

WHY BROWN & GREY??

"self-imposed limitations"

ROOM 9


feeling of resolution after brown & grey room

*figures in the grey?

"Black" - better IMMEDIATELY! "flatter" "contravening any illusion of pictorial depth." "'weight'"

*Best one has no borders!! but he hasn't painted sides - painted OVER borders.

much less depth white (of canvas?) allowed to show through with these. But the white isn't light, revelatory like the black used in similar ways. white is in fact dark and uncomfortable.

*The plane doesn't move and create illusions as viewer moves before it like the Seagrams ...

*because line is hand-done it feels more real, like the Earth's horizon but created personally, by an individual for himself. Likewise one's horizon is self-manipulated within the confines of an horizon(tal)

*Black seems to press onto the grey, vice-like and neverending - eternal horizons of black but not negative, rather calm, inevitable

Image courtesy of, and for more information visit: tate.org.uk/modern

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