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Giorgio Morandi Artist Research Paper

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Giorgio Morandi: Lines of Poetry - Estorick Collection

Giorgio Morandi: Lines of Poetry

The Estorick Collection inaugurates its fifteenth-anniversary year with an exhibition of some 80 etchings and watercolours by the master of poetic understatement, Giorgio Morandi.

Drawing on a number of private collections, and organised in collaboration with Galleria d’Arte Maggiore – Bologna (Italy), Lines of Poetry focuses on works on paper and includes a large number of the artist’s astonishing etchings. Although he was entirely self-taught as a printmaker, Morandi quickly mastered the technique. Restricted only in subject matter, these still lifes, landscapes and flower studies reveal his stylistic versatility and passion for experimentation.

Also included are a number of Morandi’s watercolours – works that are rarely seen in the United Kingdom. Perhaps more than any others, these paintings exemplify the artist’s ability to distil the essence of a complex scene or composition into an arrangement of near-abstract forms. Captivating in their restraint and extraordinary economy of means, these images are intensely evocative of time and place.

This career-spanning selection is complemented by the Estorick’s own collection of Morandi’s works on paper, making it one of the most comprehensive overviews of his graphic art ever mounted outside Italy

Nino Migliori
Imagined Landscapes:
The Places of Morandi

16 January – 28 April 2013

Delicately reworked Polaroid images by the renowned Italian photographer Nino Migliori.

Created during the mid 1980s, these works form a series entitled Imagined Landscapes: The Places of Morandi and explore the Grizzana landscape beloved by Morandi and immortalised in so many of his works. Best known for his black and white neo-realist images of life in 1950s Italy, these works reveal a different side to Migliori’s research in which the photograph is merely the starting point for an image that aspires not simply to document a moment in time or a specific location, but to express something of its emotional resonance.

Alberto Di Fabio
Intervention

13 February – 7 April 2013

Alberto Di Fabio’s work unites the worlds of science and art, drawing inspiration from the complex beauty of both biological and cosmic structures.

This installation of characteristically vibrant images takes the form of a response to the Estorick’s permanent collection and will be displayed throughout the building and its gallery spaces. Organised in collaboration with Gagosian Gallery.

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Giorgio Morandi

Giorgio Morandi

Tate Modern Level 4
22 May – 12 August 2001

Giorgio Morandi (1890–1964) is one of the most admired painters of the twentieth century. He is known primarily for his subtle and contemplative paintings, largely of still lifes, which he produced with determined consistency throughout his career. Morandi has long been celebrated for the simplicity and quietude of his work. However, beneath the obsessive exploration of a single subject is a complexity and richness of meaning. This exhibition offers an occasion to reassess his reputation and consider his continuing signifcance for contemporary art.

Giorgio Morandi brings together over forty paintings and a small group of works on paper. Although these span the artist’s career from his earliest metaphysical period in 1919 to his last works, made in the 1960s, the selection concentrates primarily on exploring themes within the works made after the Second World War. This period was his most productive and one in which his international reputation was established.

The exhibition provides the opportunity for an investigation of Morandi’s painting in the light of recent research and artistic practice. It charts several themes, each offering a way to interpret Morandi’s work. They include: Architectonics, suggesting the language of architecture in Morandi’s use of form, space and interval; Series, looking at the subtle variations in successive paintings of the same group of objects and Morandi’s search for a perfect order; Scale, showing the shifts in scale of objects depicted in related works and the artist’s changes in distance and angle of view; and Edge, dealing with Morandi’s exploration of compositional space and the relationship between solid and void.

These displays will be preceded by an introduction, highlighting key works from Morandi’s career and presenting the artist and major themes of the exhibition. Giorgio Morandi will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with contributions from the curators of the exhibition, Donna De Salvo, Senior Curator at Tate Modern, and Matthew Gale, Curator, Collections Division, Tate. The exhibition will also be shown at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris from 4 October 2001 to 6 January 2002.

Giorgio Morandi was born in Bologna, Italy, in 1890. From 1907–13 he studied at the Accademia in Bologna, and became well-known for his delicate etchings (the subject of a Tate exhibition in 1991). In 1930 he was appointed as Professor of Etching at the Accademia. In 1948 he won the prize for painting at the Venice Biennale. His works have been the subject of numerous exhibitions around the world and are represented in many public and private collections.

For further information please contact Tate Press Office:Call + 44 (0)20 7887 8730 / 4939 / 4906 Email pressoffice@tate.org.uk 20 John Islip Street MillbankLondon SW1P 4RG

Haus der Kunst - Detail

Giorgio Morandi — Oil paintings, watercolors, drawings, etchings

EXHIBITION 18.07 – 06.09.81

The retrospective of the work of Giorgio Morandi (1890–1964) paid tribute to an artist who at the time was revered almost as a "saint of modern Italian painting" (Werner Haftman). Comprised of simple objects, the world of his still lifes of glasses, bottles, jugs, and bowls is stylized to emblematic scale and perfect beauty. According to art historian Erich Steingräber, Morandi's painting reveals its powerful effect in absolute silence, through its timeless and placeless quality and harmony.

In the introduction, the show's curator Franz Armin Morat outlines the life and work of the artist from Bologna. Morandi attended the city's Academy of Fine Arts, where he first worked as a drawing instructor and later as a professor of etching. Morat stressed that the artist created the majority of his extensive oeuvre after the age of 50 and explained his radical position as an outsider in the art of the twentieth century with this stringent artistic concept: Morandi's disinterest in the representation of reality in landscapes and especially in the quantitatively predominant still lifes, but rather his desire to "see beyond the object." The abstraction that Morandi relentlessly pursued in his drawings and watercolors (cat. No. 119, "Natura Morta", 1960) resulted in oil paintings – executed in serial production – of the most similar possible compositions, which nevertheless varied to include more than one hundred basic configurations.

Lorenz Dittmann traces the relationship between "Morandi and Cezanne" by demonstrating that the Italian's compositional structure was based on the concept of the geometrical elementary forms of the French model but which, nonetheless, resulted in more abstract forms (cat. No. 58, "Natura Morta", 1953). In his radical description of "Morandi's Still Lifes" of the artist's late years, Gottfried Boehm concludes that Morandi was less interested in the object itself, but rather in the "relations between forms" and the tension between object and space, materiality, and emptiness, place, and space. His still lifes deny traditional vanitas symbolism by "using their temporality to deprive them of their decay." Instead of a memento mori, the artist expresses that time "goes to rest" and that in silence lies "uneventful happiness" (cat. No. 25, "Natura Morta", 1939).

Other catalogue contributions focus on details of Morandi's works. Ernst Strauss makes "Remarks on the Pictorial Arrangement", while Bernhard Growe explores issues of seriality and lighting (cat. No. 102, "Natura Morta" 1963) in his essay "Cosidetta realtà: The Unavailability of the World". Charles Wentinck examines "Morandi and Realism", while Amy Namowitz Worthen focuses on the artist's mastery as an etcher. Finally, in his contribution "Remarks on a Drawing by Morandi", the artist Raimer Jochims uses a late paper work (cat. No. 178, "Natura Morta", 1963) to observe that in Morandi's "lifelong search he gained a maturity, simplicity, ease, to quote Hölderlin, a holy sobriety that is unparalleled."

In cooperation with the Bavarian State Painting Collections in Munich.

The small, horizontal-format hardcover catalogue is illustrated with a color reproduction of Giorgio Morandi's still life "Natura Morta" (1939) set against a brown background. It consists of 360 pages, including a list of the exhibited works with 220 objects, including 100 paintings. The text section contains a foreword by Erich Steingräber, an introduction by Franz Armin Morat, and essays by Ernst Strauss, Lorenz Dittmann, Gottfried Boehm, Bernhard Growe, Raimer Jochims, Charles Wentinck, and Amy Namowitz Worthen. The catalogue is illustrated with numerous color and black-and-white photographs.

Giorgio Morandi, Natura Morta, 1918, Pinacoteca di Brera, Mailand © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 1981 / bpk Bildagentur

Morandi at CIMA

Morandi at CIMA Christine Hughes
November 2015
Giorgio Morandi, Roses, 1917, Oil on canvas, 58 x 50 cm.

When I was 13 and just finishing my catechism classes, having been newly confirmed into the Catholic Church, I was asked what I wanted to do when I grew up. I replied without hesitation that I wanted to become a monk, one who took the vow of silence and was a mendicant. I was told just as quickly in response that because I was a girl I could instead be a nun. This is when I became an artist.

Giorgio Morandi has for me always been an artist whose work I turn to for inspiration, guidance, and to renew my vows, as it were.

We have so few opportunities in the United States to see an exhibit of Morandi’s work.

The Center for Italian Modern Art on Broome Street in New York City has just opened a fine exhibit, Giorgio Morandi, which runs through June 25th, 2016. CIMA is a non profit research and exhibition center. On Fridays and Saturdays their fellows in residence give a guided tour of the exhibit (as well as a wonderful espresso prior). The viewing that I attended was peopled mostly by artists (mostly established), who I would bet we’re there for the same reason I was.

Giorgio Morandi looms large in legend. Exaggerated claims of his lifestyle; not traveling, not allowing anyone into his studio and being uninterested in fame or fortune.

He lead an exemplary life in that he seems to have made all his decisions based on his relationship to his work. He did a bit of travel, saw and appreciated the work of Cézanne, Giotto, Piero della Francesca and other artists, yet was basically content to stay in his family home with his sisters and keep the focus in his studio. Some exaggerate his steadfastness to extremes. I disagree with that characterization. Any artist knows when they come to that point in their work where something spiritual happens it’s a gift. We know not to leave the room, not to let anyone disrupt us, to forget about dinner and so on. The more we work, the more these times happen. I do think that Morandi was living his life pretty close to that state all the time and he was very protective of it, nothing more than that.

Morandi himself destroyed most of his early work, his juvenilia. In this exhibit the earliest painting is from 1916 Bottiglie e Fruttiera with a fresco-like surface and a palette near Giotto’s. There are a couple of paintings from 1917-19 which were done during Morandi’s short lived involvement with the Italian art movement Pittura Metafisica and his comradeship with the painters Carlo Carrà and Giorgio de Chirico. On the verso of Cactus is an early self portrait done during this period in a manner reminiscent of early Léger discovered during the cleaning of the painting in preparation for the MET 2008 show. CIMA has a photo of this self portrait on hand and occasionally will show the verso.

Giorgio Morandi, Still Life. 1931, oil on canvas, 54 x 64 cm

Morandi quickly made his own way developing his imagery of vessels sitting upon a surface, some which he painted on the inside, some on the outside to achieve his preferable colors and also to dull the surface so his light would drag across instead of racing. The atmosphere is palpable in all his work. We are breathing the Italian air, the dust from the war settling on some of the vessels. He was constant in all, working the same objects over and over in each painting, drawing, watercolor and etching sometimes placing a few more or less and starting a new work. One can dip into Morandi in any painting and come away with the sense of everything he did. His entire oeuvre coming through in the one piece. Magic, similar to looking at a Giacometti and not seeing but sensing all the layers of painting and scraping away, and painting again no longer visible but none the less there.

Giorgio Morandi, Still Life. 1931, oil on canvas, 42 x 42 cm

Many of the paintings in the show were done in the 1930s culled from the collections of Gianni Mattioli (whose daughter Laura Mattioli is the founder and president of CIMA) and Augusto Giovanardi who were both collectors and friends of the artist through out his life.

The 1930s is an interesting decade in Morandi’s work. It was a decade when he was finding his voice and made fewer paintings than at any other time. He was teaching etching at the Accademia di Belle Arti. Italy was under Fascist rule. A lot of art in Italy at the time was political and about spectacle, not particularly personal. Morandi deepened his palette to browns and darkened earth-tones, working slowly, also deepening his gaze inward. Seemingly the political darkness made it way into his work. It was during this period when he honed his approach to his personal style of applying thicker paint and becoming more poetic with his forms and less representational.

There are several etchings from this decade which show Morandi’s mastery of line in the dense black of printer’s ink.

Giorgio Morandi, Natura morta a grandi segni. 1931, etching, 24.5 x 34 cm.

In the last gallery of the show there are six paintings from the 1960s, the last decade of Morandi’s life, in which his imagery seems to be dissolving into abstraction, or is condensed into fewer objects, air and paint mingling on the paintings surface.

CIMA has included four contemporary artists whose work speaks to or compliments Morandi’s work. Three of them are photographers who had the opportunity of working in Morandi’s Bologna studio.

Joel Meyerowitz’s photographs of the vessels used by Morandi in his still lifes are singular and centrally formatted. It appears that each object was in the exact spot in every photo, the lighting and camera remaining stationary, creating a shadow running to the right and back. These photos are quite large compared to Morandi’s paintings (each 16 x 20 inches) and have a dusky, painterly air. An homage to Morandi, gazing into these objects, their scale and singularity making them iconic. It is as though we are seeing them through the gauze of time, but larger, like an image in the mind’s eye after a long meditation on it. I was interested in the distance between the artistic photograph of the object and the very subtle quality of the same objects in a much smaller and quieter Morandi painting. There is a huge difference; similar to looking at a photo taken from the exact angle and location where van Gogh stood and painted, and the painting done there. In that gulf one clearly sees what art is.

Matthias Schaller has done a photograph of Morandi’s Palette also large in scale. The palette has a surface of mottled colors which seems impossibly beautiful.

When Morandi set up a still life he marked the paper surface of his table to indicate and notate the placement of each object. It seems he used the same paper for a long time based on the numerous markings. Tacita Dean made a film based on this. The CIMA exhibits six photo stills from her film. The prints are black and white and have enlarged Morandi’s subtle markings to a scale which reminds one of the Surrealists’ “automatic drawings.”

The Wolfgang Laib sculpture Schiff made of honeybee wax has a similar sensibility to Morandi’s work, its waxy patina reminiscent of a painted surface. The piece has a warm presence. It is visceral, soft edged, earthy and silent.

Giorgio Morandi, Still Life. 1963, oil on canvas, 26 x 26 cm

The Center for Italian Modern Art is an elegant and relaxed environment in which to view the exhibition. In Italian style while minimally furnished, it allows for sitting in the galleries and the kitchen. The fellows who guided us through the exhibit had a deep knowledge of the material they were speaking about. It was an added pleasure to hear it in an Italian accent.

All images courtesy of the Center for Italian Modern Art

5 responses to “Morandi at CIMA”

Giorgio Morandi - late work

Posted by Birgit Zipser on December 4th, 2008

The two paintings by Giorgio Morandi shown here interest me because of what Steve called their ‘dissolving boundaries’. The first one was done in 1960:

Here is an excerpt showing the boundary between the left aspect of the vessel and its background:

Looking at this excerpt here on the web shows a clear boundary between the vessel and the background. However, in the museum, standing back from this painting and viewing it from some distance made the boundary disappear. The left aspect of the vessel melted into the background. It was a fun experiment going close to the painting and then moving away while observing the boundary disappear, giving the impression that the top of the vessel was vertically cut in half.

GM finished this second painting before his death in 1964:

Here is its excerpt showing the left aspect of the vessel against the background:

This excerpt of the 1964 painting indicates the similarity in color between the vessel and the background. Here the boundary can be sensed from different directions of the paint strokes. A fascinating method.

A comment on the color in Morandi’s paintings: The pictures shown here were scanned from the book currently sold at the Met ‘Giorgio Morandi 1890 – 1964’. After I bought the book, I compared the colors of its reproduction with the actual colors of the paintings while standing right in front of the paintings and I took notes. Regrettably, the colors in all the reproductions are consistently warmer than the beautifully cool colors in the paintings. GM painted cool yellows, reds, greys and not in the warmer, ‘candified’ hues shown in the reproductions. What a disservice to the GM’s legacy to falsify the colors in what may be become an important resource book. I attempted to reduce some of false warmth by desaturating yellow in my scanned photos.

What do I like in the two paintings shown here besides their ‘dissolving boundaries’? In the 1960 painting, the cool red is fascinating. There is a ‘vibration’ between the white vessel in front, the oval of the top of the red vessel and the cooler greyish vessel in the back. In GM’s last 1964 painting, the cool, feeble looking yellow of the vessel contrasts with the clear turquoise (clearer than apparent on the web pic) of the round shape in front. I had not seen this turquoise hue in any of his other paintings. – At death’s door, GM expressed something like ‘how very much he still wanted to realize his new ideas with painting’ – a touching thought.

In summary, during my first visit of the Morandi exhibition, I embraced two of his 1914 Natura Morta because of their clear lines. In contrast, during my second visit, I learned to very much appreciate the two Natura Morta shown here, painted about 50 years later.

21 Comments

Thank you for these detailed images, they’re much better than the other ones on the web or in my old book. The last one is particularly interesting in the way the left edges completely disappears, while the right edge is enhanced by contrast with the shadow. I’m jealous of your chance to see them directly.

Your photos do seem to show a slight problem of faint, parallel red/blue bands crossing the images. I suspect this is a Moiré effect resulting from interaction with the dots of the printing with your scanner line resolution. You could probably do better photographing them with your camera, but that’s more bother.

Yes, in Morandi’s last piece, the lost edge on one side and the enhanced one on the other side is most interesting. Has someone else carried on from where he had to leave off?

Thanks for explaining where the red/blue comes from. I did not know about this problem with scanners, using them only rarely. I will experiment with photographing the reproductions in a few days.

That’s an intriguing perceptual effect to have an object that announces itself clearly from one side, but on the other, sneaks up on you before you realize it’s there. That sort of effect is probably not uncommon, but I can’t think offhand of another artist who deliberately plays with it, the way Morandi appears to do from his obscuring brushstrokes in your last image. The controlled setting of a still life is a good place for such experiments.

Photographing artwork or printed images is not trivial, but it should be OK if you can arrange even lighting, a somewhat diffuse source about 45 degrees to the side being standard. Depending on the light source, you may have to do some color correction on the computer. But you’re already aware of that. In principle, Moiré effects could still result from the sensor matrix, but it hasn’t been a problem in the little copy work I’ve done. For details, it’s better to use the lens to focus in, if possible, than to crop a larger image.

In Art in America I just read the article by Matvey Levenstain on ‘The Naiveté of Morandi’. He used the word ‘awkward’ which reminded me that I used the word ‘clumsy’ in my first post on Morandi.

But standing in front of Morandi’s paintings at the Met last week dispelled this notion: Every stroke of his is intentionally and masterfully executed.

Levenstain uses Naiveté like Schiller did :
“In another major theoretical essay, ÜBER NAIVE UND SENTIMENTALISCHE DICHTUNG (1794-95, On Naïve and Sentimental Poetry), Schiller explorers the contrasts between the “naive” and “sentimental” modes, enlarging his study into analysis of nature and culture, feeling and thought, the finite and the infinite. Modern poets will never regain the immediate and unconscious-the naive-relationship to nature. Poets, he argued “will either be nature, or they will seek lost nature.” Introspective by nature, Schiller considered himself “sentimental” or reflective writer, when his friend Goethe was an archetype of the “naive” genius. (Copied from http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/schiller.htm )”

Thank you for the further exploration. I’m fascinated by your insights and thrilled that you had the chance to go back and look twice and make notes and then shared them with us. I keep thinking about the work I just did this week and am going to post on, so I guess I’d better get on with the posting, so I can check out my comparisons.

PS: I wonder if Schller’s “nature” could be translated to anything in one’s immediate environment. In some perverse way, I think most people have a naive/immediate relationship to, say, the urban environment — the vehicles, noise, surrounds of buildings and people. They move through it as one with it, and while that violates all the Romantic notions of the “natural”, it seems to me that the substitute exists, nevertheless.

Or maybe I’m just maundering about here, trying to fit a square into a circle with contacts at all edges.

Woody Allen objected to the countryside because of its lack of noise.

Have you ever stared at something steadily until it starts to dissolve in your vision? This happens with various optical effects. It’s as though Morandi may have experienced a kind of visual fatigue from regarding his subject, that ended up erasing some figure/ground contrast.

What we were talking about here was also described by Robert Irwin. In Seeing is forgetting… he compares Morandi with a more “modern-looking” contemporary, Pierre Soulages:

But if you looked at them on the physical level, in terms of how they actually dealt with the time and space relationships within the painting per se, the Soulages was pre-cubist, almost floating in like a seventeenth-century space, with its sense of distinct figure and ground; whereas the Morandi was essentially the same as a de Kooning or a Kline, with its intimate interpenetration between figure and ground. In Morandi they were never really separate. In fact, even with the figurative elements, there were cases where his ground actually got in front of the figures or in many cases couched them so intimately that there was no separating the two.

Just look at the necks of the two bottles in the images here for a clear illustration of Irwin’s points.

I just reread that last night and something may have clicked. Thanks again for getting me back to Irwin and then for inserting this passage, which I had already thought was important to me somehow.

Joanne Mattera has posted a very nice interview with dealer Stephen Haller. who knew Morandi in Italy. Morandi comes across as a very quiet man who lived simply and without distraction.

He was of no school of painting. It didn’t cross his mind whether or where he had a place in the art world. His thought was only to do his work.

Interesting to read this string of comments on Birgit’s post on Morandi. I regretted not getting to see that show. The Mattera interview of Haller on his memories of Morandi was very moving, and refreshing in this time of careerism.

Disappearing edges were part of Albers teaching, and there are several examples in the big “Interaction of Color” book, if you can get your hands on one of the editions with the portfolio of silk screened examples. It was published originally in the mid 60’s… by Yale, and then a facsimile was published by a German publisher around 1980.

Colors of equal value and fairly low saturation will generally produce disappearing or ‘fugitive’ boundaries; conversely colors of equal value and high hue contrast produce vibrating boundaries….which can seem like day-glo paint,

Color reproduction, particularly where precise and subtle color is hugely important, is always a problem! Color ‘rendering’ may even be a problem for galleries and museums in terms of lighting work….work painted under flourescent or tungsten light will appear quite different in daylight. It’s also always been a problem for artists who can’t afford professional photography in photographing their work. I always struggle…with the painting in front of me, to get the right value range and color balance in digital images on a monitor.

“Colors of equal value and fairly low saturation will generally produce disappearing or ‘fugitive’ boundaries…” This explain the effect of the dissolving boundary in the first painting shown here, upon stepping away from the painting.

I was touched by Morandi’s very last painting. I wish that he had lived longer to follow up on what he was doing there.

Reading quickly through the interview that Joanne Mattera has posted with dealer Stephen Haller, it struck me that Morandi would not sell Haller one of his paintings arguing that they were commissioned by art dealers. Could that have been one of the enticements for becoming an art dealer?

Thanks for the notes on color. I had been thinking of these subdued, not to say shy, colors as reflective of the man himself, but hadn’t considered the significance of their interactions. It appears the local university library has a 1963 Interaction of Color available, I’ll have a look.

I’ve just recently tried photographing art for the first time. One thing that helps, if you haven’t tried it, is to have a neutral white or gray card in the image which can be cropped out, or in a second image. Adjusting color controls to render the card with equal red, green, and blue pixel values–or just to appear a good white/gray by eye–should help.

I was actually wondering if the pictures were indeed promised to dealers, or if Morandi for some reason didn’t want to part with any. Or perhaps he didn’t want to ask from a young friend as much as he would be paid by a dealer. But certainly becoming a dealer would be a way to get to know some art and artists much better.

Steve;
Thanks for the suggestion about color correction…it sounds simple and effective.

It’s great that you found an available copy of the Albers book…be prepared to spend some time. There are probably over 100 plates, in separate folders, and the booklet of accompanying text is not too clear or comprehensive. Some of the images are self explanatory…obvious examples of transparency, color interaction, etc….some are pretty puzzling. Good luck. They are all from his students work with colored papers, and his teaching was challenging as he posed problems, with no directions or recipes, for the students to solve. He had some advantage in havng students who included Alex Katz, Chuck Close, Richard Serra, Rackstraw Downes, etc. Rauschenberg also studied with him at Black Mountain, and later said he didn’t understand any of it!

Wow. I only had a half hour with the Albers, but it was eye-opening. I’ll be back, bringing a new pair of gloves–the ones clipped to the case are pretty old. The Vibrating Boundaries were almost physically hard to look at, my eye just didn’t want to examine that edge. I was also captivated by the Transparency and Space series, which is very applicable to my black-and-white work. The charming Leaf Study series I happened on is one to examine more closely later.

Steve;
It sounds like Albers has a new student….certainly a fan. A simple and fairly amazing exercise is to try to find 3 colored paper samples that will create the illusion of transparency. Arrange them so it seems that the shapes overlap.

Yesterday, while sketching at the beach, I talked to a local artist, Roger Matson, about Giorgio Morandi. Roger told me about the Morandi museum in Italy and I told him about the Morandi exhibit in NYC last year.

Morandi’s ‘dissolving boundaries’ in his later pictures now acquired a new significance to me after just having read Jill Bolte Taylor’s book ‘My Stroke of Insight’. Trained as a brain scientist, she recounts in detail what happened to her as her left hemisphere was inactivated by bleeding. Dr. Taylor experienced what is the goal of many meditators, namely a state of bliss, and here is the important point, suddenly lacking boundaries, she felt fluid, merged with the universe. The normal experience of having boundaries, feeling solid, only came back as her left hemisphere began to slowly function again.

Here is my speculation, venturing into mysticism. Was Morandi inspired to paint ceramic vessels with dissolving boundaries because he was transitioning to a new state of experience close to his death? Was he recording the experience of losing boundaries that Dr. Taylor associates with left hemisphere function?

Watching the dissolution of boundaries is fascinating. Yesterday morning, an unusually warm day in March, the sublimating snow created a fog on top of the Sleeping Bear Dunes so that they seemingly merged with a overhanging cloud.

As I just mentioned in a post. I’m certainly interested in such boundaries in my own work. I hope I haven’t had a stroke or am approaching death! Though those could also be motivators for an interest in edges.

As de Chirico noted,

Morandi was a master of uncovering the ‘metaphysical dimensions of the commonest objects’, that is, of discerning the poetry within ‘those things that habit has rendered so familiar to us that we […] often look upon them with the eye of one who sees but does not understand.

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