A-typical II

by Nandia Foteini Vlachou

.

Sometimes, something is a-typical not so much on account of who created/produced it, but because the period in which it originated is unexpected. This is the case with this week’s a-typical post, a drawing. True, including drawings here could be considered ‘cheating’. Years ago (in a galaxy far, far away…), when I was still a master’s student, our professor asked whether drawings should be included in the study of art and its history. It might seem like a paradoxical question, but it is not wholly devoid of interest. In drawings one often finds experimentations of form that would never, could never appear in finished works. I am referring to periods when ‘experimentation’ as such or ‘personal expression’ would not have been considered virtues, and would have little to do with the objects produced. Drawings therefore are, in some cases at least, the easiest way to upset timelines, and unsettle the still dominant linear conception of art history. They can offer a fascinating glimpse into the visual perception of the world, and the myriad ways it was represented in various historical moments. Drawings can also invite us to consider the values of any given society where finished works looked a certain way, but drawings another, and the distance an artist had to cover in order to get from one mode of representation to the other.

landscape_with_smiling_sunrise

This particular drawing was totally unexpected for me. The smiling sun, peeking behind the mountain, made me smile as well. It also reminded me of a scene from a movie, not a movie I particularly liked or enjoyed, and yet, there the association was. The Owl and the Pussycat by Herbert Ross (1970), with Barbra Streisand and George Segal, she playing a prostitute, he an unpublished writer thrown together by the adversities of life (as prostitutes and writers are wont to do…). There is a scene in it where he reads her a passage from his book, describing how the sun “spit morning” in the face of his character, which (understandably) drives Streisand nuts. I could not find the scene where she later tries to cheer Segal up, by ‘reenacting’ the sun spitting morning, but here is the original clip with Streisand’s reaction.

.

.

[The answer to last week’s a-typical is: Rembrandt, Historical Scene with Self-Portrait, 1626, oil on oak panel, 90.1 x 121.3 cm, Museum de Lakenhal, Leiden – Rembrandt is the third most discernible figure, counting from the left, looking directly towards the viewer, as he usually did in later portraiture. If I’m not mistaken, Alison Botterill understood who he was from his hair. Good catch!]

.

Advertisements