Page 21 - Studio International - May 1966
P. 21

after our own verse, after the faint mixed tints of Conder,
                                                                                     what more is possible? After us the Savage God.
                                                                                     `Comedy, objectivity.' It is this flat gaze at the fallen
                                                                                    human animal which Dubuffet's art supplies : a refusal
                                                                                    to make choices between what is noble and what is
                                                                                    mean. There is, so to speak, nothing intrinsic in Dubuffet's
                                                                                    world. When he looks at a human being or a plant he is
                                                                                    not really concerned with what it potentially is, or what
                                                                                    it might become, but just with the thing itself, stripped
                                                                                    of its attachments, floating like anything else in an absurd
                                                                                     One of the most passionately-held tenets of Renaissance
                                                                                    thought—and therefore of Renaissance painting, and the
                                                                                    art which derives from the Renaissance tradition—is the
                                                                                    idea of a natural order within the universe, a hierarchy of
                                                                                    importance rising from earth and minerals through or-
                                                                                    ganic matter to plants, insects, animals, useful animals,
                                                                                    and finally man. Dubuffet's art presumes the exact
                                                                                    opposite. I stress the word 'presumes' : Dubuffet's philo-
                                                                                    sophical position is consistent, and he has worked out his
                                                                                    painting brilliantly in terms of it—but, for reasons which
                                                                                    lie outside this essay, I disagree with it. However, ob-
                                                                                    jectivity is the apparent keynote of his art—the Sartrean
                                                                                    `look' which can reduce any object to closed existence,
                                                                                    and from that to absurdity. This has led to the frequently-
         Corps de dame 1950
         Reed  pen (calamus                                                         made assertion that Dubuffet is not interested in beauty.
         and Indian ink)                                                            That is untrue, and Dubuffet has described 'my work to
         10 5/8 x 8 1/4 in.

         corps de dame 1950
         35 x  45 3/4 in.
         Formerly Larry Aldrich
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