Wednesday, September 22, 2004

"What Pollock does in these abstractions, as a result of his actions in the studio, is to disrupt our expectations regarding the role of skill in the final marks on the canvas. In an essay on "Style, Grace, and Information in Primitive Art," Gregory Bareson called Pollock's paintings, along with "natural landscapes, 'found objecs,' inkblots, scattergrams, [...] exceptions to the almost universal linage in aesthetics between skill and pattern" (1972:148). In Pollock's case, as in these others, " a larger patterning seems to propose the illusion that the details must have been controlled," when, in actuality they have not been (148). It is this lack of control of the medium in its traditional sense, along with a yielding to more ritual actions that has been so invisible to most interpreters of Pollock. The illusion of control has effected an account of Pollock at odds with ritual and in concert with historical art practices, even if avantgarde."

...
"At the beginning of this article I suggested that Levi-Strauss's conception of the dialectic relationship between ritual and psychoanalysis might prove useful in thinking about the abstract paintings of Jackson Pollock. I suggested that this may be so precisely because Levi-Strauss's views could aid in a better historical understanding of the position of Pollock's painting in post - World War II thought and life. I have relied on theoretical discourses put forward between 1944 and 1956 by a variety of the disciplines: art criticism, psychoanalysis, studio art practice, poetry, and anthropology. What I have constructed is a Jackson Pollock deeply embedded in the thought - the most advanced thought - of his times . . . This is not to say that artists after Pollock and influenced by him did not understand their painting in this way. They most probably did. Others, such as Warhol in his Dance Diagrams (Tango) of 1962, also understood the deep performativity of Pollock's abstractions (Jones 1998:84-102). But it is to say that Pollock's abstractions may be most felicitously located in a "post-ritual" situation, in which both a political and aesthetic consciousness may rest complexly, and not always happily, upon unconscious desire."(Jackson Pollock Post-Ritual Performance | Catherine M Soussloff | pdf)

:: note :: . . . have spent a lot of time with the idea of a pollock performance and the link to ritual . . . more food for thought . . .