Perennially New

An article of 1989 by Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe, called “The Current State of Nonrepresentation,” proves that certain ideas might seem fresh, but are hardly new:

“…the task of nonrepresentation [is], typically, one which involves seeing a thing which is, for once, about the presentation of no thing…People are uncomfortable with such an activity because it destabilizes so much that is dear to them. Unlike Conceptual Art, which celebrates the triumph of the idea over the material—in the name of Materialism of course, like all realisms—nonrepresentational art does not offer the security of historicism, of the notion of historical relevance as the final arbiter—a nonaesthetic one, therefore—of the work of art….Unlike representation more generally considered—that is to say, aside from the representationalism that is Conceptualism—nonrepresentation does not give one pictures of things which one may then relate to the…subjectivity which produced them.”

There is a lot going on here, and many of the threads have also been disentangled and rewoven on this blog—for one the desire for freedom from both ideas and subjectivity.

Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe, More 2010

Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe, More 2010

This entry was posted in American Modernism, Conceptualism and Painting, Principles of Abstraction and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Perennially New

  1. Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe says:

    Thanks Robert, I hadn’t seen this before, Jeremy.

  2. You’re more than welcome. Did you catch my answer to Bruce Hainley’s dismissal of “non-representation”? It’s a post called “Abstraction is so over.”

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