Monday, March 1, 2021

R. H. Quaytman at Serralves


Quaytman is forebear to today's painting puzzification. Like any good mystery, it's rife with clues. Painting becomes signs and signals, turn painting into information, the little motifs become points of reference, repetitions to build resonance. A resonance that feels like meaning. They are endlessly elsewhere. We are told "every detail... is subject to careful control." Careful control presuming purpose for such, but surely there can be anality without purpose. Or, anality itself is the purpose. The careful control of avoiding anything so specific as to be finally graspable, a very very finely tuned house of mirrors. "a novel without conclusion." Already in 2014, Quaytman asking "What are they adding up to—or, to put it bluntly, what is the “book” about?" The question becomes that of all painters, painting, how long can Quaytman keep the mystery without end interesting. How long can one delay? How to resist saying anything while still appear to be speaking. Enough mirrors and the ventriloquist need not speak at all?