Filed Under: Media & Tech | Posted: 06/07/2012 at 9:02PM
Comments | Region: New York | United States
Morandi was the first artist to express the solemnity of vases. He chose his subjects with extreme care. They had to look almost like chess pieces.
His empty bottles and cubes are entirely useless, arranged unnaturally. They are like Cézanne still lifes with the fruit edited out. Ultimately, they seem to be comments on architecture — on spires, domes, towers, villas. In fact, Morandi was critiquing the premise of the still life, an absurd tableau which pretends to be "ordinary."
When you stare at a Botticelli long enough, it becomes abstract. When you stare at a Morandi long enough, you begin to see angels and virgins. (In a sense, Morandi was expressing the virginity of vases.) "Minimalism" is impossible. It constantly replicates, expands, fills the galaxy. And the galaxy itself has a simple shape, not unlike a bowl.
For some reason that it’s impossible to explain, you always feel you’re seeing the front of his boxes and bottles — the way we never see the moon’s ass. Did Morandi dream these tableaux? He must have — unless he used special dream paint, which makes objects look dreamt.
What music did Morandi listen to as he painted? I can’t believe it wasn’t Chopin. (To find the answer, I wrote "Morandi listened to music" on Google, which led me only to the band Morandi, whose big hit was apparently "Oh My God Superfly.")
Giorgio lived with his three sisters, Anna, Dina and Maria Teresa, his whole life. Every day, he was surrounded by the feminine form. You can see these women in the shoulders of his bottles. Sometimes there are four "subjects" in Morandi’s paintings (as in the one illustrating this essay). Giorgio and his three sisters shifted positions within a shared space, like the objects in his canvases.
[Written after visiting the Museo Morandi in Bologna.]