Sunday, 16 March 2008

a course, and Giacometti

I have booked a 2 day course at Compton Verney in May, on "Working with space - learning from Giacometti". I saw the Giacometti exhibition in Paris in January and loved it. I found out too that he used to draw his sculptures; not just draw plans of future sculptures, but draw finished ones. I copied this down from a newspaper article in 1965 (The Saturday Evening Post):

... looking back at the age of 63, the entire array (of work) represents so many fumbling steps along a road to total defeat. "What I've been trying to do all my life can't be done." he says with the self-mocking grin of a man admitting a ridiculous weakness. "I want to copy reality exactly as I see it. Impossible, of course, because what you see continuously changes in time and space, non? You would need absolute knowledge, and who can attain that, hein? Nobody only an imbecile would persist, non?"
And in the same month, in the Weekend Telegraph (strange to think that I was 13 then and probably ignored that article..), Giacometti's feeling about his art:
...a losing race to trap the sensation he feels at each sight of a subject ...
I sat and sketched one of his sculptures, of a woman sitting cross-legged like a buddha. I noted "the planes of faces turned into little slabs of clay... and there are angles that produce, not longing, but poignancy, the deep sadness of being human..." Looking at one of the tall thin scupltures of a man: "remember there is a rod of iron running through the core from head to foot." And what I notice reflects how I feel, alone in Paris: poignancy, the rod of iron, the losing race.

Art courses - My 'favourites' list on Explorer includes several art courses that I go to and ponder in the evenings and weekends. This is the first one I have booked, and the first branching-out venture in my second art era. Usually it is the cost that holds me back from booking, or rather the idea that a large sum of money might only land me trapped with a class I don't want to be in for a whole two days. Not very adventurous, but I remember running from an evening class once when the atmosphere was so clogged, boring, heavy that I knew I would learn nothing. I also remember an Easter course at the Slade where I was both inspired and felt desperate; probably it was too much too soon. But my drawing leapt several years in the course of the week.

Meanwhile, I have started another old master copy, this time of a landscape with buildings, trees and people. How can it be so hard to transfer the placing of these from one rectangle (the card) to another, slightly larger, rectangle (the page of my sketch book)? Is it because I name the shapes and they become something other than shapes, occupying space as suits their name rather than their shape? My eye connecting into parts of my mind that mislead and divert attention.

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