Friday, February 13, 2009

Klimt In Korea

Gustav Klimt created the most beautiful thing. He had a vision to create a Total Art that encompassed, form, structure and the complete exploration of the perfect state of the natural world. What he created was beautiful.

The show contained over two hundred pieces of his works, but only a few of what could be considered his major pieces, The portrait of Judith,  the Beethoven Frieze, and many of his beautiful landscapes. Such an exquisite use of color, form, structure, his vision on canvas, on paper, executed with joy, carelessness, love. I wanted to see some of his structural work and I wanted to see his landscapes but I wasn't really sure what I was going to see aside from Klimt. The announcement in the Korean newspaper was mostly in Korean so I couldn't be sure aside from the few pictures that I saw. 

So imagine my surprise when the show was composed the most of Klimt sketches. The rough drafts, the pencil sketches, sketches of the landscapes, sketches of his famous paintings before they were done, sketches his women, nudes, in any number of position. There were so many of them. I recognize the style, sketches on newsprint, sketches with blue pencil, or charcoal pencil, no erase lines, just thrown out and done. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.

I stand in front of his pieces and all I can think of his fingers on the paper. I see the careless stroke, I feel the tension where his frenzy builds, where the image becomes more than just something he exacts on paper but something that stirs him, moves him, drives him. It's becomes more than the art. The shake of the hand, the line thrown off in a curly hear, a touch of shadow there, the caress of a finger, the artist caress. To draw to sketch so thoroughly that you don't just capture what you see but something deeper. This depth becomes the later recreation, the small part that becomes the larger piece. Here is the jumping off point, in this pencil on paper, the start. I think about my own rough sketches when the girls come to my studio and sit for me. It reminds me of Psyche sitting in my room nude and lounging in a chair while I picked out her nipples with my pencils.

But here was something more, mastery of it. To go from those throw off pieces, the pencil sketches and move towards his final larger works, to see the fresh touch of paint on canvas. The brush stroke, the fine lines of the hairs of the brush as they are pulled across the canvas, a dab of paint here, there, and another place to come together to make a whole piece. Exquisite.

It was overwhelming to stand in front of his pieces, even with Koreans jostling me on every side, confused by my desire to stand and stare, I was happy, content. The show runs through May and I'm going up again. And in the meantime I go back to the studio tomorrow.

*As a note we were not allowed to take pictures inside the actual show, but all the pieces here are currently in the show.

1 comment:

Hotter Than... said...

I saw the Klimt exhibition at Tate liverpool last summer and it was stunning. The Beethoven Frieze was amazing especially when you go back to the music. However for me the pencil drawings were incredible. Filled with such reverence for his subjects and their beauty. Words fail me to describe how up-lifting I found the exhibition.