Folds, Unfolding and Why baroque is not dead

Stefan513593_SP_part2_warmup feature

Warming up gestural drawing that possibly could lead into gestural painting? For the time being I restricted myself to charcoal sticks, one stick a day, one week.

Stefan513593 - SP2 -warm up - Baroque gesture
 
Stefan513593 - SP2 -warm up - Baroque gesture
Stefan513593 - SP2 -warm up - Baroque gesture #1
day 1
Stefan513593 - SP2 -warm up - Baroque gesture #1
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Stefan513593 - SP2 -warm up - Baroque gesture #2
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Stefan513593 - SP2 -warm up - Baroque gesture #8

In parallel my reading, bits by bits of Deleuze ‘Folds – Leibniz and the Baroque’, trying to find context for my assignment 1 work on folding and unfolding, my exhibition visit on Sam Gilliam and my curiosity to seek new perspectives and meaning.

“The model for the science of matter is the ‘origami’,… the art of folding paper.” – Deleuze

And reading on the side some parts in Holly’s book ‘Past Looking’, helping me to understand better what Deleuze was trying to say.

“Unfolding is not the contrary of folding, but follows the fold up to the following fold. A fold is always folded within a fold.” – Deleuze

Key learnings in Baroque and Deleuze:

The Baroque House - an allegory

Fig. 1: The Baroque House – An Allegory (after: Deleuze)

  • Difference Renaissance – Baroque:
    solid figure – changing appearance, enduring form-movement, thing in itself – thing in its relations, thing as they are – things as they seem to be, absence – presence
  • Connotation with Baroque: excessive, ecstatic, theatrical, allegorical, intertwining of death and desire
  • Baroque as a ‘subversion of dominant visual order of scientific reason’
  • Baroque a ‘world of two floors, separated by a fold that echoes itself.’, a separation between matter and manner, material and soul
  • The fold: a form of expression, a Gestaltung, an infinite line of inflection
  • Open facade and hermetic inner volume
  • A room, a place with no windows covered with ‘lines of inflection’ (the monad according to Leibniz), a cell, a sacristy, a study room
  • The outer is not visible in the inner, only through invisible openings or mirrors light enters
  • Dark background, things appearing from the background
  • 6 traits assigned to the Baroque:
    – 1. the fold, 2. the inside and outside, 3. the high and the low, 4. the unfold, 5. textures, 6. the paradigm

At the end of the week I was wondering whether my gestural drawing expresses some of the Baroque elements: two halves (though no horizontal line), thrusting upwards, darkness below and light at the top. folds and twisting alongside a sense of filling of voids? Are folds nothing else than concealing of form? In the Baroque, the expansive garments that were completely bidding underlying body form.

The funny thing about Baroque is, that I always associated it with decadency and voluptuous forms. However, I liked also to play Baroque music on my guitar or recorder. Perhaps it is so rich in various tonal dimensions? Only till I got hooked with my ‘folding and unfolding’-thing I felt more excited to look deeper. Deleuze opens it for me a more ‘post-structuralist’ approach.

Would this be another subject matter as my personal project?

Not sure if I can add something ‘new’ to it, even personally. Looking up google search for ‘folds AND baroque’ it turns out nearly 1’160’000 hits on google and even 14’900 on google scholar.

Interestingly Deleuze made some references to art practitioners re folds, some works I collected on my separate Pinterest board: El Greco and Tintoretto as Baroque painters, Klee (inflection as a core element of the variable curve, the spontaneous line), Rauschenberg (tabulation the grid), Jean Dubuffet (texturologie), Simon Hantai (folded canvas, painted, unfolded), Georges Jeanclos (sculptures), Elga Heinzen (painted folds)

And there are certainly those painted sculptural folds in the works of Sam Gilliam, Sophia Starling, some of Frank Stella or Katharina Grosse


Reference:

  • Deleuze, G. and Conley, T. (2015) The Fold – Leibniz and the Baroque, 9th ed. Translated by Conley, T. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Holly, M. A. (1996) Past Looking: Historical Imagination and the Rhetoric of the Image. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
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