Thursday, October 25, 2007

Creatures of a day

I read artist diaries and autobiographies as fast as I can get my hands on them. I read the obituaries online (in newspapers on several continents) first thing every morning, looking for stories that feed my habit. Over the past two years, I have also spent a fair amount of time in libraries and private collections looking at sketchbooks, notebooks, scrapbooks and personal papers, doggedly seeking those rare glimmers of certainty — fleeting indications of what a person was actually thinking while they were making something. Increasingly, I’ve become attuned to small gestures: the fastidiousness of a line, a chance scribble — a seemingly inconsequential, yet ultimately stunning realization about something intangible.

The American filmmaker Stan Brakhage lived a rural life in Colorado, and kept scrapbooks that combine writing, drawing, collage and poetry. There are many things to say about Brakhage, most of them already said by people far more qualified than I am on the subject of avant-garde cinema. But my interest here is less in the product than in the process that preceded it, because what’s so striking about Brakhage's scrapbook is the way he sketched with found objects: the scrapbook, in this sense, became a kind of studio annex, a canvas for working out ideas that weren’t quite two dimensional but weren’t yet time-based either.

Design Observer on Stan Brakhage

1 comment:

"Post-Google" by TAR ART RAT said...

There was a really cheezy paperback unauthorized bio of Sam Shepard that I read a few years back, but it was nevertheless fasinating, interesting life he has had... and just watched that imaginary Diane Arbus movie "Fur" aka The/Das"Fell" auf deutsch) bizarrrre movie, but definitely worthwhile.