Archive for exterior surface

Favorite Art: Art I LOVE, Frank Auerbach ‘Head of Gerda Boehm’ The Head Says it All

Posted in ART, FAVORITE ART: Art I LOVE with tags , , , , , , on January 22, 2009 by echostains



In 2002, the Frank Auerbach Retrospective at The Royal Academy London had a profound effect on me.  ‘The Head of Gerda Boehm’is a relatively small painting (about 13 in x 13 in), but the effect it had on me was enormous.  Before I had seen this painting, I could never understand why Auerbach painted the same model every day for year: though I could understand the compulsion of why he scraped back, layering brushstrokes with the intervention of the knife; –

” These brushstrokes, forever catching the changing light, the accidental drips, the swirling paint sometimes laid on like butter or mixed up like concrete, or at other times reminiscent of the viciousness of black pitch, are all testaments to a unique way of making and marking down reality in a visual way, which is all that visual art of whatever direction can hope to do.”   (Norman Rosenthal)

The head of Gerda Boehm shouts: she has a voice!  It comes from beneath the layers of paint – it is beyond paint.  Auerbach has gone beyond paint, he has captured her essence!  It is so certain because it affects the viewer through the senses.  I am speaking from my own experience of course.  Rosenthal is in a way right, Auerbach may indeed be marking down reality, but everyone experiences ‘reality’ differently, everyone has their own reality: reality is subjective.


What is real is not the external form, but the essence of things…it is impossible for anyone to express anything essentially real by imitating its exterior surface.”   (Brancusi)

Taken from my short dissertation ‘Echostains: The Artist as Magician’

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: nothing beats seeing the real thing, reproductions will only ever be just that – reproductions.