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A faith in the ineffable…

Robert Rauschenberg, White Painting

A Guardian article discusses the volume of unread books and the merits of the blank page:

Robert Rauschenberg, White Painting

Robert Rauschenberg, White Painting

The problem, as Kierkegaard observed, is that “more and more becomes possible” when “nothing becomes actual”. Literature was a blank canvas that increasingly dreamed of remaining blank. “The most beautiful and perfect book in the world,” according to Ulises Carrión, “is a book with only blank pages.”

Michael Gibbs, who published an anthology of blank books entitled All Or Nothing, points out that going to all the trouble of producing these workless works “testifies to a faith in the ineffable”.

There is beauty in nothing – silence, blank page or canvas – but in turning this into an artistic statement some framing is required, a voicing of the concept: hey, look, it’s blank!

Gibbs’ anthology had a cover, a title, and a mission. The image we’ve used to illustrate this blog of Robert Rauschenberg with his White Painting – its wall of white canvasses put into context for the photo with sullen artist, raw wood, carefully placed smooth stones… in both cases, the essence of nothing is tainted.

The blank page is all around us, every day, without framing, without signposting of context, and we largely ignore it. Perhaps we cannot see it. Perhaps we don’t want to see it.

About sandiezand (6 Articles)
I live in a beautiful Lancashire village where a river passes under Victorian arches, winding past the ruins of a medieval abbey, and my place of birth - Pendle Hill - sits quietly in the near distance, filled with ghosts. History reverberates around me... my own, and that of the many other misfits who have also called this place Home. I feel at peace here. Aren't I the lucky one?

2 Comments on A faith in the ineffable…

  1. Don’t know if I agree, but it is a great pondering point

  2. Yes, context is all (as Atwood may have mentioned at some point).

    Contextualising context is the basic requirement.

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