They’re just paintings. This is what’s so hard to get over about Pollock’s work, what can make you shut up suddenly, confounded. The radical materiality, the almost stupid factuality of it – both in and beyond the felicity and the mastery – can stop you dead because of what it’s about. It is the factuality of sheer human limitation, the dead end of the romantic, of desire. It’s like getting to a place where the gods are supposed to be and finding nothing. A discovery like that should kill you but it doesn’t. The painting keeps being a painting, beautiful and lively and forlorn.
You feel – I feel – that this might be something worth remembering and worth being true to. It gives a taste of truth that, with courage and luck, might just become a predilection, a habit of being true. It would be nice to have this art always accessible, for recovering the taste in its original sharpness, as sharp and unmistakeable as tears on the tongue.
From Les Drippings in Paris, a review of the Pollock restrospective at The Pompidou Centre (4 Feb – 19 April 1982) by Peter Schjeldahl, first published in the Village Voice
TURPS PAINTING MAGAZINE ISSUE 11
Peter Dickinson interviews Katharina Grosse
Jeffrey Steele in conversation with Katrina Blannin
Leon Spilliaert by Paul Becker
Nicola Churchwood interviews
Humphrey Ocean on Anthony Eyton
The Banana by Chantal Joffe
Damien Meade A History of Fear by Geraint Evans