A lot of the buildings we see in London when we’re running around buying materials, have non-functional bits of pre-cast plastic just stuck onto the façades. Which makes a terrible distortion and lie of your cyma recta/cyma reversa that you get in older architecture. Yes, those people did sometimes make those geometric swaggers for decoration, but the internal logic of the thing is left explicit. Whereas an awful lot of postformal architecture does not make sense in terms of an ideal notion of freeing the person in his space. Painting falls foul of the same sort of thing I believe. Too much of the explanation is political, sociological, and market. It’s too much to do with how society works and what pressure groups in society can bring to bear on each other.

If you have a tie-up, for instance, between the museum, the dealers, and the market, the artist who fills their collective brief can do almost anything and expect to get a sort of structure that will carry him. On the level of official recognition, the curator is a promoter who then lends further reinforcement by, very often, writing about the work. And the dealer meliorates as the items find a public. We can say there’s a sort of wheel, and the art that comes out is more involved with sociology of whatever cultural milieu or circle the artist is involved in, than some real well-spring of expression. And I can’t see that limitations in any kind of formal sense has any part in that. It seems to have to do more with what materials are available ‘on instruction’ from within the closed circle.

Frank Bowling.
“Formalism versus New Art: A conversation between Frank Bowling, Paul Harrison, and Jeremy Thomas”Artscribe, No. 44, (December, 1983): 54 - 57.

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19th July 2019


Turps Banana interviews David Salle
Tom Palin on Maurice Utrillo
Suzy Babington by Chris Shaw
Simon Bill : Fine Art Education and ‘Research Culture’
Matthew Lippiatt talks with Ansel Krut
Marcus Harvey on Francis Bacon
playpaint London by Ian Gonczarow
Nick Fudge in conversation with Römer + Römer
Roberta Booth by Marcus Harvey
Scott McCracken on Victor Willing