4th Lecture 2016 »An own Perspective«
You need a perspective if you want to attain something what is making sense to you. But we cannot grasp any sense anymore because all our constructions of sense are linked with the horizon which had promised us a better future. A horizon which still remains an unreachable horizon.
This is now irrefutable, so we cannot trust the horizon of tomorrow anymore. The horizon disappears and it seem to us: Without constructible perspective we will lose ourselves in the uncertain space of our daily being. If the horizon and the perspectives get lost we have to find another way, to stay in relation with the following.
"I am the absolute source, my existence does not stem from my antecedents, from my physical and social environment…“, Maurice Merleau-Ponty
I try to find the simplest way to hold what is in relation to my perception. In my self-awareness, I am what my perception allows me to be. Without my ability to hold on to what my perception lets me know about how I am integrated into the structural constellation of all identifiable relations, I am nothing. The simplest way to hold what I recognize is to follow the movements of my body; my breathing, the unconscious actions of all my limbs, the blinking of my eyes, my sleeping, my digestion and so on.
With all these movements, we are inseparably connected with the surrounding structure, but at the same time, only because of the ability of perception of our movements, we are able to identify ourselves as a being which is separated from this structure. The original form of perception is repetition; the repeating of a daily action, for example: always walking the same path to the place to get water. Perception, which is based on repetition, we also find at the animals.
From this kind of repetitions which was not only necessary to survive, but to create a social activity which we call Culture, the magical rituals of the early humans emerged. Here we find the origin of drawing (signs on body and tools), choreography (the ritual dances), painting, fashion (painted and adorned bodies) and music (rhythm in correlation to movement of the bodies).
The simplest way to keep fixed my structural relation to the surrounding beings is to detain the movement of my body with some material on a material base. To do so, I use lead pencil, charcoal and oil pastels and as subsurface paper, canvas and other fabrics. The meaning of my drawing will only be given by the arbitrariness of the execution. Any predestination of mine will make it impossible to recognize the drawing as a vivid expression.
I can and I must define the rules (i.e. the grammatical basis) of my work always anew, but within these rules my brain and body just have to fulfill an elementary intentionality. I cannot define any sense unless I take it involuntarily from my individual history.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty: I am, not a ‘living creature’ nor even a ‘man’, nor again even ‘a consciousness’ endowed with all the characteristics which zoology, social anatomy or inductive psychology recognize in these various products of the natural or historical process—I am the absolute source, my existence does not stem from my antecedents, from my physical and social environment; instead it moves out towards them and sustains them, for I alone bring into being for myself (and therefore into being in the only sense that the word can have for me) the tradition which I elect to carry on, or the horizon whose distance from me would be abolished—since that distance is not one of its properties—if I were not there to scan it with my gaze.
(Pict.:Michelangelo Buonarroti, Bust of a Youth, ca. 1530, Black chalk on tan paper
Cennino Cennini: CHAP. 5.-In what manner to begin drawing on a small panel, and how to prepare it.
As has been said, it is necessary that you should have the habit of beginning to draw correctly. First, have a small panel of boxwood a hand length wide each way, well smoothed and clean,-that is to say, washed with clean water, rubbed and polished with sepia (bone of the cuttle-fish), which the goldsmith uses for marking.
(Pict.: Style of Altichiero (II) of Zevio, Italian, ca. 1320 - ca. 1385, The Coronation of the Virgin)
Maurice Merleau-Ponty: Scientific points of view, according to which my existence is a moment of the world’s, are always both naïve and at the same time dishonest, because they take for granted, without explicitly mentioning, it, the other point of view, namely that of consciousness, through which from the outset a world forms itself round me and begins to exist for me.
(Pict.:Vittore Carpaccio, Italian, 1460/66–1525/26, Two Standing Egyptian Women, pen and dark brown ink, brush and pale gray-brown wash heightened with white gouache over black chalk, 23.2 x 12.1 cm)
Cennino Cennini: When this panel is quite dry, take a sufficient quantity of bones well ground for two hours, and the finer they are ground, the better they will be. Then collect the powder, and put it into dry paper; and when you want to prime the panel, take less than half the size of a bean of this bone-dust or less, mix it up with saliva, and before it is dry spread it with the finger over the surface of the panel, and before it dries, hold the panel in the left band, and with the tip of the forefinger of the right band, beat upon the panel until you see that it is quite dry, and that the bone-dust is spread all over it equally.
(Pict.: Marcantonio Raimondi, Italian, 1470/80–1527/34, after Albrecht Duerer, German, 1471–1528, Adam, c. 1501-08. Pen and brown ink on light tan laid paper, 19.5 x 10.9 cm)
Maurice Merleau-Ponty: To return to things themselves is to return to that world which precedes knowledge, of which knowledge always speaks, and in relation to which every scientific schematization is an abstract and derivative sign-language, as is geography in relation to the country-side in which we have learnt beforehand what a forest, a prairie or a river is.
(Pict.: Domenico Campagnola, Italian, 1500–1564, Legendary or Mythological Scene, c. 1520. Pen and brown ink with brush and brown wash, 22.2 x 24.1 cm)
Cennino Cennini: CHAP. 6.–How drawing can be done on several kinds of panels.
A tablet of old figwood is suitable (buona la tavoletta del figaro ben vecchio); also certain tablets used by merchants which are made of parchment prepared with gesso coated with white lead and oil, using the bone-dust as I have said.
(Pict.: Baccio Bandinelli, Italian, 1493–1560, Sketches of a Standing Male Nude, Seated Male Nude, and Bust of a Woman, pen and brown ink on laid paper, 33.2 x 23.9 cm)
Maurice Merleau-Ponty: This move is absolutely distinct from the idealist return to consciousness, and the demand for a pure description excludes equally the procedure of analytical reflection on the one hand, and that of scientific explanation on the other.
(Pict.: Domenico Beccafumi, Italian, 1484 - 1551, Head of a Putto, 1527–1537. Brush and oil paint on brown laid paper, 20.7 x 17.4 cm)
Cennino Cennini: CHAP. 7.–What kind of bones are proper for priming panels.
You must now know what bones are proper. For this purpose take the bones of the thighs and wings of fowls or capons; and the older they are the better. When you find them under the table, put them in the fire, and when you see they are become whiter than ashes, take them out, and grind them well on a porphyry slab, and use it as I say above.
(Pict.: Domenico Beccafumi, Italian, 1484 - 1551, Head of a Woman, ca. 1529-1535. Brush and oil paint on brown laid paper,22.7 x 16.3 cm)
Maurice Merleau-Ponty: Descartes and particularly Kant detached the subject, or consciousness, by showing that I could not possibly apprehend anything as existing unless I first of all experienced myself as existing in the act of apprehending it. They presented consciousness, the absolute certainty of my existence for myself, as the condition of there being anything at all; and the act of relating as the basis of relatedness.
(Pict.: Parmigianino, Italian, 1503–1540, Torso of a man in armor, pen and brown ink, brown wash, highlighted with white ink on pink prepared paper, 21.1 x 10.6 cm)
Cennino Cennini: CHAP. 8.–In what manner you should begin to draw with a style, and with what light
The bones also of the leg and shoulder of mutton are good, burnt as before directed. Then take a style of silver or brass, or anything else provided the point is silver, sufficiently fine (sharp) and polished and good. Then, to acquire command of hand in using the style, begin to draw with it from a copy as freely as you can, and so lightly that you can scarcely see what you have begun to do, deepening your strokes little by little, and going over them repeatedly to make the shadows. Where you would make it darkest go over it many times; and, on the contrary, make but few touches on the lights.
(Pict.: Battista Franco, Italian, ca. 1510 - d. 1561, Dead Christ supported by an Angel, pen and brown ink on cream laid paper, 16.7 x 11.9 cm)
Cennino Cennini: CHAP. 8.–In what manner you should begin to draw with a style, and with what light
The bones also of the leg and shoulder of mutton are good, burnt as before directed. Then take a style of silver or brass, or anything else provided the point is silver, sufficiently fine (sharp) and polished and good. Then, to acquire command of hand in using the style, begin to draw with it from a copy as freely as you can, and so lightly that you can scarcely see what you have begun to do, deepening your strokes little by little, and going over them repeatedly to make the shadows. Where you would make it darkest go over it many times; and, on the contrary, make but few touches on the lights. And you must be guided by the light of the sun, and the light of your eye, and your hand; and without these three things you can do nothing properly. Contrive always when you draw that the light is softened, and that the sun strikes on your left hand; and in this manner you should begin to practise drawing only a short time every day, that you may not become vexed or weary.
(Pict.: Pordenone (Giovanni Antonio de Sacchis), Italian, 1483/4–1539, Standing Saint Roch, ca. 1525–26, red chalk on cream laid paper, squared in red chalk, 26.3 x 15.6 cm)
I am the absolute source
the horizon to scan with my gaze
the habit of beginning
Scientific points of view
are always both
naive and at the same time
take a sufficient quantity
well ground for two hours
mix it up with salvia
(Pict.: Giacomo Francia, Italian, before 1486 - 1557, Cleopatra, pen and brown ink, with border in darker brown ink, 26.1 x 18.5 cm)
return to things
made of parchment
prepared with gesso
You must now know
what bones are proper
the bases of relatedness
(Pict.: Luca Cambiaso, Italian, 1527–1585, The Stigmatization of St. Francis, pen and brown ink and brush and brown wash, 33.3 x 24.9 cm)
begin to draw
so lightly that you can scarcely see
what you do
your strokes little
the light of the sun
and the light of your eye
and your hand
you should begin to practise
drawing only a short time
that you may not become vexed
(Pict.: Luca Cambiaso, Italian, 1527–1585, Female figure holding an oblong object (Fortitude), pen and iron gall ink, 40 x 22.6 cm)