I’ve been thinking through the gargantuan task of deciding what 4 images from the whole history of painting I should appropriate in this project. The general focus of my practise as an image-maker is on the relation between images and reality or interiority; this project should reflect that. I have in mind a trajectory of abstraction starting with the mathematical effort of objective representation in the Renaissance and ending with abstraction and problematizations of realism in painting. Since the Zombie Formalism project will focus in particular on post-painterly abstraction and colour-field painting, I was thinking about the four painting sample as including two works from the Renaissance (perhaps early and late), one surrealist, and one cubist work. I’ve been thinking in a very top down way by considering first the movement, then the painter and eventually narrow things down to the painting.
As the general body of work also involves a consideration of art as commodity, a selection of works that are quintessential in the painting canon are important. Also, since the final works may not be easily exhibited along with originals or reproductions, the source paintings should be extremely prominent in the public imagination. Considering these factors, I have developed a first initial list of artists; further research into their way of thinking and works will determine whether they are appropriate. A quick search of the highest value generating artists results in Leonardo Da Vinci and Pablo Picasso at the top. Since Da Vinci fits into the early/mid Renaissance, he is probably going to be included. Picasso died too recently for his work to fit into the public domain. My initial list includes: Leonardo Da Vinci and Rembrandt van Rijn representing early and late Renaissance. I have not figured out the selections for Cubism or Surrealism, but I’m thinking Georges Braque and Yves Tanguy, whose works are both in the public domain.