David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

24 November 2013

VALE Gunter Christmann

Notice published in The Sydney Morning Herald on Nov. 23, 2013
23.04.1936 - 19.11.2013
Passed away at Sacred Heart Hospice and joined his beloved wife Jenny.

Friends and admires are invited to attend a Service on Wednesday (November 27, 2013) in the South Chapel 
at Eastern Suburbs Crematorium, Military Road, Matraville commencing at 2.15 p.m.

No flowers, donations to Sacred Heart Hospice.

Such sad news. 
Looking forward to Gunter's 2014 retrospective at Heide MoMA, and unaware of his terminal illness, we prepared the following post several months ago. As sometimes happens here, other matters caught our attention before this made it online and it was set aside for the time being.
Gunter Christmann exhibited in The Field at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1968 and at the NGV again a few years later in Harald Szeeman's 1971 Kaldor Project I want to leave a nice well-done child here.

The first works of his that we saw and appreciated were unframed stretched canvasses with boundary questioning edge strips from the spatter paint period .

Gunter Christmann, Composition, 1975

If only more individuals and, in particular, our Art Institutions would conduct and then publish online such interviews as those James Gleeson made while at the National Gallery of Australia. Here's a brief extract from

19 APRIL 1979

JAMES GLEESON: Those two were from the same exhibition? 

GUNTER CHRISTMAN: Yes. Then I think I realised that I didn’t need these grids.


GUNTER CHRISTMAN: I shifted them to the edge of the painting and they did the same job there. I always kept them a little black visually, like either darker or cooler, like more blue, or just darker than the central (inaudible).

JAMES GLEESON: I see, yes.

GUNTER CHRISTMAN: By which the edges receded and brought the whole of  the central surface forward.

JAMES GLEESON: Did this arise out of your realisation of that after image you got from your earlier painting, and was it an attempt to control that after image?

GUNTER CHRISTMAN: I wasn’t concerned about after image because I didn’t have any so to speak of.

JAMES GLEESON: Not in these spotted ones?

GUNTER CHRISTMAN: Not in the spotted ones any more.


GUNTER CHRISTMAN: But without etches or bands, it could have looked too much like a cut off area out of some microscopic—

JAMES GLEESON: I see. So it was virtually to frame it, to hold it within an area?

GUNTER CHRISTMAN: Yes. My concerns were still of the colour field painting, keeping the so called object–but also I don’t like that name much–to keep it totally flat and have no deep space illusions, and have everything up front.

JAMES GLEESON: The integrity of the surface.

GUNTER CHRISTMAN: That’s the word that was used at the time, I think, yes.


GUNTER CHRISTMAN: What’s the next one? This one, yes. 

JAMES GLEESON: This is one with the line around the—

GUNTER CHRISTMAN: This is the show in 1970.

JAMES GLEESON: This has the line around the edge that you were speaking of  a moment ago?

GUNTER CHRISTMAN: Yes. I then started to use several different lines. 


GUNTER CHRISTMAN: Sometimes a combination of two. Well, say for instance, I would, on the edge, screen out all the warm colours – all the oranges and reds, yellows, et cetera – and mask them off, but not mask the blues and whites and blacks, whatever. That way I had the edge integrated with the central field, but still sitting behind the central field visually, you know.

- click here for the full interview
The viewer-trapped-in-paint-amber fossil record below is not by Gunter Christmann, but it is what set us thinking again about his work. We look forward to his 2014 survey at Heide MoMA.

collection : Theatre of the Actors of Regard   

 A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
 someone looks at something ...