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.

01 March 2011

Origin of Present Lineage

Another item of interest on ABC Radio National, repeated today:
Drawing a line in the sand, an interview with Deanna Petherbridge, on Artworks
Deanna Petherbridge's work has been entirely drawing focused since the early 1970s but it was in the 90s that she started to focus her thinking and research on the history of drawing as both preparation for other artistic forms, like painting, architecture and design, and a finished medium in its own right. The result is an impressive 500-page book The Primacy of Drawing: Histories and Theories of Practice.

click here for full introductory text or to hear program
Deanna Petherbridge begins with a reference to a Pliny the Elder and his account of the origins of linear depiction. The following extract is not from Deanna P - bLOGOS/HA HA does not yet have that book - but from the blog projection systems :
...I thought it useful to expand a bit on Pliny the Elder’s account of the origin of painting. In his Natural History (circa 77-79AD), Pliny attempts to make the compendium of information for his time. In Books XXXIV and XXXV, he discusses metallurgy, sculpture, and painting.

In Chapter 5 of Book XXXV, he writes, “We have no certain knowledge as to the commencement of the art of painting, nor does this enquiry fall under our consideration. The Egyptians assert that it was invented among themselves, six thousand years before it passed into Greece; a vain boast, it is very evident. As to the Greeks, some say that it was invented at Sicyon, others at Corinth; but they all agree that it originated in tracing lines round the human shadow [...omnes umbra hominis lineis circumducta].“

Later, in Chapter 15, he tells the now-famous story of Butades of Corinth. “It was through his daughter that he made the discovery; who, being deeply in love with a young man about to depart on a long journey, traced the profile of his face, as thrown upon the wall by the light of the lamp [umbram ex facie eius ad lucernam in pariete lineis circumscripsit].“

read it all here
bLOGOS/HA HA has in its collection a number of 1880s French cards based on this story. This first one is rather straight forward.

2011.02_Le Premier Dessin_sRGB_400

The article at projection systems shows more depictions like this one, through to the present day.

Our collection favourite is an advertising parody of LE PREMIER DESSIN (The First Drawing) on behalf of LA PREMIER MAISON D'HABILLEMENTS (The First House of Clothing). Whatsmore, it advances the basic tableau beyond the care of human-for-human to a more enlightened human-for-other/all sentient beings. Which suggests one might reconsider the nature of the light involved in this genre.

2011.02_first drawing_beloved beetle_sRGB_400

What is the Origin depicted in this scenario? The Origin of Painting? Drawing? Graffiti? Sculpture (note the pedestal block in both images)? Theatre? Performance? Shadowgraphy (including ombromanie)? Silhouette portraiture? Police profiling? Eugenics? Border Protection? Projection? Cinema? Philosophy? (...Plato) Originality? (.../HA HA) Art? Museums? Attachment? Loss? (...as DP suggests) Love? (...as suggested in the book A short history of the shadow). Regard? Awareness? Enlightenment?

A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/

someone looks at something ...


Deanna Petherbridge is giving a series of talks around Australia. These include, on Saturday March 5, 2pm, in the exhibition Freehand: Recent Australian Drawing at Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne.