Encounters with Cy Twombly

Cy Twombly's Achilles mourning the death of Patroclus (1962) Centre Pompidou, Paris

Being in Paris I always go to the Centre Pompidou in the Jewish part called Le Marais and I'll be heading straightaway to Cy Twombly's painting titled 'Achilles Mourning The Death Of Patroclus' (1962). Why that particular one I do not know and why again and again and again I do not know either. It always knocks me off my feet and since it doesn't hang on one of my walls at home I have to go to Paris to breath this one. But I also feel that my work depicts parallels with his work. I scribbled my whole life to be honest, love iconographic cave lyrics and primitive African text etchings. My painting medium is writing and so is Twombly's. So I felt very much united with him. 

Some people find it 'just scribbles, my kid could do it'

And I always talked about Twombly and his amazing work with the people who took a picture in front of the Twombly painting. His paintings mostly have mythological subjects.  He developed a kind of meta-script in which signs, hatchings, loops, numbers and the simplest of pictographs spread throughout the picture plane in a process of incessant movement, repeatedly subverted by erasures. Some people find it 'just scribbles, my kid could do it'. The late art curator and professor Kirk Varnedoe used his pen against that criticism. His defence: 'One could say that any child could make a drawing like Twombly only in the sense that any fool with a hammer could fragment sculptures as Rodin did, or any house painter could spatter as well as Jackson Pollock. In none of these cases would it be true. In each case the art lies not so much in the finess of the individual mark, but in the orchestration of a previously uncodified set of personal 'rules' about whe to act and where not, how far to go and when to stop, in such a way as the cumulative courtship of seeing chaos defines an original, hybrid kind of order, which in turn illuminates a complex sense of human experience not voiced or left in previous art.