The Unnameable

Kandinsky’s Composition X. 1939


 Composition as Cipher, or Number. The work after his ninth, or a painting to represent all paintings. Whatever his intentions regarding the title, the painting strikes me as musical, like pretty much all of his art, and he wanted that music to come from within all viewers so that they could become seers like Kandinsky. The inner artist meeting the work on the wall and turning it into a tunnel back to themselves. A tunnel with ears.

In your works, you have realized what I, albeit in uncertain form, have so greatly longed for in music. The independent progress through their own destinies, the independent life of the individual voices in your compositions is exactly what I am trying to find in my paintings.

— letter to Schönberg, 1911, after the performance of Schönberg’s second string quartet and the “Three piano pieces.”

George Spencer brings us a new poem below about things that perhaps shouldn’t have a name, like poems, and things that could or should populate those works. Riffing from a work by John Ashbery, he plays the meta-game and finds a few new twists. Here’s an audio clip of Ashbery reading the poem within the poem in question, with a short intro:

 And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name, by John Ashbery



The Unnameable
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