What a relief the Mont Ste. Victoire after all the anthropomorphised landscape – van Goyen, Avercamp, the Ruysdaels, Hobbema, even Claude [Lorrain], Wilson & [John?] Crome Yellow Esq., or paranthropomorphised by Watteau so that the Débarquement seems an illustration of « poursuivre ta pente pourvu qu’elle soit en montant », or hyperanthropomorphized by Rubens – Tellus in record travail, or castrated by Corot; after all the landscape « promoted » to the emotions of the hiker, postulated as concerned with the hiker (what an impertinence, worse than Aesop & the animals), alive the way a lap or a fist (Rosa) is alive. Cézanne seems to have been the first to see landscape & state it as material of a strictly peculiar order, incommensurable with all human expressions whatsoever. Atomistic landscape with no velleities of vitalism, landscape with personality a la rigueur, but personality in its own terms, not in Pelman’s, landscapality.
Ruysdael’s Entrance to the Forest – there is no entrance anymore nor any commerce with the forest, its dimensions are its secret & it has no communications to make. Cézanne leaves landscape maison d’aliénés & a better undertanding of the term « natural » for idiot.
… How far Cézanne had moved from the snapshot puerilities of Manet & Cie when he could understand the dynamic intrusion to be himself & so landscape to be something by definition unapproachably alien, unintelligible arrangement of atoms, not so much as ruffled by the kind attentions of the Reliability Joneses.
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I do not see any possibility of relationship, friendly or unfriendly, with the unintelligible, and what I feel in Cézanne is precisely the absence of a rapport that was all right for Rosa or Ruysdael for whom the animising mode was valid, but would have been false for him, because he had the sense of his incommensurability not only with life of such a different order as landscape but even with life of his own order, even with the life – one feels looking at the self-portrait in the Tate, not the Cézanne chauve but with the big hat – operative in himself.
Dreams of Chaos, Visions of Order: Understanding the American Avant-garde Cinema (1994) – James Peterson
In 1973, after the screening of three Frampton films, during which the audience were decidedly restless, a woman asked the filmmaker if he thought his films communicated to an audience. Frampton responded:
« If you mean, do I think I communicated to those in the audience who tramped indignantly out of my films, the answer is no, but I think there is a problem with your idea of communication. You seem to work on the assumption that you have this hole and I have this thing, and you want me to put my thing in your hole and that will be ‘communication’. My idea of communication is very different. It involves my trying to say something I think is important and into which I have put all my thought and substantial labor. Neccessarily, what I have to say will be difficult to apprehend, if it is original enough to be worth saying at all. That is my half of the communicative process. Yours must be to sensitize and educate yourself fully enough to be able to understand. It is only when two people – filmmaker and viewer in this case – can meet as equals that true communication can take place. »
I had been living in Paris since 1949 and I was a painter at Gallery Denise René, practising neo-plastic orthodoxy that was considered avant-garde at that time. My interest in film was then marginal. In that neo-plastic period, one made « absolute paintings ». It was « art concret ». So I made about one « absolute » painting every week, and it occurred to me that there was a contradiction in being able to make so many absolutes. So I thought that maybe the interest was, for me, in arriving at the absolute rather than being there. So I thought maybe the process was more interesting than the product.
The only philosophy which would still be accountable in the face of despair, would be the attempt to consider all things, as they would be portrayed from the standpoint of redemption. Cognition has no other light than that which shines from redemption out upon the world; all else exhausts itself in post-construction and remains a piece of technics. Perspectives must be produced which set the world beside itself, alienated from itself, revealing its cracks and fissures, as needy and distorted as it will one day lay there in the messianic light. To win such perspectives without caprice or violence, wholly by the feel for objects, this alone is what thinking is all about. It is the simplest of all things, because the condition irrefutably call for such cognitions, indeed because completed negativity, once it comes fully into view, shoots into the mirror-writing of its opposite. But it is also that which is totally impossible, because it presupposes a standpoint at a remove, were it even the tiniest bit, from the bane of the existent; meanwhile every possible cognition must not only be wrested from that which is, in order to be binding, but for that very reason is stricken with the same distortedness and neediness which it intends to escape. The more passionately thought seals itself off from its conditional being for the sake of what is unconditional, the more unconsciously, and thereby catastrophically, it falls into the world. It must comprehend even its own impossibility for the sake of possibility. In relation to the demand thereby imposed on it, the question concerning the reality or non-reality of redemption is however almost inconsequential.