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Cy Twombly

summer madness

1990

To learn  to unlearn

Cy Twombly, American artist born in 1928, became known worldwide with works 

disconcerting, excesses of energy between fig-

ration and abstraction, freed from all form 

control and inhibition. On his canvases,

impastos of paint rub shoulders with

hastily scribbled, sometimes crossed out,

without reference to his sources of inspiration, 

often literary, mythological or poetic

ticks. But  who makes the strength of his work,

it's before all  its radical and manifest rejection

of all mastery  of the gesture: the material, the

colors and words  collide in

an exalted chaos,  often loaded with violence, sensuality, even eroticism.

While his works spontaneously evoke childish words such as  "daubing" or "scribbling",

           Twombly was actually a cartoonist

           accomplished, educated in American art schools

           Americans as renowned as the Art Students

           League or Black Mountain College. But

           to find his way, he tried to

           "unlearn" the techniques he had  

           assimilated. He therefore developed  

           working methods intended to force

           the emancipation of his gesture, for example by

           drawing with the left hand, in the dark, or

           blindfolded. So he succeeded in freeing

his art, while evoking his apprenticeship as an essential prerequisite to this transgressive process.

Cy Twombly

Self-Portrait , 1947

What we can take away:

Training, in any discipline whatsoever,  is essential in understanding the  process, issues,  ins and outs. However,  by definition  innovation consists of departing from the beaten path to generate novelty. The paradoxical interest of learning is therefore in fact  to give us the means to turn away from it, precisely because we have mastered our subject.

Related theme: Creativity
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