Can I really say I ‘made’ the painting inasmuch as I equate making with the setting up of parameters for which the thing can unfold, which is to say, inasmuch as the painting takes things into its own hands? The painting really begins to make itself at some point.
To say one ‘made’ the object is to cling to a small space: I may decide its initial trajectory as I set up the parameters for the unfolding of landslides, and I may decide its outcome or when to stop the processes of material formations that are occurring, and in this sense I have some say about its outcome or about my ability to ‘make’ the work, however the will of the painter as a constructivist is absorbed into wider processes of the will of nature.
With the mineralized image the aim is to generate impulses of experience free from domination: the entire thing may rests on decision but it is an enumeration that is not systematic, never conceived ahead of time through a preconceived technical order. That something will emerge that is unknown to the painter is the point of painting. This kind of image is living.
It is not dead representation looking back onto life. It is not figurative depictions of things ‘out there’ in the world, but equally it is not an insular operation of the elements of art as autonomous technical system either. Painting pictures has long since lost its descriptive function, its representational function as a window – photography usurped this world, which is to say that historically and materially painting no longer represents – and so too painting has lost its ability to convincingly go down the route of constructivist formalism. But this tale of the ineffectuality of painting is boring.
To accept this fate of painting presents all sorts of problems because it leaves us painters in a humbling position per our constructive abilities: the painting says, ‘I can do it better than you.’
What the painters who have come before have given us is painting’s self-reflexion. Their mistake was through affirming the thing as an opposition or estrangement of the natural processes, as if Art and Nature were unequivocally opposed. You find this in Mondrian, you find it in Kandinsky, etc. This is a failure to really achieve a generated image of contingency itself. (Even though in all respects Kandinsky got closer than Mondrian) Thus one observes that its very ineffectiveness turns out to be its greatest strength: that the painter fails at constructing the image as a technical order opposed or over nature, that nature asserts itself back into the image, is painting’s greatest revelation.
The mineralized image is a presentation of materials caught in their own artistic processes, which is to say, it is living matter as fossilized excitation.
To set up a means through which consciousness and spontaneous excitement may see each other like in a mirror, one would reconfigure what is meant by consciousness: it is not the articulation of a subject manipulating or intervening into the materials, constructing a supposed hierarchy of fixed categories of representation, but the intertwining of mind with the mineralized processes in casual performances. The matter-of-fact of painting is instantaneous. It is nature’s jehztzeit.
Moreover, its aesthetic (causation) is not limited to the privacy of experience, which is to say, the judgement of forms is not a subjective experience. Since painting is a small thing and more or less an intimate thing, the assumption is that it is a subjective thing, but the experience of the painting resides in its being linked-up to wider processes of nature, and not in any kind of intimacy that could be possessed privately. What appears in the material expressions are the traces of the energies of the geologic. What appears upon the field of painting is what appears as a river-delta, a landslide, a geological formation. The mineralized image attributes Earth as the ground of the communization of effects.
As I previously mentioned, it is not the pictorial image as ‘likeness’ or as ‘imitatio’ but equally it is not the image as an autopoiesis severed from the external environment as a technical program. There is no room for the medium as a fiction of the transcendence of the artwork over nature. The work is not over nature, it is nature.