DRAFT TEXT FOR JANE BUSTIN
What could be less verbal than a Jane Bustin painting?
What could be more verbal than a Mallarmé poem?
“One does not write with ideas but with words”, Mallarmé said to Degas, who fancied himself as a poet and had plenty of ideas.
As Borges might have said, we would expect the first livre d’artiste to have been created by Mallarmé (as translator) and Manet: Poe’s ‘Raven’, and we would be right.
Let me rephrase my first sentence: not what could be less verbal but what could be more silent than a Jane Bustin painting? After all, Debussy’s La Mer is as wordless as a Bustin painting. Silent it is not.
(Debussy set one of Mallarmé’s most significant poems, ‘L’Après-midi d’un faune’, to music. Mallarmé told Degas: “I thought I had already set it to music”).
My answer to the question posed above — what could be more silent than a Jane Bustin painting? — is a dead child whose absence his poet father commemorates, that “absence [which] is condensed presence” (the phrase is from a letter of Emily Dickinson, a poet well worth reading “against” Mallarmé).
The dead child is Anatole Mallarmé, whom Jane Bustin too commemorates and whose existence breathes into, inspires, Jane Bustin’s paintings, via a heart-rending posthumously published poem.
It is neither paradoxical nor ironic that Jane Bustin depends so heavily on words during the gestation of her work exhibited at Test-tube. Goya went further: he included words inside the visual image. (There is no artist more freighted with words than Kitaj, and I’m talking about his paintings and prints, not his writings.)
Mallarmé would have reacted to these paintings with silence. He was always eloquent.
By Anthony Rudolf 2012
Born in London in 1942, Anthony Rudolf has two children and two grandchildren. He is the author of books of literary criticism (on Primo Levi, Piotr Rawicz and others), autobiography (The Arithmetic of Memory) and poetry (The Same River Twice and collaborations with artists), and translator of books of poetry from French (Bonnefoy, Vigée, Jabès), Russian (Vinokourov and Tvardovsky) and other languages. He has edited various anthologies. His essay on R.B. Kitaj was published by the National Gallery in 2001, and he has published essays on other painters. He is Paula Rego’s partner and main male model. He has completed a volume of short stories and is now at work on two new memoirs. His reviews, articles, poems, translations, obituaries and interviews with writers have appeared in numerous journals. Rudolf is an occasional broadcaster on radio and television and founder of Menard Press. After a lifetime of uninvolving day jobs, he became Visiting Lecturer in Arts and Humanities at London Metropolitan University (2000-2003) and Royal Literary Fund fellow at the Universities of Hertfordshire and Westminster (2003-2008). In 2004, he was appointed Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture and, in 2005, he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Anatole Notes (part 1) by Jane Bustin
Les Mystères du Château de Dé by Man Ray presented by Artprojx
33 Parkgate Road, Battersea, London SW11 4NP
(Next to Royal College of Art – Howie Street)
Fri/Sat/Sun 11am – 6pm daily
Closes Sunday 2 September 2012.
The Anatole Notes project consists of assembled groupings of paintings, objects, paper and letterpress text. Each assemblage reflects on the unfinished fragmented poems ‘Pour un Tombeau d’Anatole’ by Stephane Mallarmé (1879), ‘a tomb for Anatole’ translated by Paul Auster (1983). These fragmented phrases are Mallarmé’s attempt to come to terms with the death of his eight year old son Anatole. The sound and the visual arrangement of Mallarmé’s poems were as important as the meaning. His most famous poem ‘un coup de dés’ was a major influence on hypertext and has been the subject matter for many artists including Man Ray, Marcel Broodthaers etc.
Bustin’s reflections on his texts attempt to combine the written words with visual equivalents to reveal the expansive meaning of the text. Each work consists of three or four painted objects arranged on the wall and floor; they are made of various materials e.g. wood, linen, paper, metal, oil paint and readymade chairs. The Mallarmé text has been hand letter-pressed onto paper or linen by New North Press. See http://www.janebustin.com
This series has works that feature in the John Moores Painting Prize and Jerwood Drawing Prize, both opening over the next few weeks.
Contact: David Gryn email@example.com +447711127848 http://www.artprojx.com
Press info, pricelist, images, more information all available on request.
Venue info and directions: http://www.thedoodlebar.com