• “Inevitable Grottoes”: Modern Paintings and Wasted Space

    Author(s):
    Maura Coughlin (see profile)
    Date:
    2009
    Subject(s):
    Painting, Landscape, French studies, Ecology
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Van Gogh, Cezanne, Smithson, Quarries, Ruins
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6QC26
    Abstract:
    An abandoned rock quarry is a ruined, emptied landscape. Although bearing witness to strenuous work, as a subject of representation it cannot summon the sort of national pride invested in fertile agricultural landscapes, industrious windmills and aqueducts; quarried land is an intervention better off forgotten. When depleted, it is typically abandoned; its remaining void remaining then fills with refuse and run off waters that “rise into ruin,” breeding miasma and social panic. Open quarries on the edge of Paris (whose material had built the city) became embarrassing eyesores and were often filled in and tidied up. The best known case is the wildly spectacular Buttes-Chaumont park, landscaped for the 1867 Universal Exposition to hide the former lime quarries, squatters’ camps and waste dumping grounds. Robert Smithson, in his infamous essay “A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic” (Artforum, 1967) suggests that the notion of what constitutes a “monument” is constructed by the spectator who alone determines its cultural value. This paper proposes to read paintings of quarries in the Paris region and in Provence that Van Gogh and Cézanne repeatedly painted through Smithson’s notion of the “entropic ruin”.
    Notes:
    https://uiowa.edu/ijcs/%E2%80%9Cinevitable-grottoes%E2%80%9D-modern-paintings-and-wasted-space
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    10 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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