Blackpaint 89


Asger Jorn

Many years ago, my mother worked as a cleaner at a teacher’s training college.  Eventually, the college was closed down and my mother was made redundant.  During her final weeks of employment, loads of books were discarded from the college library and dumped in skips or in piles in corridors.  She brought me home a discarded book of Asger Jorn’s paintings (at the time I was in beatnik mode, and expressing a totally ignorant enthusiasm for “modern art”).  It was about the same time that Jan Palach burned himself to death in protest at the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.  I thanked her of course, but really only flicked through the pages before discarding it.

Now here I am, many years later, and Asger Jorn is one of my great art heroes along with the other CoBrA artists, especially Appel, and I return to the Jorn pictures time and again, for inspiration and admiration.  So-what is the significance?  Only that things come in their own time, and what is just a thought today may explode into life after decades growing a mat of dust.  Like many true things, it appears banal when written down but very significant in my head.

Anyway, I think the painting is finished now, so here is final version.  You will note that it has gone from portrait to landscape.

Listening to Cunla by Christy Moore.

“Who is there now tickling the thighs of me? (*3)

Only me, says Cunla,

Cunla dear, don’t come any near to me (*3)

Maybes I shouldn’t, says Cunla.”

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