artthrob picks

Monologue: 1.648 Untitled

By Chad Rossouw on 04 December

1.648 Untitled

Zander Blom
1.648 Untitled, 2014. Oil on linen 50 x 38cm

Okay. Stop right there. I know what you are thinking. You’re thinking that I am a turd on a canvas. But you are wrong.

I’m 1.648 Untitled. I’m a Zander Blom, made by his own hand.

Step a little closer. You see this weave. This is Belgian linen. I bet you don’t even know what flax is. But I tell you, I’m basically pure authenticity pushed through a loom. Each thread is chosen and groomed by a peasant, an honest to goodness European serf, wearing clogs and an apron, and whose wife makes pottage and gruel on a cast iron stove, fueled with wood. That mess of hair on your schmucky hipster face has nothing on this guy’s beard, which is stained, stained permanently by pipe smoke. From a clay pipe. Which his father owned, and his father before that. The essence of this imbued into each weft and warp.

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Can you smell that? Come a little closer. That, my friends, is linseed oil. This is a divine combination of fatty acids and organic, natural polymers. Each atom carries the weight of history, each molecule symbolises, embodies, three-hundred years of studio practice. And not the Bruce Naumann-y charlatan practice. None of this namby-pamby video art, or light-weight, outsourced, faux-smart, douche-bag, contemporary art. This is the smell of a thousand garrets, a million candle-lit nights, countless pensive looks, and of hard-won insights into the very nature of being. You think that because you read liberal magazines that you’ve got insight. You think because you can tell the difference between Cornell West and Kanye West you got something to offer the world. Come here. Smell this.

And this. This isn’t just pigment. This is Raw Sienna. This is the origin of all pigment. This is ground up-earth. This is the feel of loam between your toes, of water dripping from oak trees, nourishing soil, then aged by nature into the epitome of colour. This is purity. You know that feeling of eating real ham from a butcher who learnt his trade in Japan, with cheese from a dairy employing local communities, on sourdough bread from a baker who uses a stone to grind his flour, with a side salad of organic rocket with chew marks from real bugs. This is that feeling rendered in the visible.

Now look how these elements are put together. See the elegant movement of paint: this is the ultimate expression of the artist’s hand. This isn’t the pathetic stand-in for personal creativity you think you’ve attained by shopping vintage. This, sir, is genius.

Come a little closer and you’ll realise something: The only thing shitty in this room is the look on your face.