In this particular moment Link has wrapped and folded into Cy Twombly and Cy Twombly has become superimposed and grafted onto Link

Right now, I’m imagining a miniature Cy Twombly sitting on the small shelf shared by my computer monitor. It’s right in front of me as I type. He is two and a half inches tall and has taken the shape of a poseable figure with removable shield jakks - Link from The Legend of Zelda. The green plastic tunic wraps around his little arms nicely. Thin waisted and with horizontal bangs, they’re frozen into place in the shape of two yellow lips parting, talking in code. Pspspspspsps they’re whispering over the tip of his ear. Tulips speak in unison and the gravity of their language evince the drips down the surface of a painting that have closed and dried. It’s an excavation. In this particular moment Link has wrapped and folded into Cy Twombly and Cy Twombly has become superimposed and grafted onto Link. It’s a total hybridized mystery and his messages are transmitted through landscapes that I've seen with my own eyes. The red writing rides the yellow-orange light in the rhythm of a blissfully drunken slinky, crying, coiling, and uncoiling into the Untitled night – right off the edges of the frame. They’re the kind of paintings that tell you everything you need to know and everything you didn’t know you forgot.


Cy Twombly, Untitled, 2007; Acrylic, pencil on wood; Gagosian Los Angeles

In my mind it’s some kind of talisman that appears to be capable of telling me everything I need to know about painting or how to paint, even how to look at a painting. A fixed little plastic goblin, yeah, my own private commendatore that tells me everything happens for a reason. A person just has to stitch things together, like weaving time and events, you just have to let them move through you. The key (he says) is to remain in a constant state of arrival while simultaneously departing. The marks express themselves through the flat surface, in a way, forcing themselves into the world of the known and the visible and, if done correctly, appear completely effortless. They have decisively become. Most importantly, a history is created. The figurine has been placed romantically and strategically and is surprisingly insightful about the artist’s place in history as a producer of images – the romanticized, transmitted codes and symbols uttered by Apollo and all the Muses at the very peak of Mount Parnassus.

The words continue to emanate from the figure in echoes and coils. This isn’t totally about me, really. If it’s about anything at all, it’s about the paintings themselves and language, too, words as form.  They remind you of your capacity to be reflexive and dynamic. Spontaneity.  Improvisation. Negotiation. There’s nothing, then there’s something, a codified language and memory results, it builds over and over, in a series of changes. Sadly, it degrades, erodes, breaks down over time and then it’s gone, you’re gone and dead, but there’s continuity and it’s on the surface. And some things you can’t unsee. The artist’s hand says something very specific about being a soft, fallible machine, a person. Do you remember?

The words are met by the blank stare of alienation by something formerly known as a soft machine. Maybe you. Maybe me or my cat, all dissociated and removed from the type of signals Cy Twombly’s paintings and drawings radiate. Willful amnesiacs, but really smart and scary good at scanning and sifting through mostly useless information. Noise.


Cy Twombly, Untitled, 2006; Acrylic on canvas; Gagosian Los Angeles

I was caught off guard while walking up the stairs into the gallery. It was a weird feeling, seeing the drawings in person. The paintings looked more or less like what I expected Cy Twombly paintings to look like, arresting and they silence anyone looking at them. But the drawings.  It’s exactly what I’ve always thought about his work. It’s like he’s still standing in front of it, even in a gallery or museum, he’s kind of still there walking back and forth in front of the painting. It’s the only artist I’ve ever felt this about. Here in the gallery, upstairs he was hunched over the white folded paper, making marks and placing the oval, eyeball shaped pieces of shredded paper. In the space just outside of the work themselves, the phantom index movements are preserved and wrap around his arm nicely. The landscape that I've seen with my own eyes whispers pspspspspspsps.


Cy Twombly, Untitled, 2002; Acrylic on handmade paper; Gagosian Los Angeles


Cy Twombly, Untitled, 2003 (detail); Shredded paper, glue, acrylic, wax, crayon and pencil; Gagosian Los Angeles

Cy Twombly was born in Lexington, Virginia on April 25th, 1928 and died on July 5th, 2011. He spent much of his life, living and working in Rome, Italy. His first solo show with Gagosian, Bolsena Paintings, was in 1989.  Cy Twombly is up through December 17th, 2022 at Gagosian in Beverly Hills, CA.

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