Inspired by red – and Kenneth Goldsmith

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In his book “Uncreative Writing” the author Kenneth Goldsmith describes the color red as if there only existed one kind of red. And my immediate reaction is What red? Magenta, crimson or cadmium? There are a variety of reds and they all look and feel different. One red is strongly related to yellow, another one to blue, one red is warm another cold. Next question How important are the colors in this context. Maybe they are not that important at all for everyone else but me reading this book. But why is he using the color red in such a meaningful way then? Red Circle has got a chapter of it´s own. It´s like Goldsmith doesn´t care about the differences between form and content in the beginning of the chapter as I recon, because what he´s speaking about is a geometrical circular form containing some red color. A red circle is in fact a red line formed in a certain geometrical way, defined as a circle. When filled it´s a circular dot. So why is he speaking about the circular dot only as a circle? The line? When he really means BOTH the line and the content. Kandinsky spoke about the different geometrical forms and what kind of colors they best fit together with, in a spiritual way. And then red color in a circle is as far as you can go from Kandinskys point of view – at least in his book! In his testament to the Art interested world, “Concerning the Spiritual in Art”, Kandinsky partly describes the relationship between red and blue, partly describes the different geometrical forms and what colors fit them best. Of course, “Uncreative Writing” is about developing a realistic extravert and conceptual literary language compared with an artistic language like the Brillo boxes of Warhol and Kandinsky is talking about spirituality. Warhol is, no doubt, leading us into a way of freedom through his shifting of identities, his copying, his using of words and ideas that´s not his own. To continue with the blue and red, they are, according to Kandisky, spiritual polarities, they are not related in any circumstances and because of this they are in optimal harmony with each other. Kandinsky writes that the color blue goes best with the circular form on a spiritual level. Anyhow when thinking of the psychoanalyst C.G. Jung, red and blue are colors that represent two different functions of the consciousness, namely thought and feeling. Both in the opposite directions from each other on the cross that´s supposed to describe the human awareness. I found that interesting! Then I read about the associations of Goldsmith when he looked at his red circle and thought of a stoplight, a red ball, the Japanese flag, the planet Mars. Concrete, realistic pics. I close my eyes and see that circular red dot inside me. Fire, strong feelings, blood comes up in my mind. And when I look at the pics I took of Goldsmith, at one of the occasions I listened to him at Louisiana Literature Festival a couple of days ago, when he was reading his poetry and was moved to tears by his own text, that wasn´t his own, I associate to the Japanese Artist Yayoy Kusama, her way to dress and her artistic work such as the “White Box”. Well, at that occasion Goldsmith also wore a blue tie with White dots…I´m not going to go into that at the moment!

©JANET HAAPAR
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