Cy Twombly - Inscriptions

Vol. I–Vol. VI

Thierry Greub
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Bis zum 31.12.2022 gilt der Subskriptionspreis € 998,00 - später: € 1.298.00
Cy Twombly (1928–2011), one of America’s most important artists, inscribed on his works written notes and fragments of poetry, even whole poems, throughout the whole period of his creative activity. The present Catalogue of Inscriptions for the first time collects in six opulent volumes all 901 of Twombly’s written notations, presenting them in transcription and in the context of their 113 different literary sources, and so traces the artist’s lifelong intellectual engagement with poetry and the forms of the scriptural. More than 90% of the decipherment and more than half of the authors quoted by Twombly are first assignments.
Roland Barthes described Cy Twombly’s oeuvre as a “work of writing”. In fact, Twombly’s use of written texts clearly sets him apart from other second generation representatives of the New York School (Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns). Twombly provided around 40% of his pictorial works from 1953 onwards with textual notations and literary quotations from poets from antiquity to the present day, such as Sappho, Praxilla, Rumi, ʿAbbās ibn al-Aḥnaf, Keats, Rilke, Bachmann, Faiz Ahmed Faiz or Patricia Waters. Yet the level of meaning of the handwritten inscriptions remains an element of his pictorial language whose interpretation is still disputed today, since only 19 poets have been cited to date.
On the basis of the publication, the scriptural becomes clearly recognizable for the first time as an equal element in the structure of Cy Twombly’s work and an essential medium of signification in his pictorial world. The introductory volume, drawing on the results of the work of transcription and ascription, analyzes how Twombly’s inscriptional practice developed and how complex constellations of iconotextual references are created between the scriptural and the graphic in his works. Against the background of the conception of poetics of Charles Olson, Twombly’s teacher at Black Mountain College, it becomes evident that in Twombly the scriptural is the principal bearer of “remanence”, the phenomenon that enables a re-enactment, in each present moment of reception, of what is represented. Cy Twombly described this energy force and emotional intensity as “the phenomenon of finding the memory of something that has vanished and left no trace of itself”.

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Thierry Greub gained his PhD in 2003 on Johannes Vermeer at the University of Basel, Switzerland, where he was research assistant to Gottfried Boehm. In 2017 he received his Habilitation at the University of Cologne, Germany, on the notations and literary inscriptions of Cy Twombly. He has held positions as research associate at the Center for Advanced Studies Morphomata at the University of Cologne and as senior scientist at the IFK International Research Center for Cultural Studies | University of Art and Design Linz in Vienna. He is currently a lecturer at the Department of Art History at the University of Cologne.
Thierry Greub erhielt 2003 seinen PhD zu Johannes Vermeer an der Universität Basel, Schweiz, wo er Assistent von Prof. Dr. Gottfried Boehm war. 2017 habilitierte er sich an der Universität zu Köln, Deutschland, über die Notate und literarischen Einschreibungen bei Cy Twombly. Er war wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Internationalen Kolleg Morphomata der Universität zu Köln und Senior Scientist am IFK Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften | Kunstuniversität Linz in Wien. Er ist Lehrbeauftragter am Institut für Kunstgeschichte der Universität zu Köln.
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