Treatise on The Veil of Orpheus


“Before, I used to smoke and look, because smoking is very conducive to stimulating the mind. Finally I had to stop because it was overstimulating my lungs. I sort of work off and on and I usually paint eight hours and never eat. And I might have some wine to stimulate a free passage of thought. And I used to have always music playing.”

Cy Twombly

 

Cy Twombly photographed by Robert Rauschenberg, circa 1953

 

Treatise on the Veil (First Version), Cy Twombly, 1968.

 

Treatise on the Veil was inspired by Pierre Henry’s 1953 avant-garde musical composition, (Le voile d’Orphée I) The Veil of Orpheus, which records the tearing of a piece of cloth. In his translation of aural to visual phenomena, Twombly reduces his subject matter to its simplest parts, distilling and crystallizing its formal components so as to strengthen its visceral effects.

The first version of Treatise on the Veil is all the more revealing in this light. More succinct and deliberate in his line, Twombly heightens the contrast between form and background. The rectangles spring from the inky sea beneath them, emphasizing the artist’s mille-feuille technique.

 

Pierre Henry using induction coils to control sound spatially.

 

Veil of Orpheus, Cy Twombly, 1968

 

Orpheus, Cy Twombly, 1979

 

Orpheus, Cy Twombly, 1979

 

To listen to Pierre Henry’s composition, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228

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