Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Giovanni Battista Piranesi

Giovanni Battista Piranesi hung out in Rome among other places during the 18th century. (What's a camera?) He was famous for depicting ancient architectural ruins and "views". He did this with an exceptional talent for depicting spatial relationships, going so far as to imagine the most likely original structural forms and details of ruins, even filling them with absent furniture. This soft blend of highly detailed documentation and proto-surrealist flights of fantasy reached a sudden pitch of badassery when he did a series of imagined underground prisons. Thomas De Quincey suggested that the artist saw these visions in a fever dream while ill and depicted them from memory later.
Some of these images are very large so blow 'em up and explore the detailing.
Piranesi once said: "I need to produce great ideas, and I believe that if I were commissioned to design a new universe, I would be mad enough to undertake it."

Fabien Claude

Not so many posts ago I was talking about just this kind of thing, i.e. vague figures in painting and more contemporary artists carrying a Bacon-esque lineage. Like Carbonne, this person also seems to be of the French tongue.
These images, however, are particularly harrowing and even remind me a little of Alvin Schwartz's terrifying drawings for the Scary Stories book series.
I love how some of the images above have almost no physiological reason for registering as a face/figure at all. And yet...