Sunday, 4 September 2011

"To a green thought in a green shade"

Reading – very slowly and too absent-mindedly – Husserl's Logische Untersuchungen, the two verses that end the following stanza of Marvell's "The Garden" came to my mind, as they often do:

Meanwhile the mind, from pleasure less,
Withdraws into its happiness :
The mind, that ocean where each kind
Does straight its own resemblance find ;
Yet it creates, transcending these,
Far other worlds, and other seas ;
Annihilating all that's made
To a green thought in a green shade.

Green is not green – the green, namely greenness, being-green, is not itself "coloured" – a Heideggerean reminder. The green of all greens is not green. Colour is colourless.

Helen Frankenthaler, A Green Thought in a Green Shade (1981)

An abstract expressionism that seeks for the essence of colour – say, green, the green of green, the green-ness of green – is therefore a splendid failure.

Emphasis on "splendid".

* * *

A green thought must inhabit – take repose in – a green shade, "withdraw into its happiness" there, and acknowledge its constitutive différance.

* * *

Every green thought that takes repose in a green shade, every representation of "green", is an allegory of "green".

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