Cézanne Photographic

Richard Shiff at nonsite:

Cézanne’s kind of painting—the digital kind, composed of discrete marks—is so far removed from the analog illusions of photography that its engagement with cultural issues is of a divergent sort. By rendering its technique explicit, it revealed its liaison with living sensation, eye-to-hand. Artist-theorist André Lhote wrote in 1920: “A large part of the emotive power of Cézanne’s canvases derives from the fact that the painter, rather than hide them, shows his means.21 Hiding generates an integrated, analog effect; showing generates a fractured, digital effect. The emotion Lhote addressed did not belong to the subject represented, which by 1920 could be arbitrary without being criticized as such. André Derain wrote to Henri Matisse in 1906 (the final year of Cézanne’s life) that both were fortunate to belong to the first generation at liberty to let their chosen material assume “a life of its own, independent of what one makes it represent.”22 So the emotionality of the art need no longer correspond to the artist’s thoughts about the model depicted, its cultural identity, and all it might connote. A stronger or more direct emotion derived from the material basis of the representational process. Viewers sensed this emotion to the extent that they perceived that a life had been lived mark to mark, moment to moment, sensation to sensation. Such was Cézanne’s life, his digital reality, lived at the same pace as that of the people, objects, and land he painted—lived along with his world.

more here.