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When I can find the time, Lebbeus Woodsblog is always a treat to dip into.

© Ross Racine

On Ross Racine‘s digital drawings, Woods says:

Artists and poets have struggled over the centuries to make works that startle us with their originality and, in effect, wake us up to depth of human feelings in our own uniqueness and individuality. The artist’s and the poet’s originality connects with our own, invoking the feeling that to be human is to be unique. The artist is a mirror of ourselves, inspiring us not to be artists but individuals […] But the raw fact is, most of us are not so unique. Our lives, except for the smallest details, pretty much resemble the lives of others, particularly those in our social group, whatever it might be, defined by economic class, race, educational background and many others. The truth is that we are intensely social creatures and our social context often overwhelms our individual traits and aspirations. This would seem to be the message imbedded in Ross Racine’s drawings of suburbs.

View Ross Racine’s work here.

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Woods’ post on Libya is also rather rousing. It discusses (not in any related way) the push for another type of individual recognition.

I include the map below, because despite my web-surfing it was new to me and it may be to you also.

(Click to view large)

Etching from Goya’s series “The Disasters of War:”

Lebbeus Woods posted some interesting thoughts today about Francisco Goya’s meditations on war.

My reading and interpretation of Woods’ words is based on the presumption that photography is the visual “raw material” of a war and art can be something distinctly different – as Woods argues something more transformative and powerful. I am knowingly playing devil’s advocate.


“Instead of creating propagandistic art, extolling glorious military heroism, Goya focused on the atrocities of the armies, committed against ordinary people. He knew that when soldiers get into a killing craze, they murder and rape indiscriminately, often just for the hell of it.

If there were an Iraqi or Afghan Goya working today, he or she would not make journalistic photos of the slaughter of people who just happen to be there, but would draw and paint it, becoming selective, ‘aestheticizing’ the atrocities, in order to elevate them to a serious level of reflection.

The artist does not merely present us with raw material, which is always difficult to confront and understand—indeed, it is easier to dismiss it with only a shudder—but instead creates indelible images, which cannot be gotten out of the mind.”

It seems to me that Woods’ may have a point – that general publics may be turned off to the photojournalist product and more shocked when the depicted horror has come from the end of paint brush or lithography set, and thus by the way of a fellow human’s imagination.

What says you?

Jake and Dinos Chapman, 'Disasters of War' (1993)

Incidentally, a couple of friends and I went to see Goya’s Disasters of War etchings exhibited alongside Jake and Dinos Chapman’s sculptures of homage of the same title. It was simple … and singularly the best art exhibit I’ve seen in a long time.


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