The Mountain a Bed and a Chair
Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, PA / Artists Space, New York, NY, 1992
During the last days of a five week residency at Le Chateau de La Napoule in the south of France, I drove to Mont Sainte Victoire, Cézanne’s’ celebrated mountain. Aware that the area was punctuated by artist’s museums and the like, I had decided, unconsciously I think, to keep my travels to the landscape, and the mountain, after all, was still within the bounds of this decision. What I couldn’t have planned was my response before Mont Sainte Victoire. In my notebook I wrote only one line: “The mountain stood alone in the landscape, like an idea”. It was the primary site of Cézanne’s idea, for sure; he was born at its foot and died in its shadow. He made over sixty paintings of the mountain, and with its help, secured a vision that would feed an idea of Modernism for years to come. All of this I knew before my visit, but in its presence I felt the weight of what I knew, my knowing had a different shape, and although I wasn’t sure how, I felt certain that work would come from this unexpected and most welcome sensation.