October 9, 2013

Mark Rothko on the Recipe of a Work of Art

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Mark Rothko, No. 8


From his Pratt Institute address:
"The recipe of a work of art - its ingredients - how to make it - the formula.
  1. There must be a clear preoccupation with death - intimations of mortality...Tragic art, romantic art, etc. deals with the knowledge of death. 
  2. Sensuality. Our basis of being concrete about the world. It is a lustful relationship to things that exist. 
  3. Tension. Either conflict or curbed desire.
  4. Irony. This is a modern ingredient - the self-effacement and examination by which a man for an instant can go on to something else. 
  5. Wit and play... for the human element. 
  6. The ephemeral and chance... for the human element. 
  7. Hope. 10% to make the tragic concept more endurable.
I measure these ingredients very carefully when I paint a picture. It is always the form that follows these elements and the picture results from the proportions of these elements."

Image: here. 

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