Sunday, July 5, 2009

Jim Jarmush: The Limits of Control

From ArtNews: El Violín is one of four distinctive Spanish paintings the filmmaker uses to shape the look and characters of his new movie, The Limits of Control, recently out from Focus Features. A solitary man in a slick suit enters the Museo Nacional de Arte Centro Reina Sofía in Madrid. He looks at the floor plan and purposefully seeks out his destination. He stands in front of Juan Gris’s El Violín (1916). Psychedelic tunes kick in and for a few minutes the man loses himself in the Cubist work, hypnotized, it seems, by the deep colors and the swirling, fractured composition. Then, just as intently, he leaves. He has an appointment to meet a man with a guitar.

Gertrude Stein always says that cubism is a purely Spanish conception and only Spaniards can be cubists and that the only real cubism is that of Picasso and Juan Gris. Picasso created it and Juan Gris permeated it with his clarity and his exaltation. To understand this one has only to read the life and death of Juan Gris by Gertrude Stein, written upon the death of one of her two dearest friends, Picasso and Juan Gris, both Spaniards. She always says that Americans can understand Spaniards. That they are the only two western nations that can realize abstraction. That in Americans it expresses itself by disembodiedness, in literature and machinery, in Spain by ritual so abstract that it does not connect itself with anything but ritual.-- The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas