Grid in paintings & space – Prina & Krauss

Stephen Prina
Exquisite Corpse: The Complete Paintings of Manet, 41 of 556,
Ink wash and offset lithograph
Installation View

“In 1988, Prina initiated an ongoing project titled Exquisite Corpse: The
Complete Paintings of Manet, in which an offset lithograph representing a visual
index of Édouard Manet’s corpus of 556 works (arranged to scale in a grid of
“blanks” based on the contour and dimensions of each painting or drawing) was
exhibited next to a sequence of monochrome sepia ink drawings made by Prina to
the exact size and format of corresponding works in Manet’s oeuvre.” —— D Joselit

“I entitled the Manet project The Exquisite Corpse because it seemed necessary to see a complete body of work, in relation to his body and to my body . . . ”

Stephen Prina

Rosalind Krauss: “Grids” October 9, Summer 1979. [Reprinted in: The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths.

GRID: “In the spatial sense, the grid states the autonomy of the realm of art. Flattened, geometricized, ordered, it is antinatural, antimimetic, antireal. It is what art looks like when it turns its back to nature. In the flatness that results from its coordinates, the grid is the means of crowding out the dimensions of the real and replacing them with the lateral result not of imitation, but of aesthetic decree. Insofar as its order is that of pure relationship, the grid is a way of abrogating the claims of natural objects to have an order particular to themselves; the relationships in the aesthetic field are shown by the grid to be in a world apart and, with respect to natural objects, to be both prior and final.” …

“The grid’s mythic power is that it makes us able to think we are dealing with materialism (or sometimes science, or logic) while at the same time it provides us with a release into belief (or illusion, or fiction).”

Stephen Prina, monochrome painting (1988/1989)

In this Prina Monochrome painting, he spray paint over the same dimension of the painting of the renown artists that did monochromatic painting masterpiece from the twentieth century, such as Kasimir Malevich, Alexander Rodtschenko, Władysław Strzemiński, Barnett Newman, Robert Rauschenberg, Ellsworth Kelly, Yves Klein, Piero Manzoni, Ad Reinhardt, Lucio fontana, Brice Marden, Robert Ryman, Gerhard Richter, and Blinky Palermo.

The works were spray-painted monochromatic green at an auto body shop using conventional metallic car paint on wood (the paint, papyrus green poly, was used by volkswagen in 1985).

“…the bottom line of the grid is a naked and determined materialism. But (. . .) that is not the way that artists have ever discussed it. (. . .) Mondrian and Malevich are not discussing canvas or pigment or graphite or any other form of matter. They are talking about Being or Mind or Spirit.”

Rosalind Krauss


David Joselit. Painting Beside Itself

Click to access 0911djoselit.pdf

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