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Giorgio Morandi, Natura morta (Still Life), 1949. Oil on canvas, 12 x 17 15/16 inches. 19 3/16 x 25 3/16 x 2 3/8 inches (framed). © 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SIAE, Rome.
On View
David Zwirner Gallery
November 6 – December 19, 2016
New York



Unornamented Simplicity

Solicitously buttering across the suffused dexterity of muteness,
Resembling the earth pigments in their splendor,
Time collapses above and below the horizon.

Form melts, disintegrates at its own tempo,
Visibly articulated gestures of a thought wrist
Enkindles bristle brushes to maximize their ultimate and restrained freedom.
Sometimes it’s not unjust to impose question marks in bold Roman letters.
Let imperfect neutral grays modulate a diffident undertaking
To spell out words in serene void.

Bathed with light from within,
Courtly sliced, cut, propped them in between the crooked horizon of humanity.
Leaning, half seen in one instance. Leaning, fully seen in another.
Half-seen object leans. Leaned object is both half-seen and fully seen.
A folded cloth respites an undisturbed dialogue
In this specific squared proscenium.
An undisturbed dialogue respites a folded cloth
In that specific square proscenium while extending
Various magnanimous accords to endless rectangular formations.

He does not dare to move this particular pipe from the table.
The equal substance of the senses he believes will
Free each ensemble from its deceitful appearance.
Violent rupture derails all thoughts,
Sliding down the slope on the extreme right,
Barely held by the shadow of immovable force.
Natura morta, Natura morta, ancora e ancora!
Two dabs of light refuse to fade away.

Whose name is written on the tablecloth?
Or occasionally inscribed softly in the air
As though it could be suspended there precisely for eternity.
How many times must each object die and live again?



Giorgio Morandi, Natura morta (Still Life), 1959. Oil on canvas, 10 1/16 x 11 7/8 inches. Framed: 13 13/16 x 15 3/4 x 1 11/16 inches. ©2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SIAE, Rome



Phong Bui

Phong H. Bui is the Publisher and Artistic Director of the Brooklyn Rail.


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