From the Rothko exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague.
It can be hard to connect with abstract art. Rothko’s blurry oblongs seem at first to be mute and meaningless. But following the progression of his work from the figurative, one sees how images of people, of subway and street scenes, are replaced by rectangles of colour.
The artist speaks to us mood to mood, short-cutting the middleman, leaving out the figures in a landscape, the still life. Black speaks of grief, red of passion, sombre browns and greens of quietude.
Rothko, who would withdraw from exhibitions if his works were not displayed in the right environment, would have approved of the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague. It’s a wonderful Modernist building from the 1930s, tiled and calm and democratic. Their audio tour was on an electronic device around my neck. I was struck by one section: Rothko’s seven core qualities for art.
I wondered if these could also be core qualities for storytelling.
Always unable to remember lists, I typed them in to my phone:
6. Transitoriness and random chance