Pinako the K Conferencia

I am going to begin with Durango, painted in 1990 and now at the museum in Düsseldorf. As you can see, it is a very large work painted in black and grey horizontals and verticals with an extreme degree of physically manifested emotion. The center panel bulges out, making it in some way like an altarpiece. It is a painting of order and violence. And this brings me to the main theme of this lecture, which is taken from a line by William Butler Yeats, the great Romantic Irish poet. Yeats said that “no mind can engender until divided into two,” which means that a mind not divided cannot create. In other words, one might say that the romantic impulse needs and depends upon friction, divide and schism and that this is a problem of identity -- a split which can be worked out and resolved through the making of art and which causes the pressure one needs for creation. Michael Peppiatt, who worked on the Francis Bacon show [1999], said that what Yeats is getting at is that if you don’t have a sense of duality inside you, you have no need to create. The need to create comes because you are split and forced to find some kind of unity. It is not a choice. I think this is a very powerful aspect of my work, and you will see it registered in practically every artwork that I am going to show you.