Thursday, 1 November 2012

Formless Object

Mark Rothko, No. 6, 1964.

Kant believed the sublime differed from beauty; it was something more, something better. When discussing the beautiful and the sublime, he noted that the sublime ‘is to be found in a formless object’, and is without boundaries whereas beauty ‘is connected with the form of the object’ and thus possesses ‘boundaries’.

I see this particular work by Rothko as being without boundaries, as though the artist, predicting the end of his life, manages to portray the sublime in a way that makes us conscious of our own finitude or mortality. We experience the sublime when our imagination fails to comprehend the vastness of the infinite and we become aware of the ideas of reason and their representation of the boundless totality of the universe.

In reference to Burke however, it seems to be less about nature and more about how we feel, for example, although such a work could inspire anxiety, perhaps even terror, we receive some kind of pleasure through viewing this work, releasing the aesthetic experience from beauty.