Not all windows
are windows.

Even a window
is not always
a window.

And sometimes
something that isn't
a window
is the best window.

image: Robert Motherwell, Open Study No. 3, 1968 Charcoal on paper



The Open series is also crucial for a complete understanding of Motherwell's work. He began the Opens in 1967, responding to the impulse in European and American visual arts to regard painting as a window. The notion of the window had figured into his work from the beginning of his career, as early as 1941, when he painted the Museum's Spanish Picture with Window. The Open series represents Motherwell's joining of his longstanding interest in the window with his new notion of how to a make a painting. Each of the Open works, which are characterized by sparse visual components and serene, uncomplicated color, contain a charcoal-delineated rectangle (or three-sided rectangle), which the artist acknowledged partially derived from whitewashed adobe facades. He said, "I've always loved Spanish houses with those big, plain, stark facades, with a dark doorway cut out of the expanse, or say, two windows beautifully cut out of a magnificent whitewashed wall." (from Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth)

Robert Motherwell
top: Open No.24 in Variations of Orange
bottom: Untitled (Open in Yellow, Black and Blue), 1971



the mirror too is a window


She opened the shutters. She hung the sheets over the sill.
She saw the day.
A bird looked at her straight in the eyes. "I am alone," she whispered.
"I am alive." She entered the room. The mirror too is a window.
If I jump from it I will fall into my arms.

Yannis Ritsos
translated from the Greek by Nikos Stangos

(courtesy of erin)




When sleep is running away from a man, and the man lies on his bed, dumbly stretching out his legs, while nearby a clock ticks on the bed stand and sleep is running away from the clock, then it seems to the man that an immense black window opens wide before him and that his thin little gray human soul is going to fly out through this window and his lifeless body will stay lying on the bed, dumbly stretching out its legs, and the clock will ring its quiet bell: “Yet another man has fallen asleep,” at that moment the immense and utterly black window will swing shut with a bang. 

A man by the last name of Oknov was lying on his bed, dumbly stretching out his legs, trying to fall asleep. But sleep was running away from Oknov. Oknov lay with his eyes open and frightening thoughts knocked inside his increasingly wooden head.     

March 8, 1938

Daniil Kharms
tr. Matvei Yankelevich