Georges Duthuit, Chinese Mysticism and Modern Painting
Gospodin Stotinki's contributions to the visual arts have been discussed in these pages before. Inspired by the extraordinary approach of 13th century Zen painters, a near-fatal incident in which he was unable to withdraw his head from a wooden bucket of ox's blood, marked an inevitable change of course from active painter to art critic. Stotinki's interpretations were often unconventional and have been unfairly branded as 'nonsensical drivel.' In this extract he considers Coldstream's 1937 painting On the Map:
'In a haze of uncertain heat two figures are baffled by a landscape which does not exist, an absence of countryside that can only be represented by a map of nothingness held facing away from the one who reads it. These are not, as is often suggested, the artist's friends Graham Bell and Igor Anrep. Close examination shows that they are aspects of the same person. A man, standing baffled by the cartography of the void, is accompanied by his spirit body who sits, barefoot, spattered with the dirt of a desperate flight or furious pursuit through tangled woods and mud-mired tracks. Now he sits in exhausted contemplation of what? A towering spectre of horror just out of sight? Beyond the figures, the Mister Punch simulacrum tree feeds its hungry dinosaur brood with unseen arboreal plankton.'